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Bookshelf: Inside the bookshelf of fantastic illustrator Bjorn Rune Lie

Posted by Liv Siddall,

You should never judge a book by its cover, and equally you should never judge a man by his bookshelf. WRONG! You can totally do both, I do it all the time. In the case of wonderful illustrator Bjorn Rune Lie, one look at his creaking bookshelf held in pride of place over his computer, tells you all you need to know. A closer peek into the actual contents of these shelves reveals oodles about the artist’s value of research, his love for fine draughtsmanship and his passion for the designs in nature. Take it away Bjorn…

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

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    David King: Red Star Over Russia

David King: Red Star Over Russia

This book is “a visual history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the death of Stalin." It’s hauntingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time. I love the (perfectly reproduced) poster designs and amazing book covers of course, but the incredible photographs really give you a sense of the hope, the chaos and the brutality of the time. It’s almost as if you were there. I keep returning to it again and again.

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    Seymour Chwast: The Push Pin Graphic

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    Seymour Chwast: The Push Pin Graphic

Seymour Chwast: The Push Pin Graphic

In the introduction Steven Heller calls Push Pin Studios “the Beatles of illustration and design,” so I guess their influence in the field cannot be understated. This book focuses on the The Push Pin Graphic, a promotional leaflet or “almanac” that the studio sent out to advertising agencies with impressive frequency between 1957 and 1980. I guess this was a way for them to really cut loose and experiment. I just love Seymour Chwast’s wood-cuts and Milton Glaser’s pen drawings. I often leaf through this book in the futile hope that some of the freshness might rub off on me.

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    Leonard Rickhard: Soft Whispers in the Birch Wood

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    Leonard Rickhard: Soft Whispers in the Birch Wood

Leonard Rickhard: Soft Whispers in the Birch Wood

I picked this book up at the Astrup Fearnley museum in Oslo about 12 years ago, after being completely blown away by Leonard’s solo exhibition. His paintings, graphic rural landscapes with scattered industrial debris and machine parts, are often framed in really massive, almost architectural frames that form part of the artwork. I don’t know anything about him except that he lives and works in Arendal, southern Norway. His internet presence is zero, so I guess he’s too busy painting. The book got water damaged a few years ago and I meticulously blow-dried every page!

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    Jockum Nordsrom: Sailor og Pekka

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    Jockum Nordsrom: Sailor og Pekka

Jockum Nordsrom: Sailor og Pekka

When I was first introduced to the Swede’s work over a decade ago I thought it was a bit too crude. It didn’t take long for me to come around though. A bit like when I first started drinking coffee. Now of course, I think he’s a genius. This is one of his kids’ books: Three stories about Sailor and his dog Pekka. They read a bit like old cartoon strips and the pace is incredibly unhurried which give them a lovely nostalgic feel, only shook up by the inclusion of bizarre characters and random turn of events. Jockum manages to balance intricate drawing with incredibly raw and naïve scribbles to great effect. I try to capture some of his unpredictability in my own work, although I could never be as confident.

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    Ernst Haeckel: Art Forms in Nature

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    Ernst Haeckel: Art Forms in Nature

Ernst Haeckel: Art Forms in Nature

I guess everybody knows this book, but it was an obvious contender as I’ve been very inspired by it the last few years and used it on many a project. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t know what is more impressive, nature itself or Ernst Hackel’s ability to draw it. I can’t imagine anyone not loving this book!


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

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    London-based photographer Catherine Losing is exactly our cup of tea; working with the crème de la crème of collaborators from set designers to food stylists, she takes photographs which are colourful, dynamic, bold and immediately recognisable. Unsurprisingly then, her bookshelf is among the very best-stocked of them all, complete with Martin Creed, Barbara Hepworth and Toilet Paper magazine, and most importantly they’re all seriously well-thumbed and chockablock with Post-its.

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    When you ask a couple of creatives who work in a former kindergarten in east Berlin (as we learned in an interview many moons ago) to show you their book collection, you hope to see some pretty cool and quirky publications. Doris and Daniel of Golden Cosmos have not let us down.

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    Design and animation are maybe a bit overlooked when it comes to selecting people whose bookshelves we’d like to share with you. With that in mind this week’s collection comes from the very lovely folks at interactive design and animation studio Animade. They recently incorporated Hover Studio into their midst too, making them collectively one of our favourite groups of creative brains in a five mile radius. Their bookshelf has a serious digital and animation lean, so budding animators and interactive designers, gather round to find out the tomes that’ll yield the secrets of your trade.

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    When we received a copy of illustrated sine Steak Night through the door a couple of weeks ago (check it out in Things here) we were pleasantly surprised to find that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is not only a musician, but a keen writer too. Intrigued, we hunted him down and grilled him about his Bookshelf, which turns out to be an incredibly well-stocked selection of graphic novels and comic books, with a little photography thrown in too. He’s multi-talented and he’s got great taste! Here’s Kele telling us about his choices.

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    I get the same feeling receiving the zip file from weekly Bookshelf contributors as I did when I used to babysit as a teenager and casually rifle through people’s drawers (by the way, don’t do that). Witnessing the telling spines residing on people’s shelves will always be intriguing, and Holly’s top five is no exception. The editor in chief of i-D has an absolute terasure trove of some of the glossiest, coffee table-worthy tomes money can buy. What’s brilliant about her selection is just how telling it is of her true passion for the world she has been submerged in since beginning as an intern there many moons ago, and of why i-D is so consistently brilliant with her at the helm.

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    The amount of times we’ve checked out new work from Joe Cruz at It’s Nice That and just sat around with our heads in our hands, gobsmacked at how simple and effortlessly beautiful his work is. Not just that, but his style is probably one of the most easily recognised of the editorial illustrators we chat about here. We love him so much that we even asked him to illustrate a piece in our own magazine, Printed Pages. Here’s Joe on the artists, books and African fashion that have influenced his work over the years. Take it away, Joe!

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    Louise Benson from POST Magazine has curated a selection of books from her bookshelf for us! Since we first wrote about POST in 2011, the digital magazine dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge creativity has spectacularly grown, and has become a very intriguing and forward-thinking online platform. The site explores the blurring boundaries between art, fashion, science and technology, and in the past they have published iPad editions of their magazines. For an afternoon, Associate Editor Louise pulled herself out of the digital realm and spent some time with her physical bookshelf. On to Louise for her list of all time favourites.

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    Reel off a list of highly-publicised albums recently and chances are that their artwork was designed by creative director and artist, Leif Podhajsky. From Bonobo to Mount Kimbie and Kelis to Tame Impala, Leif’s psychedelic-inspired designs turn these albums from listenable into incredibly desirable in a matter of seconds. Drawing inspiration from the mystic, the kaleidoscopic, the mysterious and the wild, Leif’s site and blog are a treasure trove of beautiful, technicolour work to marvel at. You can almost smell the sandalwood. Here he is on his top five most inspirational tomes, check out that National Geographic collection!

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    Can you believe Mr Bingo has never done a Bookshelf for us? We’ve been posting about his work, reading his vulgar Tweets and laughing at his books for years and never thought to ask him. Well, maybe we did ask him and he said no – that sounds more like it. In between Tweeting at Alexa Chung, writing alarmingly insulting hate mail and illustrating for big companies, Bingo is a seemingly avid collector of weird-as-shit books. Are titles such as Dancing with Cats and Self Defence for Women up your street? Then read on dear friend…

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    Sometimes at It’s Nice That we like to dip our timid toes into the world of fashion, and what better way to do so than to approach a big dog at one of the best online fashion resources known to mankind? Leon St-Amour is the Creative Director of Mr Porter, the luxury menswear site that – much like us – likes to make people happy each and every day. Where we do it with featuring people’s work, Mr Porter do it with a very special knack for delivering their goods in the most luxurious and hand-clappingly exciting way possible, usually involving a very beautiful white shopping bag being hand-delivered to sartorially-minded folk all over the globe.

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    Wahey! We love booze and books in equal measures here at It’s Nice That, so it’s our pleasure to introduce Simon Lyle and his five favourite books to you today. Simon is the editor of Hot Rum Cow, the printed publication containing the hottest news on all things booze – from cocktails to beers and from bartenders to barflies, this magazine’s got it all. Here he is on which publications have inspired him along the way to becoming editor of Hot Rum Cow

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    Our weekly Bookshelf feature must be fairly nerve-wracking stuff for book artists like Owen Gildersleeve, whose recurring presence on the walls of It’s Nice That is about as unquestioned as the changing of the seasons. How do you represent your own book collection when half of your practice is about creating images for new ones? Fortunately Owen’s passed our test with flying colours, a 10 out of 10 for his five publications that have not only informed and educated him, but make excellent eye candy for us book-lovers too. And if you keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot a very exciting new one all of his own, due to hit bookshelves very soon…

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    We’ve long been enormous fans of Ally Capellino, for the timeless bags and vessels she creates that seem to adhere to and stand up to everyday problems of a “doing” person who rides bicycles, carries a lot of books, or just needs a sturdy bag as a tool rather than something to show off. Saying that, everyone I know who’s got an Ally Capellino bag definitely shows it off, and it’s normally so beautiful that no one really minds anyway.