Jack Hudson has art directed and created 86 illustrations for The Earth and I, a book of essays exploring everything on the planet. From the tiniest cells to the immense structures of our world, this epic tome features writings on all aspects of Earth by some of the most respected science writers, brought together by 97-year-old scientific visionary James Lovelock, and Jack had the not-so-small task of illustrating the entire thing cover to cover.
“First of all I had to convince Taschen that I could draw pretty much everything that exists on the entire planet – no biggie!” says Jack. “The subject was so diverse and expansive – I had to tackle anything from supernovas, cells and quantum physics, to economics and population growth. We worked on it for around three years, so it’s been quite a journey, but really fulfilling. I think the best moments were the ideas stage, with five of us sat around a table sketching and discussing dozens of thoughts and ideas at the same time on Post-it notes. Then realising all those scribbles had to become fully fledged, detailed illustrations.”
The book features an energetic and vivid variety of illustration styles, from infographics and animated diagrams, to more expressive stand-alone artworks. The opening illustrations of each chapter were less tethered to a particular fact or figure, therefore a chance for Jack to stretch his legs. “Those allowed me to be a little more ambiguous and experimental with my ideas, while summarising the key ideas in the chapter. There were also some interesting visual metaphors to play with.”
“It’s difficult to choose a favourite, but I think I had the most fun trying to find a new approach to interpreting textbook-like images, such as the water cycle, in a visually exciting way. Also the opening illustration for Round and Round by Tim Radford was a particular highlight.”
The Earth and I is published on 1 October by Taschen. Jack Hudson was one of the It’s Nice That Graduates 2010.