Greg Klestel

My name is Greg Kletsel and I’m an illustrator based in Atlanta, GA. My work varies from illustrations for clients like ESPN, Washington Post and The New York Times to character design for animated shows on Adult Swim, Netflix and Nickelodeon. When I'm not working with clients, I'm filling up sketchbooks, making zines, or cooking mac and cheese for my two daughters. 

In a sentence, how would you describe your work?

My work is usually playful and humorous, densely filled with odd and imperfect characters inspired by the comics and cartoons I grew up with. 

Do you have any favorite themes you enjoy working with?

I like exploring nostalgia and trying to understand why certain things resonated with me as a kid. In some ways, drawing in my sketchbook allows me to communicate or connect with the kid-version of myself that used to constantly draw Batman and Wolverine. 

What mediums do you like to work in?

My favorite medium is pen and ink on paper (preferably in my sketchbook). I love the immediacy of it, and reacting to the marks being made in real-time. There is no delay between a thought and an image appearing out of thin air.  

Do you have a dream project you'd like to work on someday?

My dream project would be a fully-illustrated book. It could be a picture book for kids or about a subject I care about, but definitely something in a book format. I’d also love to fill up a gallery or space with my doodles, characters and illustrations one day. 

Can you talk a little about your design process? Where do you draw your inspiration from, and how do you work shop your design from draft to final? 

My main source of inspiration is my sketchbook. It always starts there. Doodles develop into sketches which become finished illustrations. I’ll usually start with drawing loosely, then scanning and arranging the sketches in Photoshop. I’ll also occasionally pull characters and ideas from old sketchbooks and apply them to my current project. Once I’m happy with the sketch, I’ll refine the line art, add color, and work on all the final details.

So many of your illustrations are bursting with color, what drew you to the black and white palette for this sock? 

This sock design was pulled directly from one of my sketchbook pages. I explored applying some color to the piece, but in the end, I liked the energy and feeling of the original drawing for this design. 

Do you have a favorite feature of the sock design? 

I like that the drawing connects from one sock to the next, rather than repeating the same art for both socks. 

Ankle or crew socks for preference? 

Crew sock preference so you can see the full design!


For more of Greg's art, visit his portfolio!