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Sam Brewster: Salon of the Exiled for The New York Times

Work / Illustration

Vibrantly picturesque and perspicuous editorial illustrations from Sam Brewster

Using rich and vibrant colours that look as though they have been absorbed into the fabric of the page, and vivaciously textured line work that seem to bring his subjects to life, Sam Brewster is a British illustrator understandably highly in demand from an impressive host of editorial clients and brands.

Sam has a flair for distilling the key atmosphere and context of an editorial into his illustrations, pinpointing the exact imagery and motifs needed to convey the narrative thrust.

“With my work I like to reduce the idea’s complexity, like cooking a jus, until it’s down to its simplest form. The challenge is doing this whilst still telling the full story, yet keeping it immediately engaging,” he says.

A recent cover for Swedish magazine Svensk Bokhandel smartly and scathingly analogises the differences in job security and pay between freelance workers and salaried employers. Freelancers are depicted in a makeshift camp complete with tents and log fires, sullenly situated outside looking in at the taller employees who dwarf them in their shadow and bask in the warmth and light within.

Clever colour choices are used frequently to contrast the dichotomies under discussion in the think pieces. As above, a recent commission for Dorado Magazine delineates differences — between bustling urban life and rural quiet — through complementary blues and oranges set against each other. A device used effectively in his devastating and picturesque piece Desolation Through Urbanisation pitting the city against the decimated mango crops of Bangladesh.

Atmospheric yet lucid, Sam’s illustrations never skimp for details. In his recent piece for The New York Times’ editorial Salon of the Exiled he manages to squeeze extra and exacting insight into the sociopolitical situation by having the two running journalists, both men, fleeing hand-in-hand. Representing, of course, not merely the persecution of liberal media in Russia but also the country’s restrictive anti-LGBT laws and homophobic propaganda, all in one succinct and absorbing image.

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Sam Brewster: Freelancers Frozen Out for Svensk Bokhandel

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Sam Brewster: Retirement for Dorado Magazine

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Sam Brewster: Desolation Through Urbanisation for The New York Times

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Sam Brewster: Ambiverts for Wired

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Sam Brewster: Sinking West and Asia West for The Financial Times

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Sam Brewster: Investing in Africa for Cima Magazine