Cool Typographical Illustrations on Coffee Cups by Rob Draper

Illustrator and designer Rob Draper from Worcester UK rose to fame with his really cool typographical illustrations on disposable coffee cups. Spending several hours on each his artwork drawn on paper cups Starbucks and Costa, Rob sometimes leaves them in the shop. Rob get a vague idea of the design and quickly gets back to it after finishing his cup. His intricate art shows tells us that anything can turn into a work of art in the hands of a creative person. Sometimes he rips off the colored printed outer layer of the cup and works on the inner white which feels life his artwork is exploding through the cup. Besides illustrating coffee cups, Rob is very much into other areas of typography and design marked with his bold style and playful imagery. Due to the very nature and process of his artwork, Rob has been featured in a lot many art and inspiration websites. Rob is telling us more about himself and his artwork in the interview below:

AntiYawn_RobDraperPlease tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a UK born and still live here but have a worldwide client base. I have diplomas in art and design and graphic design and a BA degree in visual communication. Generally most of my work is hand rendered and while I often find it easier to hear other people talk about and explain the style I work in, I often hear, “It looks quite old but yet quite new” which I guess suits me. I love drawing and design and love I am able to make a living doing so.

Dream-Big_RobDraperWhen did you start designing and illustrating typographical things?

I drew since I could and have always leaned towards letters and words. I was captivated by the first wave of graffiti landing into the UK – suddenly at the age of 10 drawing was cool! My milestones have been too many to mention, some huge, some tiny but they all count. A really big one was finally ‘going it alone’ and becoming freelancer after working within agencies, organizations and brands since graduating university.

What does your art mean to you?

It means everything. I’m grateful to be able to make a living from it but I would still draw, if this weren’t the case. It relaxes me, motivates me, inspires me. I find it impossible to switch off but I’m more than happy with that.

E-for-Espresso_RobDraperYou’re also into other creative fields. Which one of them is most satisfying?

I really enjoy hand rendered lettering; I love the challenge of shaping and embellishing different letter-forms. From years ago using aerosol paints in the middle of the night, sat at university studying letter-forms to now sat in a studio with a pencil, there’s a thread that runs through it all.

How much time does it take for you to finish one artwork?

Tricky to answer, sometimes it will take weeks for it all to come together on a design, sometimes that first sketch you do in the border of your notebook or on the back of a receipt becomes the blueprint for the final piece. Sometimes clients want a great deal of input sometimes they are very hands off.

Love-what-you-do_RobDraperBesides lettering on coffee cups, what else would you like to exploit in your art?

Whether its drawing detailed lettering onto disposable cups or onto discarded napkins I love contrast and enjoy playing within that theme.

What is the most challenging thing you come across while on work?

It’s usually the technical challenge of surface I’m working on or the tools I’m working with, painting intricate detail on the coarse grain of reclaimed wood, drawing straight lines on the curves of a cup.

M-is-for-More_RobDraperHow did you develop a style of your own?

I guess I see it as during your career all the different work you produce all comes together and out of all that there becomes a key style that you are comfortable with, and that clients feel could represent their product or service. It’s a continual process.

What kind of equipment and supplies do you mostly use?

Anything at all, I think that the concept should come first and that will dictate what equipment you need. I’m as comfortable sat on a Mac as I am with paint brush. I always try to think what would answer the brief the best and there’s (usually!) the answer.

Perfect-Coffee_RobDraperWhat would you call your major achievements?

I always like to think it’s an achievement when a piece of work, however big or small, whether for yourself or client work, sees the light of day after hours, days, weeks or sometimes months of developing, shaping and tweaking. A real achievement was being asked to be involved in the WWF/Pentagram ‘Do the green thing’ 29 Posters campaign alongside 29 other creatives including Sir Paul Smith, David Shrigley and Quentin Blake. It was also a great but surreal achievement my mum reading the Daily Mail on her iPad, and scrolling down the homepage to see a large feature on her Son drawing on discarded cups. Making your mum proud is always an achievement.

R-is-for-Ready_RobDraperWhat are your future plans and ambitions?

To take over the world. Very gradually. With a pencil. Or maybe paint.

Tell us what keeps you inspired and motivated:

I am always inspired by people with a strong work ethic, from photographers, artists, designers or illustrators and I try to surround myself with people like that. People who would still be producing work if there were no clients or reason to. Seb Lester is a close friend whose ability to push things to a new level is inspiring. I like a lot of the classics too – Herb Lubalin, Alan Fletcher but I also can get inspired by a colour scheme of a shop, the shape of a bike frame or a song that pops up on the playlist.

A-for-Americano_RobDraper Progress_RobDraper R-is-for-Refill_RobDraper Yeah_RobDraperAll images © Rob Draper : Website | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

About Nishant Mishra

Nishant studied art history and literature at the university during 1990s. He works as a translator in New Delhi, India and likes to read about arts, photography, films, life-lessons and Zen.

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