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    Alessandra Genualdo: The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander. Graphic design: Emilia Bergmark. Published by Lisson gallery.

Illustration

Illustration: Alessandra Genualdo’s work for The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander

Posted by Madeleine Morley,

We wrote about this project in our Things post a couple of week’s ago, but we love Alessandra Genualdo’s illustrations for Ryan Gander’s story so much that we thought we’d dedicate an entire post to the dreamy, whimsical book.

My German grandmother used to read me a similar story to Ryan’s every night before I went to bed. It was part of a collection by Heinrich Hoffman, the mind behind the creepy Struwwelpeter who never cut his tangled hair or fingernails. This particular cautionary tale was about a boy who always looked up at the clouds, and whose day dreaming and sky gazing eventually meant that he fell into a pond and drowned. A grim lesson for me as a kid, seeing as I spent most of my time away in a daydream.

Ryan’s imagining of the tale transports the story from the dense and dark Bavarian forest of Hoffman, into a sleek and grey world inspired by Ernö Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower. Alessandra’s accompanying illustrations are rendered in an exquisitely soft colour palette and feature chunky characters that look like modernist paper dolls. A typeface has even been designed especially for the book, called Typeface Primer, created by Swiss type designer Fabian Harb. The story is just my kind of cautionary tale, because instead of saying that mind-wandering is a bad thing, Ryan suggests the very opposite. At the end of the tale, the little boy Ernö gazes up and says: “It’s empty up here in the sky, and when I look up I feel like I can do anything, anything is possible.” The captivating ideas made into captivating images by Alessandra suggest that having your head in the clouds is not a bad thing at all.

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    Alessandra Genualdo: The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander. Graphic design: Emilia Bergmark. Published by Lisson gallery.

  • Photo-2-(1)

    Alessandra Genualdo: The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander. Graphic design: Emilia Bergmark. Published by Lisson gallery.

  • Photo-3-(1)

    Alessandra Genualdo: The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander. Graphic design: Emilia Bergmark. Published by Lisson gallery.

  • Photo-3

    Alessandra Genualdo: The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander. Graphic design: Emilia Bergmark. Published by Lisson gallery.

  • Photo-4

    Alessandra Genualdo: The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander. Graphic design: Emilia Bergmark. Published by Lisson gallery.

  • Photo-5-(1)

    Alessandra Genualdo: The Boy Who Always Looked Up by Ryan Gander. Graphic design: Emilia Bergmark. Published by Lisson gallery.

Oo-xtcya

Posted by Madeleine Morley

Madeleine joined It’s Nice That as a freelance editorial assistant in May 2014 having graduated from Cambridge University where she edited the student newspaper. In the autumn of 2014 she will begin her Masters course at The Courtauld Institute of Art where she will specialise in architecture.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. Edithcarron-list-2-int

    How’s this for a delightful collection of images? Edith Carron is a French illustrator who has been working out of Berlin for the past seven years, and her portfolio comprises a beguiling combination of fun, socially-conscious and mischievous themes delivered in coloured pencil and print. And it’s fantastic. So much so, in fact, that The New York Times, Zeit Campus Magazin and Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin are only three from a client list longer than we care to count who have commissioned Edith to make first-rate work, including this wonderful cover for Revue Citrus, depicting two male footballers in a loving embrace before their fans. Edith also generously posts a collection of personal work in her Journal, in which she takes snapshots from every day life and makes them look like something out of a technicolour children’s book-inspired dream. What a treat.

  2. Martinnicolausson-int-list

    It is almost exactly a year since Swedish illustrator Martin Nicolausson last appeared on the site but if it’s to become an annual tradition to check back in on his work, then you won’t find me complaining. Martin has considerable and versatile talents and particularly excels in editorial work for the likes of Icon, New Humanist and Wallpaper* magazines. But there’s also some charming self-initiated work among his recent updates, including a series dedicated to golf which actually makes this stuffy sport seem pretty darn appealing. His colour palette is often muted but he makes the most of every visual decision to ensure maximum, if sometimes quiet, impact.

  3. Samplerman-list-int

    Yvan Guillo is not an illustrator who is about to be held back by traditional practices. One day while he was sampling the tonal background of vintage comics to create a more retro feel in his own panels, he accidentally selected an area with a character in it, and his crazy new mash-up technique was born. He has continued creating works using these techniques under the pseudonym Samplerman, posting them on a Tumblr of the same name to create an extensive series. Even better, he created the word “procrastinatic” to describe such an activity. Making up formats and adjectives? Who is this enigmatic creator?

  4. Penelope-gazin-int-list

    Weird is a word that’s applied lazily to anything that’s even vaguely out of the ordinary. You start chatting to a stranger on the bus: “Weird!” You have a dream where you’re in your house, and it doesn’t look anything like your house, but all your family live there and you have your own room so it must be your house: “Weird!” You take a new route on the walk home from work for no particular reason at all: “Weird!” None of these things are weird you damn fools. Weird is MUCH more exciting than that.

  5. 1janne-kokkonen-tunica-

    We’re benevolent old things here at It’s Nice That – so much so that illustrator Janne Kokkonen reckoned that being one of our students of the month in 2013 was “one of the nicest things that had happened to me during my studies.”

  6. Margheritaurbani-list-int

    Being huge fans of Andy Rementer’s cheeky work we’ve seen illustrator Margherita Urbani’s name bandied around a lot over the past few years, whether in credits in Apartamento or The New York Times, but it wasn’t until last week that we thought to look up exactly what she does. Which, as it turns out, is quite a lot.

  7. Mattpanuska-barbara-int-list

    In ancient times Matt Panuska would have been some kind of shamanistic guide, plying his wards with ayahuasca and leading them through their subconscious with a gentle hand. Unfortunately he lives in modern-day Brooklyn, where DMT-related healing is positively discouraged, so Matt makes his living drawing images that seem born from an altered mind.

  8. Brandon-celi-cold-storage-int-8

    Covering beer-holding Furbys, flaxen-haired Nickelback chump Chad Kroeger and laptop Scrabble, Toronto-based illustrator Brandon Celi’s subjects are as varied as his work is brilliant. He works in paint to bring to life hilarious scenarios including a reimagining of the Wizard of Oz scene where the wicked witch is crushed by a house, but this time targeting surely the most evil (aesthetically, at least) of all footwear: Crocs.

  9. Christophniemann-sundaysketch-int-list

    Christoph Niemann is one of our creative heroes, an illustrator and artist whose talent, imagination and sense of humour puts him smack bang in the top drawer. So imagine our excitement when we found out he was doing an Ask Me Anything on Reddit yesterday, where he held forth on all manner of topics, from serious illustration insight to his love of butter. Here’s some of the wit and wisdom he shared…

  10. Charlottedelarue-list-3-int

    Illustrator and art director Charlotte Delarue’s varied work shows her to be an uncommonly talented illustrator, conjuring incredibly realistic portraits out of paper and pencil safe in the knowledge that she doesn’t need to do anything more to make them impressive. Her art direction is of another ilk entirely, however – she works with the likes of electro acts Chromeo, Justice and Kavinsky to draw up impactful logotypes and album artwork concepts that can be spotted from miles away, from the golden legs which reappear on almost every Chromeo album cover to Kavinsky’s mysterious blue-tinged scenes.

  11. Majic_riso

    Sophy Hollington has been busy making some sassy new printed matter. With fan art, band T-shirts, record sleeves and commissions from The New York Times and Japanese gallery Parades, Sophy’s detailed, lino-cut and Risograph printed work is gorgeous, varied and often rather strange.

  12. Joedator-self-int

    Interviewing cartoonist Joe Dator is a real honour, because he’s a total hero and also a spectacular interviewee. Listen to him talk about his working life: “Everything revolves around Tuesday. The New Yorker cartoon meeting is on Tuesday, so that’s the day we all submit our new ideas to the editor…I usually work over the weekend and by Monday night I’m in full-on lockdown to get my batch of ideas ready. Wednesday is a day off. If you ever want to socialise with a New Yorker cartoonist, Wednesday is the day to do it.”

  13. Ben_mendelwicz-collage-7-int

    New York-based illustrator Ben Mendelewicz draws comics, illustrates and animates for the likes of Adult Swim, Stussy and Funny or Die. He has contributed to Mouldmap, Happiness and Weird with comic horror stories of white collar jobs with fragmented scripts of bastardised professional jargon.