Our latest pick of new illustration includes an animated campaign for Prada sunglasses, some large-scale murals for Fuller’s beer, a beautifully illustrated book about monkeys by Owen Davey and a new edition of Toni Morrison’s Beloved novel from The Folio Society.
Prada Raw Avenue
Judith Van Den Hoek (above) and Wong Ping (top)
Production company Acne partnered with The Mill and Milan creative agency April to create Prada Raw Avenue, a charming animated digital campaign for Prada to promote the brand’s new range of sunglasses.
Six illustrators (Carly Kuhn, Megan Hess, Blair Breitenstein, Judith Van Den Hoek, Wong Ping and Vilda Vega) were asked to create a series of scenes featuring Prada eyewear and clothing, with illustrations then made into short flip book-style animations.
The resulting films were posted on Instagram and the Prada Raw website, and feature a lovely mix of hand painted and digital artwork, from Ping’s bright and surreal designs to Kuhn’s more traditional pen and ink drawings.
Owen Davey – Mad About Monkeys
Owen Davey‘s latest book, Mad About Monkeys, is a beautifully illustrated compendium of facts about the world’s 250 species of monkey, from pygmy marmosets to Japanese macaques. The book contains information about various species’ behaviour, traits and habitats alongside some striking geometric artwork, and Davey’s cheerful illustrations perfectly capture’s the animal’s inquisitive personality.
Davey says the idea for the book came about after discussing new projects with publisher Nobrow, and later drawing a gelada monkey. “I had actually done a non-fiction book about monkeys and apes during my uni degree at Falmouth, so it seemed like a perfect fit,” he says.
The book took around a year to produce, including six months to write and illustrate it, says Davey. “Writing a non-fiction book is a very labour intensive task. You can’t make anything up. The research has to be truly solid.”
For visual research, Davey studied photographs, films and footage found on the internet, but says his monkeys are a stylised interpretation of the species they’re based on, rather than anatomically accurate depictions. “There are a couple of illustrations in the book which are to scale, so that meant that I had to get the sizes right and measured out correctly, but I tried not to get too bogged down in minute accuracy,” he says.
“The illustrations are obviously stylised,” he adds. “If a monkey’s body had a vaguely circular element to it, I would make it completely circular. I would try to simplify angles and curves into more geometric alternatives. It was very much a case of me doing little character studies with each one I drew. I wasn’t trying to completely replicate what the monkeys look like…I wanted there to be a sense of fun that reflects the humour often invoked by our primate pals.”
Davey describes the project as “a dream book to illustrate” and says he has long been fascinated by the animal. “If you read the book, you’ll quickly see why I find monkeys so fascinating – they are incredibly clever, wonderfully resourceful and undoubtedly human in many ways, which all help to tap into human curiosity,” he says. “There is so much variety within them as a species, from sizes and shapes to colours and habitats.”
Mad About Monkeys is published by Nobrow and costs £12.99. You can order a copy here.
Tal Brosh – Phytology
Bethnal Green Nature Reserve was once part of an idyllic 47 acre meadow in East London. Much of this green space was lost when the area was built on in the 19th century, and heavily bombed in World War Two, but since the 1990s, local residents have been working to transform the neglected patch of land into a peaceful medicinal field.
The Phytology field now contains over 30 species of plants which are believed to have health benefits, from St John’s Wort to wild garlic and burdock. The site is open to the public each Saturday, and visitors are welcome to harvest plants and take them home.
To commemorate the area’s history, the Phytology team installed a billboard in the space, and have been commissioning a series of illustrators to create artworks documenting its past. Over the past four months, illustrator and designer Tal Brosh has painted four images on the billboard. Each represents a different incarnation of the field, from a medieval meadow to a war torn bomb site, and each painting is layered over the previous. Brosh’s work will be on show until July 4, and is also documented on the Phytology website.
Jean Jullien – Petit Appetit
Petit Appetit is a new exhibition of food-themed prints and sculptures by Jean Jullien, on show at Colette Paris until July 18. Created with food magazine Frictose, the exhibition includes some brilliantly witty artworks poking gentle fun at our relationship with food and drink, and the way we consume it.
Jullien has also designed a chair with furniture brand Olow for the exhibition, as well as a giant sculpture (shown below) with design collective Abois, and a range of chocolates, lollipops and ice-cream:
Tom Cole – Fuller’s Frontier
Images via tomclohosycole.co.uk
Illustrator Tom Cole has created an eye-catching series of large-scale murals around East London to promote Frontier, a new craft lager for local brewery Fuller’s.
The artwork is refreshingly free of the usual cliches found in summery booze ads, relying instead on some creative interpretations of the word flavour alongside some bold illustrations of the beer itself. Murals are installed on Great Eastern Street and Village Underground, and Cole’s illustrations are also running on billboards and print ads.
Folio Society – Beloved
The book is inspired by the true story of Margaret Garner, an African-American woman who escaped slavery in Kentucky in the 1850s and fled to Ohio, but was pursued across state borders by slave owners. The story isn’t presented in chronological order, but told through a mix of poems, flashbacks, nightmares and memories. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, and was later made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey.
Morse’s illustrations for the text are inspired by 19th century African-American tintype photographs, which he came across on an online auction site when researching imagery for the project. “The images were so vivid, and the subjects so alive that I spent days just building characters, drawing dresses and hands,” he says. Artwork features shades of indigo (which Morse often uses as a base colour) throughout, and were created in watercolour then coloured in digitally. “I wanted an atmospheric feel in these images that captured a sense of depth and space,” he explains.
Illustrations by Joe Morse from The Folio Society edition of Beloved © Joe Morse2015
Before being commissioned to illustrate the book, Morse was asked to submit a trial artwork for Morrison’s approval, based on a scene from the first 30 pages of the text. “I had to submit a rough and the excerpt from the book, [so] I just went ahead and painted the image as I felt that would be the best way to get my idea across, which I of course second-guessed, and did a new image as a linear rough that was much more graphic and submitted that.
“Art Director Sheri Gee then emailed me back and suggested seeing more of the characters and giving us more of the relationship … she basically was describing the painting I had first executed. I sent my original piece in and 2 weeks later, Toni Morrison approved me to do the book. Now the brief began, and the emphasis was to be on ‘the novel’s rich imagery and ambiguity and to reflect [its] more gothic and supernatural elements,” he says.
Illustration by Joe Morse from The Folio Society edition of Beloved © Joe Morse2015
Illustrating a text that addresses such difficult subject matter (the book deals with death, rape and brutality as well as oppression and racism), and one that isn’t presented in a linear format, is a challenging task. Morse says he was keen to produce images which were relevant to the novel, and would provide another way into Morrison’s text, rather than acting as page decoration. “They needed a logic and reason to be there,” he says.
“In a book that is so rich in visual images it is easy to get lost in the abundance of material to draw from. I wrote a list at first of scenes to work from and it became ridiculously long and useless,” he adds. “I then looked at how Toni Morrison used memory or how Sethe (the novel’s protagonist) described rememory – memories that never die, a past you can’t escape. The idea of connecting images across characters and linking the past with the present informed my choices. I focused on precipitating events, moments in the book that change the characters,” he adds.
Illustration by Joe Morse from The Folio Society edition of Beloved © Joe Morse2015
The title is the latest in a series of Folio Society editions featuring some beautiful and imaginative artwork, from Ben Jones’ beautiful work for A Clockwork Orange to Tatsuro Kiuchi’s illustrations for Day of the Jackyll. Styles range from painterly to graphic and abstract, spaning a range of mediums. Gee says she looks for artists who demonstrate “great draughtsmanship, usually coupled with noticeable mark-making or texture.”
“I like traces of tradional media in the work I commission, though that doesn’t work for everything obviously. Alongside strong draughtsmanship, being able to draw or paint a convincing narrative scene, with equally convincing characters, is quite a skill, which goes beyond just observational sketching. It’s about being able to add character, tension, mood etc to a scene, which is so important for our commissions, regardless of medium or style,” she adds.
Beloved is out now and costs £39.95. You can order copies at foliosociety.com