• Hero9

    Kyle Platts: Cover for the Pitchfork Review

Illustration

We talk to Kyle Platts about how he designed the cover for the latest issue of the Pitchfork Review!

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Remember that moment when you stopped thinking of festivals as modern day Woodstocks and realised what they really were: enormous parties full of diseased people in Kigus in an arena of sponsorship deals? When you wake up in a shit tent with the side of your bedroom stuck to your disgusting face with only a warm Strongbow and a dead phone to look forward to for three days in a row, it becomes increasingly apparent that you are not in Woodstock, and Jimi Hendrix is not, and never was, going to play Star Spangled Banner for you today.

Back in June 2013 London-based illustrator (and one of my personal favourites) Kyle Platts released a concertina book with Nobrow explaining that very feeling, it was called Festival Frenzy and it was at once hilarious and amazing. Upon seeing this, the good people over at The Pitchfork Review approached him to design their next magazine cover for the festival season. We caught up with Kyle to ask him about the process of doing this, and what to look out for in the sordid and all too familiar crowd he ended up drawing.

Have you ever been asked to do a magazine cover before?

I’ve done a couple now, Computer Arts took my magazine cover virginity a few years ago. The cover story was about spec-work, I drew a huge hand dangling money in front of a group of illustrators and designers – I remember being asked to edit the chin of the main character because it resembled a massive pair of balls. In hindsight maybe they were a bit much.

When did Pitchfork get in touch and what was the brief?

They got in touch at the end of May and said that they were interested in doing a festival scene for the cover of the next issue. I pretty much owe this commission to the Festival Frenzy leporello I did with Nobrow because it turns out Pitchfork have it hung up in their conference room. The brief was basically to do a Festival Frenzy type thing but more turnt up, so I set out to create an even more psychedelic interpretation of a festival.

  • 12

    Kyle Platts: Cover for the Pitchfork Review

Did you know what you were going to do straight away, or did you try a few different options?

Yeah I knew from the beginning that I wanted a stage and one of those vans where people queue up to charge their phones. Once I had placed those larger elements it was just a case of fleshing it out with characters, which was super fun. I did have a short list of requests from Pitchfork of people and objects to put in, but after that I was totally free to get weird with it. I really appreciated that freedom because it gave me the opportunity to draw things like the brain wandering around with a bindle, the girl with a Jigglypuff backpack, E.T wearing a fez, and the guy huffing smoke out of an exhaust pipe.

A lot of magazines tend to use photographic covers – do you think illustration works just as well?

It depends on the context and subject matter, for this cover I think illustration was a good choice because it is able to distill the experience of a festival in a way which photography couldn’t. Also there were so many things on this cover that you would struggle to create in a photo shoot, for example the hologram Drake would be a logistical nightmare. Michael Renaud who commissioned me actually got a bit of the cover tattooed on his arm! I love that guy!

  • 1

    Kyle Platts: Cover for the Pitchfork Review

Obviously you’ve sent us the version without any text on the cover – was that something you had to take into consideration before laying it out?

Placing the characters and objects around the template of the cover was actually the trickiest bit. I had to draw everything larger than the actual dimensions of the magazine so that I could fit more detail in them, and it took me a long time to get all the maths correct and scale up the template. Also on the last page there was a lot of text they needed to layout, so I drew them lots of bits and bobs and put them in a Photoshop file so they could place them once they had the copy.

You’ve been thrown all number of briefs in the last few years, did you learn anything new from working on a magazine cover?

Working on covers is definitely one of my favourite challenges, this one in particular is in my top ten most fun jobs of all time. I didn’t learn anything new in terms of practical skills because I have done them before but I feel like I made a development in some way when I was working on it. I created a lot of new characters and made this overall aesthetic in the image that I am really proud of and I think represents the direction my style is going in.

I swear I can spot Nick Cave on the cover – can you point out any other celebs lurking (or puking) in the background?

Yes you certainly can see Nick Cave in there wondering around with a beer and gun in his hands, stoked you spotted him! Also look out for Drake, Beyonce, Kurt Vile, School Boy Q, Grimes, E.T, Jeff Magnum, Kendrick Lamar and one of my own characters Dick Nose Van Booben Chin.

  • 2

    Kyle Platts: Cover for the Pitchfork Review

  • 13

    Kyle Platts: Cover for the Pitchfork Review

  • 4

    Kyle Platts: Cover for the Pitchfork Review

  • 6

    Kyle Platts: Cover for the Pitchfork Review

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. Jeremie-fischer-wilkommen-in-hausland-int-list

    Jeremie Fischer is an extraordinary illustrator hailing from Strasbourg in France. He’s four prolific years out of university and has filled his time since graduation with the slavish production of illustrated books – for himself, for Nowbrow and for Nyctalope.

  2. Anatortos-book-8-int_copy

    To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of French eco-building company Nobatek, London-based animator Ana Tortos designed and illustrated a book and made an animation, as well as a series of wood-panel illustrations for the interior of the Nobatek office. A huge undertaking, the project tells the story of the growth of the company through its various projects developing grass roofing, soundproof roads made of recycled tires and utilising the digestive system of earthworms to get rid of trash.

  3. Nick-vokey-coach-bird-int-list

    Oi graphic designers! What do you get up to in your spare time? Spot of kerning is it? Take the kids down to the font foundry and do a type casting workshop yeah? Well you’re really letting the side down. Nick Vokey’s a graphic designer who’s worked for The New Yorker and MIT Technology Review and in HIS spare time he makes comics about a medical doctor who coaches a local pee-wee football team and has been turned into a bird by a wizard. He’s a foul-mouthed bastard of a bird but incredibly funny indeed. Have a look at Nick’s comics and then reassess the way you use your weekends. You too could be making an hilarious bird-themed odyssey of graphic art. (This also applies to anyone who isn’t a graphic designer).

  4. Zoo_jennlivweb_copy

    Toronto-based illustrator and cartoonist Jenn Liv is a whizz with colour. With sustained attention to detail, she illustrates often quite stereotypical moments but always with a twist. There’s a great battle between two knights on a cliff edge at sunset, both just giving up; a romantic moment, flowers, a white dress, a gust of wind and the man just nonchalantly wandering off.

  5. Beyondthewildheart-int-list

    I think I might never have seen two illustrators as well paired as Faye Coral Johnson and Mike Redmond, the duo behind this charming new book Behind the Wild Heart. Faye’s work – sketchy, sweet and imperfect – seems to slot right in with Mike’s dynamic cartoony characters, and the two work together so often that it’s difficult to tell where one’s work ends and the other’s begins.

  6. Stevenchorney-int-main

    The reason design blogs and Pinterest are overcrowded with hand-painted signs, hand-made furniture and hand-printed textiles is because (you guessed it) it’s made by hand – and the joy of seeing craftsmanship is never, ever going away. The world is changing, and the more we demand, and the shorter our attention spans become, the less we’re spending time on getting things just right.

  7. 1_bratislav_milenkovic_wired_germany_copy_copy

    Belgrade-based illustrator Bratislav Milenkovic’s work is intricate and mechanical, with every detail forming the nuts and bolts of an elaborate piece of slapstick comedy. The characters, objects and abstract shapes play an equal role in Bratislav’s compositions. The lightly-airbrushed, knobbly kneed people (all with fantastic hair) are lost amongst the melee but only for the added impact of discoveries like: “oh! There’s a guy cranking an ice bucket over his own head” or “why is that guy exfoliating a Christmas tree?”

  8. Matamatyka-int-main

    LA artist Misia emailed in last week with a bunch of her drawings and paintings, and I was super impressed. She’s managed to mash up Nick Sharratt’s illustrations from Jacqueline Wilson books with The Babysitter’s Club, The Fresh Prince and a bunch of other pop culture references – all drawn in well-practiced monochromatic inks. Unique and skilful aesthetic aside, what I truly love about Misia’s drawings are the characters in them – GIRLS. Girls barefoot doing acrobatics in living rooms, girls lounging on beds listening to music, girls hanging out together doing nothing, girls wearing zigzag leggings and looking bored. These pictures remind me that I’m a girl, and being a girl is SO cool. They make me want to text every female I know and arrange some sort of day where we can watch TV for hours and eat peanut butter on crackers and cereal out the box. I hope it does the same for you.

  9. Jv-port-13-int_copy

    Having cut his teeth at Adult Swim, Joseph Veazey has since been art directing for label Azede Jean-Pierre and freelancing all over New York City. He also has a fine knack for making engaging and fun self-promotional printed matter and turning his sketchbooks into true works of art.

  10. Cameron-stewart-fight-club-2-int-list

    A comic-book sequel to Fight Club has been announced, telling the story of the original’s star Tyler Durden ten years on. Tyler, who was played by Brad Pitt in the David Fincher-directed 1999 film, will be shown to be dependent on prescription drugs, and living with his housewife spouse and a difficult young son.

  11. Timcolmant-list-gif

    Illustration portfolios don’t come much more joyful than this one by Tim Colmant, a Belgian illustrator with a knack for Memphis-inspired patterns, cheery colours and entertaining ideas. Looking around his diverse work feels like strolling into the fantasy land of Ettore Sottsass, decked out as it is in bright purple and yellow, swirling shapes and repetitive geometric patterns, and it’s more or less impossible to leave feeing anything less than happy. Feel free to try this out for yourselves.

  12. David-barnes-int-list

    “I like working at night when the world is quiet and all the residual energy is loose and flowing around in the atmosphere because most people are asleep and not gobbling it all up,” says David Barnes. “I’m not sure if that’s a real thing or not but thinking that way motivates me to stay up til 5am working distraction-free, feeding off the dreams of others.”

  13. Simon-roussin-film-projects-int-list

    In the three years since we last posted Simon Roussin’s work it appears the French cartoonist has become something of a cinephile. A huge amount of his illustrated output now comes in the form of homages to classics of the medium, including obsessive screen-printed books about the late, great Steve McQueen, Gerard Depardieu’s best bits and some of Clint Eastwood’s most brutal showdowns. Of course it goes without saying that his drawing goes from strength to strength. What’s wonderful about Simon’s film obsession is his ability to balance an addiction to the silver screen and a prolific illustration career, something my mum once told me was impossible.