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    Ben Newman’s Bookshelf

Bookshelf: Illustrator Ben Newman shares his top five tomes

Posted by Liv Siddall,

SUCH a good Bookshelf from illustrator Ben Newman here on this wonderful Tuesday afternoon. If you know Ben’s work, you’ll immediately understand how this truly beautiful collection of books has inspired his unique visual approach to illustration. Slightly retro and meticulously skilful in the printing department, I often think Ben could have time-travelled to earth in a 1960s spaceship to bless us with his creations. Did that make sense? I hope so. Here he is.

  • 1a

    Gwen White: A World of Pattern

  • 1b

    Gwen White: A World of Pattern

Gwen White: A World of Pattern

I’ve been an avid collector of old design and children’s books for years and often friends will recommend books that they have seen on their travels for me to track down and buy. My friend Jon McNaught stumbled upon Gwen White’s A World Of Pattern whilst looking through a host’s book collection in Portland, US. It is one of the most perfect, most beautiful books I own. The book is all about how to make repeat patterns by hand using different grid systems. It guides you through the wonders of nature (plants, animals, trees, fish) as inspiration for creating your own two to three colour patterns. It is called a “Lift-Up” book because each black and white page has a colour page on the back of it so that when lifted up to the light you can see the full image of line work and colours together through the paper.

  • 2a

    Salamander Schule (illustrator Heinz Schubel): Lurchis Gesammelte Abenteuer – Book One

  • 2b

    Salamander Schule (illustrator Heinz Schubel): Lurchis Gesammelte Abenteuer – Book One

Salamander Schule (illustrator Heinz Schubel): Lurchis Gesammelte Abenteuer – Book One

I stumbled across these amazing children’s books whilst in Zurich, which where produced by a German shoe company. Lurchis is a salamander created to advertise and sell shoes to children. This 1962 book is a collection of the booklets released since 1951 and contains lots of fun stories about Lurchis and his gang of merry animals getting into trouble and managing to advertise shoes at the same time. They even force their brown brogues on an entire race of aliens.

  • 3a

    1970s Japanese Space Book

  • 3c

    1970s Japanese Space Book

1970s Japanese Space Book

This book was passed onto me by my friend, Alex as inspiration for my latest book with Dr Dominic Walliman called Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space (due out October 1 through Nobrow’s children’s book imprint, Flying Eye). The whole thing is in Japanese but the illustrations are fantastic at depicting how the Apollo astronauts went to the toilet and how eclipses work. The drawings range from super-detailed, fully painted aliens to two tone cartoons of astronauts pooping in space. I find the juxtaposition of images really odd but somehow it looks incredible and very accessible, even to a non-Japanese speaking reader.

  • 4

    Jacques Nathan Garamond: Affichiste

  • 4b

    Jacques Nathan Garamond: Affichiste

Jacques Nathan Garamond: Affichiste

Easliy one of the most inspiring books that I own – Garamond’s range of work is breath-taking. This French book collects the majority of his design work from the 1930s through to the 1970s and also some of his personal paintings and drawing observations. There are black and white photos of some of his exhibitions that make me long for such interesting display methods nowadays.

  • 5

    Yasaburo Kuwayama: Trad Marks & Symbols

Yasaburo Kuwayama: Trad Marks & Symbols

Printed solely in black, these logos from various designers are brain-meltingly awesome. Collected in two volumes and containing over 3,000 beautiful and innovative designs, these books are what thinking and designing is all about. These trademarks look so good decades after their creation and have had a big influence on me to try and create images that look good now and hopefully will in the past and in the future.

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She also runs our London listings site This At There, and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.