Graphik H - The Illustrator

Published: 29 January, 2013 - Featured in Skin Deep 221, February, 2013

It’s times like these that you wish you had paid more attention to that lovely lady called Mrs Barlow, who drove a Peugeot she could barely see over the steering wheel of in order to teach us kids some French… amazingly, some of it stuck. But luckily this spread is about some fresh art, so here’s a look at new kid on the block, Graphik H.

What’s your backstory, Sir?

I started drawing when I was a kid. I’m still studying art and I’m pretty new on the scene at the moment, but am hoping to attract the eye of the professional community. I currently live in the south of France, in a small village near Nimes. There is little activity related to illustration, which makes the job difficult! The big activity is obviously mainly present in Paris.

Did you start out using tattoo for effect, or is it something you’ve started putting into your work recently?

No, I didn’t start with the tattoo influence, but it is an art that always interested me. I am not tattooed myself, but I find it really great to work with.

There are a few times I have come across photos of tattooed men and women and thought they were graphically interesting enough to use in my illustrations. Putting the ‘drawing into the drawing’ brings an added dimension to the finished piece. At the moment, I’m just doing work that suits me personally – I just finished a visual for a DJ recently, but work is hard to find. I would actually give my right arm to work on a serious project.

I’ve not seen this style of illustration for a long time. How do you come to be working in this place?

It is true, today, many people turn to the years gone by to find inspiration to use as a basis for new creations. There are a lot of diverse influences that I’ve pulled in to cultivate different eras and different genres to my work.

My former professor (and author of comics), David Sala, always gives me good advice. I owe him much in the way that I observe the world around me today. I listen to his opinion a lot because it is one of the few opinions that doesn’t have a vested interest and makes no concession to my work. When it’s bad, he tells me. It is not there to gratify my ego – it just is. I have very little contact with people from the illustration world.

What’s next for you – what are you working on at the moment?

I really want to show what I can do in an illustrated book; I need to test myself in real terms. At the moment, there’s a lot of work still to do, but I am very appreciative of getting the chance to show my work to as many people as possible who might come to appreciate it and follow me.

Believe it or not – those few sentences were hard work! But it doesn’t matter. The point here is the  art. I like the way he’s brought these vaguely tattoo-related icons into his work and crossed more genres over than you probably think. You can find and appreciate him on facebook by searching for Graphik(H) where he’s also linked up everything else that he’s working on – or you can check out his portfolio and an absolute ton of other great art over at – definitely one to watch.


Text: Sion Smith; Photography: Graphik H