Where else in the whole wide web would you find a tubby hippo in the company of a superhero and a life-size illustration of an intestine? We here at It’s Nice That do our very best to bring you creative wotsits in all shapes and sizes, so for this week’s Things we invite you to venture into the big bad city with a large mammal in need of a dentist, fly into the blue yonder with a Buzz Lightyear lookalike and flick through Pete Gamlen’s latest zine. If that doesn’t sound entertaining enough, then have a browse of Marijke Timmerman’s brilliant book which illustrates our frankly rather odd relationship with food, and peruse the pages of The Velvet Cell’s photobooks.
Yann & Gwendal Le Bec: Danny
I have a friend who is obsessed with hippos. You wouldn’t believe the amount of hippo merchandise out there – hippo pyjamas, hippo staplers, hippo hot water bottles – and she has it all. So I think she’d be a big fan of Gwendal and Yann Le Bec’s book Danny published by Flying Eye Books. It’s the story of one “potbellied ‘pottamus” who takes a trip from the swamp to the city to visit the dentist. Watercolour illustrations are splashed across double-page spreads inside the bright yellow cover. Satisfyingly rotund crocodiles, hippos and cats stroll along the streets, passing by people who have elongated, rubbery limbs. Friend’s birthday present, sorted.
Marijke Timmerman: The True Size of Food
Food is trendy, food is political; everyone’s talking/writing/making programmes about food. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover Marijke Timmerman’s book which looks at “our absurd ways with food” in a fun new way. Using illustrated infographics, drawings and photographs, she explores a handful of questions and statistics. Such as, “how much food is available within a 500-metre radius?” for which she snaps all 208 eateries around a library in the Netherlands. 208! She also pictures the mind-boggling number of ingredients which go into some of our favourite foods; there’s a whole lot more than tomato in tomato soup, I warn you. Finally, my favourite; a life-size painting of the passage our grub passes down from mouth to nether regions, spread over 13 pages.
Pete Gamlen: Catspaw
Today, we got our mitts on illustrator Pete Gamlen’s zine Catspaw. Pete’s magicked up a bunch of personal work since being featured on our site way back when, as well as working for some impressive clients like The New York Times. I love how this zine takes the “less is more” philosophy; most of the drawings are little snapshots which are thoroughly intriguing and leave you guessing. What is that lady peeking at over her boyfriend/father/boss’ shoulder? How did those cars crash? What’s behind the door?
Chronicles, Paris et la Banlieue & Rear Window: The Velvet Cell
This package from independent publishing house The Velvet Cell was bursting with photobooks. From snowy landscapes to scenes of a sleeping city, skyscrapers in Hong Kong and industrial panoramas, the collection Chronicles lets a selection of photographers tell a story in pictures. Éanna de Fréine’s Paris et la Banlieue documents cobblestones and tower blocks, and Jordi Huisman’s Rear Window focusses on the side unseen, the back view of European buildings.
Zines: Wren McDonald
Wren sent these zines over by carrier pigeon all the way from sunny California where he resides. In Plantr office blocks are invaded by the endlessly multiplying green tentacles of a plant, which then ejects a superhero into space. A postcard from Walkie-Talkies: How The Zetas Cartel Overtook Mexico With Walkie-Talkies shows one of those entertaining scenes packed with stuff going on; men in balaclavas holding up innocent civilians, a truck driver yelling into his walkie-talkie, a pair of legs sticking out from behind a building, by an abandoned walkie-talkie. You get the gist.