Graphic Illustrator Aaron Campbell Reveals Latest Installment Of Dream-Like Landscapes

For Vancouver-born digital artist Aaron Campbell, a perfect day is one where you “get into a productive mind-frame and just can’t stop working”. His ongoing project, the six part series Clouds and Gradients, uses rich colours and impeccable detail to open a door onto the photoshop-fabricated fictional city of Fleetwood, and serves as concept art for the graphic novel project on which he is currently working.


A lengthy series, it seems to be the happy product of many such perfect days, and the natural progression of a broad range of interests that all fall under the general umbrella of ‘storytelling’:

“It’s all of the different media I’ve enjoyed over the years coming into one: video games, tv shows, movies, story books etc.”


First and foremost an illustrator, Aaron began working on the six-part series in mid-2013, having designed for a range of commercial clients including Nike and Adobe since leaving university. Clouds and Gradients gives the viewer an insight into the personal side of this imaginative mind’s portfolio: the images give you a real sense of home, and manages to make you nostalgic for a small-town British Columbian town you never even knew.


Exploring vivid colour palettes and detailed lighting techniques with his signature use of tactile gradients, Aaron’s is a dream-like environment. But what happens there? We get in touch with the man in the know.

The Plus: Tell us about Fleetwood – what inspired this location?
Aaron Campbell: Fleetwood is based on British Columbia as a whole, which is where I’ve spent my entire life. I’ve always loved the feel of small town BC, the mountainous landscape, the coastal setting, and its unique Canadian flavour. I rarely ever see stories set within British Columbia, plus I know the province very well and love living here.


TP: What kind of stories are we going to see being played out here?
AC: Really anything I come up with can be set in Fleetwood, which can give great opportunities for lots of crossovers and cameos (which I love in stories).


TP: Could you give us any teasers?
AC: My most developed story is one about a middle-aged man who loses his wife to a disease which causes him to become depressed and relapse into alcoholism, but his wife’s dog ends up changing his life in a very unexpected way. Another story is about a young farm girl who discovers a hidden world up in the clouds, which causes her to embark on a journey to save one of it’s inhabitants.


TP: You’ve said you particularly love gradients – why is that?

I felt gave my work a sort of Pixar-ish look, having limited texture, and having everything looking a bit smooth and plasticky, which has become a staple of my illustration style.


TP: Are any of these story-lines ones we can see in this set of images?

The full series mostly depicts the different environments of the town which will eventually be seen in the stories. Some things can be seen a few times, such as the water tower, “Chompy” the boat, and the red truck which is owned by one of the main characters.


TP: Can we expect to see more of Clouds and Gradients coming out soon?

Yes, most likely by the spring or summer!


Click here for the full series.