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Tom Froese illustratore

Better to be a designer or an illustrator? Let’s see what Tom Froese says

Tom Froese is a bright spark on Canada’s creative map, both as a designer and as an illustrator. But speaking of himself, he uses another description also. Which he feels describes him better.

He lives in a rural village called Yarrow, in British Columbia. His young face strikes you as hipster, although he often wears checked shirts that make him look like a typical Canadian woodcutter. But he’s hardly a hipster or a woodcutter. Or a hipster woodcutter. Just as he can’t be labelled only as either a designer or an illustrator. Because Tom Froese – who collaborates with international companies and publishers such as Wired, Monocle, The Walrus and Laurence King Publishing – is first and foremost a creative mind, brimming with talent not confined to any single label.

He’s a many-sided freelance operating in various fields, both digital and analogical, equally at ease carrying out hand-printed typographical products or creative computering. Tom describes himself thus:

“In my thinking, I am a designer. In my feeling, my intuition, I am an illustrator. But I prefer to use the term commercial artist. In many ways, this encapsulates both design and illustration, and I don’t think I could ever simply be one or the other”.

A designer, an illustrator and a commercial artist

We all know that a designer will work on systems, global containers or contexts for their ideas, and that an illustrator focuses on images and concentrates on aesthetics, style, narration and metaphor. But how exactly does a commercial artist express their creativity? And what is the key creative process carried out by those who divide their time between product packaging, magazines, publishing, typography and colleagues from different product sectors? In this case too, Tom Froese has clear ideas:

“I feel best about my work when I allow spontaneity and weirdness to mix with control and intention. Lately, I’ve also been realizing the importance of colour to my work. Quite often, I will spend hours and days sketching, never satisfied, until I have to cut myself off and go to the computer. As soon as I place my sketch in photoshop and start adding colour, I start believing in the illustration. The work shifts from something I don’t believe in to something unbelievable. Colour plays a role in that transition.”

colour, but not only. Tom Froese’s graphic work is unusual and innovative, not least in his use of handwriting. The use of handwriting, and of black ink on brightly coloured backgrounds, the insertion of words and phrases and the use of lettering, all add up to mean that text and writing interact boldly with the illustrations, creating an interplay of reciprocal integration that makes the images of Tom Froese both unique and highly recognisable.

Whether working on an illustration for a magazine or for a website, or on iconographic material for a legendary store in Vancouver or the cover of an edition of Reader’s Digest Canada, Tom Froese conjures up worlds and atmospheres with an inner lightness that makes us smile. A benevolent kind of humour, often generated by little commonplaces, clichés or stereotypes that are part of everyone’s daily lives.

Do you want to know what kind of project Tom Froese most enjoys working on?

“My favourite projects are ones that get public exposure, which are not hidden between covers or in obscure B2B applications. So that means more retail, packaging and ad jobs than editorial ones. Not only are the former better paid and have more comfortable deadlines, they are also easier for my friends and family to see and know what I do.”

Not bad, for a designer-illustrator-commercial artist…

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Summary
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Better to be a designer or an illustrator? Let’s see what Tom Froese says
Description
Tom Froese is a bright spark on Canada’s creative map, both as a designer and as an illustrator. But speaking of himself, he uses another description also. Which he feels describes him better.
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Franke Kitchen System
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