Seven Effective Editorial Illustrations

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People need pictures. Block text in a magazine just isn’t engaging enough for the fast-paced lives of the modern reader. So as the attention span of Americans decreased the demand for illustrators increases. Here are some engaging and evocative editorial illustrations.

Artist: James Jean

Publication: Rolling Stone

Subject: Portrait of Trent Reznor. James Jean became most known for his beautiful Fables comic book covers. Jean describes the design processes for the illustration he did for Rolling Stone. In his blog Jean said he was given more creative license and the result is chilling. “I researched the viral marketing campaign for the album, which was based on a futuristic narrative of mass hallucinations, government conspiracies, and impending apocalypse.”

Artist: Josh Cochran

Publication: The New Yorker

Subject: Manhattan book release party for a short story entitled “Ever Since” by Donald Antrim. This illustration style very common to publications like the New Yorker. In fact the New Yorker has always heavily utilized the talents of great illustrators to engage their readers. This scene is detailed, yet such a simple concept. You can tell it’s a book release by the pile of books on the table and the pen, but it’s very subtle, an excellent support to the story it was created for.

Artist: Olivier Kugler

Publication: XXI

Subject: This example of Olivier Kulger’s depiction of a truck driver’s journey across Iran won him the top prize at the V&A Illustration Awards. In this case the illustration is the editorial, as apposed to playing a supporting role to the text. The sketchbook style lends its self well to a narrative, giving the story a personal feel.

Artist: Christoph Niemann

Publication: The New Yorker

Subject: As said before the New Yorkers covers have always been an amazing example of editorial illustration and Christoph Neimann has quite a collection under his belt. What’s amazing the New Yorker cover is you don’t get a headline to give context to the picture, they are incredible examples of the “show, don’t tell” mantra. You don’t need a headline to know the cover on the left is about taxes and that the cover on the right is about the Japanese earthquake and nuclear power crisis (unless you live under a rock). If you’re yearning for some excellent cover inspiration browse Neimann’s portfolio of New Yorker covers.

Artist: Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly

Publication: The New Yorker

Subject: 9/11/2011, a day that will go down in history. Everyone old enough to know anything at the time remembers where they were on that day. I don’t envy Spiegelman and Mouly the task of coming up with a cover in the wake of one of the greatest tragedies on American soil for the publication named for the people of the great city where it occurred. This design solution is brilliant; simple, powerful – you don’t need much to evoke great emotion and meaning.

Artist: Valero Doval

Publication: M Magazine

Subject: An illustration for a story about Blendr (Geosocial Networking Application). This illustration is colorful, fun, and looks a little like a vintage advertisement, but with the very recognizable Google map placement icon, it’s a good blend of the vintage and modern.

Artist: Nata Metlukh

Publication: American Way

Subject: This illustration, entitled Negative Comments, clearly illustrates how many people feel about people who leave mean anonymous comments on the internet. Once again, a great example of the illustration helping support a story and drawing the reader in for more.

Artist: Hattie Stewart

Publication: Lula

Subject: This mixed media illustration is a very different take on magazine covers. The mixture of illustration and photography produces a dynamic and memorable cover.

Melody Stone is a marketing associate and custom t-shirt designer at Melody blogs for regularly and loves innovative illustration where ever it is found.