• Photo-1

    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.

  • Photo-2

    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. List

    Michael Parkin’s portfolio is a wonderful mix of commissioned work interspersed with personal projects, which is exactly what you want when looking through a creative’s website. His style is simple but well observed and whether he’s creating a poster for Little White Lies or a series of prints relating to a trip to Denmark, Michael’s work is wonderful at telling a story.

  2. List

    I love that moment when big brands start to recognise the immense talents of illustrators who had previously been making work primarily for themselves, and duly commission them to do exactly what they do best. Linda Linko is a prime example; since being signed to Agent Pekka the Finnish illustrator has been gathering speed as well as commissions, creating her characteristically bold artwork for a number of huge posters and magazine covers.

  3. List

    Lawrence Zeegen has never been one to mince his words. The illustrator, writer and dean of design at London College of Communication has recently launched his new book Fifty Years Of Illustration which he co-wrote with Grafik editor Caroline Roberts. It’s an impressively ambitious undertaking with the duo condensing five decades into 1,000 images by 240 illustrators from 30 countries. Lawrence admits it’s a “pretty personal selection” but one that aims to “represent the movers and shakers across each decade according to the work I believe was instrumental in shaping the discipline.”

  4. List

    Growing up in a family of doctors, Swedish illustrator and paper-cut artist Petra Börner secured her first commission (illustrating medical journals) through her surgeon mother, which might go some way to explaining why her work is so reminiscent of botanical diagrams in biology textbooks. Petra’s principle subject is the flora and fauna of the natural world, which she creates using paper cut techniques so intricate and painstakingly-detailed that they scarcely look like they could be real.

  5. List

    Alright, we admit it – Peter Judson has made a lot of work we’ve been really into this year, and he’s had the props on the site to prove it. But why should we be made to contain ourselves when he keeps producing illustration of this calibre? Why, we ask you?

  6. List

    If, like me, you spent many an hour in your teenage years gazing absentmindedly at Larry Carlson’s experimental website Medijate, you’ll no doubt be similarly transfixed by The Landfill from the very talented Santtu Mustonen. Stitching together a “collection of unused sketches, leftover drawings and rejected ideas from forgotten projects” to a mesmerising soundtrack by Tuomas Alatalo, Santtu created a hypnotic animation that’s a work of art in its own right.

  7. List

    As the man who gave form to the twisted genius of Hunter S. Thompson, British illustrator’s Ralph Steadman’s latest project seems like a perfect fit. Ralph has worked with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan to illustrate some limited-edition Blu-Ray covers for a special boxset of the series due out early next year.

  8. List

    Having just re-read Sammy Harkham’s 2012 anthology of short stories Everything Together I was stupidly excited to find out he’s just got himself on Tumblr and uploaded a small but growing archive of work both old and new. Included in among old covers of Kramers Ergot, book jackets for Kafka anthologies, Bonnie Prince Billy album covers and bits and pieces of rejected work are original drawings from his ongoing graphic novel (and surely future masterpiece) Blood of the Virgin, which he’s also selling to fund further work on the project. I for one cannot wait to see this project massive volume finally realised. Keep at it Sammy!

  9. List

    This top image by New York-based illustrator Karan Singh caught my eye on purely aesthetic grounds; it was only when I delved a little deeper that I discovered the interesting story behind the work. Karan was one of several artists commissioned by Ogilvy New York to work on the IBM US Open Sessions, whereby LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy created a series of tracks based on data gathered at the tennis tournament.

  10. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  11. List

    If you’re feeling a bit bleary eyed this morning, grab a cup of coffee and take a look at Goncalo Viana’s beautiful illustrations to wake yourself up. Rich with colour and charming detail his work has a wonderful texture to it, as though you could reach out and actually feel the deep pigments he’s used.

  12. List

    Before I write anything about illustrator Nicolas Delort I feel like full disclosure is necessary; between the ages of 11 and 14 I spent all of my pocket money collecting and painting Warhammer models and most of my saturdays hanging out in Games Workshop, which means I’m predisposed to LOVE epic fantasy artwork, like Frank Fazetta, Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo.

  13. Main

    It’s comforting to see the resurgence in the physical aspects of music. There was a moment a few years back when gig posters and witty, well-crafted promotional material seemed to be confined solely to the world wide web, which made every poster that was actually printed on paper something of a novelty. Not any more though: we’re receiving and finding so many illustrators now whose portfolios are chock full of variations on the humble gig poster and they are brilliant. Today we thought we’d champion this theme with Dutch illustration student Douwe Dijkstra. His visual interpretations of bands such as The Growlers and Losers are taking the stylistic qualities of early 1990s gig posters and infusing them with a modern style to make some seriously nick-able printed matter. Keep up the great work, Douwe!