All posts filed under: Illustration

Remembering Peter Sullivan

Notebook 17 January 2016 | NEWSPAPERS | INFOGRAPHICS I’ve been helping with some teaching on the excellent Design for Publishing course at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). The students have been set a project by Gordon Beckett, the Design Editor of The Sunday Times, that requires them to redesign pages of The Sunday Times print and digital editions. It’s made me think back to those glory years of The Sunday Times in the late 60s, 70s and 80s when the paper (and magazine) was renowned for its investigative journalism, great photography and strong design, under the editorship of Harold Evans. A highlight for me each week were the brilliant infographics drawn by the illustrator and graphic designer, Peter Sullivan. His drawings would explain the sequence of events in a major news story and would really help to bring that story to life – such as how the passengers and crew were rescued from the Zeebrugge ferry disaster in 1987 (above) and how the Chilean president Augusto Pinochet survived an ambush and assassination attempt in 1986 (below). Peter Sullivan died in 1996. You …

Illustrator Nick Shepherd

Notebook: 7 January 2015 | ILLUSTRATION If an editorial designer has great images to work with then sometimes it’s best if the finished layout is very simple so that the pictures (and words) do all the talking. Such is the case with these bold and vibrant illustrations by Nick Shepherd that were recently commissioned by Lynsey Irvine for The Observer newspaper’s Food Monthly magazine. Nick is one of my current favourite illustrators and his fun and colourful style goes well with the feature The best thing I ate all year – a gastronomic ‘best of’ list by top chefs and food writers that appeared in the Food Monthly Christmas issue. Nick is from Yorkshire but currently works out of Lisbon. He specialises in conceptual pieces and is good at thinking up jaunty humorous visual metaphors for editorials. Here’s a fun illustration that Nick produced for a feature about teamwork across a large organisation. It was commissioned by myself and designer Deb Murray for a business magazine for the global recruitment company Odgers Berndtson. You can see more of Nick Shepherd’s work on his website here and here’s a link to the online version …

Ikon stock illustration

Notebook 21 December 2015 | ILLUSTRATION The best stock illustration agency that I’ve come across is Ikon Images who’ve been around now for a couple of years. As their blurb says, “Ikon is London’s newest and most exciting specialist source of stock illustration. Working with a select group of today’s most sought after artists Ikon is committed to delivering you the very best in contemporary illustration.” They have some brilliant and renowned illustrator’s on their books including some of my favourites such as Grundini (above, and below in descending order), Adam Howling, Ian Whadcock, Nick Shepherd, Otto Detmer, and Andrew Baker. Of course, it’s always better to commission original illustration, but if budgets and deadlines leave you struggling then Ikon is a great resource to turn to.

Hearty illustration

Notebook: 18 November 2015 | ILLUSTRATION One of the best illustration agencies is Heart. They were formed over 10 years ago out of a studio collective of artists and illustrators and they are managed and run by practicing artists. They have some fantastic illustrators on their books and they are one of the first agencies that I like to turn to when I’m commissioning bespoke illustration. Two of their artists – Adam Simpson and Aude Van Ryn have recently produced charming illustrations for the This is… series of art books by the publisher Laurence King. Simpson worked on This is Kandinsky (sample spread shown below) and Van Ryn on This is Monet (shown above) and their illustrations help bring these artists’s lives and paintings to life in an innovative and very engaging manner. They are beautiful books with chunky hard back covers and the artwork is printed on a tasteful and sweet smelling, matt stock. (They’d make great Christmas presents for any one interested in art and you can see the full range in the Laurence King series here). I’ve …

Bridie Cheeseman 2

Notebook: 15 October 2015 | ILLUSTRATION I’m a big fan of the illustrator Bridie Cheeseman’s work. I like her naïve style and sometimes slightly mysterious subject matter – she appears to capture a moment in a story such as the bearded man making a hurried exit in the painting above. Has he just been reading to the two children and why is he now rushing off? And who is the child whose presence is only shown by legs in spotty tights? In another illustration called ‘Late summer drive’ a car passes along a street as a cat and dog look on. Meanwhile a man mows his lawn and a girl appears to be exercising through an open window. Three burning candles in another window and a strange landscape (England, USA?) in the distance all add to the sense of intrigue and mystery. Bridie has a great feeling for colour and composition and one of my favourite paintings is her ‘Elephant entering a sock shop’. There’s a real sense of depth and closer study reveals an odd assortment of characters wearing …

Illustration heroes: George Hardie

Notebook: 29 August 2015 As a graphic design student at Lanchester Polytechnic (now Coventry University) we had a terrific tutor called Mike Felmingham who organised a number of talks from visiting illustrators including the cartoonists Ralph Steadman and Gerald Scarfe and the illustrator (and designer) George Hardie. Hardie was, and still is, probably best known for his album cover designs for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin’s Presence but it was a small illustration (pictured above) that he had drawn for a restaurant menu card, that made me such a big fan of his work back in the late 1970s. I was taken in by the Art Deco design and the black, orange and green shapes which at first glance I took to be a Manhattan street scene. Looking more closely, I suddenly realised that the illustration was, in fact, an axonometric projection of four people sitting around a restaurant table – one person holding a menu, another with wine bottle in hand, a person smoking a cigarette (with wisp of smoke that …

White space

Notebook: 13 August 2015 Above: Simple but clever use of white space on the Guardian website. The empty space helps the reader navigate their way around the page and gives structure to the design White space – you know, those delicious gaps of empty space on a layout that help the page breathe and add emphasis to the adjacent content. The simplest form of white space or ‘negative’ space is the border that is often left around a picture when it is framed to be hung on a wall – it helps give the picture presence. A more dynamic use of white space is when it’s used off to one side with an asymmetrical design. Of course many editors and clients aren’t keen on the stuff –they believe that every last bit of empty space needs to be filled with words rather than being left to help a page look clean, elegant and uncluttered. If you’re not convinced about the power of white space then take a look at this beautiful advert below. It’s from a 1952 issue …

Arunas Kacinskas

Notebook: 19 April 2015 I see that the illustrator Arunas Kacinskas has some very nice illustration in the May 2015 issue of Wired magazine (pictured above). He was asked to create a cityscape for an article on smart cities. I love a good infographic. When I was working at Archant Dialogue we were asked to design the Archant website and part of the brief was to show a graphic that would represent Archant in a fun way. We called upon Arunas Kacinskas and he produced a stylised representation of Archant  – workers in offices, newspaper delivery vans, a TV studio and so on. We then applied some simple animation to bring the drawing to life in a light-hearted way. You can view the illustration here: www.archant.co.uk/careers. The pesky programmer built in an ‘easter egg’ – a hidden joke. If you click on one of the office windows when it lights up at night time, an alien spaceship comes down and abducts one of the Archant employees! Click the window again and an alien returns in place of the employee. Jolly japes! (Only works on a computer and not on a tablet or phone)

Oh for long summer days

Notebook: 8 January 2015 Thank goodness the days are slowly getting longer. Here’s a short piece of writing by author Brian Earl (with an illustration by my niece Bridie Cheeseman to remind us of those long summer days. It’s called ‘Horn Park in High Summer’ So still – the drowsy air deflects the grass to rest upon the surface of the glass. The creatures of this world sleep in the glade and dare not venture from their silent shade. Lie back. An insect hovers out to laze amongst the fragrant flowers in the haze. Its wings caress the morning like a sigh and sing a soft and gentle lullaby. Relax. There is no need to turn your face from all the captured beauty of this place. Just stay awhile and let the warmth seep in through every willing channel of your skin. And live, attuned to nature’s gentle beat, and feel the peace which shimmers in the heat. Lay down your burden. Let your care be gone. Be still, quite still, so still, and slumber on. Mmm, I feel better for that. Horn Park is in Beaminster – a delightful small town hidden in the west Dorset hills and Brian Earl is curator of the local museum. …

In Praise of Folly

Notebook: 30 November 2014 Matthew Richardson, one of my favourite illustrators, has done the drawings for a new edition of In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus who was a 15th/16th century Dutch humanist reformer and social critic. The book is a mix of social observation and parody narrated through the persona of ‘Folly,’ a jester like goddess. Matthew gets inspiration for Folly by looking across time and history at characters such as the fool, the jester, Pierott and even the Cat in the Hat and Malcolm McClaren. You can see more of Matthew’s illustrations for the book at Heart.