Archive for September, 2011

Illustration and Writing: Visual Languages

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Manchester Metropolitan University
3rd and 4th of November 2011.

Following on from Shadow Play in Cardiff in November 2010, the second Illustration Research Symposium looks to illustration as an expression of the ‘primary language of vision’ (Kepes) and aims to integrate its practices and philosophies, both historical and emerging.

Illustration and Writing will look at illustration as a visual language, and reflect on the role of the image within, around and in place of writing. Papers will explore the ways that purposeful images can augment, clarify or problematise meaning in relation to text.

The full list of speakers is on the symposium website here
Accompanying the symposium is an exhibition of work by Jonny Hannah, and a curated exhibition of contemporary illustration.

Registration details can also be found here. Registration costs £90 per day or £120 for both days. A discounted student rate is available.

Making Great Illustration – book review

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

How do illustrators at the top of their game put their work together? That generally hidden process is explored by the AOI’s Derek Brazell and Varoom Editorial Board member and illustration Professor, Jo Davies, in their new book, Making Great Illustration, published this week.


Making Great Illustration looks at some of the world’s best illustrators, offering information from exclusive face to face interviews, with images of work and portrait and studio photographs, it gives a wide ranging view into the creation of illustration from concept to finished work.


The book has ten sections, covering a wide range of illustrative practice from design and advertising, political illustration, children’s books, surface pattern and fashion illustration through to graphic novels and reportage illustration, showcasing many of the top artists in each field.


Making Great Illustration reveals the diversity of working methods used, and gives a rare insight into the unique perspective, approach and artwork of each artist.

We think the combination of face to face interviews, amazing artwork and portrait and studio photographs have produced a great book.


“Thoroughly profound… A wonderful and interesting read that creates an inspiring aura from start to finish.” –  Rebecca Abell, Association of Illustrators


Amelia’s Magazine has given the book a favourable review here

“A rich array of important, exciting and inspirational work, intelligently collated.” –  Kirsten Hardie, The Arts University College at Bournemouth

“Jo Davies and Derek Brazell do a brilliant job at highlighting the influence that illustration has in everyday life.” –  Grafik

“Beautifully curated … One of the loveliest aspects of the book is the attention to detail throughout. The photography is excellent, giving a real sense of each artist’s workspace … Making Great Illustration reveals the 21st century illustration world to be in rather rude health.” –  Steve Pill, Artists & Illustrators

“This exquisitely produced survey of contemporary work and workers in the field of illustration provides a cornucopia of images showing what’s going on in the world at the moment … something for everyone … a heavyweight and authoritative volume that says pretty much all there is to be said on its subject.” –  Henry Malt, Art Book Review

“Illustrators should gain insight, empathy and a rich seam of passive advice within the deftly distilled thoughts of these artists.” –  Stuart Ian Burns, Feeling Listless


Illustrators interviewed for the book include:

Ronald Searle – UK/France / Ralph Steadman – UK / Brad Holland – USA

Dominique Goblet – Belgium / Marian Bantjes – Canada / Grandpeople – Norway

Quentin Blake – UK / Oliver Jeffers – USA/Ireland / Javier Mariscal – Spain

Hvass and Hannibal – Denmark / Matthew Cook – UK / David McKean – UK

Naja Conrad Hansen – Denmark / Paul Davis- UK / Rob Ryan – UK

Jean Phillipe Delhomme – USA/France / Catalina Estrada – Colombia/Spain

Antoine + Manuel – France / Pete Fowler – UK / Yuko Shimizu – Japan/USA



Designers Block 2011

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011


we popped along to the Designers Block opening last night. Wonderful amount of multi-disciplinary stalls on show (including improvised dancing…) with none other than the Prince of Sweden being given a guided tour. I didn’t dare photograph him. His body guards were there.

The Farmiloe Building
34 St John Street

22-25 September
Entry £5


Designersblock London 2011 takes place in the Victorian splendour of the Farmiloe building in St John Street Clerkenwell. Featuring furniture, lighting, textiles, ceramics, concepts, and installations from over 100 UK and International designers, architects and artists. As well as textile, jewellery and fashion illustration workshopscurated by textile collective Puff & Flock


Illustration Now Vol.4

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011


Taschen‘s latest installment in the Illustration Now series features AOI Membership Co-ordinator Paul Ryding. Available at all good bookshops.



Francois Berthoud at FIG

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Fashion Illustration Gallery (FIG) at Fashion Week

FIG at The Mayor Gallery, 22A Cork Street, London W1S 3NA

Open to the public 11am – 5.30pm throughout Fashion Week

Friday 16th – Wednesday 21st September 2011


Showing François Berthoud’s Superilluman Portfolio. François is recognised as one of the most original fashion illustrators of the late 20th and early 21st century. Also showing new work by Jason Brooks, David Downton, Richard Gray, Tanya Ling and Sarah Mower.


FRAUDULENT COMMISSIONS ALERT! (please circulate/re-tweet)

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

We have been receiving and increasing number of pricing enquiries from our members that are becoming a concern and we would appreciate if you could spread the word for your own safety as well as your peers.

People posing as Art Directors and/or Commissioners have been emailing from African and eastern European countries offering  enticing commissions such as 48-sheet billboard advertising campaigns, for very high fees. They seem to have convincing websites set up as a point of reference that we suspect may or may not be a front for something else altogether. Our members have reported that, once they had shown interest in the job,  they were then asked to provide the following sensitive information before they commence work:

  • scan of their passport for security reasons for international employment
  • bank details to make a one time payment of £15 to post the contract to them
  • instructing the illustrator to use a specific courier for delivering roughs or prints in large quantities

The wording of the emails themselves are fairly convincing and unlike the normal scam emails everyone gets in their junk mail.

We cannot be sure that these emails are actual scams, but such requests for these details are both unnecessary and also highly inappropriate. We would urge caution from all Illustrators and also, please spread this warning to everyone you know. Include a note on your blog, Facebook and Twitter account if possible.

In these trying times, such high-profile commissions are very attractive to graduates especially and could easily lead to exploitation.

A Pocket Guide

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

A Pocket Business Guide for Artists & Designers: 100 Things You Need to Know

Illustrated by Tim Bradford

Alison Branagan has written a handy pocket guide presenting 100 useful business related things (explained in 250 words or less) that any creative should know. Contains 5 key sections packed with invaluable information; business, promotion, legal, money and last thoughts. Printed in the latest dyslexic friendly font FS Me on cream paper. With a foreword by Sir James Dyson.

Published by A&C Black
ISBN: 9781408129920

AOI Member Stuart Whitton – Origin solo show: 6th October 2011

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Origin invite final (web)


Friday, September 9th, 2011

Alphabets, Steampunk, Weapons & Toys

An exhibition by Viktor Koen

12th – 24th September 2011, 9-6pm weekdays

The Coningsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 4RJ


Viktorian showcases three main bodies of Viktor Koen’s work in different stages of their lifecycle and his own.

The collection includes the celebrated series, Dark Peculiar Toys and its typographical companion, Toyphabet. Warheads is a triptych of life size prints of men with military arms heads, which will be shown for the first time at The Coningsby Gallery, and its related illustrated alphabet, titled Warphabet.

Picture 1

Finally, works in progress from Bestiary; a visual study of hybrids, is the product of a long fascination with Greek Mythology and archival photography.

AGI Open 2011 – Barcelona

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

AGI – Alliance Graphique Internationale - will be holding their 2011 Open in Barcelona this year. Speakers include regular Varoom columnist Marian Bantjes and Varoom 15 cover artist Christoph Niemann. Also Varoom Editorial Board member, Angus Hyland and top Spanish illustrator Javier Mariscal.

AGI Open is the public and educational face of AGI. Once a year AGI opens its doors, offering a glimpse into the minds of some of the most influential designers worldwide. The purpose of the Conference is to educate and inspire students and professionals through presentations and an open exchange of ideas between AGI speakers and their audience.