Looking for some pop art inspiration? We chat to digital artist Peppy Colours to find out how he uses Envato Elements to make his art pop...
Splashing quirky, colorful content all across Instagram, digital artist Peppy Colours is one of the most inspiring new creatives on the digital art scene. Creating modern pop art exploring the extraordinary in ordinary items –from chameleon Coke cans to donut scrunchies – this designer’s eye-catching work is sure to put some pep in your step.
The brainchild of designer Pepe Bratanov – also the creative director and co-founder of Canadian independent creative agency, The Local Collective – Peppy Colours is an exploration of the unexpected fun and beauty that can be found in the everyday objects and living things that surround us. Sharing his work both on Instagram and his website, Pepe’s distinctive style and marvellous mashups have garnered him an impressive Instagram following, as well as plenty of praise from the wider creative community.
We caught up with Pepe to get to know the guy behind the grid, and to pick the pop artist’s brain on how he uses Envato Elements to make his art pop…
Hey Pepe! How did you get into digital art, and how would you describe your style?
As a kid, I used to draw a lot. I was in love with drawing Disney characters. Then, there was a huge gap in my life with no artistic endeavours until I went to college. I enrolled in the advertising program at the Ontario College of Art & Design. In the first couple of years I took a lot of illustration, design and art history classes and that really reignited my love for the creative arts.
After graduating, I dove into the world of advertising and have been swimming in its waters ever since. I think my background in advertising has a lot to do with how I approach my digital art as well. As a young art director, back when we were still doing a lot of print, one of the most fun challenges for me was to highlight a product feature by creating some sort of visually interesting mashup to illustrate the benefit of the product. I think that carried through for me over the years and is now a big part of the approach behind Peppy Colours – simple, colourful mashups that make you look at the subject in a different way.
What’s the mission or meaning behind your work?
The end goal is to put a smile on someone’s face. The same way I clear my head while creating art, I want the viewers to take a brief moment from their busy everyday lives and clear their heads. Nothing too deep or meaningful in most cases. Just a quick, enjoyable, snack-sized visual break.
Though, we are all different and some people find their own, deeper meanings and interpretations with some of the pieces, which is always nice to hear. It’s exactly what art is supposed to do.
Your work is so colorful and unique! How did you develop your minimalist pop art style?
I’ve only been doing this type of art in a more streamlined way for just over a year. Before that, I was still creating digital art, but it was a bit all over the map in terms of technique and approach. With every next piece, I was trying to strip away anything that’s not necessary and eventually that’s how I got to what Peppy Colours currently looks and feels like.
The inspiration behind it is mostly cultural observations and reflections of all the things that happen around us every day – from local culture and things I may have come across throughout the day to visual commentary on current global events and behaviours. It really varies. It could be something small or really big, but the connective tissue is always color and simplicity.
Realizing a complicated subject through a simple execution, in most cases, leads to a visually intriguing outcome and to me, personally, that’s very rewarding.
How do your ideas get from your imagination to Instagram?
Most of the pieces are reactions to things. It’s like reporting the news as opposed to creating it. So, once I have encountered something interesting throughout the day (news, event, social post) I try to bring it to life in the best and simplest way possible. Some pieces take a couple of hours, others take days, simply because I like to go back to the work and look for imperfections. And sometimes I’m stuck on choosing the background color for a couple of days. We all know what that’s like. Patience, and lots of it, is a big part of the process too – anyone who’s photoshopped hair or fur will know what I mean.
How does Envato Elements help you create your work?
Envato Elements helps me with my work in so many ways. With Peppy Colours, it makes my work so much easier. I especially like the 3D objects that allow you to find the perfect angle for the asset you need. And sometimes it provides inspiration. It’s not always that I go to the site and look for something specific, sometimes I just browse and find inspiration.
For the rest of the work I create on a daily basis as an art director and designer, Envato Elements not only makes creating work easier, but it also makes it better with unlimited creative resources. From fonts and music tracks to photography and vector assets – you name it, I’ve used it all. I have a lot of subscriptions to all kinds of things and creative resources, but Envato Elements really does have it all and a lot of the stuff cannot be found on other creative resource sites. It has a more indie feel to it.
What types of items do you use to bring your ideas to life?
For Peppy Colours, I use photos, 3D objects and sometimes mockups. For example, with my butterfly post, I found everything I needed on Envato Elements. I’ve always had a fascination with the transformation of butterflies and wanted to create a fun version of it that shows how transformation can go wrong. So I started looking for visuals that will help me bring the concept to life and found the perfect angles for both, caterpillar and butterfly. From there, it’s a lot of photoshop massaging.
The process with the chameleon piece was similar. I wanted to show brand affinity in a different way and used a creature that reacts similarly to how we are affected by things. In our daily lives we get influenced by trends and the things that surround us and chameleons adapt in a similar way to their surrounding environment. So it was a nice metaphor and an interesting way to show brand loyalty. And again, both assets are 3D objects from Envato Elements.
How does Elements fit into your creative toolkit? What other programs do you use?
Envato Elements is often step two in my process. Once I have an idea, I either look for something specific or for inspiration in general. I’m mostly a Photoshop man. I use a bit of Illustrator and sometimes dabble in After Effects, but Photoshop is and has been my tool of choice for a long time. Color is obviously a big part of Peppy Colours, so I have my go-to places for color inspiration as well.
Depending on what you’re looking to create, Envato Elements will help you get it done faster or get it done better. Sometimes both. The best thing about it is that we are all working with similar assets, but are able to create so many diverse and beautiful pieces. In some cases you can’t even tell that they’re from the same source. It’s really all a product of our imagination.
Our minds work in so many different and beautiful ways, and I think Peppy Colours is a good example of this. Everyone has access to the same assets, but what you create with them is really up to your creativity.
Where do you sell or promote your work? Where has it been featured?
I’ve only been doing this for about a year so I’ve mostly been focusing on creating the work and building up the brand. I’ve relied on gaining an organic following on Instagram. Recently, more and more people are starting to reach out and ask for prints so that’s something I’m currently looking into.
In the midst of the pandemic, we created an alphabet picture book, The ABC’s of Imagination, to support Food Banks Canada’s efforts to raise money. The book is now available on Amazon/Kindle and we also have a more condensed version of it on Instagram. It’s really meant to foster a kid’s imagination while they learn some cool and interesting facts.
Do you have any other exciting creative projects on the go at the moment?
In addition to some of the things I mentioned above, what’s been really flattering is the interest from the creative community. Like Envato, people are reaching out and wanting to learn more about the art, the process, the inspiration. That’s really the biggest accomplishment for me – recognition from my peers.
What words of wisdom would you give to digital artists who are just starting out?
Creativity is a wonderful thing. If you’re lucky to have it, keep it going and keep it pure. Don’t let things like strong opinions and comments affect your art. First and foremost, create as if it’s for your eyes and heart only, fall in love with it and people will follow suit.
Feeling inspired? Check out our Made with Envato interview with Envato designer Camilla Anderson or step Inside 3D Illustration with Amrit Pal on the Elements Blog, or head over to Envato Elements to start creating today!
Pepe is an Envato partner. All opinions provided within this interview are his own.