7 Questions with desktop: Redrum Studios

Published:  September 4, 2015
Issac Teh

7 Questions with desktop is a series featuring some of the studios and designers who have submitted their work to us in our Project section. You’ve seen the work, now it’s time to get inside the minds behind these creations.

Redrum Studios has been creating unique and eye catching illustrations for five years. Some are comical, some are hyper-realistic, but all are executed with charm and personality.


Their clients include wineries, design studios, ad agencies, film production and beverage companies. As if that isn’t enough, this versatile studio also produces their own children’s books! The spotlight was placed on them with a 2012 win of the Stellar Art Award: Digital Arts California, a victory that put them on the map and across the world wide web. Here’s us exploring their alternate universe with illustrator and storyboard artist Ben Jelfs.


Taxi Driver / Illustrations

We can’t help but ask this. Does the name Redrum have anything to do with 80’s horror flick The Shining and if so, why was this name chosen?

Yes it does. I grew up on a steady diet of VHS tapes and 80’s horror and The Shining by Stanley Kubrick is a masterpiece. There are so many iconic scenes and the one with Danny writing Murder backwards is one that sticks out. Naming the studio Redrum Studios after that scene felt like a good way to go.

Some of the work that Redrum does include illustrations for children’s books. How is it different, creating for kids as opposed to an adult audience?

We try and think back to our childhoods when creating illustrations for kids. Using our experiences and insights into what made us laugh and cry are valuable when coming up with concepts. Kids see the world differently to adults so we want to reflect that in our work. We simplify and exaggerate illustrations for children to make them as fun and engaging as possible. If we’re using humour we want to make sure children find it funny. We don’t want it going over their heads.


Game of Pine Cones / Children’s Book Illustrations

You create scenes that could be described as otherworldly. How do you get inspiration for creating these illustrations?

We’re constantly feeding our imaginations from our experiences. So we’re always exploring and trying new things. We fill our palettes with great art, movies, music, books and travel. And getting away from our computers is important. We draw from our imaginations and memories and use photo reference sparingly. That way we will create something more unique and personal. We look at movie concept art from conceptual artists as they want to create something that hasn’t been seen before. I love the work by Michael Kutsche, Sam Nielson and Ralph Mcquarrie just to name a few. We also get inspiration from following artists blogs that we like. I love seeing what other artists are up to.

Favourite storyboard that you’ve worked on so far and how did you knock it out of the park?

My favourite storyboard was for a film production company shooting an American TVC. It had a big budget and involved a ’67 mustang being driven through middle America. It also involved a famous rockstar and Steam Punk characters. There was around 38 colour storyboard frames and I treated each one like a mini painting. I put in a lot of late nights and the director was happy with the results.


Panam / Storyboards

As an illustrator, what is your favourite subject to draw and why?

I love drawing people. Their faces are full of character and personality and there’s always features that can be highlighted or exaggerated. I like adding a humorous twist to their features when I can. Every face is different and represents it’s own unique challenge to get right.

The path that you have taken can be said to be the road less travelled, what do you think an illustrator needs to succeed in the industry today?

Today an illustrator needs a lot of drive and enthusiasm to succeed. It takes time and dedication to keep continuously improving your skills and getting your work out there. There are a lot of creative industries that illustrators can get work in. Like Advertising, Gaming, Film, Animation just to name a few. Matching your style and interests with a particular creative field can be a good way to succeed. It’s important to love what you’re doing.


Mollydooker Wines / Illustrations

What medium do you work with the most to create your pieces?

We always start with a pencil and paper to draw up our ideas. Sometimes we’ll use a tradie pencil or charcoals to mix it up. When we’re happy with how it’s looking we use Corel Painter and a Cintiq interactive display to render the illustration in colour. It usually takes 2-3 days, depending on how many elements there are in the illustration.

Redrum studios is headed up by The Shining fan, Ben Jelfs – a former award-winning Art Director who once came up with the ideas he now illustrates. Ben took some time out to rekindle his love for drawing. Due to his years of experience as an art director, his drawings are alive with a sympathetic insight into how a story should be told. It’s the perfect equilibrium of technique, sophistication and framing that allows Ben to deliver much more than lines on a piece of paper.

Projects featured on desktop:
Mollydooker Wines Illustrations

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