Varoom – Issue 16

Varoom – Issue 16


Experts have hand pick exciting new projects from their respective fields to share with readers. David Downton offers up his choice of fashion illustration; Martin Colyer selects the best of cartoon illustration, and John Lowe finds some inspiration for his pick of graphic novels at Comic-con, San Diego; Derek Brazell’s choice of reportage includes George Butler’s drawing trip to India for a wildlife charity and illustrator Richard Johnson’s’ sobering work with the International Society of War Artists. Martin Salisbury looks at children’s picture books, Jeremy Leslie finds innovation in magazine illustration and Nat Hunter of Airside shows us a selection of illustration being used within a digital framework.


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Illustrator Mimi Leung’s work as a Sexual Assault Worker for an Aboriginal-owned NGO in central Australia makes her current life a far cry from her days as a London/ Hong Kong based illustrator. She discusses the ways her creative skills have helped with the many challenges of the unusual new role, and finding ways to keep her illustration career going when working in remote areas.

Often overlooked as a visual convention, in talented hands the humble speech balloon can be a thought provoking and even shocking device that changes the way the reader interacts with characters on a page. Lizzie Ridout looks at the history of the speech balloon and the illustrators who have used it to challenge our ideas.

Liz Farrelly investigates the appeal of the “drawn imagination” in animation, and why it has the potential to succeed on any budget. With common usage growing from the traditional arena of children’s films to modern advertising and info graphics, she reflects on why so many clients are waking up to the advantages of digital media.

Beyond design and illustration aficionados, 1980s design group The Cloth are little known. Yet they featured on some of the best-selling record sleeves and fashions of all time. Using their success as a platform for their creative practices, The Cloth’s ethos of artistic integrity and hard networking in studios and nightclubs built a design group who produced a prolific amount of work despite disbanding after only four years. Ian Massey and Andrew Dineley get the inside story on the band that improvised a way of working across fashion, textiles, painting, illustration and graphic design.

At a moment when the creative industries are undergoing rapid change, Varoom Editor John O’Reilly explores the meaning and function of illustration, and the critical language surrounding it: “What is Illustration?” is a very abstract and general question, and not really an aid to understanding – too open-ended. We need to ask what does illustration do? Saul Steinberg’s The Line drawing helps him along.

Our regular columnists respond to the question “What’s Next?”. Paul Davis makes the best of a bad situation, turning an unwanted guest into an unusual promotional opportunity. Meanwhile, Marion Bantjes muses on her retreat into analogue in the digital era with a beautifully intriguing multi media image.

‘I’ve always been interested in games, rules, puzzles and possible rewards…’ says issue 16’s cover artist, George Hardie, known for his iconic work on Pink Floyd album covers. And his superb artwork carries this theme, rewarding concentrated viewing.


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