• Top

    Ben Newman’s Bookshelf

Illustration

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.

Ls-300

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 is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

  1. Ng_inside_2bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    London-based fashion brand Eley Kishimoto was founded in 1992 by Japanese-born Wakako Kishimoto and her Welsh husband Mark Eley, and has since earned a global reputation for bold print design and collaborations with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander. We were lucky enough to pin down co-founder Wakako to find out which publications have most inspired and influenced her on her trajectory thus far. Her response? A beautiful old Japanese/English dictionary, a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac-clad Snoopy, and an old old issue of the National Geographic and all of the treasures inside it.

  2. Alex-tieghi-walker-itsnicethat-list

    When we invited Alex Tieghi-Walker to contribute to the Bookshelf feature we didn’t realise he was in possession of what basically constitutes a library. A looming wall of books, teeming with colour, insight and inspiration. Look at it! It’s enormous!

  3. Book-shelf-list

    If you’ve been for a walk in Hoxton, east London recently there’s a good chance you’ve come across One Good Deed Today, a recently-opened shop selling a curated collection of lifestyle and homeware objects. The objects on sale are lovely, but the approach taken by the owners Romain and Alev is even more so – the products are chosen based on how and where they are made, making it a very responsible collection, and five percent of all proceeds from the store are donated to a charity chosen by the customer at the time of purchase. Nice, huh?

  4. Spuren_cover_00-int-list

    Brighten the Corners (the name comes from the Pavement album!) is a design studio split in two – it’s made up of Frank Philippin and Billy Kiosoglou and based in both London and Odenwald, Germany – so it makes sense that it has two bookshelves to show for it, too. The studio’s portfolio of work includes some very impressive stuff for the likes of Anish Kapoor, Frieze, the British Council and the Department of Education, and with fingers in such diverse pies we were keen to see the books Billy and Frank were drawing on for inspiration. So here they are!

  5. Allbook_spines-teal-triggs-int

    What a treat we have for you today! The one and only Teal Triggs, professor at London’s Royal College of Art and all-knowing figure in everything concerned with print, graphic design history, self-publishing and feminism, has spent some time digging five of the most influential and inspiring books she owns out of her bottomless collection to share with us.

  6. Laserigraphie_cover-int-list

    If you aren’t already familiar with Atelier Bingo then I can’t think of any better way to introduce their joyous work than to have them present five of their favourite publications, in their own words. The atelier consists of Maxime Prou and Adèle Favreau, a creative couple living in an impossibly beautiful barn in the French countryside where they experiment with illustration, graphic design, surface and textile design on a daily basis to create an endless array of utterly unique and distinctive works for clients including Vogue, The Plant, Wanderlust and Wrap magazine. But also just for fun, because why wouldn’t they?

  7. Main-books

    Guys it’s World Book Day! One of the only “days” of the year that people should really give a shit about (yeah I’m looking at you “National Play your Ukulele Day”). People all over the world are encouraging kids and adults to get their hands on a brand new book, or just glance at the spines of your well-thumbed publications on your dusty shelf that perhaps changed your life at some stage or another. In honour of this sacred day, we book-lovers at It’s Nice That have decided to pay homage to our own favourite tomes by listing them here for you today in our very own It’s Nice That Bookshelf. So in no particular order, here are the It’s Nice That editorial team’s favourite ever books. Tweet in yours too!

  8. Just_kids_cover-list-int

    How best to describe the enduring and ubiquitous influence of COS? The brand has become almost cult-like in its appeal since it was founded a mere eight years ago, creating designs which are somehow timeless and classic and simultaneously innovative.

  9. Dominic-wilcox-bookshelf-list-int

    There aren’t many designers out there who can count a pair of shoes with GPS tracking, a race against a 3D printer and a stained glass driverless car among their recent projects, but Dominic Wilcox isn’t just any old designer. In fact, the job title “inventor” seems to be more appropriate, given that he spends his days identifying gaps in the objects we use, and experimenting with materials to develop new and intriguing ways to fill them.

  10. 4_int_bookshelf_americasfav2-list

    Brooklyn-based graphic designer Elana Schlenker is not only the creator of “occasional pamphlet of typographic smut” Gratuituous Type, she’s also a freelancer with a magnificent array of colourful projects on her (frankly quite beautiful) website, a very good speaker, an exhibitor at exhibitions in Edinburgh and at London’s own KK Outlet. And she’s won a bunch of awards, too. Her aesthetic is pastel coloured without being sickly, innovative without feeling audacious and involves the kinds of books which just seem to make life nicer.

  11. Stevie-gee-rumble-fish-list

    Illustrator and art director Stevie Gee has a pretty solid place in our hearts; his work is a glorious collection of iconic retro elements, moustachioed men, skateboarding and surfing know-how and the occasional dollop of sleaze for good measure. His Bookshelf, however, secures him in It’s Nice That history forevermore; never before have a classic skateboard, several pairs of silken panties, such a delightful collection of textiles and a cat called Olive featured. His book collection is pretty good too, jumping from vintage erotic comic books to 70s psychedelia is one fell swoop. All hail Stevie Gee!

  12. Gourmand-list-int

    If you’ve passed an independent magazine stand or stepped into a newsagents of late then without a doubt you’ll have some idea of what The Gourmand is. The biannual journal focuses on food in all its guises, and it’s invariably too enticing not to pick up. Founded by David Lane and Marina Tweed, the magazine is something of a pulsating hub for cultural references, with every page bearing the kind of striking imagery that challenges accepted patterns of independent publishing, urging the whole industry forward. You can see why we decided to grab co-founder and creative director David Lane to run us through his five favourite inspirational books from the studio Bookshelf.

  13. Teoconnor-bookshelf-list-int

    If you’ve laid your eyes on a poster for one of Somerset House’s exhibitions recently then you’ve more than likely been looking at the work of Teo Connor’s eponymous east London design agency. Teo, who previously co-founded No Days Off, has since worked on a bunch of chic campaigns for the cultural institution, not to mention projects for Tate, Nike and the V&A. She’s also co-founder of The W Project, which champions women in the creative industries through a series of events and exhibitions, which means she basically ticks every box. Brilliant woman.