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Hans Eijkelboom’s People of the 21st Century

Posted: October 22nd, 2014 | Author: Eliza Williams | Filed under: Books, Photography | Comments Off

We are used to seeing photos of people who stand out on the street – those who are snapped by fashion mags for having a 'look' all their own. But what about the rest of us? We might just find a place in Hans Eijkelboom's new book, People of the 21st Century...

The book, published by Phaidon, chronicles a body of work created over a 22-year period. Each page features an assemblage of shots all taken in an individual place: Eijkelboom sets up camp for a maximum of two hours in an area of a city (usually a busy shopping district) and then picks a 'type' to photograph. The grouping could be made through a particular item of clothing, or object, or by a behaviour – couples walking arm in arm, for example. The day's shots are then organised as a group and dated.

 

The book is fascinating to flick through – in part to see the changing fashions (remember when everyone was wearing lumberjack shirts?) but also in the deeper questions it provokes. Are we all fashion automatons? Do we not have any unique style? When advertising is so often focused on promoting the idea of free expression and individuality, it is somewhat disheartening to see that in actuality, we all end up looking the same.

Eijkelboom describes his work as being rooted in "identity" and states that this project was sparked by a desire to explore his place within a society dominated by commercialism. "When I started the project, I wondered whether I was a product of the consumer society, rather than my own man," he says in a recent interview. "I wanted to make the series almost as a mirror, in which to see myself. If I can see the surrounding society, then I can see what makes me who I am. I think ‘how can you be so naïve to go to a shop, to buy clothes that sum up your personality, and not realise that, at the same time, 10,000 men and women around the world do and think the same things?’ But I do it too, of course. We’re told we’re individuals, and we buy these things, and we are a product of the culture that we live in."

In the introduction to the book, David Carrier argues that beyond the common factor grouping the figures, much diversity is revealed, yet it is difficult not to see Eijkelboom's work as a statement about our conformity and desire to fit in. This is reinforced by the snatched style of the images – Eijkelboom grabs his shots via a remote trigger hidden in his jacket pocket, so the passers-by are oblivious to being photographed. The style sets his work apart from other recent photographic projects such as Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York, which, through the combination of short interviews and carefully shot portraits, serves to highlight the individual rather than the crowd.

Eijkelboom's work draws comparison with Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek's Exactitudes project, which also groups people according to their clothing styles, though in a more formal setting. It also falls within a lineage of documentary photography that includes the work of Martin Parr. Yet there is something undeniably contemporary about Eijkelboom's exploration of conformity and individual expression, and also in his demonstration of the fact that we are more conscious than ever that our clothes are vehicles of self-expression. Even if it turns out that lots of other people express themselves in exactly the same way.

People of the 21st Century by Hans Eijkelboom is published by Phaidon, priced £24.95. More info is here.


The Art of Smallfilms

Posted: October 22nd, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Art, Books, Illustration, Music Video / Film | Comments Off

From the puppets created for Bagpuss and The Clangers, to the paper cut-outs that shaped the world of Noggin the Nog, the archive of Smallfilms has been meticulously detailed in a new publication from Four Corners Books. It's both a celebration of handmade creativity and a tribute to British eccentricity and imagination...

The book has been put together by Jonny Trunk who is, as comedian Stewart Lee suggests in his introduction, something of an archivist of British popular culture. Trunk's methods as a cultural excavator are, Lee says, a perfect fit for a visual history of one of the UK's most cherished creative companies.

 

Eva Herzog's highly detailed photography captures all the figures, puppets, sets and drawings used to create The Clangers, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog, plus a selection of Smallfilms' lesser known series, including The Pogles and Pogles' Wood, Tottie: A Doll's House and Pinny's House. Each object is documented, quite rightly, as a piece of art.

Smallfilms was the result of Oliver Postgate's belief that he could make better children's television programmes than those being aired in Britain in the late 1950s.

As a stage manager for ITV he made props for science programmes and sit-coms and, in 1958, after a brief experience of children's television, he wrote a six-episode story entitled Alexander the Mouse, which was then commissioned by the channel.

To make the backgrounds and character design for the programme, Postgate contacted Peter Firmin, a freelance illustrator and lecturer at the Central School of Art in London.

 

After collaborating on an early animation technique whereby characters were moved around on a zinc table via magnets held underneath, the pair worked on carboard constructions which were animated live by levers and sliders positioned behind the card.

Postgate eventually purchased a camera and taught himself to animate, while Firmin, based in Twickenham at this time, began to construct 3D models and puppets. The raw materials were essentially household objects that they had to hand – fabrics, cotton reels, computer tape and foil would be mixed with felt, paper, wire and glue.

When the Firmin family moved to a farmhouse in the village of Blean in Kent in 1959, the outbuidings and barn provided Smallfilms with a workshop studio.

Shortly afterwards the Postgates moved to nearby Whitstable and The Pingwings and the The Pogles (1965-68, spread shown above) became their first animated films to use models (the latter was filmed outdoors, something that Postgate later advised against ever doing again because of the ever-changing light).

 

As a general rule, Trunk writes, Postgate would come up with a series idea and Firmin would produce the sets, models and puppets – which Postage would then film. Firmin's wife Joan was also integral to the process: she made many elements for the programmes, including costumes and clothes and even the knitted Clangers themselves (above).

Soon enough, Smallfilms became something of a cottage industry – albeit a small-scale, highly imaginative one – that went on to produce the children's classics which would make its name in the 1960s and 70s, namely: The Clangers (1969-74), Bagpuss (1974), Ivor the Engine (1958-59 in b/w and 1975-77 in colour, two spreads shown below) and Noggin the Nog (1959-65 in b/w and 1982 in colour).

 

While Firmin (now 85) has clearly kept the Smallfilms archive extremely well preserved, credit must go to Trunk and Richard Embray at Four Corners for pursuing the idea of bringing it all together in book form.

Herzog's photography is so good that the experience of looking at the pictures of these well-known characters from yesteryear feels more like quietly studying them in an exhibition.

 

In his introduction, Lee states that a minor danger in enthusing about this kind of work is that fans can appear reactionary; the world in which Postgate and Firmin created these films has long since ceased to exist: "The social circumstances and value systems that shaped those paper and scissors, arts and crafts cowshed visionairies of another era, Firmin and Postgate, are long gone," he writes.

But to see this world preserved in such a beautifully produced book is a real treat. And perhaps something of Postgate and Firmin's method does live on, or has been renewed, in the digital age. Their adherence to salvaging and recycling things, using their hands to turn unassuming objects into a brilliant kind of folk art, still speaks to the modern audience.

The Art of Smallfilms – The Work of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, edited by Jonny Trunk and Richard Embray, is published by Four Corners Books; £25. The book is designed by John Morgan and features photography by Eva Herzog. Art direction by Morgan and Kirsten Hecktermann




The Art of Smallfilms

Posted: October 22nd, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Art, Books, Illustration, Music Video / Film | Comments Off

From the puppets created for Bagpuss and The Clangers, to the paper cut-outs that shaped the world of Noggin the Nog, the archive of Smallfilms has been meticulously detailed in a new publication from Four Corners Books. It's both a celebration of handmade creativity and a tribute to British eccentricity and imagination...

The book has been put together by Jonny Trunk who is, as comedian Stewart Lee suggests in his introduction, something of an archivist of British popular culture. Trunk's methods as a cultural excavator are, Lee says, a perfect fit for a visual history of one of the UK's most cherished creative companies.

 

Eva Herzog's highly detailed photography captures all the figures, puppets, sets and drawings used to create The Clangers, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog, plus a selection of Smallfilms' lesser known series, including The Pogles and Pogles' Wood, Tottie: A Doll's House and Pinny's House. Each object is documented, quite rightly, as a piece of art.

Smallfilms was the result of Oliver Postgate's belief that he could make better children's television programmes than those being aired in Britain in the late 1950s.

As a stage manager for ITV he made props for science programmes and sit-coms and, in 1958, after a brief experience of children's television, he wrote a six-episode story entitled Alexander the Mouse, which was then commissioned by the channel.

To make the backgrounds and character design for the programme, Postgate contacted Peter Firmin, a freelance illustrator and lecturer at the Central School of Art in London.

 

After collaborating on an early animation technique whereby characters were moved around on a zinc table via magnets held underneath, the pair worked on carboard constructions which were animated live by levers and sliders positioned behind the card.

Postgate eventually purchased a camera and taught himself to animate, while Firmin, based in Twickenham at this time, began to construct 3D models and puppets. The raw materials were essentially household objects that they had to hand – fabrics, cotton reels, computer tape and foil would be mixed with felt, paper, wire and glue.

When the Firmin family moved to a farmhouse in the village of Blean in Kent in 1959, the outbuidings and barn provided Smallfilms with a workshop studio.

Shortly afterwards the Postgates moved to nearby Whitstable and The Pingwings and the The Pogles (1965-68, spread shown above) became their first animated films to use models (the latter was filmed outdoors, something that Postgate later advised against ever doing again because of the ever-changing light).

 

As a general rule, Trunk writes, Postgate would come up with a series idea and Firmin would produce the sets, models and puppets – which Postage would then film. Firmin's wife Joan was also integral to the process: she made many elements for the programmes, including costumes and clothes and even the knitted Clangers themselves (above).

Soon enough, Smallfilms became something of a cottage industry – albeit a small-scale, highly imaginative one – that went on to produce the children's classics which would make its name in the 1960s and 70s, namely: The Clangers (1969-74), Bagpuss (1974), Ivor the Engine (1958-59 in b/w and 1975-77 in colour, two spreads shown below) and Noggin the Nog (1959-65 in b/w and 1982 in colour).

 

While Firmin (now 85) has clearly kept the Smallfilms archive extremely well preserved, credit must go to Trunk and Four Corners for pursuing the idea of bringing it all together in book form.

Herzog's photography is so good that the experience of looking at the pictures of these well-known characters from yesteryear feels more like quietly studying them in an exhibition.

 

In his introduction, Lee states that the danger in enthusing about this kind of work is that fans of it can appear reactionary; the world in which Postgate and Firmin created these films has changed forever:

"The social circumstances and value systems that shaped those paper and scissors, arts and crafts cowshed visionairies of another era, Firmin and Postgate, are long gone," he writes.

But to see this world preserved in such a beautifully produced book is a real treat. And perhaps something of Postgate and Firmin's method lives on, or has been renewed, in the digital age. Their adherence to salvaging and recycling things, using their hands to turn unassuming objects into a brilliant kind of folk art, still speaks to the modern audience.

The Art of Smallfilms – The Work of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, edited by Jonny Trunk and Richard Embray, is published by Four Corners Books; £25. The book is designed by John Morgan and features photography by Eva Herzog. Art direction by Morgan and Kirsten Hecktermann




AOI Illustration Awards 2014

Posted: October 17th, 2014 | Author: Antonia Wilson | Filed under: Art, Books, Illustration | Comments Off

There's some wonderful work on show at Somerset House this month as part of the AOI Illustration Awards 2014. Here are some the winning images and other highlights from the shortlisted work...

The Awards are open to illustrators around the world, working in any medium, and are assessed by judges from the industry, including commissioners, publishers and artists. Overall Professional and New Talent winners are selected from a shortlist of winning work across eight categories - Books, Children's Books, Self Initiated, Advertising & Design, Editorial, Public Realm, Research & Knowledge Communication, and Research & Knowledge Communication.

We love the elusive, smug little bird (above) in Chris Haughton's SHH We have a plan, which won the Children's Books Category (Professional).

 

Charlotte Halsey created a 3D piece called Wandering in Circles (Part Two) from 3000 individually hand cut paper curls (New Talent, Self-Initiated). The delicate detail in her work is mesmerising. (Pictured above)

Also shortlisted in Self Initiated, was Michael Parkin's screenprint Where There's A Will There's A Whale. (Pictured below)

And Aaron Meshon's pen and ink Brooklyn! map won the Self Initiated category (Professional). (Pictured below)

Jasu Hu was the New Talent winner in the Advertising and Design category with this series for World's End Clothes, inspired by the architecture of Louis Kahn. (Pictured above)

Andy Ward's series of posters for a mental health campaign for the University of California's Santa Cruz campus, was the Professional winner this category. It certainly answers the client's request for a "no holds barred assult on the eye with a 100% artificial colouring approach"). (Pictured above)

What's not to love about an owl in 3D glasses... as seen in Jonathan Burton's poster for the Athens Open Air Film Festival (shortlisted for Advertising & Design, Professional). (Pictured above)

Also from Burton, a series of surreal illustrations for Douglas Adams' Life, the Universe and Everything, commissioned by The Folio Society, which was shortlisted for the Books category (Professional). (Pictured above)

And winning in the Books category for New Talent was Katie Ponder for her dark collage series The Rite of Spring, inspired by Stravinsky's music of the same name. (Pictured below)

Winning the overall Professional Award and in the Books category, was Geoff Grandfield's illustrations for Mary Renault's set of historical novels The Alexander Trilogy, created using chalk pastel on printmaking paper. (Pictured below)

And winning the overall New Talent award, and in the Children's Books category (New Talent), was William Grill for his beautiful colour pencil illustrations for Shakleton's Journey, reinterpreting a historical expedition for a younger audience. (Pictured below)

Prosopagnosia by Johanna Roehr won the New Talent Award in the Research & Knowledge Communication category, illustrating a condition also understood as 'face blindness', where the ability to recognise faces is impaired. This is part of an on-going project by Roehr, called dis•order: A Visual Dictionary of Curious Neurological Phenomena. (Pictured below)

David Doran, won in the Editorial category, for New Talent, for his commission for The New York Times Book Review, which accompanied a review of Dennis Bock's novel, Going Home Again. (Pictured above).

And Fabricating Art, by Laurindo Feliciano, for Flaunt magazine won in this category for Professional. (Pictured below)

The shortlist for this category also included this political illustration called Cameron's Cuntry, by Paolo Fiore (New Talent), complete with Fiore's take on Cameron's campaign poster. (Pictured below)

It's well worth checking out all the shortlisted work on the AOI website, and there's also an exhibtion of selected work on at Somerset House in London, until November 2.

This includes some great work from the shortlist for the Children's Books category, including Yeji Yun's fishy characters for the ancient Korean folk tale The Rabbit and the Dragon King, Zoom Zoom Zoom by Katherina Manolessou, and some awesome infographics in Grundini: Body Book by Peter Grundy. (All shortlisted for the Professional award, pictured below, top-bottom).

www.theaoi.com

www.somersethouse.org.uk


Win these six books in our #1mCR pile up!

Posted: October 16th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Advertising, Art, Books, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Photography | Comments Off

As part of today's #1mCR Twitter fun we are giving away a couple of splendid prizes, including this set of six new titles from Laurence King. To be in with a chance of winning them, all you have to do is get your visual-thinking hat and read on...

As we reached 1m followers on Twitter this morning, we thought we would like to say thank you for helping us get there and offer up a great prize for one lucky CR reader.

Publishers Laurence King have kindly dontated six new books for us to giveaway (as displayed above).

They are: Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists by Marion Deuchars; Fifty Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen and Caroline Roberts; TM by Mark Sinclair; Editorial Design by Cath Caldwell and Yolanda Zappaterra; Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera by Robert Shore; and 100 Ways to Create a Great Ad by Tim Collins.

As we're celebrating a digital achievement, for this competition we thought we would turn the focus onto our other love: print. So to win this fine selection of paper-based objects, all you have to do is correctly guess the height of the pile when the six books are placed on top of one another*. Old school competition! (*Not end on end! Books will be piled up on top of one another, you know, in a conventional book-piling manner.)

If it helps, page numbers (and dimensions) of each of the books are available on the LK website. But you're a canny lot – and we reckon someone can have a decent go at guessing the combined thickness of all six. If you guess correctly, or if you come closest to the exact figure as verified by our ruler-wielding friends at the publishers – you win the stack.

A few pointers:

– Answers in millimetres, in the comments below, please. Remember to leave your name and also email address along with your guess. If you don't leave an email we won't be able to contact you if your guess is correct.

– Tt would be wise to try and plump for a figure that no-one else has guessed so far, but in the event that the correct answer is left by several commenters, the first to have left the answer wins.

– The competition closes on Monday October 20th at 11am. Any answers posted after this will not be counted. The correct answer and winner's name will be published on the post later that day.

Good luck!

This competition is now closed – Winner announced!

Thanks to everyone who entered, but we can now reveal the winner of the six Laurence King books.

The height of the pile of six books was measured at LK HQ and confirmed as:

151 mm.

Our winner is "Stephanie" who was the first (and only) person to guess 151 mm correctly at 16.08 on October 16. Well done Stephanie! An email is on its way to you now.

To celebrate reaching one million followers on Twitter, we're also offering 30% off all subs packages until midnight (GMT) on Friday October 17 – go here for details.


Can I get an RT? CR’s most retweeted stories

Posted: October 16th, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Art, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Music Video / Film, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

CR reached 1m followers on Twitter today, so we thought we'd take the opportunity to look at some of our most retweeted stories and, if you're a CR follower, tell you a bit more about the million-strong gang you're part of. To celebrate, we also have a great CR subscription offer for you...

Thanks to our followers we've just reached a milestone on Twitter – to celebrate that fact we're offering 30% off all subscriptions packages until midnight (GMT) on Friday October 17 – go here for details.

Our very first tweet, sent out on February 23 2009, read "Creative Review's first tweet". We like to think that it was this kind of in-depth yet pithy analysis that helped us on our way to reaching a million followers this morning.

Looking back over our 14,000 or so tweets (exporting data from Twitter Analytics) many of them certainly did OK, plenty did very well, but a select few went RT-crazy.

In fact, two of our most popular tweets ever were sent out within the last couple of months: one linked to a story on the design of Aphex Twin's highly-anticipated new record; the other linked to images of, yes, some radical Norwegian banknote design. A look back at the stats reveals that our followers are interested in a huge range of subjects.

So, where are you from?

Well, according to TweepsMap, 29.1% of our Twitter followers are in the US, 26.3% in the UK, 3.5% from Canada, and 3.2% in India.

Indonesia represents 3% of our Twitter audience. It's a very international crowd with a further 8.7% of followers based in 191 different nations. Listed by city, the top five places are London (6%), New York (3%), LA (2%), Jakarta (2%) and Washington DC (1%).

And what do you like?

The results show that it's as wide a set of subjects as our audience is international – and also reflects the breadth of creativity CR aims to cover.

Using MyTopTweet we can bring up the most retweeted CR tweets of our last 3,200 but, again, exporting from Analytics and reordering the data gives us a better idea of what was popular over the last two years.

Our most retweeted RTs or MTs – i.e. retweets of images tweeted by other people, or links to external sites – include a shot of a Dutch bricklaying machine in action, a Richard Jolley cartoon for Private Eye and the news that twelve of Tom Gauld's Guardian strips are now – or at least were at the time – available as prints.

But looking at the most retweeted tweets that link to our own blog stories, there was a really interseting mix. So, here's the top ten, covering the last two years.

1. We've noticed how images have become key to Twitter over the last few years and this one, which linked to details on our just-published World Cup issue, seemed to sum up the state of the beautiful game:

 

2. One of Twitter's strong points is the ability to get a message out and have it shared by a community with a common bond, even if the news is rather sad:

 

3. Sometimes the subject matter can be a little suprising (here, banknote design) – but when it looks this good, it demonstrates how great work can get people talking about all manner of things:

 

4. No surprises here. Aphex Twin + new album + packaging by the Designers Republic x internet = RTs. A very popular tweet and blog post.

 

5. This one for a homeless charity in London also did well – a clever idea which produced some great artwork:

 

6. And this is powerful stuff, too. Also, the campaign certainly seems to have had an effect, as Lego recently ended its links with Shell:

 

7. This is great as it's our most retweeted tweet which links back to the Feed section of our site. Great creative work from Istanbul:

 

8. Transport for London are a perennial CR Twitter favourite when it comes to communications projects produced for them. Add cycling into the mix and you have yourself a tweet with legs:

 

9. And back to the World Cup. How to design a football kit – keeping to the FIFA rules:

 

10. Our tenth most retweeted tweet was news of Peter Chadwick's launch of his fantastic archive of images of Brutalism:


The above is certainly an eclectic mix – but the link between them all is great creativity.

To say thank you for following us, keep an eye on the blog today for new offers on magazine subscriptions, plus we have a great selection of books from Laurence King up for grabs.

CR is on Twitter at @creativereview.

To celebrate reaching one million followers on Twitter, we're also offering 30% off all subs packages until midnight (GMT) on Friday October 17 – go here for details.


Small Publishers Fair 2014

Posted: October 6th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Art, Books, Type / Typography | Comments Off

Over fifty independent UK presses are set to attend the Small Publishers Fair at London's Conway Hall this November, offering attendees the chance to check out a range of books by writers, poets, artists, designers and composers...

On Friday 14 and Saturday 15 November, the Conway Hall on Red Lion Square will host the free event which aims to showcase the best in small press publications; from artists' and fine press books, to 'zines, pamphlets and other printed ephemera.

This year's special exhibition, Herman de Vries – Books and Editions (first shown in the Van Abbemuseum in Einhoven, 2013-201), is curated by Herman de Vries and publisher/art dealer, Peter Foolen.

According to the organisers, the show includes an overview of "artist books, catalogues, cards, earth rubbings, dried plants and leaves, editions as well as publications from de Vries' Eschenau summer press". The works on display are from Foolen's own collection, extended with works on loan from the artist. (Peter Foolen Editions will also publish a small book on occasion of this exhibition.)

The Small Publishers' Fair 2014 is at Conway Hall, Red lion Square, London WC1R 4RL from November 14-15, 11am to 7pm. There will be readings and book launches on the Saturday. More at smallpublishersfair.co.uk, facebook.com/smallpublishersfair and via @smallpublishers. Photographs by Caspar Evans


Front to back: The Book of Strange New Things

Posted: October 6th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Books, Graphic Design, Illustration, Type / Typography | Comments Off

The new novel from Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things, features a cover designed and art directed by Canongate's Rafaela Romaya and illustrated by Yehrin Tong. In the latest instalment of our Front to Back series, the pair talk through the process behind creating a unifying symbol and pattern design for the book...

Aside from The Fire Gospel, Faber's 2008 contribution to the Canongate Myth Series, The Book of Strange New Things is the Dutch-born author's first new novel for 12 years – his previous books include Under the Skin (adapted by Jonathan Glazer and Walter Campbell in their film version of last year), The Courage Consort and The Crimson Petal and the White.

According to Canongate, the new book follows the journey of a missionary, Peter Leigh, who leaves behind his beloved wife "for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things'."

 

Creative Review: What did the briefing process involve?

Rafaela Romaya: We wanted to position Michel with confidence – as a serious contemporary heavyweight alongside names such as David Mitchell and Donna Tartt. However, the brief itself was pretty open in terms of how we could achieve this and create an iconic jacket that reflects the emotion of the novel in an original and fresh way.

CR: Can you talk through the design process?

RR: After reading an early draft of the manuscript what struck me was the relationship not only between Peter and his wife but also between Peter and the 'Oasans' which highlighted just how ‘human' the book is. By setting the book in an alien environment, Faber is able to reflect on what relationships mean to us and how far they can test our pre-conceived ideals from a distant and unexpected perspective.

First visuals toyed with the idea of raindrops and teardrops, shattered lettering, even metal covers, says art director, Rafaela Romaya

 

Water is also a huge theme in the book and there's a beautiful line where Peter describes the seeing the rain in space for the first time: "The rain! The rain wasn't falling in straight lines, it was ... dancing! ... hundreds of thousands of silvery lines all describing the same elegant arcs."

It's a book about relationships and environments, so after reading that line the cover was conceived as a droplet that could also represent a human tear of both joy or sadness.

The concept developed with the teardrop as the central icon. Texture was created through the illustration and the use of a foil to create a 'stardust' effect on the jacket. Two editions – in silver and gold – were also considered

 

I really liked the  simplicity and symbolism that the teardrop shape gave; I wanted the teardrops to dance like a musical script and the jacket to give you a sense of wonder, a sense of possibilities – like shining a magnifying glass on a universe made up of the same stardust that created all of us. It was also a great central motif that's a very pure icon for such big ideas.

Enter Yehrin Tong: I'd been a fan of her work for a while but never had the perfect brief for us to collaborate on until now. Her work has a quality, beauty and sensitivity that married perfectly with the cover we wanted to create.

CR: Yehrin, with the concept and overall design in place, how did you go about creating the specific artwork for the cover?

YT: It was great working with Rafi who was already in tune with how I work with shapes and patterns. We were on the same page when it came to envisaging how this might come together; I loved her bold yet poignant teardrop concept and wanted to highlight this by keeping it as simple and elegant as possible.

The teardrop being the strong focal point, it acts as a vortex that swirls and blends the circular motif into the finer detail of the background. The teardrop stands out from a distance then gradates as it merges with the background to a different depth of pattern that has a more subtle and gentle tone up close.

This version (above) addressed the type hierarchy: strong author branding with room for the title to breathe meant that the central teardrop icon could be showcased at centre

 

There's a theme of repetition and rhythm to my work, much like a musical riff with subtle nuances, that lends itself well to the sense of undulating fluidity, warmth and emotion that we were looking for. To know that a client understands your process, trusts your abilities and has the patience to let you work to your full potential – Rafi was always open to suggestions and positive which made this a truly enjoyable creative process.

Pattern for the metalic bronze Pantone endpapers

 

CR: With such a detailed illustration, what were some of the challenges in producing/printing the cover? How did the final version turn out?

TY: There was a minor technical issue with the foil bleeding together. I was reluctant to simplify the artwork, as I was very happy with the piece as it was, so I spent a fair amount of time combing through the whole piece making sure there was the minimum space necessary without losing the detail needed to create the overall effect.

The final effect is mesmerising. It looks beautiful as the light changes and plays with the foil giving it a feeling of movement. The texture of the foil has a very tactile braille-like quality to it. It looks timeless, other-worldly and I'm delighted with the result.

Cover detail: note the flow of pattern into the type. "The title became part of the illustration," says Romaya

 

RR: The response to it so far has been amazing, which is lovely, and I like the way the design and attention to detail was followed through the whole package including the finishes. The foil used across the full jacket – rather than just the front/spine, which is often the case – gives the teardrops a wonderful magical quality. They are never static and they truly do appear to be dancing!

There's also a beautiful line in the book taken from the Bible, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world", which is debossed into the front cover casing – which I think is the perfect note to leave the reader with.

The Book of Strange New Things (Canongate) is available in ebook October 6 (£14.99) and in hardback October 23 (£18.99). More details at canongate.tv. Yehrin Tong is represented by Début Art


CR October iPad edition

Posted: October 3rd, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Art, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Music Video / Film, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

The October issue of CR - a fashion special - is also available for iPad, where you'll find all the print mag content and monograph plus exclusive additional content in Hi Res, our showcase gallery section, and CRTV, with video profiles of creative people, animations and other moving image work from around the world....


In Features we talk to the founder of clothing brand Folk Cathal McAteer and the brand's regular graphic design collaborators IYA Studio; and new British-made shirt brand Tripl Stitched who work with up and coming illustrators including Jack Cunningham (who created this month's cover). Plus the future of in-store shopping experiences; fashion films; the rise of the Instagram fashion blogger; and why carrier bags are collectors items.

Along with a review of new book Read Me: Ten Lessons for Writing Great Copy; a look at the history of VW ads; and not forgetting our lovely regular columns from Michael Evamy, Daniel Benneworth-Gray and Paul Belford.

In Hi Res you'll find emerging talent from new book Fashion Photography Next; we revisit our favourite illustration commissions for CR's last monograph; Jonny Hannah's illustrated tour of the mysterious Darktown; work photographers navigating the balance between art and commerce in The Art of Fashion Photography; design ephemera of 1980s youth culture from new publication Rave Art; a graphic history of Soviet Space Dogs; Mark Wallinger's London Underground project Labyrinth collected in a new book; and absurdist DIY flyers from illustrator Nathaniel Russell.

CRTV includes profiles on illustrators Wasted Rita and Stanley Chow; a selection of fashion films from White Lodge and Nowness; Blue Zoo's animation The First Murder featuring the voice of Adam Buxton; a behind-the-scene look at Film4's new idents; and new work from stop-motion animation duo Kijek/Adamski.

 

To submit work for consideration for CRTV or Hi Res, please email antonia.wilson@centaur.co.uk

For further info on the CR iPad app or to subscribe, click here.

 


Ten Years of Modern Toss

Posted: October 3rd, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Art, Books, Illustration | Comments Off

A decade on from Modern Toss's first cartoon, creators Jon Link and Mick Bunnage have an exhibition of work in London and a new hardback book out as well. "Turned out alright then yeah?" as their Drive-by Abuser character might say. Well, it has – the book's massive, very funny, and finally gives them a chance to tell their story...

Link and Bunnage first collaborated while at Loaded magazine in the mid-90s. In 1997, they came up with Office Pest, a strip "dedicated to experimental violence in the workplace". Office-life, particularly meetings and interviews, would continue to provide fodder for their scrappy exploits for years.

In May 2004, the first issue of Modern Toss was published (shown above), featuring one of their most popular creations, the unhinged signwriter Mr Tourette, on the cover.

Some of their work had already appeared online, but the printed version was able to establish some early favourites: the aforementioned sweary creative; Prince Edward – Royal Entrepreneur; and the Weekend and Customers Services cartoons, which captured the minutiae of early 21st-century life, from watching TV to going to Ikea.

Another favourite character to emerge was the scribbled sociopath, Alan (detail from one his strips shown, above). "People seem to see themselves and their friends in him," write Link and Bunnage in the book. "That's when you know you've got a classic character. He represents the natural urge everyone gets at a dinner party to punch the host in the face while he's talking."

The Modern Toss take on life got noticed by beer brand Becks who commissioned the pair to reinterpret a famous album cover (they chose U2, above) and before long the MT experience was gearing up for a Channel 4 television series, the first series of which was directed by Ben Wheatley and mixed live action with drawn animations.

A second TV series fared even better – and more recent forays into animation have seen the debut of the fantastic Business Mouse, the best Alan Sugar-inspired cartoon you are ever likely to see.

There have also been TV idents, commissions for Blueprint magazine, Private Eye, the Guardian Guide and The Sunday Times Style magazine, greeting cards and prints – and The Periodic Table of Swearing, which was even turned into a jacket in a collaboration with tailor, Gresham Blake. At last year's Pick Me Up festival the Toss unveiled an artwork that required audience participation – the collaborative F***yeux Tapestry.

But going back to the work that kicked things off for them a decade ago – how do they still go about drafting those finely-honed snapshots of modern life?

On one page in the new book, there's an analysis of the things that make those cartoons work. So here's the Modern Toss approach, explained in their own Work drawing:

Modern Toss: A Decade in the Shithouse is published by Modern Toss Ltd., £25. See moderntoss.com. The accompanying exhibition is at Forge & Co, 154-158 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6HU until October 19.