Jason Ford at Seven Stories

June 27th, 2017 by Special Projects

Studio Takeover with Jason Ford

Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE1 2PQ

Seven Stories welcomes talented illustrator and cartoonist Jason Ford as he takes over our Studio for a weekend residency! Join Jason as he live draws the famous Newcastle skyline onto the wall of our Studio, and put yourself into a comic strip with a very special Comics Photobooth.

Screenshot 2017-06-27 12.39.57

Jason will also host events for all ages over the weekend.

World Illustration Awards 2017 Category Winners Announced

June 21st, 2017 by Special Projects

The Association of Illustrators, in partnership with the Directory of Illustration in California, is excited to announce category winners of the World Illustration Awards.

Tony Rodriguez 'Billy Murray | Mark Twain Prize' for the Washington Post

Tony Rodriguez 'Billy Murray | Mark Twain Prize' for the Washington Post

This year’s winning entries were selected by a panel of international judges from all aspects of the industry including commissioners, publishers and artists, such as Alexandra Zsigmond, Designer at the New York Times, Matt Smith, Creative at Australian public broadcaster SBS and London-based Jonathan Hubbard, Creative Director and Founder of The Clearing.

Zan Boag, Editor-in-Chief of New Philosopher and Editorial Director of Womankind magazine said after the initial shortlisting: “A wonderful bunch of entries, I look forward to discussing the favourites with the other judges. I think these are all excellent artworks – I would commission all of these artists in an instant.”

Category winners include a characterful portrait of Bill Murray for the Washington Post by US-based artist Tony Rodriguez, which was lauded by the jury for its strong composition and well executed traditional technique that captures the subject perfectly and in a unique style. Claudine O’Sullivan’s complex digital illustrations for the Apple Pencil Campaign were commended by the jury for their superb technique: “Flawlessly executed: can’t stop myself from staring at the pencil’s mesmerizing effect, it’s quite original” – judge Gabe Usadel. Lizzy Stewart’s playful and vibrant illustrations for children’s book ‘There’s a Tiger in the Garden’ were an immediate favourite with the category jury thanks to their full texture and character which reflect the key scenes from the book. Up-and-coming British talent Bethan Woollvin’s college projectLittle Red’ delighted the jury with its simple yet powerful imagery, portraying a contemporary retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with an androgynous protagonist, who could be seen as a relatable role model to all children.

Environmental themes are addressed with works by Chen Winner, whose educational animation made for CNN titled ‘Econundrum’ shows the consequences of buying bottled water, while the imaginative series of illustrations titled ‘Yen Town – The Last Unpolluted Territory’ by Sam Ki, depict a unity of humanity and the natural world.

Also of note is Marguerite Carnec’s series ‘Lieu de Vie’ which documents the artist’s time spent volunteering in The Jungle refugee camp in Calais and was skillfully created using a monoprint technique.

All category winners will feature in an exhibition at Somerset House from 31 July to 28 August. With over 2,300 entries from 64 countries for this year’s World Illustration Awards, the exhibition will showcase 50 shortlisted projects across the eight categories, from Advertising and Design to Books and Editorial, offering an accessible introduction to illustration in its many forms, and demonstrating the importance of visual communication in everyday life. Original exhibited works on display will include animations, posters, packaging and children’s books by artists from the UK, USA, Italy, The Netherlands, South Korea, Hong Kong and Israel.

This year, The World Illustration Awards is teaming up with Walker Books, the world’s leading independent publisher of English-language children’s books, to offer the Walker Books Family Programme. A series of free family workshops will take place throughout August in the exhibition space at Somerset House. These include workshops with debut author-illustrator Alice Tait, award-winning author-illustrator of the ‘Julius Zebra’ series Gary Northfield, upcoming artist and illustrator Elissa Elwick, and debut graffiti illustrator Sav Akyuz.

Read about the winners here: http://www.theaoi.com/awards/winners.php

Arrest All Mimics interview with Sir John Hegarty on creativity

June 21st, 2017 by Special Projects

by Ben Tallon

He emerges from the right corridor, grinning his way into the Garage Soho’s meeting room where I sit, awaiting my first Arrest All Mimics podcast interview with a Knight. “Is that Ben?” Sir John Hegarty deserves his title.


There’s endearing warmth and immediate authenticity about him that I’m certain has played a huge role in his success. Within moments of shaking hands, we’ve plunged feet first into the vast topic of creativity. For just over an hour, Hegarty (an AOI Patron) manages to take me down his rabbit hole and when I return, gasping for air, I feel like we’ve come pretty close to understanding everything there is to know about it.

“All my work stems from the belief that creativity is an expression of self,” he explains to me. “People say music is the greatest art form, but I say it’s second, behind life.” I feel like the kid who brought his homework in on time. I’ve become more and more obsessed with understanding the unique journey we all have and its symbiotic relationship with creativity. To hear it validated by a man with five times my professional experience, a founding partner of BBH, one of the world’s greatest advertising agencies, gives me a great rush of confidence.

John Hegarty

John Hegarty

Expression of self is not simply doing what you want to do, more bringing yourself, that utterly unique and most powerful creative weapon to the work you choose to do in order to make it truly stand out. So many people in the creative industry spend too much time pandering to trends and a vague notion of what is expected of them by a client, lecturer or audience, when they need not. The greatest solutions to the identity riddle are always within. Sometimes they come so naturally, we miss them altogether.

Hegarty and I share the opinion that there is not enough risk in today’s creative industry. “With Flat Eric, they really thought I’d gone mad…” He tells me as he smirks, revealing the defined laughter lines of one who has had fun. Flat Eric, the yellow puppet he cast as the new hero of Levis commercials in 1999 was an act of irreverence, something John feels is essential to creativity. He admits it was a gamble, but one he had faith in. It paid off.


Flat Eric Levi's commercial

As he recounts this amongst other instances where he had to fight for an idea, I sit back and bask in his glow. If we’re not enjoying our work, looking to be remembered and refusing to settle for tired, safe ideas, why are we in this dog-eat-dog industry? I doubt many of us arrived at college fantasizing about working on something we do not care about only to pay the bills.

“You’ve got to be prepared to challenge your own thinking, what you’ve done before. That’s the harshness of a creative career,” he tells me, looking slightly more serious now. “You’ve got to be fearless! You have to have faith in the creative work you’re doing.” He’s right, but it takes a certain tenacity to break through the fear of those holding the cards.

I think back to posters that felt just as epic as the film they promoted, adventurous album covers from my youth that broke from what had gone before and captured a piece of time and culture, perhaps missing from mainstream music today, and of course, bold advertising campaigns that got people talking in the street, becoming a part of pop culture.

Subservience and gentle existence do not breed that kind of impact. These were the acts of raw creativity that attracted me to art-college and then a career as an illustrator. Now, it’s the reason I host a podcast, wrote Champagne and Wax Crayons, continue to assign myself a daunting schedule in order to stay sharp, challenged and progressing.

Hegarty perfectly articulates the instinctive beliefs. “Without being enthusiastic, you won’t be truly great at something,” he states and don’t I know it. It’s often a long, winding road, filled with obstacles and things we’d rather not do, but the enthusiasm and drive to get past them has to be self-made, a by-product of leading fiercely with the things that speak to us, awakening the inner child. We all need to make money, but to become trapped by necessity is catastrophic.

BBH website

BBH website

I need to feel my hairs stand on end, a pure desire to get out of bed in the morning. Everything I’ve done that I consider an achievement in the arts has happened to some degree because I wanted to create the magic that John speaks of. Even in the busiest of weeks, I made time for attempted wizardry.

In front of me sits a man interested only in ideas, creativity, a maverick who is not afraid of ruffling a few feathers. Even now, after decades of hard work, the passion with which he speaks is infectious. It’s hard to imagine the man retiring, an idea that is also alien to me. “My son says I’m more like a mascot these days…” he laughs, suggesting his role at BBH is less involved than it once was. The example of creative thinking John Hegarty has set down for me is a giant one, but it’s important I don’t stand back in awe too long. It’s up to my generation to make sure we pick it up and harness the spirit to challenge conventional thinking.

To hear the full exclusive Arrest All Mimics interview with Sir John Hegarty on creativity, visit here

Ben Tallon is a freelance illustrator, author of Champagne and Wax Crayons: Riding the Madness of the Creative Industries and host of Arrest All Mimics, the Original Thinking and Creative Innovation podcast.

He works with WWE, EMI, Channel 4, The Guardian and The Premier League among others.

Art Out of the Bloodlands: A Century of Polish Artists in Britain

June 20th, 2017 by Special Projects

28 June – 17 September 2017

Ben Uri Gallery and Museum

108a Boundary Road, London, NW8 0RH Mon–Fri 10 am–5.30 pm, Sat–Sun 11am–5 pm

Marek Zulawski, Poland First to Fight, 1939, poster, Private Collection, courtesy the artist's estate

Marek Zulawski, Poland First to Fight, 1939, poster, Private Collection, courtesy the artist's estate

This is the second exhibition in Ben Uri’s series on refugee and migrant artists, highlighting the Polish contribution in Britain over the last century. This focus is particularly apt as the community approaches its millionth citizen, the largest migrant group in Britain, and as Poland celebrates its centenary in 2018 as an independent nation state.

The exhibition will tell aspects of the story of the Polish community in Britain, and Poland’s recent turbulent history, through the lens of art. It will trace the complex stories of Polish-born artists who fled successive regimes, were variously persecuted, imprisoned and interned, crossed continents – or, today, have made positive choices to come to Britain to study or to develop professionally.

The exhibition brings together a century of artworks and archival material by both celebrated and lesser-known Polish-born artists selected from the Ben Uri Collection and from Polish institutions, galleries and private collections.

Arrest All Mimics interviews Claudine O’Sullivan

June 20th, 2017 by Special Projects


Claudine O’Sullivan has picked up the prize for the advertising category in the World Illustration Awards 2017. Her distinct, vibrantly coloured illustration crosses many contexts and platforms and her stunning Apple iPad campaign work has landed her the big prize only one year into her full-time freelance career.

The Dublin born illustrator joins Ben Tallon to discuss how her organic style translated to digital, why she’s enjoying learning new things on the job and the importance of learning from good art-directors and clients.

Claudine also muses on the benefits of taking your time when taking on professional agency representation.

Listen now! What is creativity to you? Discuss with @arrestallmimics on Twitter.

Kate Greenaway Medal 2017

June 19th, 2017 by Special Projects

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for distinguished illustration in a book for children has been declared – and it’s Lane Smith for There is a Tribe of Kids.

AOI member, Francesca Sanna is the winner of the Amnesty CILIP Honour for The Journey.


Here’s the shortlist for 2017:

2017 Shortlist2 copy

Previous winners include Levi Pinfold, Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes, former Children’s Laureates Quentin Blake and Anthony Brown, and recent Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.

Face-Off – Pictoplasma

June 19th, 2017 by Special Projects

Reveal Your True Self with a Character Selfie!

Back in 2013—when ’selfie’ was the Oxford English Dictionary’s freshly nominated word-of-the-year and the first Oscar celebrity group selfies went viral, no-one saw this as a harbinger of headshot hell. Then, just as we had become accustomed to the world wide spread of selfie sticks, blurry duck faces, and underexposed narcism, a new explosion of filters, stickers, and face-swapping began taking things to unprecedented levels of silliness.

Jon Burgerman

Jon Burgerman

What do the multiple trillions of photos now in circulation say about our identities?

Perfect time for Pictoplasma, the world’s leading festival of character design and art, to issue a call for entries that puts creativity back in focus. Pictoplasma has teamed up with Adobe Project 1324 to invite all global youth (aged 18—24) to express their personalities in an artistically ‘characterized’ self portrait.

Starting with a regular photograph like a headshot or profile picture and overlaying it with a graphical rendition of their true identity, entrants are invited to express their personality with a self-portrait that lets their inner character shine!

Amandine Urruty

Amandine Urruty

Five winners will be awarded with a full-blown Character Design Fellowship, including travel costs and participation at the Pictoplasma Academy masterclass in Mexico City October 2017, six-months of online mentoring, and attendance at the Pictoplasma Berlin Conference May 2018—including the opportunity to exhibit in an exclusive group show.

Any medium or tool may be used, from drawing, collage or digital painting, vector illustration, 3D graphics, masks, costume design or a mix of them all…

Guillaume Kashima

Guillaume Kashima

The Face-Off Challenge is open now, deadline for submissions is August 15, 2017. The first 100 submissions have been eligible to win one of ten year-long Creative Cloud subscriptions, donated by Adobe.

Show Character!

pictoplasma.com/face-off #CharacterFaceOff

Process Special: The Little Mermaid with Metaphrog

June 16th, 2017 by Special Projects

1 Berwick Street, Soho, London W1F ODR
June 28th 7.30-9pm

Award-winning graphic novelists Metaphrog discuss their latest adaptation The Little Mermaid



Metaphrog are Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, graphic novelists and winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 Best Visual Artist. Their work is highly-acclaimed internationally, has received multiple award nominations, including three for the Eisner Awards, and Louis – Night Salad was Highly Commended for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2011. Metaphrog tirelessly promote the medium of comics and travel regularly to talk about their work in schools, libraries and at festivals. They are Patrons of Reading at Northfield Academy, the first graphic novelists ever to fill such a role, and were Writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (2015). Their adaptations of fairy tales, The Red Shoes and Other Tales and The Little Mermaid, are published by Papercutz/NBM.

The event follows on from their north American tour in support of the release.

Think and Make like an Artist – book review

June 16th, 2017 by Special Projects

By Claudia Boldt and Eleanor Meredith

Published by Thames & Hudson ISBN 9780500650981

Review by Ren Renwick


As every parent (or wise friend of parents) knows, the first test of a good children’s book is how appealing it is to adults. I’ll be the first to admit I have ‘lost’ several gut wrenchingly awful books because I just can’t face reading them again and again (and again).

So – with Think and Make Like an Artist – so far so good. Sumptuous pictures, enticing illustrations, lovely paper stock and a general feeling that what you are dealing with is considered, has integrity, and is educational in the very best way.


Test two of course is to engage the kids. So, in the middle of a yawning week of half term I called my 5 and 2 year olds over and suggested we try something out. The book offers a range of artist inspired projects, from printing to puppets, mobiles to sculptures.


Success no 2! We had a happy time choosing what we fancied with all of us genuinely torn between several options. All the projects were several steps above the usual ‘flower on a stick’ fare, and are of varying levels of sophistication – for all ages and abilities.


Brilliantly, the materials were generally common enough that we had them around the house, so (aside from having to eat a few yoghurts to get the empty pots) we were ready to go with whatever we chose.


It’s fair to say that a 2 year old is basically too young for anything other than eating the glue, but she did a great line in sticking body parts in. The 5 year old was so proud of his Claudia Boldt inspired bottle it’s gone to school for ‘show and tell’.

Throughout the book there are images of artists work. These references, usually summarised in four lines and a picture, are light touch, and while we found it a great talking point, it could be nice to have a little more.


However, I was inspired to research some of the referenced artists I wasn’t familiar with, and the 5 and 2 year old went to bed discussing what colour ‘happy’ was. Frankly I felt like a pretty good parent at the end of the day, and the book is already a firm favourite.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

School of Art

Rubber Stamping

After Hours – Gaurab Thakali exhibition

June 14th, 2017 by Special Projects

Beach London Upstairs at Camden’s Daughter

289-291 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2JS (Open Fri-Sun, 12-6)

Beach London launches with an exhibition of new artwork by Camberwell-based painter Gaurab Thakali.

Alongside new artworks and prints,they will have number of limited edition pieces by Gaurab including a T-shirt, pin and poster.