Best of Behance: Steeven Salvat
Who: Steeven Salvat
What: Drawing, Illustration
Behance member since: 2010
Illustrator Steeven Salvat’s work is inspired by old black-and-white etchings, but he gives the style a modern twist. He loves to draw with a Rotring pen and china ink—a technique he started employing four years ago, when he met Théo Jan (with whom he sometimes collaborates, under the name Steev & Jan).
Salvat does a lot of web research before beginning to draw.
“For the biological aspect of the crustaceans, I studied a lot of photos,” he says. “The mechanical aspect is completely made up to follow the shape of the subject; it’s the most challenging part of my drawings.”
He adds, “I don’t place the gears randomly. Instead, I try to generate a layout that might possibly work as a mechanism.”
Salvat has drawn since childhood: it’s his passion. But until recently, he had not seriously considered trying to make a living from it. Now he is dedicating more time to his artwork and beginning to take part in new projects and accept commissions.
“He gave me a nude wooden coffee grinder lamp, and I drew on it,” Salvat says. “I loved the rendering and the feel of it, so I decided to work on a new project inspired by old biological studies, mixed with clockworks, to get the ancient/steampunk look.”
Surrealism, science fiction, and highly imaginative movies and novels have always inspired his work.
Take a closer look at the crustaceans in the Mechanical / Biological series, and you may notice something else unusual:
“The names are made up,” Salvat points out. “They’re dedications to my family and friends. For example, my father is called Alain and my mom is Corinne; their dedicated drawings are Cancer Gigalain and Astacidae Corinae.”
To match the old-style feel of the illustrations, Salvat dyes his own paper for this project. He used a 180-gram Canson paper—soaking the paper in a mixture of boiled water and black tea for 15 to 30 minutes.
“The drying part is kind of tricky, as you have to put heavy books on the paper to keep it from curling,” he explains. “The last step is to iron it.”
FROM PAPER TO SKATEBOARDS AND BEYOND
Salvat has also illustrated skateboards. He skateboarded as a teenager and liked the diversity of illustrations on the decks from the different brands. His first skateboard drawings were commissioned for the “Ride My Art” exhibitions in Paris. This gave him the chance to discover the rendering of ink on wood.