Friday, 3 August 2012

EMPIRE- Ten years in the making!

Okay so even the most casual of readers of this blog have probably got that i'm a massive film fan, this may even be an understatement, a 'movie geek' may be better description.

Next January will mark a decade for me making pictures, for about the same time i've been doing this illustration malarkey, the one magazine i've read month in and month out is British film bible EMPIRE... it just simply is my favourite title to read, like I say i'm a movie geek.

Over the past 10 years i've often tried and failed to get my stuff in to the magazine, I should also point out that almost one by one i've ticked off every other magazine and publisher not only on my 'wish list' but on any British illustrator's 'wish list'... the one always to elude me was my favourite EMPIRE.. that is until now!

I think anyone can see that myself and EMPIRE are a good match, both in terms of my style and love for the subject matter, under the stewardship of the previous Art Director, who there's no doubt did an amazing job over a such long period, particularly with various redesigns, but it would also be fair to say that illustration was not on his radar, for such a big magazine, that is ripe for illustration, it's barely had any over the past 5 years if not longer, not since it was using the great Mick Brownfield, and even then the mag was using just the one drawing.

Anyway a new Art Director came on board recently, a Mr Chris Lupton, who along with some overhauling and classy redesigning seems far more open to the use of illustration in the title, i'll be honest with you, even though i'm biased, the reality is I don't think you can be classed as a great magazine, or certainly a well designed and art directed one unless you are using illustration throughout the title; the past few years the best designed titles in my opinion in this country have been; Wired, Esquire, GQ, Men's Health, all have at their best moments been littered with great art. Fact.

Okay enough ranting and back to the EMPIRE commission, so I got an email from Elliot Webb the Art Editor at the mag, to see whether I'd be interested in drawing 25 Matthew McConaughey illos, for a tongue in cheek feature about how much time he spends topless on film, as you can imagine I almost bit  his hand off for the gig.

It was a job that plays to my strengths: figure work, likeness driven, and humorous.

The above drawings I think I did over the space of a weekend pretty much, there was a lot of research to do on his outfits and haircuts in various films, and apart from some of his more obscures movies proving tricky to get the right reference for ( Big thanks to Elliot with help on those) this was a very smooth job.

I've just completed a second job for the magazine, which was a far more trickier affair, but the offshoot from this is Chris the AD at the mag has opened my eyes to new exciting opportunities for the use of my work, I can't go into too much detail here, but over the next twelve months I think i'll be retooling some of the stuff I do for different markets, also hopefully i'll get to work with EMPIRE on even more exciting jobs in future issues.

I'm not sure this is going ahead, but the magazine were talking about doing a one off poster of the McConaughey illustrations as a giveaway on the title's podcast, which if it does happens will probably be signed by yours truly, so if you're a fan of the mag, a fan of my work, or a fan of Matthew McConaughey without a shirt then check out their website for further details.

Next up: A lovely job for Women's Health; which also shows celebrities in various states of undress.. fast becoming my speciality this!

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