Best In Book

The Best in Book selection from our Illustration Annual contains work from James Joyce, ilovedust, Sophia Augusta and more

Our first Illustration Annual follows the same format as our successful Photography Annual. Entries were invited in the categories listed opposite. As with the Photography Annual, we appointed one judge per category – we find that a single, knowledgeable judge works better than a committee in this context. Our judges were Angus Hyland, a partner at Pentagram and author of several books on illustration, for the Personal and Design categories; Stephen Petch, art director of The Independent Saturday magazine, for Editorial and Paul Cohen of McCann-Erickson and co-founder of Draft magazine, for Advertising. All were asked to select their favourite work as well as their choices for our Best in Book section. Congratulations to everyone whose work is featured and thank you to all who entered.

Patrick Burgoyne, editor, Creative Review

Best In Book (Editorial)

Title of work

James Joyce

Magazine cover high-lighting lead feature on Japanese contemporary illustration.
Client: Varoom!/ the Association of Illustrators
Art director: Studio Fernando Gutiérrez

Issue 11 of Varoom!, the Association of Illustrators’ magazine included a feature on the influence of Japanese culture on the UK and the  connections between British illustration and Japanese consumer products.

Japanese artists such as Takashi Murakami were featured alongside the work of the UK’s James Joyce, who created the issue’s striking cover. Joyce was commissioned by Studio Fernando Gutiérrez who have art directed Varoom! since issue 10 of the magazine.

Joyce’s illustration used the iconic fish-shaped soy sauce dispenser made by Kikkoman: an immediately recognisable symbol of Japanese consumer culture. The miniature soy sauce bottle also references the title of the feature, That Obscure Object of Desire, being at once a surreal and playful object, but also one where form follows function perfectly.


Best In Book (Advertising)

Title of work
Drug Driving

Sean Freeman

Poster highlighting how a drug user’s eyes can give them away if stopped while driving under the influence.
Agency: Leo Burnett
Client: Think!
Art director: 
Richard Brim

For its Think! Drug Driving campaign, highlighting the effects of drug use on drivers, Leo Burnett commissioned illustrator Sean Freeman to create the word ‘cannabis’ out of the veins of an eyeball.

Working in generative code, Freeman used the Processing programming language to create a series of random lines and shapes.

He then took sections of these lines and manipulated them so they evoked the liquid quality of hairline-thin veins. These original vein lines were drawn in black and white and then coloured and blurred. Freeman then overlaid more defined line shapes in a deeper red colour, which were blended outwards to a lighter shade.

“I then had a library of these lines to work with and manipulate to create the type and the overall effect of a bloodshot eye,” he adds. “The lines were made on a larger scale so that in scaling them down I could get the background versions extremely thin. This was despite the final artwork going pretty big – they used it on the back of a few London buses.”


Best In Book (Design)

Title of work
Objects Hermès press kit S/S 2010

Nigel Peake

Press book featuring a host of drawn objects from Hermès’ S/S 2010 collection.

Studio: Nigel Peake 
Client: Hermès
Art director: 
Hermès editions

Invited by Hermès to draw the press book for the fashion brand’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection, Peake initially photographed all the objects chosen to be featured in the 40-page book. Working from these images, Peake then created a series of drawings similar in tone to his previous efforts, which have used sheds, maps and birds as subject matter, as a document of Hermès’ latest product lines.

“The drawings concentrated on the detailing involved in these beautifully crafted objects, while also including abstractions and ‘wonderings’,” says Peake. “A bit like a school report of what I did during the summer.” All the objects in the catalogue were hand-drawn in pen and coloured with watercolour. The book was then distributed to the fashion press.


Best In Book (Editorial)

Title of work
The Ride covers



Covers for The Ride, the visually-led cycling journal

Studio: ilovedust
Client: The Ride journal 
Art director: ilovedust
Agent: Debut Art

The Ride Journal first approached ilovedust to work on a feature for their new magazine concept in 2009. “Having seen some examples of the work we’d done on some fixed gear bike projects in 2008, The Ride’s editor, Andre Diprose, came down to meet us and discuss all things two-wheeled one Sunday afternoon,” says ilovedust’s Mark Graham. “As our friendship grew we convinced Andrew to let us do the covers of the journal every issue.”

Each cover is based on a different season and features various bikes from all areas of cycling; from fixed gear models, to mountain bikes and BMX. “For the artwork, we usually have a solid idea of each scene and work up pencils with photographs as reference then, once approved, go straight to final artwork,” adds Graham. “Each bike and background is hand drawn and then coloured in Photoshop.”


Best In Book (Personal)

Title of work
On the Ropes

Sophia Augusta

Self-initiated illustrated book on boxing
Story: Luke Warren

On the Ropes is a collaboration between Sophia Augusta and writer Luke Warren. “Luke’s writing is about struggle and how it can reveal itself within two different contexts: internally and in the boxing ring,” says Augusta.

“Reading his story I was inspired to look into the old bare-knuckle fighters from the turn of the last century. I’d heard that before they introduced boxing gloves boxing was brutal, but fewer people died. This was attributed to the fact that each punch hurt both the recipient and the person throwing the blow. There’s something quite moving about the sort of grit and honesty of these boxers, before the sport became as flash and the boxers as big and tough as they are now. Although they posed for pictures with their fists up, they often looked uncomfortable.”

Augusta points out that, while focussed in their manoeuvres, none of the boxers have opponents in any of the images: “their struggle is their own.” The drawings are all pencil, ink and gouache and the typography was inspired by old letterpress boxing posters.


Best In Book (Advertising)

Title of work

Agency: Young & Rubicam London
Client: Land Rover
Creatives: Guillermo Vega, Icaro Doria (CDs);
Art directors: Guillermo Vega, Menno Kluin; Copy: Icaro Doria; Designer: Mihail Aleksandrov

Juan and Alejandro Mingarro, the two brothers who make up the Brosmind studio in Barcelona, worked together on the illustrations for Young & Rubicam London’s campaign for the Land Rover Defender.  “The idea,” says Alejandro, “is that the car allows you to escape from your super-stressful everyday life, to find peace and quiet on the opposite side of the globe.

“We are not very into cars, so we liked that the car wasn’t the main character in the project,” he continues. The brothers worked on three concepts that focussed on a different area of modern life – the city, work and the family – and created a chaotic ‘mini-world’ to represent each. “We wanted the stressful areas to be kind of fantastical places,” he says, “so there are many oversized elements in each, like a giant girl, a giant rat, or even some giant sandwiches.”

Apparently, both the brothers have a very similar style so take turns to draw when working on large illustration projects.


Best In Book (Personal)

Title of works

Vania Zouravliov

Agent: Big Active
Self-initiated project

In his personal work, Vania Zouravliov prefers to explore the subconscious element of the creative process. “Instead of focusing on a literal meaning of something,” he explains, “I usually approach the work in the same way as one would a poem or a piece of music. I usually start with a strong idea of what the overall atmosphere is going to be like and how I imagine it’s going to work tonally.”

All the other aspects of a particular piece, from the kinds of characters and creatures who feature in them, to the way their faces are drawn, are then chosen in order to give shape to these initial ideas. “I often feel that images reveal themselves,” Zouravliov says, “becoming clearer during the process of creation.”


Best In Book (Editorial)

Title of work
Masters and Commanders

Cristiana Couceiro

Illustration for Max Boot’s review of Masters and Commanders by Andrew Roberts, from the NYT Book Review.
Client: The New York Times Book Review
Art director: Nicholas Blechman

Commissioned by Nicholas Blechman, art director of The New York Times Book Review, Cristiana Couceiro was asked to create an illustration to accompany Max Boot’s review of Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941–1945 by historian Andrew Roberts.

Couceiro was inspired, she says, by “old- fashioned board games” and attempted to convey notions of dynamic movement and strategy in the artwork. “As this is a joint biography,” she continues, “I also explored the relationships between these four titanic figures – Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, and the commanders of their armed forces, Alan Brooke and George C Marshall. I also added some newspaper details into the illustration to create the right context of war.”

The illustration ran alongside Boot’s review, Gang of Four, in the June 5 2009 edition of the Book Review.


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