Young Artist Creates Impressively Detailed Illustrations With a Typewriter
At only 23 years of age, James Cook is already one of the world’s premier typewriter artists, and looking at his works it’s easy to see why.
The young architecture student got into typewriter art about five years ago, after reading about Paul Smith, another famous typewriter artist who couldn’t use a pencil or paintbrush to do drawings, because of his severe cerebral palsy. Cook was inspired by the story and intrigued about typewriter art, so he decided to give it a try. It was love at first sight, and after buying his first typewriter from an elderly couple looking to sell up their heap of antiques, James started using it to create illustrations and portraits.
“I started about five years ago, I was at college at the time and I was taking art,” James Cook told 7News, earlier this year. “Just through my research, I came across this guy by the name of Paul Smith, who had cerebral palsy. And unfortunately, because of his condition, he couldn’t use a pencil or paintbrush to do drawings. But he actually started to use typewriters, and he ended up producing these amazing portraits and drawings. So I was really inspired by his story, and I started about five years ago and I haven’t stopped since.”
After buying his first typewriter, James started collecting them, and he now has around 20 of them. They’re not as useful as writing instruments anymore, but he is really impressed with them as an artistic medium. Although he only has two colors at his disposal – black and red – his talent and the many characters available on the typewriter are all he needs to create truly awe-inspiring artworks.
From detailed portraits of celebrities and iconic film characters, to intricate landscapes, it seems like there’s nothing that James Cook can’t draw with his trusty typewriter.
“It’s quite labor intensive but I enjoy it. It’s using an obsolete piece of technology to create something nice,” the 23-year-old told Mail Online. “I usually start in the middle of the paper and work my way out. I use specific characters and letters to do certain jobs. For example, full stops, underscores and forward slashes are good for straight lines, and brackets, Os and zeros good for curves. The @ symbol is ideal for shading. But I also build them all up, two or three characters on top of each other, to create the depth.”
James does a lot of commission work, charging between £100 ($130) and £150 ($200) per artwork, depending on its complexity. He claims most of his work is done freehand, using his right hand to to type the characters and the left one to move the line space knob.
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