Hand-drawn artwork inspired by traditional tattoos and macabre iconography
Creating work dominated by occult imagery, nomadic themes and heavy linework, London-based illustrator Tom Gilmour says he finds inspiration in “black tattoo art and early 80’s skateboard graphics” to achieve a powerful aesthetic akin to something of a morbid blend of Gus Wagner and Jim Phillips. Gilmour draws each piece by hand in ink with splashes of watercolor and digital renderings to achieve certain shading effects.
While the deep gradients and heavy iconography of traditional tattoos are still very much present, Gilmour’s intricate designs tend to lean towards the experimentation of mixed symbolism for a unique depth not often seen in the flash-style tattoos from which he draws inspiration. By designing for paper rather than skin, Gilmour is free to draw without regard to certain contours or the stylistic limits of a tattoo gun, resulting in intricate detail and an unconventional use of space. The full-bleed design style, enhanced by the use of freehand script, helps much of Gilmour’s work make the leap from tattoo sketch to fine art.
Working as an illustrator by profession, Gilmour often lends his artistic abilities to various like-minded enterprises outside of his own sketchbook. Included in the impressive list of music-centric commissions is album cover art for metal band Lay Siege, T-shirt design for Cold Night For Alligators and promotional posters for international music festivals Sonisphere and Download. Gilmour takes such commercial assignments as opportunities to showcase his talents without sacrificing any style or artistic vision.
For a closer look at Gilmour’s illustrations see his personal site and design collective. To see more recent works and for the chance to purchase one-off prints see Gilmour’s often-updated blog and check out Wood & Cloud Publishing Co.