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“I like drawing women nurturing one another and building things together": illustrator Manuja Waldia

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Listswims-in-january Work / Illustration Illustrator Amber Vittoria on her "natural and noisy" aesthetic evolution

Since we last spoke to New York-based illustrator Amber Vittoria in January 2017, she’s picked up some big clients. Creating colourful, blocky and hairy-legged figures for the likes of Teen Vogue, The New York Times and Instagram, the stream of work has been bountiful enough that Amber is also celebrating going freelance full-time this year. Over this period Amber’s illustration style has also evolved. “I realised most of my work began to strive for an unrealistic perfection, taking hours to ensure every line was exact,” Amber tells It’s Nice That. “Allowing for more natural, noisy linework within my pieces feels more honest not only to my themes of portraying woman through a woman’s lens but also myself as an artist.”

Listnumber-1 Work / Illustration The end is nigh: Michael DeForge on his daily comic Leaving Richard’s Valley

A crack-smoking mayor, a monkey found cruising an Ikea carpark wearing a mini shearling coat and a “rage room” where you pay $20 to smash shit up: things can get weird in Toronto. But not quite as bizarre as in comic strip Leaving Richard’s Valley, a mythical version of the city from illustrator and Toronto resident Michael DeForge. Ruled by mysterious autocrat Richard, the Valley is full of a collection of sycophantic creatures, navigating a world with a logic that defies understanding. Given Michael announced that he’s putting the comic to bed next month after more than a year of daily updates, we were keen to quiz him on the cult he’s created and whether he’s sad to be finally leaving the Valley himself.

Johannawalderdorff-illustration-itsnicethat-12list Work / Illustration Johanna Walderdorff is back with more absurd illustrations

The last time we spoke to Johanna Walderdorff she had just moved to Leipzig to concentrate on her large-scale fantastical creations. Since then, the German illustrator has been working nonstop. “I got commissioned for the first time shortly after the last article and I haven’t stopped working since. Last year I found a lovely studio in Kreuzberg, Berlin that makes working long nights an absolute joy. I’m very happy that my illustrations appeal to so many different clients and that they can be used to illustrate a wide range of topics; from a comic about Puccini‘s La Boheme for the Bavarian State Opera in collaboration with Bureau Borsche to monthly posters for underground club Institut fuer Zukunft otherwise known as Leipzig’s Berghain,” Johanna tells It’s Nice That. Her striking creations may be versatile, yet Johanna remains faithful to her aesthetic. Each drawing is populated by some sort of absurd scenario, from surreal dismembered body parts snorting coke and drinking champagne to a horse-man hybrid.

Djsxlhgxoaa7n-d_list Work / Illustration Hiller Goodspeed’s oddball illustrations give us the fuzzies

Without ornamentation to distract or a flashy colour palette to hide behind, it’s hard to make a simple drawing really, really good. But it’s something Vancouver-based illustrator Hiller Goodspeed has totally nailed. His odd, humorous pencil drawings are filled with characters that make us chuckle. Whether hiding in their “safety tube” or celebrating being second place, it’s hard not to be endeared by these funny little fellows.

Rave--benkopp-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Illustrator Ben Kopp’s nostalgia-drenched personal work

Ben Kopp is a name which will be recognised by keen followers of The Smudge, Clay Hickson’s politically-charged monthly riso newspaper which came into being at the same time that Donald Trump was elected as President. The Philadelphia-based illustrator was commissioned by the paper back in September for a feature written by Mary Hirsch.

Manujawaldia-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration “I like drawing women nurturing one another and building things together": illustrator Manuja Waldia

Manuja Waldia’s vibrant illustrations span a wide range of subjects from Shakespeare to self-love. After graduating from university with a degree in communication design, the Portland-based illustrator has produced impressive work for a number of mega-brands; Manuja created a Google doodle to commemorate the Indian singer Begum Akhtar on her 103rd birthday, she designed dainty Indianapolis city maps for PrintText and continues to illustrate the book covers for Pelican’s Shakespeare series. Her signature style can be seen on search engines and bookshelves alike, but it is Manuja’s personal work that really caught our eye. Focusing on female empowerment and the importance of sisterhood, Manuja’s self-initiated illustrations are populated by elegant figures that clearly understand the meaning of feminism.

Fontsmith-fsindustrie-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-list Work / Graphic Design Fontsmith releases its ambitious typeface, FS Industrie, available in 70 variants

London-based type foundry Fontsmith has released its most ambitious typeface to date, FS Industrie. Designed around five different widths and seven different weights, there is a total of 70 variants including italics to play with. “We are on the cusp of a new age in digital typeface design,” says Fontsmith’s type design director Phil Garnham on the new release, “where the ability to vary a font’s weight and width axis offers limitless possibilities to graphic designers within any given space.”

Boriscamaca-photography-itsnicethat-3list Work / Photography Boris Camaca's eerie, otherworldly photographs are rooted in social criticism

You may scoff at the idea that the world is being run by a group of undercover reptiles, but in photographer Boris Camaca’s world, this isn’t far from the truth. His series Reptiles documents a family of lizard-human hybrids lounging around their plush villa in effortlessly stylish clothes. “The idea came from London-based stylist and creative genius Hamish Wirgman. He presented two ideas; one was about time travel and the other was about a group of dinosaur-like people. We opted for the dino concept and built up a story about a family that mutates in order to prolong their lives,” Boris tells It’s Nice That.

Nachoalegre-photography-itsnicethat-14list Work / Photography Fashion photographer Nacho Alegre's tribute to 30 years of Spanish Vogue

Barcelona-based fashion photographer, Nacho Alegre, is best known for his still lives. Whether it’s bathroom accessories, potatoes or sellotape, Nacho has a way of transforming mundane objects into striking, inventive sculptures. For his latest shoot, the Spanish photographer was asked to capture a series of images to mark the 30th anniversary of Spanish Vogue. Eugenia de la Torriente, Vogue España’s editor-in-chief, wanted Nacho to draw inspiration from the magazine’s first issue in 1988. “There was a very nice story that was loosely based on Spanish culture so we stuck to that,” Nacho, who is also the editor, founder and creative director of Apartamento magazine, tells It’s Nice That.

Datapoint-therodina-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-4list Work / Graphic Design "Hard, refreshing and awkward": The Rodina design studio on their bizarre creations

From performance art and experience design to interactive websites and installations, The Rodina design studio can do it all. Tereza Ruller, The Rodina’s founder, splits her time between commissioned work and personal experiments and manages to bring equal levels of creative inventiveness to both. “The Rodina explores ways in which knowledge, experiences and relationships are produced and preserved. I am interested in the connections between culture, technology and aesthetics. Adopting interdisciplinary approaches allows The Rodina to examine the thousands of micro-interactions that occur between these fields,” Tereza tells It’s Nice That.

Diary_april_724x474 Regulars / Diary April diary: this month’s must-see events and exhibitions

Spring is here and with it comes a fresh crop of events, shows and exhibitions to inspire and fascinate. From immersive Abba to computer-generated Ian Cheng simulations and classic Yokoyama Taikan paintings, there’s something for all tastes. The It’s Nice That team has hand-picked five in the UK and five elsewhere around the world, to help you plan your cultural month ahead.h3. Glasgow International
20 April – 7 May 2018
Various venues, Glasgow

Final Regulars / Miscellaneous It's Nice That's Easter Break

We’ve got four days off! It’s the Easter Bank Holiday so we’ll be out of the studio, having a bit of rest and probably sheltering from the rain rather than walking around in the spring sunshine we’d hoped for. Even though we won’t be around to update you over the next few days, to keep you entertained we’ve chosen not only the most read articles from 2018 so far, but some of our personal favourites. From discipline-spanning long-reads to the finest graphic design, photography, illustration and animation, the team have hand-picked the articles we’re still thinking about months later for you to enjoy again.

Listswims-in-january Work / Illustration Illustrator Amber Vittoria on her "natural and noisy" aesthetic evolution

Since we last spoke to New York-based illustrator Amber Vittoria in January 2017, she’s picked up some big clients. Creating colourful, blocky and hairy-legged figures for the likes of Teen Vogue, The New York Times and Instagram, the stream of work has been bountiful enough that Amber is also celebrating going freelance full-time this year. Over this period Amber’s illustration style has also evolved. “I realised most of my work began to strive for an unrealistic perfection, taking hours to ensure every line was exact,” Amber tells It’s Nice That. “Allowing for more natural, noisy linework within my pieces feels more honest not only to my themes of portraying woman through a woman’s lens but also myself as an artist.”

Zett-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-1list Work / Graphic Design Zett is the slick Zurich-based university paper for and about aspiring students

Think back to your student paper. If yours was anything like ours, it’s likely to have been a tired and typo-filled newspaper-wannabe. This, however, isn’t the case for the students of Zurich University of the Arts (otherwise known as Zürcher Hochschule der Künste or ZHdK). Zett, the ZHdK’s biannual art publication, is designed by four visual communication students – Michel Egger, Dominik Junker, Aurelia Peter and Silvan Possa – and functions as a printed version of the university’s online art and culture media platform. Following a redesign in 2016, Zett is a clean, slick and accomplished piece of work that consistently adapts according to its content. The magazine showcases a variety of student work, from photography to design, as well as student portraits and upcoming events.

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