• Hero

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…

  • 1

    David King: Red Star Over Russia

  • 12

    David King: Red Star Over Russia

  • 13

    David King: Red Star Over Russia

  • 14

    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.

  • 15

    Seymour Chwast: The Push Pin Graphic

  • 16

    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.

  • 3

    Leonard Rickhard: Soft Whispers in the Birch Wood

  • 2

    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!

  • 10

    Jockum Nordsrom: Sailor og Pekka

  • 11

    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.

  • 5

    Ernst Haeckel: Art Forms in Nature

  • 4

    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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Fonshickmann-bookshelf-2

    It’s not very often we have a selection of vintage porn magazines masquerading as a book about the history of cinema on It’s Nice That, and for this special occasion we have Professor Fons Hickmann, founder of Berlin studio Fons Hickmann m23, to thank – he stumbled across the rare finding at a French flea market.

  7. List

    Last week Apartamento’s co-founder and art director Omar Sosa mentioned an upcoming collaboration with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier in his Bookshelf feature, and purely by chance this week we have Nathalie herself running us through her favourite books. What a nice coincidence!

  8. New-omar-list_

    You know how, when going to the hair salon, you automatically and perhaps unfairly expect your hairdresser to be perfectly coiffed? We had a similar sense of anticipation when it came to admiring Omar Sosa’s favourite books – a kind of nervous hope that the man responsible for getting together with Nacho Alegre to co-found Apartamento, an eclectic and deftly-curated compilation of cool characters and the spaces they inhabit, has a similarly intriguing collection of books in his own home too.

  9. Lenka-list

    Artist Lenka Clayton has been a mainstay on It’s Nice That since way back in 2009, whether she’s doing very slow magic tricks, making drawings on a typewriter with friend and collaborator Michael Crowe, or making books about the 63 objects she has removed from her son’s mouth. With such a multidisciplinary practice we knew Lenka would have stacks of wonderful books tucked away, and we weren’t mistaken. “A few years ago I moved to America from England,” she explained, “so I have far fewer books at home than I used to, making this exercise quite easy. The books I chose are the ones that I sacrificed clothes space for in my suitcases.” It seems a good tactic, as these five are a wonderfully eclectic insight into Lenka’s work. Read on!

  10. Unnamed

    As co-founder of London-based studio 8vo, co-editor of Octavo, International Journal of Typography for all of its eight year-long life and now one half of typographic powerhouse MuirMcNeil, you’d imagine that Hamish Muir has built up a fairly comprehensive collection of design and typography-based publications over the 30 odd years he’s been working. Fortunately for you, we’ve done the legwork and gotten cold hard proof of it in the form of photographs of his top five, and it’s even better than we imagined.

  11. List

    Antenne Books is to independent art bookshops what cool kids are to playgrounds – generously exchanging the very best in Pokemon cards from their reserved spot on the climbing frame – except for the Pokemon cards are beautifully made books about art, photography, design and illustration, and the climbing frame is a neat website. They shared five of their favourite out-of-print publications, including some absolute bangers from Ari Marcopoulos and Ed Templeton, leaving us envious and awestruck in equal parts. For their full range, check out their website.

  12. List

    Last week Clive Martin from Vice called him “the David Bailey of grime” which sums up Ewen Spencer’s oeuvre beautifully, really. The documentary photographer has made British youth and subculture his bread and butter, photographing the UK garage scene in all of its gritty glory as well as working for the NME, photographing The White Stripes, making the very brilliant Brandy & Coke and producing a host of books and exhibitions as well. As far as perspectives on Britishness go, Ewen’s is basically unrivalled.

  13. List

    Yesterday marked the launch of the brand new issue of bi-annual hardback Twin magazine, the defiantly substantial glossy publication that clubs fashion, art and culture together through interviews and gorgeous imagery. This issue includes photographs by Petra Collins, an archive of childhood shots of Kate Bush taken by her older brother and an interview with the remarkable Neneh Cherry, so to celebrate we thought we’d have founder Becky Smith show us the five books which have inspired and influenced her. In the process, we learned who her favourite photographers are, whose rare books she’s lucky to have laid her hands on and the unlikely inspiration behind the name “Twin”. Read on!