• Monaghan-hero

    Edward Monaghan: Limb (detail)

The Graduates 2013

The Graduates 2013: Vibrant illustration and crisp comics from Edward Monaghan

Posted by James Cartwright,

Edward Monaghan is very much his own man. Upon arriving at Central Saint Martins three years ago he quickly decided that the prescriptive nature of his illustration course was not especially to his tastes and set about creating his own curriculum; learning the tools of the trade that he wanted to practice and making work motivated by his own interests. While that might not make him the most commercially-minded graduate out there, what he has managed to achieve is an extraordinary body of illustration and comics in a style that’s reached a level of refinement well beyond his years.

Edward’s work stands out initially for its vibrant colour; huge, busy compositions that are bursting with purples, greens and yellows. On closer inspection however, there’s a lot more going on after that initial visual punch. Edward’s become something of a master at reductive storytelling, creating complex narratives with a few simple lines that make an increasing amount of sense the more you stare at them. That said he’s also a dab-hand at cramming as much information into a single frame as humanly possible. Both techniques work terrifically, underpinned as they are by a natural talent for narrative.

  • Monaghan-8

    Edward Monaghan: Nobrow Competition

  • Monaghan-9

    Edward Monaghan: Nobrow Competition

  • Monaghan-1

    Edward Monaghan: Poster

  • Monaghan-2

    Edward Monaghan: Poster

Why or who or what made you go to art school?

I’m from a town right next to the Slough trading estate. As John Betjeman eloquently noted; “It isn’t fit for humans.” Slough was always a pretty tepid, uneventful place and even though I lived in similarly dingy places up in London, the tumult of being in the city and part of a school full of daft, eccentric types was an exciting prospect.

People always talk about the pretence of art students and there is undoubtedly lots of it around; I’ve had a pretty morose attitude towards my institution for a good couple of years but there is something enticing about a concrete container that seems to attract so many buffoons annually. I was aware that the brief three-year hiatus from the real world would be something I’d have to savour, so choosing to spend it in a place that was as far removed from the doldrums of trading estate scenery was very important.

What’s the best mistake you made when you were studying?

Maybe the best mistake for me was to be sort of a bad student. A lot of the time I felt like we were being prescribed a fairly lofty place to dwell in the creative industry, which is understandable if you want to get a job. But most of the creative people I admire would do what they were doing anyway, even if they didn’t receive any financial gratification, and I felt the same. So I really just spent the year with my head in the sand, after learning Adobe Illustrator, in an attempt to produce some honest work.

As a result I’ve come up with a really comfortable method, which draws from other creatively sensual media, like music, instead of recycling trending archetypes. 

If you could show your work to one person, who would you choose and what would you show them?

Probably the Limb comic to Holger Czukay from the band Can.

Can you give us one prediction about your work for the next year?

I’ve already started working on a graphic novel called Archangels Thunderbird, based on a song I really love. The aim is to finish the work and eventually get it published. I’ll probably have to do that myself though. A prediction I can offer would be to expect more colours as I build on my swatch collection!

What’s the best thing you saw in the last three years?

I saw a planetarium in my jumper, demons dancing on Caledonian Road, and the toy-maker constructing an incredible plaything out of ridged sponges and gaffer tape.

  • Monaghan-6

    Edward Monaghan: Limb

  • Monaghan-4

    Edward Monaghan: Limb

  • Monaghan-7

    Edward Monaghan: Limb

  • Monaghan-5

    Edward Monaghan: Limb

  • Monaghan-3

    Edward Monaghan: Limb

Represent

We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2013 is once again being supported by Represent Recruitment who are themselves celebrating being ten years old this summer. The graphic design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduates scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2013.
www.represent.uk.com

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: The Graduates 2013 View Archive

  1. Red_cream_list

    It’s that time of the year again! Like the annual family get-together which sees you dragged reluctantly around a huge mahogany dining table with the large majority of your extended family to coo about how “well” (read: fat) you’re looking, we’re catching up with last years Graduates! Except our mahogany table is this website, and we’re cooing not about weight gain, but about all the cool stuff they’ve been doing. Without further ado then, here are Oliver Jennings, Bianca Tuckwell and Callum Green to update us on all of there achievements since last summer.

  2. Main

    It’s hot, it’s summer, University is over and you’re spending your time wandering dazed between the wildest festivals that the country has to offer. As part of the It’s Nice That Graduates 2013 (supported again by Represent Recruitment) we have teamed up with The Mill Co. Project to offer all the recent art and design graduates in the country the chance to win a very, very exciting prize.

  3. List

    And so we’ve almost reached the final curtain for our Graduates class of 2013, with just two more young talents to introduce to you. But turn that frown upside down dear reader because there’s no let-up in quality, as proved by penultimate graduate Charlie Patterson. Having studied graphic design at Chelsea, Charlie has a predictably good grounding in the fundamental skills, but where he really stands out is through his playful and interesting ideas.

  4. Whitton-list

    Photographer Luisa Whitton is a serious Japanophile. When she’s not walking the streets of Osaka and Tokyo capturing locals doing their thing, she’s deep within the country’s robotic research facilities cataloguing the synthetic faces, mechanical arms and cold, dead stares of the very latest in technological innovation. The robot interest has also come into play in another personal project that’s seen her hack an Xbox Kinect to make it into a rudimentary photographic device.

  5. Top

    Kingston’s graphic design course have done it once again with our next Graduate 2013, Matthew Hill. He’s a designer more than willing to clamber outside of the box and get his hands dirty coming up with new and innovative design solutions.

  6. Monaghan-list

    Edward Monaghan is very much his own man. Upon arriving at Central Saint Martins three years ago he quickly decided that the prescriptive nature of his illustration course was not especially to his tastes and set about creating his own curriculum; learning the tools of the trade that he wanted to practice and making work motivated by his own interests. While that might not make him the most commercially-minded graduate out there, what he has managed to achieve is an extraordinary body of illustration and comics in a style that’s reached a level of refinement well beyond his years.

  7. List

    Every year when we scour through the hundreds of submissions to The Graduates, we come across a great many graphic design students whose final projects bear little relation to traditional ideas of the craft. That can be tremendously exciting and these kinds of conceptual stars have already made an appearance in this year’s showcase (and will do so again). But there is also a place for great graphic design talent of a more traditional bent, such as Lottie Brzozowski.

  8. Jennings-list

    Oliver Jennings is hands-down the most unusual of this year’s crop of graduates. Having spent three years studying graphic design at Camberwell College of Art, you’d expect him to have emerged with a couple of tasteful publications, some posters and maybe a handful of album covers, but you’d be wrong. Instead he’s been experimenting with strange sonic landscapes, exploring the natural sounds present in everyday objects, from house plants to giant river-spanning bridges. There’s some complex theory behind his work and more than a dash of influence from the hive-mind of Youtube – his sound installations derive inspiration from a large collection of pseudo-scientific experiments that exist as video tutorials online – and we were incredibly impressed by his confidence; there’s not many people bold enough to spend three years playing with sound obsessively when they should be mastering InDesign.

  9. List2

    Our next graduate of the class of 2013 is based in south-east London, but her heart lies way over on the west coast of the USA if her work is anything to go by. Alice Tye studied illustration at Camberwell but has worked with paint and lithography to create her Californian scenes, re-imagined through the prism of how America’s golden coast is presented to us by the films, TV shows and books which immortalise it.

  10. Ollie-list

    When it comes to Kingston University we’ve come to expect something a little bit more conceptual from their graphic design graduates. Often going above and beyond fancy typography and swish book design, they tend to challenge the traditional limitations of graphics, wandering confidently into neighbouring disciplines as well, demonstrating how all-encompassing design ideas can become when paired with an open mind and a healthy dose of experimentation.

  11. Futter-list

    London College of Communication graduate Juliana Futter is an illustrator par excellence with a penchant for the strange, surreal and the downright filthy. Here at It’s Nice That we have a special place in our hearts reserved for illustration that pushes the boundaries of simple aesthetic pleasantry, and shoves something altogether more challenging into your face – particularly if it’s able to make us laugh at the same time. Juliana has succeeded in doing just that, grabbing our attention as soon as her submission arrived in our inbox with her playful renderings of grotesque religious mythology.

  12. Main2

    Graphic designer Callum Green, a recent University of Buckinghamshire graduate, caught our eye with his absolutely superb project in which he redesigned the memoirs of his sea captain grandfather, John Madge. As well as transforming these memoirs into a very beautifully designed publication, Callum also spent his time at university championing young and unpublished writers in his fantastic and rather beautiful publication New Authors among many other nice things. A very talented man and definitely one to watch! Here’s Callum Green…

  13. Main

    Gather round everyone! We are proud to present our very first It’s Nice That Graduate 2013 supported by Represent recruitment – Mister Edward Cheverton. We actually featured Edward a while back as one of our Student of the Months when he sent in some of his truly fantastic jazz collages. What we love about Edward’s style is how he’s not afraid to show of all his workings-out and sketches, which when pieced together tell a pleasing story of colour, sound and, most importantly, fun!