Archive for October, 2016

Artists / Illustrators exhibition

Friday, October 28th, 2016

26 November to 24 December 2016

Hayletts Gallery Oakwood House 2 High Street Maldon Essex CM9 5PQ Open 10am – 5pm Tuesday to Saturday  Tel: 01621 851669


Revisit your childhood through the illustrations, paintings, prints and sketches of some of Britain’s most loved illustrators alongside some of their own work.

Quentin Blake (AOI Patron)

Peter Firmin

Paula Rego

Chloe Cheese (AOI Patron)

Maurice Sendak

Nicola Smee

Hannah Firmin

Eric Gill

Martin Leman

Belinda Worsley

Mark Hearld

Emily Sutton

Tom Knight

Sally Patrick, director of Hayletts Gallery was inspired to curate this exhibition due to the wealth of talent in and around Maldon and Essex alone.  Especially the acclaimed illustrator, Nicola Smee who has written and illustrated over 100 children’s books. Her images are shown here.


Nicola’s titles include CLIP-CLOP, voted one of the “Top 50 picture books of the past 25 years” also FUNNY FACE and NO BED WITHOUT TED. Also featured is Belinda Worsley who has illustrated 25 TOPSY AND TIM books for Ladybird.

The AOI in Arrest All Mimics!

Thursday, October 27th, 2016


We feature in the 44th episode of Arrest All Mimics, just released this last Tuesday!

Listen to AOI Managing Director Ren Renwick, Membership Co-Ordinator Lou Bones and show host Ben Tallon as they talk about pricing, licensing, illustration in the modern age, our exciting new programme of events, all the ins and outs of the AOI, and much more.

We are very excited to announce that we are now joining AAM as partners! We very much look forward to further promote and collaborate with Ben in new exciting ways, all to be revealed soon!

Listen to the AOI in Arrest All Mimics now.


Thursday, October 27th, 2016

12 Illustrators create limited edition notebooks in exciting collaboration

Illustrated notebooks by AOI Member Ben O'Brien (aka Ben the Illustrator)

Illustrated notebooks by AOI Member Ben O'Brien (aka Ben the Illustrator)

12 leading UK and international illustrators have joined forces with British notebook experts, Bookblock, in a limited series called Editions. The Bookblock Editions collection feature four unique designs from artists AOI Members Ben O’Brien, Marylou Faure and Claudine O’Sullivan alongside Supermundance, David Doran, Thomas Hedger and Kristen Boydstun.

AOI Member Claudine O'Sullivan

AOI Member Claudine O'Sullivan

The range showcases an array of colourful designs ranging from hand-drawn animal studies and watercolour landscapes to graphical geometric patterns and vector cityscapes. Each of the notebooks is created in the illustrators’ own distinctive style making them collectables for illustration fans and must-have accessories for stationery lovers on the hunt for something different.

“Bookblock and I share the same goal – we’re both looking to create the best products, combining quality and creativity. I’ve had an amazing time collaborating with Bookblock!” – AOI Member Marylou Faure

Notebook by AOI Member Marylou Faure

Illustrated notebook by AOI Member Marylou Faure

Since 2013, Bookblock has been busy perfecting every stage of the design and manufacture process by creating completely customised notebooks and journals for companies, brands, agencies and events. From printing the exact pantone to mastering the finishing touches, no detail is too small. Bookblock notebooks are crafted with one of the UK’s oldest bookbinders using traditional bookbinding and printing techniques.

The limited Bookblock Editions notebooks are available from £15 at

PRINT: An Exhibition of Work by MA Printmakers

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Middlesex University London Printmakers

24 – 29 October 2016

Coningsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London,W1T 4RJ Open from 10am to 6pm daily

PRINT’ marks the halfway point for five printmaking students currently studying on the two year MA programme at Middlesex University, featuring work by:

Lina Avramidou, Josephine Cottrell, Marcin Filip Cybulski, Matt Dennis and Georgina King.


What marks them out as individuals is the diversity of the disciplines that inform their work: Fine Art, Graphic Design, Book Arts and Physical/Cultural Geography. What binds them together is a shared interest in the materials and methods of printmaking. This makes itself felt in the works in the show, which have been made across a wide range of media, taking in etching, monotype, silkscreen, linocut, and site specific printmaking.

Pictoplasma NY tickets winner

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

AOI gave a way 2 complimentary tickets for the hotly anticipated Pictoplasma New York Conference 2016 to be held in November, and the lucky winer was Yinfan Huang who lives in the city itself.

Yinfan will be treated to a dense program of inspiring artist talks, state of the art animation screenings and lively panel discussions to celebrate the next generation of character design and art!


Taking place November 4  at The Tishman Auditorium of renowned Parsons School of Design, the conference invites all creatives and producers, trailblazing the face of tomorrow’s visual culture, to network and exchange strategies for tomorrow’s figurative representation

Contemporary Character Design and Art

4 November, 2016 Parsons School of Art, The Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall, The New School, 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

A to Z of Socialism – book review

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Illustrated by Phil Wriggleworth

Edited by Bhaskar Sunkara Published by Verso ISBN 978-1784787264


A to Z of Socialism is an intriguing narrow portrait format book with equally intriguing content matter. We all hear the word ‘socialism’ in various contexts, but are we really sure we know what it means, especially from the mouths of actual socialists? If you’re interested in questions such as ‘Doesn’t socialism always end up in dictatorships?’ then this will be a good place to start.


Each chapter contains lively illustrations by Phil Wriggleworth, helping to keep the tone light as the various writers (from the magazine Jacobin) deliver on a multitude of aspects of socialism, mainly relating to a US audience, and why it’s the way forward. As the introduction says, ‘We don’t have all the answers, but this book was made to tackle some of them’. Wriggleworth’s cover is a great draw for the book, indicating that it’s not the dry tome one might expect.


There are themes which echo very heavily on the current Presidential campaigns in the US, and featured pull quotes such as ‘ultimately the goals of a radical feminism and socialism are the same – justice and equality for all people’ highlight the issues tackled in the book.


It’s an interesting publication to dip into, and you may even find out the answer to the question ‘Don’t the rich deserve to keep most of their money?’.

Other reviews you may be interested in:

Do You Miss Your Country?


Ben Tallon AOI Interview: Arrest All Mimics Podcast

Friday, October 21st, 2016

AAM poster web

Arrest All Mimics, The Original Thinking and Creative Innovation Podcast is a weekly show hosted and produced by illustrator, art-director and author of Champagne and Wax Crayons, Ben Tallon. Now one year old, the show has become a staple weekly dose of advice from the creative industry, loaded with essential insights and honest tales by heavyweight guests. The AOI have recently teamed up with Tallon and AAM and we sat down to find out more about the show.


Heroes Of The Night Sky – book review

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

By Tom Kindley

Published by Cicada Books ISBN 9781908714329

Review by Peter Allen


The popularity in recent years of the Book Fair in all its forms; Graphic Art, Art Book, Comix, has greatly benefitted young, unknown graphic artists wanting to show their work, meet people, create a network; to make all the contacts necessary to provide a living from illustration. As the occasions become rarer to physically meet up with clients, public and contemporaries, so the making of runs of fanzines, comics, prints, short graphic novels and distribution of them in Book Fairs has come to replace the hauling of portfolios from publisher to publisher – the standard way before the internet made it all so effortless. It is a very effective means of meeting the people you work with or hope to, enjoyed by both clients and artists, and through the sharing of ideas new collaborations frequently begin.

Tom Kindley has been doing just that. Since graduating in Illustration at Edinburgh University in 2013 he has been doing the rounds and selling his fanzines, comics and concertina books at various book fairs. Commissions from independent publishers have led on from this, but the most important opportunity for him so far came at a Book fair when he met Ziggy from Cicada Books who invited him to put forward some ideas for a book. He decided to combine his longstanding interest in Greek mythology and the natural world, particularly stars, to create Heroes Of The Night Sky, which he describes as his biggest achievement to date.


The collaboration was bound to succeed. Cicada Books has specialised in publishing highly illustrated books since 2009 for both adults and children. They focus on emerging talent, beautiful packaging and fresh content, with the aim to produce books that delight and inspire. Tom describes working with Cicada as being struggle free and as they share similar tastes in book design and content they quickly worked out the concept together. When Ziggy first approached Tom she was making a conscious move towards the older boy audience and found that his style lent itself well to comic and action works. He feels however that the subject matter is so poetic that he thinks the book “will transcend its placing in the ‘boys’ market and that it will appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in mythology or the constellations”.

I first looked at the book with my son Elis aged 13 and we felt we were the book’s ideal audience and very capable of giving it a balanced opinion. Elis had done the Greeks at school and knew the tales of the gods off by heart so he was off straightaway opening up the flaps and trying to spot all the different characters. He’s not however the most avid of readers, but when inspired will read non-stop a comic or manga from cover to cover. (He also had Les Mystérieuses Cités d’Or (The Mysterious Cities of Gold) a French-Japanese cartoon series on permanent repeat, as he did with any one of Miyazaki’s animated films. We also had the original version of Godzilla in b+w among the piles of videos.)


Furthermore, on our summer holidays in the Pyrenees we take sleeping bags into the garden on the nights leading up to the Ascension, le 15 Août, and watch the shooting stars. During the intervals I attempt to point out some of the constellations that my dad had taught us as kids, also on our holiday in deepest France. Likewise for Tom, “as a young boy scout we would go camping in Northumberland’s Cheviot Hills, sleeping in a shepherd’s hut miles from civilisation; at night there wasn’t a light for miles and miles, the only light from a fire, the moon and the stars. I would just lay back and dream, thinking about what stories the stars had to tell”.


The fact that Elis put the book down after 5 minutes and went back to his iPad says less about this book’s qualities, than it does about the difficulty that books have nowadays to engage with readers who can turn on a screen and gain immediate access to an endless choice of full-on, moving images and sound. I’ll admit that the first read didn’t get me very far into the book, like a new album from when one of your favourite groups that you can’t help feeling disappointed with the first time you play it; the one that ends up becoming your favourite album by that group. I also didn’t quite know what to make of the pictures. Everything was well done, the book was lovely to hold and read, the printing was beautiful, the paper stock well chosen, but with Tom’s pictures I stumbled at first. I wasn’t sure how the illustrations were viewed, as accompaniments to the text or as separate friezes that make a clear break with the classic form of comic books?

Tom explains: “I always wanted the illustrations to work as stand alone pieces. If I’ve succeeded then the viewer’s eye should be drawn across the page as the narrative advances”. The strong stylisation of the characters is almost cartoon-like, but not quite, and the pastel colours and decorative filling of surfaces made me think of Art Deco, West Coast Psychedelia and early 70’s album covers that gave you a fleeting glimpse into sensuous worlds conjured up from a heady mixture of nostalgia, Nature, heroism.


But this wasn’t even half of it. The real source of inspiration for this book was something I owe to Tom for making me aware of. He describes how he “was brought up on a diet of Ray Harryhausen movies… a lot of which are inspired by or stolen from Greek mythology. Jason and the Argonauts and The Clash of the Titans were biggies too, but one of my favourite films that has informed my style is Princess Mononoke, a gorgeous film based on eastern mythology and it was what I was trying to achieve in terms of tone for my book”. He cites as further influences Jesse Moynihan’s book Forming and the concept album Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell, that chronicles Orpheus’ journey into the Underworld.


In Ray Harryhausen’s films there is that stiffness and awkwardness of action so typical of stop-animation at that time. A world that existed before colour TV became the norm; Bill and Ben, Pogles’ Wood, Magic Roundabout, children’s programmes that got swept aside by Tiswas and Swap Shop and cartoons on loop. Tom’s figures become figurines, superheroes repeating over and over their roles in the eternal dramas that are played out above us whether we watch or sleep. The dominant pastel-tones of his colour palette mirror the dream-state in which we hold these gods and goddesses, however invisible or forgotten they might have become to us they are present despite our neglect or ignorance and visible when we make the opportunity to seek them out.

Tom’s book needs to be read and reread in order to appreciate its qualities fully because it seems to me that it contains so much subtle detail that is only revealed when you can examine it closely and enter into its strange and magical aura. As having time becomes increasingly a luxury for us in our brim-full lives so will Heroes of the Night Sky gain in value, to discover and rediscover like all good things that are passed on down from generation to generation.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Dismal Incantation

Drawing People – The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

Pictoplasma Conference NYC 2016

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Contemporary Character Design and Art

4 November, 2016
Parsons School of Art, The Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall, The New School, 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

PICTOPLASMA returns to with a program of inspiring artist talks including illustrators Jean Jullien, Martina Paukova and You Jung Byun, state of the art animation screenings and lively panel discussions to celebrate the next generation of character design and art.


Taking place November 4  at The Tishman Auditorium of renown Parsons School of Design, the conference invites all creatives and producers, trailblazing the face of tomorrow’s visual culture, to network and exchange strategies for tomorrow’s figurative representation.


Laura Carlin: Ceramics

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

13 October 2016 – 11 January 2017

House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4BH


The first major public exhibition by acclaimed illustrator Laura Carlin which explores the narrative possibilities of ceramics.

In the exhibition Carlin uses archetypal ceramic forms such as the vessel, the tile, the object and the plate to explore ceramics and storytelling.

It will include a 650-tile mural exploring the history of London which combines a sequential storytelling format, typically associated with ephemeral comics and zines, with the permanent solid form of the ceramic tile. There will also be an installation of 20 illustrated plates, a ceramic Noah’s ark complete with animals, a theatrical installation with ceramic figurines and a large illustrated vessel.

Laura Carlin says: “While many illustrators are limited in the scale and nature of their work by the market, this exhibition will enable me to create something bold, ambitious and on a large scale, thereby demonstrating the potential of contemporary illustration when it is outside these constraints”.



Ardizzone: A Retrospective. Until 22 January 2017

Laura Carlin: Ceramics. Opens 13 October 2016.

Quentin Blake Gallery: The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots. Until 26 February 2017.