• Img_7481

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

  • Img_7489

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

  • Img_7503

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

  • Img_7490

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

  • Img_7502

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

  • Img_7491

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

  • Img_7500

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

  • Img_7494

    Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

Illustration

Tom Edwards: Nine Tales

Posted by Liv Siddall,

The only thing better than marvelling at Tom’s brain during conversation is looking at the illustration that comes out of it. Mythology, felinology, wizary and clipart all play vital roles in what can only be described as some of the most endearing, hilarious illustration going on today. After many weeks of no sleep and bouts of lizard hands (see interview), Tom has completed Nine Tales, a large publication hailed by many reputable sources as one of the most beautiful objects on sale at this year’s Pick Me Up. We chatted to Tom about Nine Tales and what the future holds…

Nine Tales features a particular black cat – do you know this cat?

Yeah, it’s based on my parents’ black cat, Mudgey. But its also an amalgamation of my sister’s two cats (a real fat one and a real muscly one) and my parents’ other cat who is verging on feral.

What are the benefits of having a cat as the star of a story?

Well, It can do things that maybe a human star character couldn’t do, like hide in a banana skin or wear really small jeans. And having a cat doing human things like skateboarding or getting a haircut is more comical than if a human was doing it.

Historic imagery features quite heavily in your work, are you drawn to cats as they have been a constant throughout history?

I think growing up with cats has made me want to make work about them. They’re weird animals when you think about it, so sassy but charming at the same time. You’re always aware they could sack you off and go and live in the wild at any time, my tiny cat ate a whole wood pigeon once. But the historical factor is an added bonus, Dick Whittington and the Egyptians got it right. Witch hunters – very wrong.

When did you decide to take on the epic task of creating Nine Tales?

I started them at uni, but then left them for a year and a half to fester. Then Victory Press asked me to do an A3 Riso printed book, so I thought this was perfect for it!

Do you work from home or a studio?

I work from home. I often have to rig up a lamp on my computer mouse hand to keep it warm, like a lizard. The rest of the room can be warm but there just seems to be a phantom cold spot in that exact position on my desk.

Where do you find inspiration and do research?

The internet, the internet, the internet. But also the Medieval sections in museums.

One of the best bits about this publication is the patterns, can you tell us about the process of sourcing and creating them?

Some are made up from my head, or borrowed from things I’ve seen around, but most of them are copyright free patterns I got from a book. I’ve never really used much pattern before, but I think I’ll continue.

The France story is my favourite. Do you have a particular favourite tale in the book?

I like the baked beans story most.

There was talk at Pick Me Up last night of some sort of audiobook to accompany Nine Tails – is that the next step?

Only if Bagpuss narrates it.

Haven’t you got a show at Beach London coming up?

Yeah I’m really looking forward to it, there might be some textiles and home made ceramics involved and probably more cats.

Advice for someone thinking of making a comic?

DO IT!

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. List

    If you happen to be in central London doing your Christmas shopping this week you might well come across a rare gem of a shop in Soho, home to glacéau vitaminwater’s unique pop-up, in which a host of young creatives have been creating bespoke wrapping paper for those gift-givers who are all fingers and thumbs, and don’t fancy giving their presents in your standard brown paper packaging.

  2. Main

    None of us at It’s Nice That could work out exactly what it was about Daniel Guerrero Fernández’s drawings that we loved, but we all agreed it was great. Clouds, mountains, planets, yin-yangs, waterfalls, swords – something about his portfolio is a cross between K-pop and Game of Thrones with a pinch of Studio Ghibli thrown in for good measure. Anyone that can pour that amount of joy on to a page is fine by me, I just hope that after this great interview over on Urban Outfitters he’s still got some of those pin badges left.

  3. List

    Try to look upon Will Laren’s work not as a series of spot illustrations, but as comic masterpieces in their own right. He’s effectively moulding a new genre according to these novel and very specific needs. Rendered in acrylic, Will’s aesthetic is comprised mainly of colours and patterns that look like they belong side-by-side only on the rails of a forgotten charity shop, but somehow when they’re juxtaposed with Will’s pallid looking, wrinkly-faced characters spouting grotesque and hilarious things to one another, they seem very much appropriate. Explaining the joke will kill it in a second, so check these wonders out for yourself.

  4. List

    I am a bit cynical about the concept of guest editors (for obvious, selfish reasons I suppose – “no not anyone can do this!”) but WIRED getting Christopher Nolan to helm their December issue is something of a coup. Subtitled Beyond. A Story in Five Dimensions, the special issue focussed on line, planes, space, time, and the multiverse. Longtime friend of the site Mario Hugo was brought in to create an array of visualisations for the cover, contents page and throughout the rest of the magazine and he worked with Hugo & Marie colleague Sam Hodges (once of this parish) on the intriguing final images.

  5. List

    Wrapping presents is easily our least favourite part of the festive season; in fact we can’t really see any issue with Smithy’s ingenious tin foil solution from Gavin & Stacey. However it may just be that we’ve been using the wrong kind of wrapping paper all these years – vapid creations covered in tired stereotypes.

  6. Main

    Mysterious French artist Sarah-Louise Barbett has been comfortably residing in my favourites folder for years now. She updates her Flickr every now and again with more beautifully painted watercolour scenes of some of the most poignantly boring scenarios imaginable. Sarah-Louise sees the world differently to everyone else, she records odd mundanity with extraordinary beauty and wit – capturing the moment someone leaves a bottle of Fanta on a car roof, or when she catches her dog sitting casually on a sofa. Some people might prefer to use a camera to quickly snap these scenes, but that’s why I love Sarah-Louise so much: she chooses to paint them. That one she did of the chubby black labrador (she does seem to have a thing for dogs) is probably one of my favourite images from this year.

  7. Main

    David Shrigley’s got a whopper of a new book out entitled Weak Messages Create Bad Situations. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes, at this time of year, when you look back at those annual round-ups and “photographs that sum up 2014” it can be easy to feel like the world is just so full of disaster and crap. It seems that the people running this planet have been giving us weak, nay wrong messages this whole time! How mean. And what have they created? A bad situation. We love David’s new book, which totally sums up the feeling of helplessly skidding downhill on a bicycle with no brakes towards a cliff. Here he is on the book, dreams, and the world in general.

  8. List

    Over two and a half years have passed since Robert Fresson graduated from the Royal College of Art with his Masters in visual communication. Two and a half years of moving out of London, buying himself a barge in Bath, taking up teaching on the illustration BA at Plymouth and of course busting his nuts creating a plethora of new work – or “illustrating his socks off” as he’d most likely put it. I’ve always been envious of Rob’s work (we did art foundation together so it’s a lasting envy) for its masterful approach to traditional techniques, colour processes and wonderful use of line, which goes from strength to strength as the years go by. He also has the work ethic of a single-minded shire horse, capable of subjecting himself to unfathomable hours of dedicated labour on a project that particularly excites him. And that’s why he’s so bloody good!

  9. List

    There’s something resolute about Laura Breiling’s illustration; it has a kind of strength of character about it that fully explains her growing client list. Whether her subject is a burly naked man gazing into a bathroom mirror with an uncapped lipstick lying next to him or a fabulous older lady lying fully clothed in bed sipping on a cocktail and gazing unflinchingly at the viewer, Laura’s confidence and consistence in her heavy jewel colours and printed textures command a kind of awe. Or at least they do for me. The Germany-based illustrator creates a huge volume of work, experimenting in different styles and subjects to form a style of working unlike any I’ve seen before, and it’s right up my street.

  10. Main

    There’s a lot of joy at It’s Nice That HQ when our favourite illustrators hit the big time. When Aisha Franz had her latest graphic novel Earthling published by Drawn and Quarterly, it was once again time for celebration. Earthling is the story of an all-female family (two sisters and a mother) who each retreat into imaginary fantasy worlds in order to escape the mundanity and struggle of ordinary life. That makes it sound quite heavy going – but it’s not. It’s full of dark humour, sex and hilarious snippets of perilous teenage life that you’ll be glad are far, far behind you. Also, we’re so used to Aisha’s work being so brightly coloured that this book – drawn entirely in scribbled pencil – is a very interesting new venture for her, one that I personally am a big fan of. Anyone you know who’s into the witty, sarcastic humour of Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World definitely needs to get their hands on this.

  11. Main9

    We came across Cozy Tomato’s illustrations when studying the Mr Porter Journal for our Behind the Screens feature. Cozy Tomato (whose real name is Koji Tomoto) gets commissioned by the guys over there all the time, to add a retro, fun element to their articles on fashion and lifestyle. Cozy’s work is reminiscent of 1950s children’s books and quilts, lots of pointy nosed people with gravity-defying ponytails having a wild, leisure-filled time in the great outdoors. What’s marvellous about Cozy is how his illustrations are so well-researched that they actually could have been lifted from back in the day, and are so packed full of unadulterated, candy-coloured joy that they can spice up even the most intellectually treacle-like article. Perhaps that’s why he gets so many commissions from Monocle.

  12. List

    Talk about ramping it up – it was only a couple of months back that we were marvelling at the amount of work Cynthia Kittler had taken on since graduating, and now she’s back again with shedloads more.

  13. List

    In April this year Josh McKenna was still a student, working his way through third year illustration down in Falmouth. Since then graduation’s taken place, he’s traded the peaceful coastal town for the incessant throb of London and he’s found himself producing a fair bit of lovely commercial work. When last we met Josh’s work was all poolsides and exotic colour palettes, but his subject matter reflects his move to the metropolis – huge red buses, commuter cyclists and smart phones now dominate, but there’s still that characteristic sense of fun in there too, as a personal project on bums reflects. It seems like Josh has moved up in the world, and his image-making shows that off beautifully.