Today I’m showcasing Mr Adrian Johnson, he of the beautiful Robinsons ads that ran a couple of years ago. He has a beautiful retro style that all us fans of things like Cartoon Modern adore. And along with his great eye for composition and colour, there’s always a great concept driving the finished piece. That for me is very important (gets on high horse) as there is too much decorative ‘groovy’ illustration around, that looks pleasant but says nothing (dismounts high horse).
As I’m probably the last blogger in the world to talk about his work, I’ve picked two of my favourite pieces here and not the more well known work that illustrates his obvious love for all things graphically ‘fifties and ‘sixties. To see that work and more (including those Robinsons ads), visit the beautiful Adrian Johnson website (luvverly logo at top left, Mr. J) and marvel at his terrific gear.
From top: ‘Black Convoy vs. Computer Arts’ drawn for Computer Arts; Image for the ‘Insiders, Outsiders, and The Middle’ show at Scion Installation L.A.
All images © 2009 Adrian Johnson.
I love impulse buying – when you have to buy something sensible like new trousers for work, but you come home with a really cool jacket instead. It’s great isn’t it? It happened to me on the weekend when I was helping Mrs. K look for some new trainers and and I ended up buying these sexy beasts pictured above. Mrs. K said “They’re very nice, but don’t you think they’re a bit too young for you?”. Still stinging from the other weekend when my family talked me out of buying a really cool eboy-designed Adidas bag, I replied “No”. Mrs. K said “OK, then” (translated: “Well, I think you look a silly old goat, but it’s your money…”)
Two hours later and my daughter Eve returns home after spending the day out with her best friend. The best friend’s Mum, who has brought her back, takes one look at my trainers and exclaims “Oh my god, that’s the pair of trainers that my son is after”. Her son is 12. Mrs. K shoots me one of those “I told you so” looks that register 11 out of 10 on the irritating spouse scale, while the mum, Eve’s best friend, Eve and Mrs. K laugh so hard, they generate a gentle breeze that fans the flames of my now red face.
Anyway, here’s the bag it came in, (I know this identity has been around for ages but I still really love it) I’m going to wear it on my head when I wear these trainers, so no-one can laugh at me anymore (stifles sob).
Last week my calorie intake met my exercise regime, played football and after a tough game, finished with a goaless draw (calorie and exercise teams never have penalty shoot-outs). This tortured metaphor is trying to tell you that I’m no nearer to becoming a super-fit stick insect ’cos I’m the same weight as I was last week. Curse these village May Fairs and their seductive beer tents!
Still, next week might be good as I’ve really been going for it on the cycling front, cycling three times to work, then going out not once, but twice, this Bank Holiday weekend. And first time I went out, I shaved three minutes off last weeks time and the day after, I knocked a minute off that. Hooray! So hopefully next week, I’ll have some better news for you.
Mmm, do you suppose my scales would accept a bung?
Today’s Fri-llustrator is the Icelandic wunderjunge Siggi Eggertsson. He’s one of my favourite young illustrators working now – an individual so full of talent, I wanted to put all of his work in this post – I had real difficulty deciding what images to put in and which to leave out.
Since 2005, he has been ping-ponging around the world, choosing to live, work and study in (deep breath) Reykjavik, New York, Berlin, Reykjavik again, London, then back to Berlin via Tálknafjordur. In that time he’s worked for the likes of (deep breath again) Gnarls Barkley (via Tom Hingston), Coke, John Brown Group, Mulberry, The New York Times, Nike, Stüssy, Wallpaper* and Wired among others. And he recently created the cover image for the Star Trek edition of Little White Lies. His work reminds me of a modern mash-up of Ian Wright (one of his influences) and George Hardie.
And he is an equally talented designer – Siggi Eggertsson’s website is based on a disciplined six-column grid and is a joy to behold itself. Even down to the little details of having fine zig-zagging lines to separate content. Wonderful, wonderful stuff!
From top: Illustration of British band Zoot Woman (cropped), ‘squint’ portrait (personal work) and ‘E’ for Grafik Magazine.
All images © 2005-2009 Siggi Eggertsson.
Good news! At the weekend weigh-in, the scales looked up and smiled at me and told me I’d lost a pound. Which given my recent calorie intake is really good. Also, this weekend wasn’t any near as calorific as I thought it would be. Admittedly, I did have couple of beers (without burgers) on Saturday at the Little Melton May Fair, but I also had a really hard swim on Sunday morning, which hopefully will take care of that. And if it doesn’t, I’m cycling today.
Here’s to being even lighter next week!
A long time ago, when I was a Creative Director for a small (yet quietly international) publishing house in Norwich, I used to dream of commissioning Brian Cairns. I never did and I’m ashamed to say, in the intervening years, he had completely slipped my mind. Until the other day that is, when I was reading The Observer in bed and I came across one of his illustrations. What a lovely reminder of his talent – it was like finding an unexpected tenner in your wallet.
There are other illustrators I admire that use lovely loose brush strokes with simple compositions. But there’s just something about Mr Cairns’ work that sets him apart from the rest. I have picked three examples of his work for you to feast your eyes on and if you don’t know of him already, hopefully this will give you a ‘Observer in bed’ moment too. (Does that last sentence read a bit dodgy? Oh, you know what I mean).
Like any illustrator worth their salt, Mr Cairns has a beautiful, simple web site, displaying even more of his work. Visit the Brian Cairns Studio and see for yourself.
All images © 2008-2009 Brian Cairns.
My wife works as the school secretary for Bawburgh School here in lil’ ole Norwichshire. Bawburgh School recently redesigned their logo and asked me if I would help them. My outrageous natural talent, years of experience and the fact I would work for free were all factors in their decision-making process.
Above left is the final design and next door to it is the design embroidered onto the red sweatshirts the children wear. It’s the first time I’ve ever designed anything to be embroidered and it was interesting to compare the drawing and the colours. You could say, it was a bit of an education. (Sorry…)
Bad news again. Even though I cycled three times last week and had the odd power walk, I’ve gained a pound. I just can’t work it out – I mean, OK, I did have a bacon cheddar roll at the Colney Hall car boot sale a week ago and afterwards we had a celebratory meal at Zak’s Waterside Bar and Grill and OK, two beers may have found their way into my possession. Yes, there was sausage and chips at work on Tuesday and, to be fair, the four pints of Fosters at last Saturday’s Hethersett Junior School May Fair may have worked against me. So may have the two hamburgers I had with the beer. But it is hard to watch your weight, when you’re watching other things (like the queue for the burger stall).
This week I shall avoid temptation (although it is Little Melton’s May Fair this coming Saturday and they usually have a wicked barbeque) and hopefully have some good news next Monday.
Is it lunchtime yet?
Yesterday, while I was loafing around in Borders, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the Star Trek issue of Little White Lies, the magazine of Truth & Movies. I snatched it off the shelf and was beamed into Trekkie heaven. Kicking off with a stunning cover illustration of Zachary Quinto as Spock by Siggi Eggertsson, they review the new Star Trek film, interview the director JJ Abrams, discuss Star Trek fan shows and carry the science/fiction theme further with related stories, including an article about loving the alien, if you know what I mean (and the ad for William Shatner’s new book raised a smile). There’s also a round up of the other new films they like, too.
It’s my first proper look at this magazine and I am really impressed. The writing’s great and so is the design and art direction. The Star Trek space craft silhouettes (“Fire Everything”) on the inside front and back spreads were neat (they are also used as the current background on the fantastic Little White Lies website too) and I absolutely loved the little ray guns placed next to the names of the magazine staff on the colophon. And that’s a really groovy headline font you’re using there too, folks.
May I also take my compliments up a notch by congratulating you on the superb choice of illustrators this issue. Along with cover illustrator Siggi Eggertsson, there are some great drawings in the back section by Andy Miller (above). One question tho’ – why weren’t the fab illustrations on pages 32 (below) and 54-55 credited, hmmm?
Anyways, if you love Star Trek or contemporary film, you should buy this magazine. Kirk(endall) out.
All images © 2009 Story Publishing.
Today’s Fri-llustrator is the hugely talented Paul Blow. He caught my eye a few years ago and I fell in love with his deceptively simple style. As you’d expect from someone who does a lot of editorial work, his illustrations always have a great idea behind them and are not simply decorative. His client list is equally impressive, including as it does, The Guardian, The Independent Magazine, The FT, Reader’s Digest and in the US, New York Magazine and Time Magazine.
If you’d like to see more of his work, pop along to the Paul Blow website, where not only can you gaze at his terrific portfolio (tastefully done in Flash), but you can treat yourself to some prints from his online shop.
All images © 2009 Paul Blow.
PS. This isn’t actually Fri-llustrator-day #14, it‘s THE NUMBER BEFORE. I’m not particularly superstitious, but you might be, and I didn’t want to worry you. Phew!
Well, I can’t figure it out –I kicked off last week with an early morning 10 mile cycle ride, then during the week I cycled to work 3 times AND I went swimming on Tuesday. And this week folks, I’ve lost… HALF A POUND?
Blimey, I don’t know how this weight thing works – let’s hope that my new exercise regime will triumph over the next couple of upcoming calorific weekends. Gulp!
As a longtime fan of Wired magazine, I am really happy about the second coming of the Wired UK edition, this time courtesy of Condé Nast. And may I say what a wonderful cover the second edition sports – bold, simple imagery, primary colours, a nod to comics and my first initial made large.
Oh, and if you’re a real geek, you’re probably still buying the Wired US edition anyway. If you don’t, you should this month, ’cos guest editor JJ Abrams (Lost, Alias, Cloverfield, Mission: Impossible III, the Star Trek movie, yada yada yah) has commissioned Paul Pope to draw a Star Trek strip.
Incidentally, US Wired Creative Director Scott Dadich gave a talk last week in London at EDO, which I missed (sob), but I read all about it here at magCulture courtesy of Mr Jeremy Leslie. It’s a facinating read and a great look behind the scenes of one of the most creative magazine art departments working today.
Today’s illustrator is the wonderful Belgium-based Ever Meulen (Eddy Vermeulen). I first discovered his work in the pages of Art Speigelman’s Raw Magazine in the early ’80s, where he produced an Edgar P. Jacobs homage with Eddy Flippo. His style then was slicker and often featured zoot-suited characters, 1950’s-era American cars and beautiful girls.
He doesn’t make comix anymore, as he’s a proper illustrator now. His surreal work looks like Matisse acting Modernist while dipping his pen in Hergés inkpot. Three years ago, during my marathon session in Lambiek, I bought Verve, a collection of Ever Meulen’s work from 1988 to 2005. It features his covers for The New Yorker magazine and a great range of other illustrations as well as designs for T shirts, tiles and rugs.
He’s another illustrator with an amazing eye for colour (apparently his favourite colour is green) and terrific composition. I love how his small spot illustrations are just as compelling as his larger, detailed pieces.
Travail fantastique, M. Meulen!
From top: ‘Watch this One’, The Art of Mickey Mouse, 1993; ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Reading’ cover for The New Yorker 1999; ‘Comedy Cup’, Humo, 1999.
All images © 2005-2009 Ever Meulen.