• Barin

    Kyle Platts: Megaskull

Illustration

Hilarious, obscene and magnificent – If you read one thing this year, make it Megaskull by Kyle Platts

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Without beating around the puke-covered bush, this is one of the most horrible, brilliant, obscenely magnificent publications ever to plop through the door of It’s Nice That. Kyle Platts, whose work we came across at the Camberwell Degree Show last year and totally swooned over, has created a whole comic book and has published it through the good people at NoBrow much to the delight of all his fans.

Dealing with backstreet abortion, BetFred addiction, nursing homes and video games, this big dribbling mess of alarmingly brilliant illustration is going to skyrocket Kyle to fame. He kindly let us ask him a few questions about the publication.

So this book is quite an achievement! Tell us a little about it.

Thanks very much! The book is an amalgamation of all the things I enjoy in comics – humour, violence, obscure characters and for those who read a little deeper, a bit of social commentary. As someone with a short attention span, I thought what it would take to keep myself engaged in a narrative for more than one page, so I’ve kept these comics short and punchy.

How long has Megaskull taken you to complete?

It’s taken six intensive months to make, constantly inventing characters and scenarios. Every page took hours to draw and separate for Litho printing. I was pretty strict with myself in terms of quality control, I would say there is probably a whole other book’s worth of ideas in the bin.

I developed a lot as an illustrator in these six months. I can see a difference in the comics I created at the start of the project, and the ones I created much later on, in terms of composition and my ability to tell a story.

  • Meg_slide01

    Kyle Platts: Megaskull

What is it about the book format you prefer to individual prints and images? 

There are so many elements to design, I love creating the front and back cover, the end papers, and the spine. I get a lot of satisfaction from working towards a larger outcome. When you see the finished product it is so gratifying!

Did you read any comics as a kid?

When I was 11 years old I discovered 2000 AD comics. They were the first comics I had ever seen with such gratuitous violence. When I think about it they probably had more of an influence on my work than I realised. But before I discovered comics I was always drawing, especially in school when I was supposed to be working. I’d rush through the written work so that I could accompany the text with little illustrations. History was my favourite, I loved drawing all the battle scenes.

The people featured in Megaskull are not often the most glamourous or desirable characters, how do you come up with them all?

Well that’s probably because they are all based on real people, I am interested in finding humour in the unfortunate, not in a sadistic way, I just have a great affection for dark humour. Most of my content comes from things that I see as being morose elements of our society, like talent shows, betting shops, and payday loans companies. I make lots of notes in my sketchbook – I might see something funny happen at Camberwell Green, and then I will think about the worst case scenario that might make it even funnier.

  • 3

    Kyle Platts: Megaskull

  • 1

    Kyle Platts: Megaskull

If you could give Megaskull to one person to read, who would it be?

I’d be very embarrassed to do so, but I would love to give a copy to punk poet John Cooper Clark. He’s had a big influence on the comics I make, I love how he can make such melancholic material so humorous. I saw him at Latitude this year, he’s still razor sharp!

Are you hatching any plans for future projects or giving your hand a rest?

I have just given myself a bit of downtime back in Sheffield where I’m from, but there are already a few projects that have been in waiting that I need to get on with. I will be creating limited edition comics for Blast Skateboards, a new skateboarding company set up by my friend the Illustrator Matt Bromley.

One will be given away with every board. Me and two friends (Lisa & Tida Finch) have been plotting a new project, I don’t want to give too much away but it involves illustration and fashion. It’s going to be fun. The whole year I have been longing to doing some painting, so maybe I will get a chance at that in between now and the next Megaskull.

  • 4

    Kyle Platts: Megaskull

  • 5

    Kyle Platts: Megaskull

  • 2
  • 6

    Kyle Platts: Megaskull

Ls-300

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: Illustration View Archive

  1. Bernhardaxilko-itsnicethat-main

    Excuse the pun, but I’m a sucker for penis drawings. Birthday cards, desks, walls, Post-Its, other people’s books, car windscreens: to me the world is but a canvas for penile artwork. Judging by his startlingly extensive back catalogue of sexually charged, penis-infused illustrations, it seems Belgrade-based artist Bernharda Xilko is on the same page. His style is in the same camp as people like Patrick Kyle and Paul Paetzel but comes with a side order of terror, penetration and science fiction. For me, I like the depth of his one-panel cartoons, and how you can stare at it for a while like a saucy magic eye painting, and keep finding things you had missed first time around.

  2. Newyorker_01-wilfrid-wood-itsnicethat_list

    Giving us proof if it were needed that humour and style are in no way mutually exclusive, Wilfrid Wood has created a sweet, strange series of his signature plasticine caricatures for The New Yorker. The illustration spots feature throughout the mag’s style issue, aiming to sum up a variety of different New Yorkers “with hats and scarves and various accessories,” Wilfrid helpfully points out. As is typical of Wilfrid’s work, they’re very odd, sometimes ugly, and very brilliant, and rudimentary as they are we’re sure there’ll be a few folk in the Big Apple who see a little bit of themselves in these lumpy visages.

  3. Alisondubois-after-itsnicethat-list

    Alison Dubois is a San Francisco-based illustrator who channels all of the vitamin D from her native temperate climate into her work. Take After, for example, a collection of re-creations of works by great masters, including Henri Matisse, Peter Doig and a handful of Paul Gauguins. Her drawings are rendered in felt tip and dominated by primary colours, and looking at them for too long feels something like consuming a bottle of Sunny D via an IV drip.

  4. Thomas-slater-mosaic-itsnicethat-list

    It’s a good job “Thomas Slater, Illustrator” has such a nice ring to it, as we seem to be spending a lot of time on his website of late. His newest undertaking is for Mosaic, the science-led strand of the Wellcome Trust which is using commissioned illustration and photography to make even the most opaque of articles on their journal absorbing. For a piece entitled Do You Need to Go to Parent School? Thomas has created a series of drawings depicting kids both being encouraged by, and outsmarting, their ambitious parents – putting them on school buses, playing at being doctors from their buggies, or having their brains measured while diligently sipping on juice cartons. It’s the kind of commission which shows editorial illustration at its most challenging, but somehow Thomas manages to convey broad ideas about parenting and education with a simple and bold colour palette, outsmarting us all in the process.

  5. Sygold-itsnicethat-list-new

    Illustrator S.Y. Gold is one of growing number of young illustrators making a virtue of the limitations of digital software. His imagery makes clear its origins – Illustrator line tools and Photoshop’s airbrush can – in its exuberant final results. What’s the purpose of his unusual images? Hard to say but they display the beginnings of some great character design as well as the potential for interesting editorial applications.

  6. Margot-fabre-itsnicethat-list-4

    Friends aren’t really friends until they’ve gotten together with a bundle of felt tips to draw a bunch of pornographic illustrations; which is precisely what makes graphic design student Margot Fabre and her mate Frederik Stender such good ones. The pair have combined their creative skills in the purest of ways, doodling a collection of wildly imaginative and not altogether innocent sketches of a couple – and occasionally an extra character or two – having a really, really nice time. It’s filthy and hilarious and completely unafraid to have a giggle at itself, and we bloody love it.

  7. Emilyflake-itsnicethat-main

    I’m always slightly concerned about the dwindling amount of observational cartoons and “funnies” in the newspapers, but whenever you think the niche, historic skill is waning you come across another gem in a corner of a broadsheet. Places like The New Yorker are still very much championing this craft, and have recently been commissioning New York cartoonist Emily Flake to make dry comments on her city for their magazine.

  8. Ridejournal-katemoross-itsnicethat-list

    At risk of sounding like the formulaic hipsters that we almost certainly are, the Venn diagram of indie magazines and cycling is one in which we’re pleased to revel in the overlap. The Ride Journal is a fabulous celebration of bikes and all who ride on them, and so we were interested to hear that a show featuring some of the best illustration to feature in the past nine issues is about to open in London.

  9. Main

    Matthew Houston or “Doctor Butters” as his web address proclaims, is an young illustrator working in a truly old-school way. The Ohio-based artist designs characters and worlds in a style he’s honed after years of studying drawing, which he took up after sacking in his job a few years back. I love how he’s embraced a fundamental branch of illustration in character design, and has strayed away from trendier styles in his quest to become an illustrator. The creatures and people he creates are a bunch of people seemingly inspired by video games, sci-fi, comic books, The Hobbit and anything to do with castles, folklore and legend. In an interview with Questioning Creatives Matthew says “I would recommend going to art school. It gives you time to focus on art. It gives you an excuse to create every day. Make sure to work on personal projects while in school, don’t just do homework.” Wise words.

  10. Pm-int-main

    Paweł Mildner’s style keeps changing. He jumps between crisp renders, oil pastels, Riso prints, paintings and drawings like there’s no tomorrow, and has a particularly interesting portfolio because of it. He lives in Wrocław, Poland where I can only imagine he spends his days in a well-lit, affordable studio creating zines and books that appear to be for children, but are actually cynical and witty enough to appeal to your discerning comic book-loving adult as well. I sometimes find myself lurking on his Flickr page, not really up to much, just loitering about, dragging his images on to my desktop, hoping one day he’ll notice me.

  11. List1

    Adjectives we’ve used to describe Oscar Bolton Green over the years include: delightful, super-talented, pretty accomplished, punchy, great, wonderful, wicked, vibrant and… different. He is all of these things and more. A consummate illustrator who never ceases to impress us with his experimentation and flair. Witness his latest set of personal still-life drawings. All he’s done is assemble a few bits and pieces from his house and then sketched, but holy hell they look fantastic! When you’ve become accustomed to seeing someone work digitally it’s a pleasure to be reminded they’ve got innate abilities as a draughtsman and can use pencil and paper at will – even better when the results are this good.

  12. Joe-melhuish-int-list

    Idyllic mountainous landscapes are fine and funny domestic settings are good too, but it’s not often we see illustrators tackle the subject of intricately designed custom weaponry. We appreciate Joe Melhuish’s new project all the more for its originality. He first started drawing bizarre pockets knives that look more like the jumbo Super Soakers while researching for a commission for “quite a big pop musician,” and soon became fascinated in the way weapons might grow to become an accessory to one’s identity.

  13. Karolisstrautniekas-adobe-int-list

    For a small country with a small creative scene, we’ve covered Lithuanian artists and designers more times than you might expect. There’s clearly something in the water over there and one of our absolute favourite finds in Vilnius-based illustrator Karolis Strautniekas. It’s been more than a year since we last sung his praises so it seems right and proper to check back in with him.