Category: Satirical
  1. 10

    Feb 2015

    Martin Brown

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    Martin Brown, along with his partner in crime Terry Deary, are heroes to parents and children across the world. Their combined efforts on Horrible Histories has made reading and learning more fun and accessible to many. Their work, along with their publisher’s Scholastic, have spawn over 100 titles, animated and live-action TV series, video games, theatre and roadshows, a magazine, and a plethora of merchandising. Spanning two decades, Horrible Histories is nothing short of a phenomenon.

    Martin Brown was born 1959 in Melbourne, Australia. After setting his mind on teaching he went to college to become an art teacher. However, he didn’t see it through, rather after a short couple of years working in television, Brown packed his bags and set off to see the world. Like many Aussies, he made his way to London, but unlike most he decided to stay. One can only assume it was the sun and pace of life that persuadedstar him. Alternatively, it could have been that fact that he started to get work in what he loved doing, drawing.

    Brown worked his way up, starting from the odd illustration to greeting cards.

    Side note, I went through a phase of collecting greeting cards. Buying one if I ever saw an illustration I liked. Martin Brown’s work being a perticular favourite of mine, I still have them stored away.

    Building up a reputation, Brown soon started drawing for magazines and books. His career got the boost it needed when he landed the job of illustrating Peter Corey’s book, Coping With Parents. The book was published by Hippo Books, an imprint of Scholastic, beginning Brown’s fruitful relationship them. More recently, Martin Brown illustrated a re-issue of The Adventures of the New Cut Gang. Written by the esteemed Philip Pullman, of His Dark Materials fame.

    I have waited and hoped for Martin Brown to claim a corner of the internet where he can put up some of his more personal work, amongst his commercial ones. Sadly that wait goes on. However, for now you can find his illustrations all over the Horrible Histories website. You can, of coarse, just go to your bookshelf and get down your copy of a Horrible Histories book, we all have (at least) one!

  2. 25

    Nov 2014

    Noma Bar

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    Illustrator and designer Noma Bar’s work has placed him in high demand. His client list is longer than my Amazon wishlist with the likes of The New Yorker, The Guardian, Random House, The Economist and Wallpaper* making repeat appearances.

    Born 1973 in Israel Mr Bar graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Art& Design before moving to London in 2001. Throughout his career Mr Bar has pushed and stretched the boundaries of negative space. Crafting hidden meaning with juxtaposing elements his images demand you always look twice. His thoughtful illustrations have earned him multiple awards, not least the prestigious D&AD Yellow Pencil award in 2012. Mr Bar also released two books titled Guess Who?: The Many Faces of Noma Bar and Negative Space, both of which received high acclaim.

    You can find out more about Noma Bar via his angent’s website, Dutch Uncle. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

  3. 12

    Aug 2014

    Charles Dana Gibson (1867 – 1944)

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    Today’s dose of inspiration is from the acclaimed American illustrator, Charles Dana Gibson, whom is best known for his emblematic creation The Gibson Girl.

    1867, baby Gibson is born to a creative and wealthy family. A head-start that an ambitious young Gibson would use as a springboard. At the age of eight, after watching his father, he started cutting silhouettes and by twelve he was selling them. By his mid-teens, after dabbling with sculpture under the guise of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, he picked up a penchant for pen and ink.

    Soon after he enrolled in an Art Students League, but had to leave at the age of eighteen due to family financial troubles. Out of school and looking for work, Mr Gibson ventured unsuccessfully to get a job. However, in 1886 he managed to sell one of his illustrations to LIFE magazine. A then newly established magazine, attempting to compete with the likes of Puck and Judge.

    The public took a strong liking to Mr Gibson’s satirical portrayal of high society. So as his popularity rose, so to did his importance to the magazine. Going from a salary of $33 to $185 in just three months. Obviously with such popularity Mr Gibson was soon approached by other magazines including Scribner’s, Century, Harper’s, and Time (then named Tid-Bits).

    In 1890, he started drawing The Gibson Girl. With only a slim argument to the contrary, it is widely accepted his wife, Irene Langhorne Gibson was the basis and model for her. The Gibson Girl’s importance as a public figure cannot be slighted. The youthful Gibson Girl was the visual embodiment of a new feminine ideal, described at the time as the “New Woman”. She was confident and glamorous, from her creation up until World War I, she set the standard for fashion and decorum.

    The success of Mr Gibson’s girl was phenomenal, his demand and fees were so great that at the height of his career his annual salary had reached $75,000. In 1904 he had even signed a four-year contract with Condé Nast to produce 100 illustrations for the sum of $100,000.

    On top of his own personal illustrative successes Mr Gibson founded the Society of Illustrators. He helped the war effort by assembling a group of illustrators (including James Montgomery Flagg, J.C. Leyendecker, and Howard Chandler Christy) to set up The Division of Pictorial Publicity whom produced all those famous wonderful and patriotic posters. He, along with some other illustrators, writers, and staff members bought LIFE magazine.

    In his retirement he finally put down the pen and ink and picked up oil painting. In 1944, at the age of 77, suffered a heart attack and died a few weeks later.

    Charles Dana Gibson’s importance and impact, though praised at the time, nowadays does not get the attention it duly deserves. His skills along with his tenacity were, and probably still are, unrivaled. You would be hard pressed to think of an another illustrator whom has had equal cultural and financial success. To see more of Mr Gibson’s work I strongly suggest picking up a copy of The Gibson Girl and Her America.

  4. 13

    Mar 2014

    Gemma Correll

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    Gemma Correll is a UK based illustrator, know for her guileless style. A style that has garnered her over 236,000 followers on facebook, and clients including Hallmark, The New York Times, Chronicle Books and The Observer. Correll has also published four books to date, her latest being, A Pug’s Guide to Dating.

    Though her style does come under criticism, combining mature subject matters with crude drawings is a tried-and-true technique. One of the most famous and shining examples of this is Maus by Art Spiegelman. Another interesting element of Correll’s style is her regular use of just three colours; black, white and red. A very powerful colour scheme, with strong cultural meaning, that is more often used in design. So yes, Correll’s illustrations can be mistaken as childish, but then that would disregard the maturity and intuition involved to produce them.

    You can find more of Correll’s work on her website, and don’t forget to check out her Daily Diaries.

  5. 19

    Feb 2014

    Kate Beaton

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    Canadian comics artist Kate Beaton is a best known for her hugely popular webcomic Hark! A Vagrant. Born in Nova Scotia, Beaton studied history in New Brunswick. Her interest in history, and historic figures form a re-occuring theme in her work. As exemplified in her self-published book Never Learn Anything from History, which won her a Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2009. Continuing the award momentum, Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant won the 2011 Harvey Award for Best Online Comics Work, and she topped that in 2012 winning three Harveys, for Humor, Online Work, and Best Cartoonist.

    For those of you (myself included) whom like your comics a little more on the tangible side, you can pick yourself up a Hark! A Vagrant book.

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