Ever wondered who’s behind the majority of mixtape covers hitting the independent record shops? Laura Brosnan meets 18 year old Graphics designer Scribbler, who’s holding practically half of the underground scene in his work portfolio, to talk current projects, his philosophy on design and competition.
It’s hard to believe that at such a young age, Edmonton resident Scribbler could have so much work under his belt let alone use his predominantly DIY self taught skills to develop a career. It all began through music when back in 2004 he got listening to a track from Rhymestein’s mixtape The final countdown. “The art work on it wasn’t too impressive so I emailed him because I knew I could do better than the one he used.” After successfully convincing the UK underground mc to let him design for him, people became more aware of his stylistic skills and he evidently moved on until more prestigious jobs came his way. Although After missing out on half a year of college work, due to illness he chose to leave, “I wasn’t interested in enrolling on the same course again and redoing half the work I’d already done, I thought that I’d got things moving with my designs so I decided to take it full time.”
Designing for the likes of Ghetto, Scorcher, Jammer and most recently Tinchy Stryder, who would he say has been his favourite client? “Rinser, he’s so happy to hear your suggestions and we are very much on the same page as each other” and what about the strangest request for a mixtape? “It has to be Random Impulse, he requested every inanimate object in the world to be placed on his cover, I was completely confused, it ended up being a prank he recorded for a skit on his CD ” he laughs. With Salvador Dalí being one of his favourite artists how does he cope, like many other creatives before him, with the nightmare of a blank page? “I do a lot of draft work and concepts, put a few tracks on of the artist and see where it takes me” he tells us. “A lot of people think it takes a day or two but trying to compromise with your own vision and the artists takes a lot of input.”
With the large amount of mixtapes swamping the underground it would be no surprise that others just like Scribbler would see the potential to put their design skills to good use, does he enjoy the odd graphics war report? “I don’t really like to get involved with the competitive side of things; I’m more of a collaborator and enjoy bringing other people through on a project. I work with Chris Charalambus and DK Designs who is only 13 and is already showing brilliant potential”. Although he does choice to compete with himself to consistently develop his work – “My philosophy is that you’re only as good as your last piece, it might not be music related, and I might do something for a council or for a company and still use my approach on improving.” Scribbler also uses a team of photographers Tim & Barry and Robin Bharaj, to produce a cleaner edge to his graphics.
With new artists jumping in his diary for a mixtape/album cover, flyers, posters, corporate identity or anything that is photoshop related, Can he disclose who he’s been sketching for recently? “Just finished Swindles mixtape ‘140’, Tinchy Stryder’s Album, Constantly working with Jammer, Wiley’s ‘Umbrella’, doing designs for Wood Green’s international film festival, there’s always new projects I’m just taking it all as it comes and I’m just happy to work with the people I do and keep collaborating and see where it takes me”.
A version of this featured in RWD Magazine.