Illustration Archive

  1. Ping-zhu-sketches-itsnicethat-list

    Right now somebody’s beavering away coding up the latest iteration of illustrator Ping Zhu’s portfolio website. I’m jealous. I’d love to see what images she’s selected to showcase on there. Doubtless they’re all pretty damn lovely. While I’ve been waiting for this new site to arrive I’ve accidentally come across a selection of her sketches that she’s less than proud of. Who knows why; they’re brilliant! A flying penis, a dirty man trying to lick something, a blob with limbs bouncing on a trampoline and a whole host of weird cats are all rendered in sketchy form on this unusual archive. They might not be Ping’s best work – they’re definitely not – but it’s nice to know that even Ping is capable of some pretty weird sketches.

  2. Newyork-itsnicethat-list

    One of the biggest cultural shifts in the past 20 years has been the emergence of TV as a credible and innovative creative medium. New York Magazine produces an annual TV issue and this time around they commissioned Italian illustrator Giacomo Gambineri to create a mural for the cover, featuring a staggering 146 memorable small-screen moments from the past year. There’s spoiler alerts aplenty but with nods to Wolf Hall, Mad Men, Gotham, Game of Thrones, House of Cards plus Katy Perry and her dancing sharks and a very rude scene from Girls , this is a comprehensive cavalcade of the characters that have defined another stonking year of TV. The good people at Vulture have broken them down if you want to see all 146 represented on the cover.

  3. Tomium-itsnicethat-main2

    Last week a woman called Jaci Kessler emailed in showing us some of the art direction she’s done for Bloomberg Businessweek’s ETC section. As well as working directly with some of my absolute favourite illustrators such as Jan Buchczik, Golden Cosmos and Dan Stafford to make the spectacular, rule-breaking editorial features they are famed for, Jaci also introduced me to a whole host of other artists who totally blew me away. In particular New York illustrator Tomi Um, whose work is crisp, cute and funny and illustrates the chaos and cheerful aspects of modern life. Honing in predominantly on crowd scenes, Tomi is at her best when illustrating bustling ski slopes, busy shops or dramatic events like horse racing. Her piece for Popular Mechanics is neat as a pin, as well as representing the article she’s illustrating perfectly. No wonder she’s in such high demand at the moment. Well done Tomi, and thank you Jaci for the heads up!

  4. Weekender-list

    If you’re in the UK, IT’S BANK HOLIDAY SEASON, PEOPLE. We’re downing our pens and replacing them with pints, and we’re not going to stop until it’s Monday afternoon and we’ve got tennis elbow from all the lifting.

  5. Christophniemann-esgibtnichtgutes-itsnicethat-list

    My colleague Emily Gosling wrote a great piece for the latest issue of our Printed Pages magazine in which she called out the patent nudity of the emperor by saying that in reality, the creative process can be pretty dull to witness. Obviously that’s not to say that we want to see slick creative work with all traces of the artist removed; in fact in our digitally-defined age we delight in being able to see the spirit of the image-maker writ large.

  6. Merijnhos-itsnicethat-main

    When I see someone’s work and automatically create sound effects for it in my head, I know it’s super special. I’ve always felt like that for Dutch illustrator Merijn Hos’ work, and I tend to I hear trombones and comedy parps, whistles and one-man-bands when I peer at his celebratory, fruity characters. In his more subdued work such as his latest wooden sculptures for Kinfolk, you can hear someone playing a cello in a room a few doors down a corridor. His ability to hop like a happy frog from brand to brand, creating work that is totally different but perfect for each one is evidence of his genius as a commercial artist. Who else do you know who would get away with that drawing he did for corporate, slick sound company Bose?

  7. Black-yaya-comic-list

    You know Jeffrey Lewis draws don’t you? Of course you do. He’s been making merchandise for his own musical output since he first put audio on wax. You also might know that he’s a dab hand at telling surreal stories, both in musical and comic form. But what you perhaps don’t know is that Jeffrey’s a gun for hire (for the right bands) and can put together a hilarious, sci-fi inspired comics series for your latest release. That’s what he’s done for Black Yaya, the solo project of David Ivar. In it David battles various demonic beasts with his superior experience in the music industry, quashing their nefarious plans with anti-folk anecdotes. Take that!

  8. 44flavours-lgc-itsnicethat-list

    In just a few weeks now the class of 2015 will graduate from art schools across the country – nay the world. For four years (at least) they’ve been honing their craft and developing their skills in the supportive student environment, but come the summer they’ll be leaving to make their own way in the creative world. It’s an exciting time for sure but it can also be quite intimidating with pressures and challenges as well as opportunities and new chapters.

  9. Daehyun-kim-itsnicethat-list

    Artist Daehyun Kim started to create his evocative, mystical Moonassi world out of ink while studying oriental painting in Seoul, South Korea, and has continued to grow it ever since. “The series is my life-time project,” the artist explains on his website. “There is no specific background story or a theory about the drawing. Each drawing is created based on my daily thoughts and feelings. I draw to meditate on myself and others, and to be able to see the whole story of the series in the end.” Daehyun operates out of a world in which the oceans are both shallow and bottomless, light is dark and dark is light, the moon acts as a torch, an eye and a character’s inner being are one and there’s nothing to do but reflect on your own existence all day, and it’s completely spell-binding.

  10. Charlotte-molas-itsnicethat-list

    French illustrator Charlotte Molas’ work falls somewhere between the masterpieces pre-school children make with blow-pens and water-based paints, and expertly stencilled murals. She deals predominantly in texture, having developed a soft shading technique redolent of vintage luggage labels and tourism postcards of yesteryear, to build modular figures which aren’t always necessarily what they seem. Girls dancing and jumping around is one thing, but some of her pieces present couples making out masquerading as mountainous landscapes, and silhouetted trees hiding far saucier situations. Obviously we’re huge fans.

  11. Carlindiaz-itsnicethat-main

    It’s rare to find people who can animate with true flow while still retaining their signature style, but in the case of Carlín Díaz it seems he’s mastered the art perfectly. An illustrator who dabbles in moving image, Carlín is one of the small but perfect little group of illustrators and animators that live and work in Paris. We’ve heard that over in Paris the illustration scene can be hard to crack, and even harder to earn a living from, but Carlin’s portfolio suggests he’s doing alright. Carlín’s charming mission statement is: “Let’s make attractive and expressive shapes.” Personally I haven’t seen someone with a strong a personal style as Carlín’s in a long while – kind of psychedelic with a hint of mysticism and sauciness, yet still retaining that hypnotic, liquid-like flow throughout.

  12. Lea-itsnicethat-main

    Great work here from German illustrator and comic artist Lea Heinrich who, according to her online bio, “often dreams about being on a subway train traveling underneath the massive steel and concrete construction of New York City. Sometimes she observes the other passengers, sometimes there’s nobody else on the train, and sometimes she doesn’t know where she is going, but either way it’s always exciting.” Cool! Her work is a nice mishmash of urban cuteness à la Andy Rementer and old German folk tales, and her comics have a wit about them not dissimilar to someone like Frau Franz or Matt the Horse. As well as being totally adept at cartoons and comics and illustrations, Brooklyn-based Lea can also design a banging poster, which is always a big plus.

  13. Marcelgeorge-port-itsnicethat-list

    Maybe it’s because I am a notoriously un-stylish man, but the product spreads in magazines usually do absolutely nothing for me. Flicking through multiple pages of artfully arranged man-bags strikes me as purgatorial, but I understand these kinds of features often have a commercial rationale in the complicated financial climate of modern magazine-making. Credit though when a publication strives to do something more interesting with these spreads, like the Russian version of Port magazine (or Port Россия) which commissioned Marcel George to illustrate a recent feature on watches.

  14. Adamnickel-itsnicethat-main

    I came across Adam Nickel’s work on a Mr Porter Journal article entitled How To Speak Professional-ese which outlined how the common man can attempt to understand office and business jargon. Adam Nickel’s perfect for a brand like Mr Porter. His drawings are inspired directly from packaging design and illustration in the 1950s and early 1960s, channeling the kinds of characters you may have seen rushing about in the background of The Pink Panther or chasing a pesky critter through some well-animated opening credits. Adam states on his site that he’s a lover of all things old – I assume he’s referring to design? – and is pushing out so-good-they-could-almost-be-actually-vintage illustrations at a mile a minute. Definitely one to commission if your brand or publication is lacking a spot of style and olde worlde charm.

  15. Sarahmazzetti-mit-itsnicethat-list

    It’s always a joy to hear from Bologna-based illustrator Sarah Mazzettti who has been a firm favourite of ours since we first stumbled across her gig posters back in 2012. The Italian image-maker seems to have settled on a more confident style in recent months and big-name commissions from the likes of Vice, The New York Times and MIT Technology have duly followed. But that unpredictable playful sensibility we so loved has not been entirely banished, as evidenced by her huge yellow giant holding up a room for the TICTIG exhibition at Casa Testori in Milan.

  16. Hattie-stewart-itsnicethat-list-2

    Hattie Stewart is back – not that the self-proclaimed doodle-bomber ever goes away for long – and this time it’s with reams of new work for her very own exhibition at the House of Illustration, entitled Adversary. In the first of what looks to be a whole series of commissions by the London-based gallery, she has created a collection of new (and enormous) pieces in her signature doodle style, decorating images from pop culture with accessories, stripes, googly eyes and emojis and generally elevating them beyond magazine fodder and into something entirely unique and infinitely bolder. 

  17. Jonjones-itsnicethat-list

    You know what we really love apart from great illustration? Seeing how that great illustration was made. Jonathan Jones is a South African illustrator who flits between countries making his beautiful work, but what sets him apart from most of the rest of his freelance counterparts is the way he documents that work online. It’s lovely of course to see the final product of his endeavours, but to see layers of red, yellow and blue build up into a singular image allows a kind of eureka moment where you instantly understand the practitioner’s skill and wish you’d spent more time learning about colour separations at university.

  18. Steven-harrington-itsnicethat-listr

    If pastel colours, psychedelia, totemic piles of strange, Lennon-esque faces and a Salvador Dalì approach to yin-yang symbols are your thing, it’s likely you’ll love the work of illustrator Steven Harrington. The California-based illustrator has spent his career making dreamy, magic, sunshine-infused work; and he’s recently updated his site with a bunch of new work. The piece that really made us grin like a blissed-out, long-haired hippy is the poster for Noise Pop, a refreshingly playful approach to promoting the likes of the equally playful Dan Deacon. Elsewhere, Steven’s been keeping himself busy designing some great patterns and images for New York clothes brand Staple, which are all melting yin-yangs and cactuses bent into Loch Ness Monster-type forms, naturally.

  19. Sacmagique-itsnicethat-main

    Sac Magique’s back with a brand new (magic) bag! The Finnish artist has updated his site – which I check almost as regularly as the news – with a bunch of new drawings in a new, sketchier style. As always his work has gotten funnier and more daring and I daresay he’s cracked up the weird levels a few notches. That’s why I love him, much like fellow Helsinki-based illustrator Rami Niemi, he approaches briefs from big brands with a carefree childish wit, unafraid to use cuss words, toilet humour and sarcasm in ample spoonfuls. He’s been making work for bands such as Fat White Family recently, and has been making personal work that rings of the cynical one-line cartoons found in pages of The New Yorker –the one entitled Drunk Online Shopping, and the London scene in particular. Sac, I love you. Let’s elope.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. Marion-fayolle-coquins-int-list

    When I sat down to write this article I was planning to discuss Ardéchoise illustrator Marion Fayolle’s impressive career to date; her numerous books for the likes of Nobrow and Magnani Editions; her editorial work for The New York Times, her textile designs for Cotélac and Kiblind and of course her very own illustration publication Nyctalope which she co-runs with Simon Roussin. And then I remembered she did a brilliant book of saucy drawings, Les Coquins, and decided to focus on that instead.

  34. Nick-gazin-run-the-jewelslist

    Vice’s New York art editor and illustrator Nick Gazin tells us his ideal clients at the moment are “adult film actresses.” He once worked up some logo designs for Andy San Dimas, the US porn star, and he reckons he’d “be really into doing more art for adult film actresses. I just want to draw naked ladies.”

  35. Karansingh-mop-int-list

    The glorious coming together of pattern, shape and colour makes for a joyous experience and that’s why print designers are held in such high regard. Last week we commissioned Animade to turn three eye-poppingly good Pucci x Orlebar Brown patterns into trippy GIFs, this week we’re turning our attention to profiling creatives we believe are among the best around when it comes to working in this area. We are proud to present these #mastersofprint.

  36. Jg-street-demon-int-list

    Got the mid-week hump-day gloom, friend? Allow me to do away with it for you with a bumper-pack of animated GIFs by the talented hand of illustrator and animator Julian Glander. He once came up with a clever app which transformed colour data into sound for an eight-note synth and made us all into synaesthetes for a day, which was intricate and complicated enough to warrant a dose of fun to follow. A gang of tiny blob men whirling their arms over their heads at impossible speeds? Yes, please. A tiny man on a bicycle riding in tiny circles forevermore? Go on then. Great things are in the pipeline for this master of 3D shapes, bulgy eyeballs and jumping hamburgers. You mark our words.

  37. Tim-brown-int-list

    As a one-time news journalist (albeit at a very low level) I have a real affinity for reportage illustrators. George Butler is one of the best around and this new film by Tim Brown which follows him on a three-week trip to Afghanistan provides a great insight into his finely-honed talents. On his first trip to the war-torn country George was embedded with British troops, but he hungered to draw the locals whose lives had been so irrevocably changed over recent years. “I was always aware that over the walls there were millions of people getting on with their lives,” he says.

  38. Angiewang-int-main

    Angie Wang is FANTASTIC, she’s hands-down my absolute favourite new illustrator. Her work is an explosive, jelly bean-coloured tangle of cool girls, comic books, hair, nature and clouds: dreamy waves of cuteness and attitude floating along on the backs of ghosts. Some of her drawings may appear silly and adorable, but underneath the fuzziness is a melancholy wisdom of the world around her. She has an ability to capture what only the best kinds of comics do: aspects of life that are loving, scary, otherworldly and magnificent.

  39. Zeloot-int-list-2

    Look at the giant bulbous characters! The boy clamping his hand between his own giant gnashers! The tiny hairy willy floating in mid-air with a bunch of other body parts! This collection could be the work of one woman only and that woman is Eline Van Dam, aka Zeloot, a Dutch illustrator with a taste for the funny, the weird and the generally brilliant. She’s been hard at work of late with a stack of commissions for the likes of Vrij Nederland and The New York Times among others, all of whom are thoroughly enamoured with her unique style. As are we.

  40. Barzilai-int-list

    If you’re currently experiencing some love-related dramas allow me to gently suggest you don’t take them to Pauline Barzilaï for sorting. The French illustrator’s new project Les Peines de l’Amour, a sweet illustrated series on rose pink paper, takes a great sledgehammer to tender affairs of the heart, and smashes them all to pieces with a brutally funny satirical edge.