Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sara de Bondt

Highly Graphic, a piece of information design, arguably, BUT tells a story - suggests a journey. This poster from Sara de Bondt's book Moon and Mitim shows a pared down aesthetic that still engages the viewer - tells them something concrete.

Andrzej Klimowski

Cover image by Andrzej Klimowski currently senior tutor at the RCA and renowned book jacket illustrator, comic/graphic book artist. His work for Faber and Faber largely utilised photomontage - something to consider?


Fans of Nobrow will be familiar with Blexbolex, French cartoonist, comic book artist, Illustrator etc etc. There are lots of things to say about Blexbolex, not least his technical mastery - I am also interested here in the 'total' narrative. you will remember the exercise that you were required to do during the 2nd year - tell the whole story in a single image - whilst this is not necesarily an example of that it does highlight the possibility of the spread to convey a huge amount of visual information as well as suggesting the passage of time.

Limitation and palette control - I know I'm going on.

Sequence and storytelling - this image combines Blexbolex's considerable powers - a 'strip' that has graphic 'umph' and chromatic control - its quite busy but still legible.

Frans Masereel

Halfway between lyrical narrative and modernist abstraction Frans Masereel's emphatic image making make for a dynamic interlude. Black and White offers up the potential to create stark and sometimes overpowering imagery - when considering the spot illustration think about the scale of the image in relation to the text - think also about the potential for abstraction [Stephen Russ' evocative pattern work].

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Thomas Bewick

Master of the vignette, the encapsulated narrative - Thomas Bewick's wood engravings and cuts show the potential for spot illustration to provide substantive punctuation to a body of text. The spot Illustration can tend to operate decoratively as well as a means of informing/visualising the narrative.

Can suggest drama and theatrics as well as creating mood and ambience - scene setting to assist the reader.

Enough with the Penguin

Paul Hogarth

Alan Fletcher

Quentin Blake

I know its overloading now but more examples of control allowing expression - limitation giving flexibility and scope. Enough.

Geoff Grandfield

In the spirit of punchy, graphic concept led imagery see Geoff Grandfield [our esteemed external examiner]. Clean straightforward articulation of an idea - Geoff is primarily an editorial Illustrator and is well versed in the art of the 'quick hit'.

Here a powerful graphic that encapsulates a mini narrative - uses a theatrical sense of space to suggest drama, foreboding. The judicious use of black further enhances the mood of the image - you get a sense that this is not a good situation for our man with the suitcase.

Stephen Russ

Stephen Russ produced these jacket designs/illustrations for the Penguin Poetry series during the 1960s [they feel very fresh and contemporary though no?]. See here for a fairly substantial archive of his work.
Whilst the set of imagery you produce for the 1st option will need to form part of a family each will have a different role or temperament - think of this one as the attention seeking middle child. The book Jacket is a piece of marketing, its role is to encapsulate a theme, brand, big idea in a single image. In many ways there are similarities between it and a piece of editorial Illustration as the intention is to coerce the viewer in to reading more, looking again and in itself needs to retain just enough enigmatic allure to make the viewer want more. So, different to a spot illustration or a more substantial spread.

Back to Stephen Russ - technically exquisite drawn images that simultaneously shout modernism, form based aesthetic and heritage - history - English-ness? Consider abstraction and pattern and test the opportunity to marry those two approaches in a single set of images.

The Grid

The Grid works - even the most 'expressive' line work and image making functions in the right kind of environment - the grid has made it possible to read this image and the limited palette brings the disparate elements together. The work is allowed to work in that well constructed environment - this supports the argument for a structure to hang your imagery from? These images are by Andres Francois, illustrator, cartoonist and satirical poster monger. See here for a little more detail.


4 spreads from Otto's book Musical Chairs based on a poem by Benjamin Heathcote. Following on from Mr Marber's illustrations, Otto's masterly use of duotone and overprint describe how limitation and discipline can give range, depth and consistency to a series of images. When working through a series consider creating that bond between images and remember that process is your friend.

Romek Marber

2 examples of Marber's own illustrations within the grid that he created. Evocative but controlled. The limited palette has amplified the drama of the image - the lead character's are anonymous but
still human and the decision to use such a limited chromatic approach gives flexibility with texture - so the marriage of photographic imagery with more abstracted form works because the colour family pulls the image together.

Joseph Muller Brockmann

Josef Müller-Brockmann 'I would advise young people to look at everything they encounter in a critical light . . . Then I would urge them at all times to be self-critical' courtesy of here.

Sorry couldn't resist. Wise words from the Swiss maestro. If you want to know more about the grid system then please refer to Mr Muller Brockmann's seminal tome -

Penguin Grid

Something familiar - I hope. The grid produced by Romek Marber for the standard penguin paperback jacket. Consistency and an underlying structure are the watchwords for the book project. Marber's grid was the skeleton for hundreds of book jackets it enabled variety and diversity whilst maintaining a visual/branded consistency that made the appreciation of difference all the more acute - arguably the grid creates opportunity for the Illustrator/Designer. So thinking about a 'system' for the book products when considering option 1 bear in mind that a visual structure, like the underlying grid, gives you a certain secure freedom.