The beautiful art of Scruffy Shenanigans

Variety isn’t just the spice of life; it’s the lifeblood of art. One of art’s most alluring aspects is the limitless forms through which it can manifest. In addition to the various mediums of expression, the diversity of styles within a single medium is virtually endless. In the world of illustration, people heap copious praise on realistic and heavily detailed pieces while relegating cartooning to a lesser stage.

Although disheartening, it’s easy to see why the masses hold realism and detailed illustrations in such high regard, as they seems more labor intensive. However, anyone who has attempted cartooning will tell you how deceptive its presumed “simplicity” can be. Cartooning is all about reducing complex visual language to its barest essentials while simultaneously distorting them for drama or humor. Less may be more in cartooning, but that doesn’t apply to the hours put in.

That’s why I consider artists such as Dom “Scruffy” Murphy to be masters of their craft. Murphy’s command of shapes and visual clarity give his work a hypnotic vibrancy. Knowing what lines to omit and which ones to accentuate takes a lifetime of study, and Murphy makes the task look effortless. Every single piece in his Instagram gallery has unrelenting charm and spellbinding colors. Plus, his work is pretty funny to boot. 

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