• Titlecrop

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

  • 1

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

  • Crop2

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

  • 2

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

  • Crop4

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

  • 3

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

  • 4

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

  • Crop3

    Love in a Very Cold Climate

Illustration

Isabel Greenberg

Posted by James Cartwright,

Isabel Greenberg is an illustrator and graphic novelist very much on the rise. Having graduated from the University of Brighton in 2010 she has since been involved in two Nobrow publications, created visuals for The National Trust and last week won the Observer’s Graphic Short Story Competition with her Love in a Very Cold Climate story. With such an impressive year behind her, we decided it was time to catch up to talk comics, warring Inuit tribes and graduate life.

When did you start making comics?

I think I made my first comic for a school GCSE project. Thankfully I do not have a copy because it was probably dreadful! It always liked writing and I always liked drawing, so I used to make illustrated stories quite a lot, but it was only when I was about 16 that I realised I could merge the two together completely. 

Is it important to have a script completely polished before you start drawing?

I think it’s important to have a complete story, but I think the script can be fluid. Usually I write my comics in prose first, as a short story. I then make them into scribbled pannels, with rough drawings, so I know what words go with what images, and get the pacing right. So I never really write a script as such, but I always have a very firm idea of the flow of the story.

Sometimes I might think I know what the the dialogue is, but then when I have drawn the character’s face or expression, I realise I have it wrong, and think ‘oh they aren’t saying that!’ and change it. 

How are you finding graduate life?

It’s been a lot of ups and downs. There have been a couple of great things, like being in the Nobrow Anthology, but there’s also working a day job and the times when I’ve sent work out to people, and emailed and emailed, and had no responses, and I’ve thought, maybe I should come up with a Plan B.  But then I realise I don’t have a feasible Plan B (only fantasy plan Bs like fairground ride painter, or street dancer, but I can’t dance and I hate going on rides) so that’s that!

I’ve spent the time since graduating really concentrating on my own projects, and I think I’ve done better stuff than I did in the whole three years of my degree.  I think the strangest thing is getting used to working on your own, and realising that it’s quite a lonely profession. I really miss being in a studio with loads of my friends, but maybe thats why I’ve got more work done! 

What’s your favourite comic and why?

My longstanding favourite comic is probably Epileptic by David B – it was one of the first comics I read. I think he’s great and has this amazing way of visually explaining complicated ideas, and his stories have so many layers.

Also Seth, I am a big fan of Seth. If I had to pick a favourite by him it is probably Its A Good Life If you Don’t Weaken, but actually all of his stuff is brilliant. Oh and recently I came across Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton. I was reading it in the bookshop at the weekend and laughing so loudly that people were looking at me. It’s this amazing series of hilarious strips of her takes on literature and history and everything really. The drawings are so simple but so so funny and the writing is just brilliant! 

Sorry, that’s three – but I could have said loads more!

Where did the inspiration for the Love in a Very Cold Climate come from?

I was first thinking about writing a story about two tribes who hated each other so much they physically repelled each other. Then I thought about how inconvenient it would be if two of them fell in love! The North Pole-South Pole bit came after – that’s just because I love watching programmes about polar explorers and Inuit hunters and that sort of thing.

I know it doesn’t really make sense scientifically, but it’s my story about an invented world. I actually noticed under the story in the Observer online that there was a bit of a scientific debate raging! But it’s fiction, go with it!

What’s next?

The story in the Observer is actually one story from a whole series that I am working on from an imagined period of the Earth’s history. It’s going to be a graphic novel called The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. So next is getting that finished…

Jc

Posted by James Cartwright

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. 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.”

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. List

    On the morning that David Cameron is giving a press conference on the UK’s future role in Afghanistan, Scott King’s latest book seems even more significant. Anish & Antony Take Afghanistan is a graphic novel that Scott sees as “a critique of the deployment of public art,” which satirises how far we’re prepared to enforce our cultural values on others. Through Scott’s writing and Will Henry’s illustrations, we follow as Anish (Kapoor) and Antony (Gormley) try and bring cultural regeneration to the war-torn country.

  13. List

    The London-based French illustrator Malika Favre has had another big year, adding even more breadth to her already impressive portfolio of work. In the summer she was invited to Tenerife by a Spanish design collective called 28ymedio to take part in its Illustrated Journey project, which aims to “help fight the economic crisis in Spain by promoting the Canary Islands and bringing a new stream of tourism.”