• 01-alex-walker-hero

    Alex Walker: Time to Refuel

Illustration

The Graduates 2012's Alex Walker turns out masterful educational illustrations

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

Good ideas, especially the technical ones, aren’t always easy to explain with words and that is where Alex Walker comes in. With his precision illustration and the sensibility of a graphic designer, his all-things-considered approach means that this Nottingham Trent graduate is well placed to both display and portray information.

Queue wonderfully considered spreads that borrow textures from printmaking, vectors from old-school video games and the diagrammatic nous of an auto manual. But information design is not his sole visual currency; aside from demystifying flight or a fuel cell, Alex lends his keen eye and talent for communication to narrative book covers and nonsense posters about rubber bands.

“I tend to create my illustrations using simple geometric shapes as building blocks, I like the restriction this sets and forces you to think about how you can represent something in an economical or abstract way.

“When I’m drawing or at my laptop, I mostly eat toast-based meals, this is something I’m still working on.”

  • Alex-walker-ttr-spread-4

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Time to Refuel

  • Alex-walker-ttr-spread-1

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Time to Refuel

  • Alex-walker-ttr-spread-3

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Time to Refuel

Why or who or what made you go to art school?

For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed drawing and making things. Fortunately for me my parents were never obsessed with academic achievement and were really encouraging in whatever I wanted to pursue. Both my older brothers and I seemed to have the luxury of basing our studies around our hobbies; they did degrees in outdoor education, I went to art school.

What’s the best mistake you made when you were studying?

Choosing a graphic design degree rather than illustration seemed a bit of a mistake at the beginning. Looking back now though I’m confident it was a good decision, I’ve learn’t loads about communication and the importance of great ideas. The varied technical skills it’s given me have been invaluable too, as I enjoy using typography and layout within my work as well as illustration.

If you could show your work to one person, who would you choose and what would you show them?

Whoever invented rubber bands. I’d show him/her my poster of daft rubber band uses. I’d be interested to see the reaction I got… could go either way I think.

Can you give us one prediction about your work for the next year?

I hope I will be getting some interesting and varied work sent my way. To create work for magazines I’ve always enjoyed reading would be a dream come true, titles like Wired, Eureka (The Times science supplement) and Monocle. On the other hand, it would be great to be doing something completely different and unexpected. This is all very idealistic and possibly quite naive though! Whatever pays the bills would probably be a more realistic answer.

What’s the best thing you saw in the last three years?

I can’t remember the best thing, theres loads! Last week I visited the Natural History Museum and that was great. An interesting fact I learnt about guillemot eggs whilst there: They’re conical shaped so if they get knocked they roll around in a tight circle, therefore less likely to fall off the narrow cliffside ledges they inhabit. I thought that was quite clever.

  • Alex-walker-caravanning

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Caravanning

  • Alex-walker-etiquette

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Etiquette

  • Alex-walker-french-cheeses

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: French Cheeses

  • Alex-walker-practical-rubber-band-uses-(a3)

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Practical Rubber Band Uses

  • Alex-walker-grimm's-flat

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Grimm’s Fairytales

  • Alex-walker-grimm's-front

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Grimm’s Fairytales

  • Alex-walker-grimm's-back

    The Graduates 2012: Alex Walker: Grimm’s Fairytales

Represent

We are delighted that once again top creative recruitment agency Represent has teamed up with us to support our search for the cream of this year’s crop. Represent Recruitment Limited help some of the worlds most talented graphic designers find new work. We work with designers at all levels, from Junior through to Executive Creative Director. Our business thrives through the networks we develop and our impeccable eye for great work. Formed in 2003 Represent operate out of offices and gallery space in London, EC1.
www.represent.uk.com

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. List

    It’s rare that we have cause to feature a single illustration project on the site, but Scott Gelber’s recent work for The New York Times is quite an unusual case. The Texas-based digital artist seriously impressed us this week with his illustration for an editorial that questioned whether or not video games could be considered art. It’s an issue that’s cropping up increasingly online, and one which undoubtedly requires a careful touch to illustrate. Scott’s solution camouflaged various computer game characters within famous paintings – the one that was finally used is, I believe, a character from Assassin’s Creed – compositing sketches of numerous high-profile characters in works like the Mona Lisa, Judith Slaying Holofernes and Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe. Pretty good work fro a guy who usually specialises in GIFs. More of this please Scott.

  2. List

    Tim Laing’s work is quintessentially English; moody and faintly depressing, created with shades of grey that aptly summarise the perpetual state of our weather, food and temperaments. Which is why he’s the perfect choice to illustrate John Le Carré’s back catalogue for the prestigious Folio Society. The images he’s created to accompany classic works of spy fiction like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Honourable Schoolboy are beautifully atmospheric, imbued with the tension of Cold War espionage and an imminent sense of danger. He’s also careful never to show any faces, meaning you’re still allowed to let your imagination run riot, inventing your own terrifying visage for the double agent waiting to put a bullet in you. Thrilling stuff!

  3. List

    There’s a very simple kind of pleasure to be had from illustrator Liam Stevens’ work. The image-maker and designer occupies himself predominantly with line-work and geometric shapes, creating vast landscapes and atmospheric compositions from very little. Collage elements enter into his practice from time to time, but on the whole his sketches function using a simple cross-hatch which gestures vaguely towards a form, or a series of wiggly lines used to demarcate a sprawling horizon. Finding Liam’s work online allows it to function in much the same way a breath of fresh air does in a loud, smoggy city. Breathe deep and enjoy the view.

  4. List

    What do I love most about the work of Irkus M Zeberio? Oh, thanks for asking. I think it’s probably the sheer irreverence present in each piece of ink on paper. The Basque Country-based illustrator has an extraordinary knack for creating bewitchingly chaotic scenes that demonstrate the most base human desires, combined with an energetic, frenetic drawing style that keeps my eyes flicking rapidly across pages of his work. In terms of narrative, Irkus predominantly creates comics and images that maintain the sensibilities of a sci-fi-obsessed teenage boy with a burgeoning porn collection; there’s vicious she-beasts devouring the heads of their lovers, nudism in space, penis sketches hidden in random places and an abundance of curvaceous bottoms – the kind of stuff that would seem trivial if it wasn’t supported by some wickedly funny story lines. How we’ve not featured him before I’ll never know.

  5. Stationary

    Hotel branding can so often be a dowdy affair, as if the design nods to the temporary nature of the building’s inhabitants – something to move on from, rather than to dwell on. So it’s wonderful to see a brave, opulent new identity for the Connaught in London’s Mayfair, designed by The Partners around a stunning new artwork by Kristjana S Williams which now hangs in the hotel.

  6. List

    June 2013: We introduce you to illustrator and recent Berlin resident Jay Wright. We love his work, you enjoy it massively too, and thereafter he takes on a whole heap of freelance work. Fast forward 16 months and Jay’s new portfolio website shows he’s been one heck of a busy guy, not only commercially but personally too. Alongside magazine covers for The Loop and Das Magazine there’s a glut of witty spot illustrations, brand new zines and some lovely personal work that explores the theme of superstition. It’s definitely worth having a proper rummage around on his site, and when you do be sure to have a look at the ladder. You won’t regret it.

  7. List

    Michael Parkin’s portfolio is a wonderful mix of commissioned work interspersed with personal projects, which is exactly what you want when looking through a creative’s website. His style is simple but well observed and whether he’s creating a poster for Little White Lies or a series of prints relating to a trip to Denmark, Michael’s work is wonderful at telling a story.

  8. List

    I love that moment when big brands start to recognise the immense talents of illustrators who had previously been making work primarily for themselves, and duly commission them to do exactly what they do best. Linda Linko is a prime example; since being signed to Agent Pekka the Finnish illustrator has been gathering speed as well as commissions, creating her characteristically bold artwork for a number of huge posters and magazine covers.

  9. List

    Lawrence Zeegen has never been one to mince his words. The illustrator, writer and dean of design at London College of Communication has recently launched his new book Fifty Years Of Illustration which he co-wrote with Grafik editor Caroline Roberts. It’s an impressively ambitious undertaking with the duo condensing five decades into 1,000 images by 240 illustrators from 30 countries. Lawrence admits it’s a “pretty personal selection” but one that aims to “represent the movers and shakers across each decade according to the work I believe was instrumental in shaping the discipline.”

  10. List

    Growing up in a family of doctors, Swedish illustrator and paper-cut artist Petra Börner secured her first commission (illustrating medical journals) through her surgeon mother, which might go some way to explaining why her work is so reminiscent of botanical diagrams in biology textbooks. Petra’s principle subject is the flora and fauna of the natural world, which she creates using paper cut techniques so intricate and painstakingly-detailed that they scarcely look like they could be real.

  11. List

    Alright, we admit it – Peter Judson has made a lot of work we’ve been really into this year, and he’s had the props on the site to prove it. But why should we be made to contain ourselves when he keeps producing illustration of this calibre? Why, we ask you?

  12. List

    If, like me, you spent many an hour in your teenage years gazing absentmindedly at Larry Carlson’s experimental website Medijate, you’ll no doubt be similarly transfixed by The Landfill from the very talented Santtu Mustonen. Stitching together a “collection of unused sketches, leftover drawings and rejected ideas from forgotten projects” to a mesmerising soundtrack by Tuomas Alatalo, Santtu created a hypnotic animation that’s a work of art in its own right.

  13. List

    As the man who gave form to the twisted genius of Hunter S. Thompson, British illustrator’s Ralph Steadman’s latest project seems like a perfect fit. Ralph has worked with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan to illustrate some limited-edition Blu-Ray covers for a special boxset of the series due out early next year.