Today the Independent ran a story listing the best illustrators in Britain, and two of my favorite artists, Stanley Donwood and Tom Gauld, were right at the top. Funny enough, I don’t really consider either of them illustrators…
More of a fine artist than illustrator, Stanley Donwood, 38, created the artwork for Radiohead’s album sleeves. The man himself is not one naturally drawn to the limelight. For years, the only way to contact him was to fax his local pub in Bath, from whence any communication would be forwarded to him. Much of Donwood’s work delights in rediscovering antiquated processes. A recent series of images, London Views, created a panorama of the capital out of 14 pieces of hand-cut linoleum, printed on a Victorian printing press. His latest work, If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now (recently shown at the Lazarides Gallery in London’s Soho), comprises a series of darkly compelling etchings that used the century-old photogravure technique.
Tom Gauld is a 30-year-old illustrator and comic book artist who lives and works in London. With Simone Lia, whom he met while studying at the Royal College of Art, Gauld publishes a series of delightful, poignant comics under the imprint Cabanon Press. His subject matter is a long way from the superhero deeds that many associate with the genre, retaining a very British reserve that grounds the extraordinary in the everyday. Just check out his treatment for the cover of a special Penguin edition of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers (pictured above). His commissioned illustrations have appeared in The Guardian, Time Out, New Scientist and Prospect.