Sam Island: a manual on creative lifestyle
Illustration is the easiest way to express yourself and to tell the world what you are thinking. Among millions of languages it is visual, graphic presentation that will always be the most effective. The Canadian illustrator Sam Island is fluent in this way of communication.
Designers, photographers, producers, directors, illustrators and all the other bohemia together with the whole new generation seem to have gone crazy aching to look creative not only in their activity but also in everyday life. Progressive, creative (in all the good meaning of this word), stylish illustrator from Toronto, Sam Island, together with the Format project, has taken a role of a creative mentor and created a big project to live like a creative in which he humouristically and in details depicts the life of creative ones and teaches how to become a real creator.
It is nice and important, that Sam absolutely destroys the usual stereotype of a disorganized, sleepy, messy person, whose only care is what kind of new alcohol he should treat himself with. He shows us a confident, business-oriented and active person, who feels passionate and responsible for everything he’s doing in his life (both professional and personal).
Apart from this big project, Island draws hundreds of topical illustrations. And despite the majority of them being fully commercial, it’s hard to deny that there is passion and charisma in each of them. After all that’s the big lesson Sam keeps teaching us in his manual on creative lifestyle.
Many years of commercial and creative work have formed Sam’s individual style of illustrations and his own perception and vision on everything around him. The illustrator himself mentions, that his art was greatly influenced by comic books. And having a look at his works it really becomes obvious, since lots of his artwork has a huge plot underneath. They show not only the situation right here and right now, they make us go far behind or ahead the depicted moment.
“I like a black marker and a piece of paper best. nothing fancy — just drawing like a little kid”. — says Sam in one of his interviews. And nothing useless. Useless, unimportant details distract and play the bad tune for the whole picture. “I start by trying to break down what I’m communicating into a simple concept. I’m always asking myself ‘does this need to be shown?’ if I can get an idea across without it then I don’t need it. what I’m really doing is working backwards. imagining an image then erasing everything that I don’t need until I have an illustration I’m happy with.”
Among Island’s clients we can see Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Washington Post, as well as numerous topical magazines and newspapers. Sam illustrates big social and political problems or simply makes jokes about the modern world in his specific way.
To sum it all up I would like to share two of his personal mottos, the phrases that to Sam’s mind help him out every now and then. The philosophical: I might be wrong and problem solving Let’s just order some pizza. These two slogans basically determine all Sam’s personality and illustrations: serious, ironical, very adult and mature but very simply and childish at the same time.

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart

© instagram.com/samislandart
If Sam’s illustrations reached your hearts as deep as they have reached ours, follow him on Instagram or Twitter.
But always remember, that you might be wrong, that’s why just chill out and order some pizza ;)
Materials from Sam Island’s interview to the project Designboom were used.
By Zhenya Shokun
2016