With his sweeping brush strokes, you can tell from Jamel Akib’s energetic illustrations how passionate he is about painting. He loves the feel of paint on the brush and its naturally pleasing effect on canvas. Jamel spent his childhood spent in both Sussex and northern Borneo. After qualifying, he launched his illustration career by doing a front cover for the Observer. Since then the natural media feel of his work has appealed to a diversity of clients.
Jamel studied for a BA in Illustration at the Maidstone College of Art, where he learned from Gerald Rose.
Originally, Jamel worked in chalk pastels on board but later moved to the cleaner process of digital painting. However, he felt the graphics tablet couldn’t quite capture the energy of real painting, so he switched to canvas. A painting begins life in numerous small drawings before he creates the final piece in broad sweeping strokes, choosing colours instinctively as he goes.
Colourful, energetic, painterly – Jamel’s work is full of strokes and marks that convey the hand of the artist. He likes to bring out the concept and narrative in each piece, often by using striking angles – high or low – to make the composition more interesting and eye-catching. His influences include Brad Holland, Sue Coe and Lucien Freud.