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Sam Taylor's World Cup gifs portray “the agony and the ecstasy” of the game

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Charlottedumortier-elcaf2018-illustration-itsnicethat-list Media Partnership / Illustration Charlotte Dumortier on her identity for this year's ELCAF and what she's looking forward to most

From 22 — 24 June a global range of illustrators and comic artists will descend on London, filling The Round Chapel and The School Rooms in Hackney for the annual East London Comics and Arts Festival. 2018 marks the seventh edition of ELCAF, a weekend packed with a programme of talks, workshops, masterclasses, screenings, installations and exhibitions, as well as some of the world’s most exciting illustration focused artists selling their goods too. Tickets are now available in advance of the weekend in June and more information is available here.

Hichamamrani-svendandxanax-illustration-itsnicethat-10list Work / Illustration A peek inside Hicham Amrani's trippy new comic Svend & Xanax

“I have been drawing since I was little. I wasn’t very attentive in class – like most creatives I know – so I would spend the time drawing in my notebooks instead. My parents ended up enrolling me in drawing classes to calm me down,” Strasbourg-based illustrator Hicham Amrani tells It’s Nice That. This instinctive creative energy Hicham describes clearly manifests itself in his busy, dynamic drawings. His latest project Svend & Xanax tells the humorous tale of Svend, the protagonist, who takes a strong Xanax only to be transported to a surreal, at times disorientating, world. Hicham even compares Svend to “the Joker in Batman” saying, “the more I drew, the darker the story became.”

Tarabooth-illustration-it'snicethat-list Work / Illustration “Broader representation in illustration is important": artist Tara Booth (NSFW)

“It’s important for women and non-binary people to share their desires and sexual experiences since representations of eroticism in comics and illustration are dominated by the cis-male perspective,” comic book artist and illustrator Tara Booth tells It’s Nice That. “The moment I start to feel embarrassed or afraid to share an illustration, the clearer it becomes to me that I need to get it out there.” Tara, who has been based in Chicago but is set to move back to her hometown of Philadelphia, has been creating her signature bold and brave drawings over the past three years. In her upcoming book, Nocturne, Tara challenges conventional depictions of women’s erotic fantasies through her distinct style and relatable characters.

Cristinadaura-illustration-itsnicethat-5list Work / Illustration Piano-playing rabbits and miniature tigers: the bold illustrations of Cristina Daura

“I had no idea illustration could be a full-time profession,” Barcelona-based artist Cristina Daura tells It’s Nice That. “I just knew that I wanted to draw for a living. My parents pushed me towards Fine Arts because they wanted me to have a proper job title. I ended up leaving after the first year because I found it too pretentious and stupid.” It was at that point when Cristina turned her attention to illustration, enrolling in a course at La Escola Massana in downtown Barcelona. Over the past few years, Cristina has developed a bold and distinctive style. Her illustrations are charming, carefully considered depictions of unpredictable narratives that include chillies, jockeys, piano-playing rabbits and miniature tigers.

Jeremypettis-illustration-itsnicethat-1 Work / Illustration Illustrator Jeremy Pettis on his curious happy-go-lucky characters

Jeremy Pettis’ illustrations are full of life; figures with strawberries for heads tan in the sun while sunglasses-wearing men animatedly play the flute. Working on Nike’s print and pattern team by day and illustrating cheery oddball characters by night, Jeremy leads a creative double life. The majority of the illustrator’s work is done with felt-tip pens, however recently Jeremy has started to dabble with iPad doodling, which we can safely say looks promising. “The majority of my drawings are subconscious elaborations on intriguing ideas and feelings that I take note of in my day-to-day thoughts,” Jeremy tells It’s Nice That.

Virgileflores-graphicdesign-itsnicethat-13list Work / Graphic Design Graphic designer Virgile Flores on custom typefaces and visualising statistics

Paris-based graphic designer Virgile Flores is a typeface specialist. Two of his latest text-heavy projects, the immaculate Twelve Angry Men publication and the sleek Pirelli typeface, are just the tip of his font fascination. Design, however, wasn’t always on the cards for Virgile who completed his undergraduate degree in sports studies. After realising that athletics weren’t for him, Virgile took a year out of education to reconsider his choices only to return to university to study graphic design. “I started focusing on type design last year. I felt that I needed to be better equipped at choosing typefaces for my projects. I also wanted to create my own letters and customise existing ones for logotypes. There is a real synergy between graphic and type design. It is also very satisfying to use text that has been drawn by yourself,” Virgile tells It’s Nice That. 


Samtaylor-worldcup-giphy-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Illustration Sam Taylor's World Cup gifs portray “the agony and the ecstasy” of the game

Illustrator Sam Taylor has created a collection of football fanatic gifs for Giphy ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Pitching the idea to Giphy himself after working with them previously, the opportunity developed when the illustrator noticed that “there weren’t really that many good football gifs in their database to put in my Instagram stories,” he tells It’s Nice That. “So I wanted to create a set a remedy this.” A green light from Giphy soon followed and now his set is available to use!

Braulioamado-2017-publication-2itsnicethat-list Work / Publication In celebration of his new book 2017, Bráulio Amado picks out the work he loves from last year

“I first met Bráulio as an international exchange student in my class at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City, which I taught with John Fulbrook,” reads Pentagram’s Luke Hayman’s introduction at the start of Bráulio’s Amado’s latest book, 2017. “Bráulio was possibly one of the most enthusiastic students we taught during my seven years at the school. Certain students come with a commitment and eagerness that makes teaching worthwhile and benefits the whole class. He did well.”

Lois-cohen-indiana-roma-voss-metamorphosis-photography-itsnicethat-3list Work / Photography Photography series Metamorphosis reimagines iconic female characters as 21st-century women

We don’t remember reading the part that depicts the Virgin Mary as a tattooed matriarch with a nose ring and knuckle dusters? Or the painting that shows Venus to be a body-building athlete with groomed hair down her legs? These representations may not have made it into our history books, but Amsterdam and London-based photographer Lois Cohen and New York and Amsterdam-based stylist Indiana Roma Voss have given the female protagonists centerstage in their latest series Metamorphosis. Together the duo reimagine female archetypes from a range of geographical areas and cultures and place them in recognisable contexts in order to transform them into 21st century women.

Nationalgeographic-publication-itsnicethat-list Work / Publication National Geographic’s creative director Emmet Smith on the publication’s redesign

A long-established and highly respected staple of the newsstands, National Geographic, has been redesigned for its May issue. Released on 24 April, the rethink of the magazine and “the most significant overhaul of content and design since 2000,” builds upon the magazine’s successes, creating even more exploratory visual storytelling. Debuting new paper stock, design, updated sections and specially created typefaces, the redesign is revealed at a time when the publication has a particularly strong reputation and readership.

Leonmark-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photograhy Leon Mark’s refined and infinitely stylish photography

Leon Mark’s photographs are refined, graceful and infinitely stylish. The London-based photographer has worked with the likes Vogue Italia and Chanel, cementing his name across the fashion industry. This is partly due to Leon’s ability to capture the distinct personalities of his sitters, extracting their idiosyncrasies with his lens. “I got into photography by studying film and cinema. I’ve always been interested in fashion and art so I started to focus more on the mise en scène of cinema which pushed me towards photography. That, in turn, let me to fashion photography,” Leon tells It’s Nice That. Working mainly across Europe and the US, Leon shoots both film and digital, and is currently working on short fashion films.

Hichamamrani-svendandxanax-illustration-itsnicethat-10list Work / Illustration A peek inside Hicham Amrani's trippy new comic Svend & Xanax

“I have been drawing since I was little. I wasn’t very attentive in class – like most creatives I know – so I would spend the time drawing in my notebooks instead. My parents ended up enrolling me in drawing classes to calm me down,” Strasbourg-based illustrator Hicham Amrani tells It’s Nice That. This instinctive creative energy Hicham describes clearly manifests itself in his busy, dynamic drawings. His latest project Svend & Xanax tells the humorous tale of Svend, the protagonist, who takes a strong Xanax only to be transported to a surreal, at times disorientating, world. Hicham even compares Svend to “the Joker in Batman” saying, “the more I drew, the darker the story became.”

Tom-fisher-catherine-prowse-the-need-to-be-alone-the-school-of-life-film-itsnicethat-list Work / Film Rod puppets in intricate felt sets profess The Need to Be Alone for Alain de Botton

Not long out of Kingston’s Illustration and Animation course, Tom Fisher and Catherine Prowse have directed a charming and impressively detailed short film for The School of Life, made entirely from hand-stitched felt. Featuring a cast of rod puppets shot in a live action format, The Need to Be Alone stars a red-spectacled, introverted protagonist called Alan – a tribute to its writer and narrator Alain de Botton. Throughout the film, Alan navigates a series of potentially awkward social scenarios as Alain professes the importance of having time alone to process these interactions.

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