Illustration Archive

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    It’s amazing how one creative decision can elevate an interesting project into something really special, but that’s the power of the right idea executed in exactly the right way. This zine for Converse by our sister agency INT Works is a perfect example of this, with the sneaker brand looking for the right way to celebrate the launch of the new All Star Chuck ’70. Having commissioned superb illustrations from the likes of HORT, Leslie David, Santtu Mustonen, Katie Scott and Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, they designed a publication which told the story of the product in quite a straightforward way, until readers tore through the French-folded booklet to unleash the eye-catching imagery.

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    I was under the impression that we’d last featured Edward Tuckwell’s portfolio a few months back, but it turns out it’s been a year and half since we last checked in with the former Falmouth illustrator. Time flies eh? Even though the months have flown by, Ed’s work has remained fantastically consistent; still maintaining those film noir sensibilities and a crisp, angular approach to image-making. What has changed however is Ed’s embracing of colour (he used to be so monochrome) and the expanding of his visual language into something that feels more malleable; clients could definitely hire this guy and be confident that his work would feel tailored to them. And they already have, with commissions in the bag for the likes of Wired, The Church of London and Short List. Nice work!

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    Doesn’t it just boggle your MIND how good every single record sleeve is? Whether you’re rummaging through a mouldy box at a car boot sale or flicking through a friend’s collection, it’s always astonishing to see the level of craftsmanship by potentially entirely unknown artists that decorates this packaging. For me the illustrated ones are always my favourite – pastel colours, psychedelic typography and cute happy cartoons – which is why when we came across this archive, it kind if made my Friday.

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    Whenever we hear whispers of updates from Santtu Mustonen we get very excited indeed. The Finnish New Yorker always produces visually arresting imagery that we’re powerless to resist, so it’s usually just a case of seeing which brands have bought into his delightful trademark style this time round. In this instance he’s got a brand new website to house exciting new projects for the likes of Granta, Wired and Architecture In Helsinki. He’s also producing an ever-increasing amount of motion graphics, which we have to say add an impressive depth to what is already eye-catching work.

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    There’s something of a divide at It’s Nice That between those who appreciate comics and those who don’t, which is why artists like Talya are perfect for us as she dabbles in both comic book-making and brilliant illustration. Her red-nosed characters lounge in rays of sunshine, hike through forests and – like all great comic book stars – discuss and grapple with the bigger questions that can hang over our daily lives. I’m pretty sure Talya’s artwork isn’t for everyone, but I’m certain that it’s some of the most intriguing, beautiful, and unique illustration I’ve seen for a while. Anyone who sees this image and doesn’t immediately feel the sun on their face and the prospect of summer needs to get their eyes tested.

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    Dutch illustrator/designer/artist Louis Reith produces work with a multimedia focus. His portfolio is equally full of sculptural pieces, mixed media collage and more traditional inks on paper – he can pretty much turn his hand to everything. Whether he’s reimagining photgraphs as geometric landscapes or fashioning old maps into 3D mountain ranges the one thing that ties all of his work together is the reapropriation of found objects into a single artistic vision; every single piece crafted from a second-hand book, an antiquated map or even a flea-market photo album.

  7. Tom-list

    Tom Gauld is one of those illustrators It’s Nice That can’t really function without; between his hilarious short comics, his book Goliath and his glorious Bookshelf feature I think we can happily resign ourselves to the kind of long-term fandom that only the die-hard will commit to.

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    Pure. Unadulterated. Joy. That’s what this is. I had a bit of a cringe moment when I re-read the last post we – well, I – wrote about Mari’s work on the site back in 2012, as it was just a mishmash of nice words that didn’t quite do it justice. A trip to her website nearly two years later brought on a similar feeling to that of meeting someone you had met years ago and them telling you they had since had loads of children and won the lottery.

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    Ooooh this is nice! A beautifully crafted publication from one third of Nous Vous and illustrator and potter extraordinaire, Will Edmonds. Will’s been making us smile for years with his simple, colourful drawings that evoke a childish naivety in everyone who gazes upon them, and now he’s decided to encourage it further with a book of musings and poetry. Have a think, see what you think, let me know what you think – which may be the best book title I’ve ever read – is a scrapbook-like collection of his geometric drawings sitting alongside his friendly, philosophical writing. The book was published by Jack Scott of London-based independent publishers Corporeal.

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    I wish somebody had told me back when I was struggling ardently with biological diagrams in my year eight science classes that they could be as beautiful as these are. This selection of botanical illustrations is from a collection called The Families of Flowering Plants by L. Wattson and M.J. Dallwitz, and we stumbled across them on lovely Chinese blog Waterfall. They’re the epitome of “accidentally wonderful”; delicate down to the very last detail and perfectly coloured in a way that you just can’t replicate digitally, they’re the kind of image I’d like to fashion into a kind of wallpaper and cover the walls of my flat with.

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    Lovely stuff here from Berlin-based illustrator Jeong Hwa Min, whose colourful prints and new book entitled Chicken or Beef have really got us going this morning. Deceptive bright colours mask the political undertones in his work, and strange, funny little characters get up to no good in the background of each large, cheerful mural. we came across him via the ever-growing treasure trove of work that is Flickr, and were sucked in by his image for Journal 360 which depicts industrial cranes lowering a book into a larger book coffin. It’s the fun-looking yet deeply sinister, unsettling images like these that are what we enjoy most and also what Jeong seems really, really excellent at. So, if you’re reading this, more please!

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    I don’t normally go in for illustration thats composed from inky washes. It always reminds me of fashion illustration so I can’t shake the feeling that it’s somehow inherently shallow. But German illustrator Tina Berning turns my prejudice on its head with her stunning ink and watercolour portraits. Her use of line is so practiced and her attention to detail so honed that it’s impossible not to be engrossed by her vast portfolio of editorial illustration. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing Tina speak about her work and can vouch for the rigour of her process. Seriously impressive stuff.

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    Nobody makes fan art these days. Everyone’s too busy updating their Instagram, or Twittering, or doing stuff on Skype and that. Plus there’s so many bands to listen to now that music is basically free that it’s nearly impossible to choose what you actually like. Are you into rap or is it actually death metal that floats your boat? Gahd, it’s all so complicated!

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    Illustration and animation are often typecast as mediums for kids, and while usually we take enormous pleasure in digging up evidence to prove this isn’t the case, occasionally it is true. Especially when it comes to finding a way to take boring, patronising adult advice and making it fun and engaging for younger generations. Cottoning on swiftly to this home truth, the UK’s very dully-named Internet Advertising Bureau commissioned illustrator Dominic Owen and animator Will Samuel to make a short illustration educating kids about internet ads.

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    How Jiro Bevis finds the time to produce so much awesome work we’ll never know, but the London-based image-maker always seems to be hard at it, turning the most obscure pop culture references into killer illustration. Since we last caught up with him – when he did some beyootiful work for our Annual – he’s churned out a whole load of great new projects like it aint’ no thing, for the likes of Nike, Adidas, Bloomberg Businessweek, trendy London nightlife hotspot Barden’s and a heap of great bands. Treat yourself to a stroll through his portfolio on what’s otherwise an exceptionally grey Monday.

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    Right now in It’s Nice That towers we’re listening to a combination of an old Jens Lekman summer mixtape and the rain pattering on the skylights above our heads. What better time then to banish away the cold than with these glorious drawings by Belgian illustrator Ellen van Engelen? Ellen’s work is all sunshine, teenage bedrooms, psychedelic vinyl sleeves and Marge’s Bouvier family quilt from The Simpsons. Her vitamin D-infused work has been featured in (deep breath) The New York Times, The New Yorker, Nobrow, De Standaard, De Morgen Magazine, The Bulletin, The Guardian, Mixmag and countless others. Why? Because her illustrations are stylish, nostalgic, and give off rays of genuine, contagious happiness.

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    Californian artist and illustrator Jon Han makes work that’s unlike anything else we’ve seen. though his practice is predominantly grounded in painting, he regularly brings digital elements into the mix that pull otherwise traditional illustration into the here and now – slicing and dicing with Photoshop. This strangely anachronistic approach to illustration lends itself beautifully to the documentation of the present day, in which we’re stuck between a hyper-technological future and the practices of the past, meaning Jon’s regularly commissioned by the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker, Plan Sponsor and Businessweek for his on-point observations. We really can’t think of a better person to document our strange daily lives.

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    A year ago yesterday I introduced you all to San Franciscan illustrator Niv Bavarsky and prattled on about how talented I thought he was. That’s still very much the case, although I’ve now had a year to stalk him on Instagram and really reflect on his status as my new favourite illustrator. Normally I’m fickle about this kind of thing, but Niv still holds the top slot in my eyes. You probably don’t really care why, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

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    If his artwork is anything to go by, Job Boot looks like the kind of guy who created masterpieces from iron filings in his physics lessons and left his classmates awestruck with his powers of composition while they were still fiddling about with magnets and equations. His illustration uses combinations of tiny lines, dots and dashes alongside bright primary colours to create the vaguest suggestions of forms, which in turn are all the more effective for their minimalism. If it’s evidence you’re after, the Anglepoise lamp below should be all the proof you need; constructed from a series of thick lines and yellow blocks it’s like a mishmash of minimalist formations and Mondrian influences.

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    Eight months ago we crowned second year Falmouth illustrator David Doran our Student of the Month because his work was just plain awesome. The discipline and skill on display in his illustration was second to none and it’s only improved since. Also improved is David’s client list, which now includes The New York Times, Wrap, Hunger and Plansponsor which, given he’s still not graduated, is nothing short of extraordinary. So hats off to you David for being such an impressive illustrator – we’re sure your classmates must be deeply intimidated.

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    It feels like forever I’ve been on the hunt for a really great illustrator making work almost exclusively about the dark ages. Most commercial image-makers are so caught up in the here and now that they forget the wealth of inspiration available from mankind’s most barbaric era; the bear-baiting, the bloodthirsty duels, perpetual burning of witches and the frankly disgraceful personal hygiene.

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    Illustrator Damien Cuypers is by no means a one-trick pony, but he has carved out something of a niche for himself in real-time documentation of some of the world’s biggest fashion events. For this week’s London Fashion Week, Damien was commissioned by our fiends over at WeTransfer to come and work his magic over on these shores, and the results are – as we’ve come to expect – nothing short of sublime.

  23. Katie-list

    Way back in April 2011 we found Katie Scott’s work in a pile of emails and our minds were blown. The third-year Brighton illustration student was crafting some of the most intricate and beautiful imagery we’d seen in a long time, inspired by Japanese medical illustration, alchemical drawings and the elaborate biological paintings of Ernst Haeckel.

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    Illustration student Chritian Königsmann may still be in education, but his portfolio is already something to behold. Since the middle of last year he’s been experimenting heavily with his aesthetic direction, channelling the likes of Golden Cosmos and Ugo Gattoni to see what fits. Now he’s arrived upon a style that seems entirely his own, combining traditional print techniques and tonal shading to create truly charming illustrations. His work in progress shots of a comic dedicated to club scenes are a particular delight.

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    Call me a big sentimental geek but with the exception of anything “keep calm and carry on”-themed I rarely come across a vintage nationally-issued poster that I don’t like. This collection of old Chinese posters encouraging children to learn about hygiene and cleanliness is a prime example, and it’s right up my street. From the soft and inoffensive colours used, to the kindly-faced approachable characters and the various shapes which function as frames to mark a narrative progression, everything about the way they are designed harks back to days of glory long-past. Thank God the U.S. National Library of Medicine had the good sense to preserve them in glorious high resolution in their digital archive for us to enjoy for years to come.

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    As I imagine was the case for annoying children countrywide, my parents occupied me on many a long car journey and a rainy weekend with geometric colouring books, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same was true for Peter Judson.

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    James Graham has been a fully-fledged freelance illustrator for going on two years now. The RCA graduate has built up an extraordinary portfolio of sharp editorial illustration that can transform the most mundane of subjects (home insurance, tax returns, reliable computer hardware) into witty, brilliant imagery that grabs you by the retinas and holds you there. Since we last checked in with him it seems he’s been reducing his practice into even simpler forms, boiling his image-making down into a simple graphic language of monochrome perfection.

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    Look at this fantastic set of screen-prints by illustrator Liam Golden, whose multi-disciplinary work explores themes such as peculiar historic art practices, fabric design, printing methods and the exciting world of myths and legends. You Are Behaving Like An Animal is a compilation of images all representing the eternal struggle of man against beast, from the womb to the tomb, screen-printed with a very attractive and slightly naive aesthetic. What I love most about this series of images is how their narrative is strong, yet still abstract enough to let you take the steering wheel and allow you to create the myths and legends for yourself.

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    Not since July 2011 have we checked in with French illustrator Paul Loubet and his playful, multi-layered illustration. Thankfully he’s still producing sensational images that combine neon colour palettes, platform-game aesthetics and characters rendered like futuristic punks. He’s also added a new strand to his work; big, bold paintings that reference 1980s hair-metal album covers and all the best bits of glam rock. It’s pretty weird but we bloody love it!

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    I found out today that Viktor Hachmang and I are the same age which, if I’m honest, really pisses me off. I’ve been watching this guy improve and diversify over the past few years with eager anticipation – it’s extraordinary to see what new stands of imagery he adds to his oeuvre with each new update – but was convinced that he had to be at least 35 years old. His style fuses traditional ligne-claire with bright psychedelia, bold abstraction with delicate, figurative mark-making and he switches fluidly between retro-futurism and traditional subject matter. Nobody in their 20s should have such an expert mastery of draughtsmanship and a brilliant imagination to boot. But he does, he REALLY does, and for that he deserves our utmost respect.

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    Proving the age-old belief that old people often have the nicest faces, illustrator and communication designer Alice Moloney created this series of watercolour portraits after spending a week with the residents of Newent House, a day centre for elderly people. Her renditions show how all the sharp angles have been ironed out through the course of 70 or 80 years worth of facial expressions, and she somehow still manages to conjure characteristics from a bunch of smudgy pale shapes disappearing into one another. It gives me pure happiness to imagine their reactions when she turned around her sketchbook to show them what she’d been working on.

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    We first came across Alexis Nolla through his illustrations of Bill Gates posing with a tiger and munching on an apple (obviously) for the third issue of Perdiz magazine, and we couldn’t be more glad we did. If his hilarious visual accompaniments to a wholly made-up interview don’t swing you (check out the issue to see how he conveys Bill’s irrational and relentless hatred of all things Apple Mac) then his plentiful offerings for any one of his other clients will do.

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    With three posts on the site since August 2012 (one each from myself, Liv and Maisie) it’s safe to say that Sergio Membrillas is a firm favourite here in the It’s Nice That offices. We love the way he can turn his signature style to literally any subject – Chinese industry, the stock market, television addiction, or just a straight-up gig poster – and make it both engaging and beautiful.

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    PHWOAAARRRRR this is pretty good isn’t it? A veritable smörgåsbord‎ of pastel loveliness here from Berlin-based illustrator and fantastically named Lasse Wandschneider. Lasse’s work is qualification enough to let him into that amazing club of illustrators whose initiation process is all down to their work being at once helplessly naive yet secretly incredibly clever. From decisions such as leaving the Photoshop checkerboard in, or taking a sketchbook doodle and colouring it in properly to make a final piece, this is the kind of bold, reckless illustration that leaves me weak at the knees and longing to put some sort of crass zine of adorable characters together immediately. If only I had the skills to match his. While you’re here, check out Lasse’s online mood-board, it’s an absolute treasure trove of imagery.

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    We’ve got another multi-talented scallywag for you this morning in the form of Will Bryant, whose inimitable style translates seamlessly from the geometric-inspired furniture he created with with Eric Trine last spring, to a nostalgic record sleeve for Dent May, to this masterpiece of an illustrated publication called Drawings Based on Sculptures Based on Drawings.

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    The fashion world is most closely associated with photography, but we are particular suckers for illustrators bringing their talents to bear on the sartorial sphere. Ever-impressive duo Craig & Karl have just proved exactly why we like this kind of thing so much with their new images for Modern Weekly China. While a lens can capture the clothes and the model with unerring accuracy, illustrators can capture something of the spirit, the intangible associations that sometimes (but by no means always) prove beyond the photographer. Splendid stuff chaps.

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    “Martin Nicolausson is perhaps the only Swedish illustrator and graphic designer with the name Martin Nicolausson” begins his illustrator bio. “This is important as originality is one of his most admired principles.” Fortunately for Martin then originality is one aspect of his illustration which he has absolutely nailed, churning out work as he does. We’re huge fans, both for his assured combination of digital and nostalgia-influenced imagery and for his faultlessly bold colour palette.

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    Really very impressive work here from Karolis Strautniekas who, after spending a few years as an art director, decided to turn happily back to illustration where he truly belongs. Karolis has the magic ability to come up with a very good idea and very quickly turn it into an immediate drawing that speaks volumes. His Portraits from Behind series, for instance, could easily have been restricted to just his camera phone, but instead he has brought it to life in detailed, layered illustrations. His editorial work is clever, easy on the eye and not without a sense of humour. I swear my alarm clock says that (above) every morning, or at least my brain does.

  39. Brl

    You should never judge a book by its cover, and equally you should never judge a man by his bookshelf. WRONG! You can totally do both, I do it all the time. In the case of wonderful illustrator Bjorn Rune Lie, one look at his creaking bookshelf held in pride of place over his computer, tells you all you need to know. A closer peek into the actual contents of these shelves reveals oodles about the artist’s value of research, his love for fine draughtsmanship and his passion for the designs in nature. Take it away Bjorn…

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    Illustrator duo Cachetejack, also known as Nuria Bellver and Raquel Fanjul, have charm in oodles. Their super-colourful illustration is chockfull of energy, and has graced mediums from books, magazines and newspapers to clothing and walls. I was especially won over by Just Living, the personal postcard project which sees them transform scenes of everyday domestic mundanity into a captivating sequence of potted plants, wine bottles and canoodling friends. Lovely work!