Getting the Gist Pt2

Research, information and finally picking an editorial for this exercise.

Following on from Pt1, plan A had worked.
I’ve spent about 4/5 days away from the editorials I liked and indeed had forgotten the images. During that time I’ve done some more research into the world of editorial illustration, which I will give a basic summery of below and have started the ground work for assignment one in my sketchbook.
I’m glad I did this, as I’ve come back with a fresh and much less stressed mindset, I now realize now I was looking for the “perfect” editorial, that was deep and thought provoking so I could really get into it. Reality would be if a client asked for an illustration I wouldn’t get the “choice” and would have to work within the brief. So it would be a good learning experience in both growth as an artist and even from project management point of view if I was to treat this the same way.

So I just picked an editorial, which I will get to shortly…
But, let’s first lets cover the summery of the research I’ve been doing meanwhile.
While I’ve found styles I had liked (As shown in pt1), I feel that I need to be able understand editorial illustration better, so I did quite a bit of online searching and found many interesting websites, blogs and youtube/skill share contents. Along the way I made a note of wide range of illustrators whom work I was drawn to and inspired by. I’m going to be including my handwritten notes on these for my future references, as these end up not being quite suitable for the editorial that I did end up picking.
I also collected a few illustrations from newpapers and magazines, even revisited Jo Empson page and looked at her editorial designs again.

The research I did do was incredibly useful, firstly it opened my eyes to realizing that there is a lot more to editorial illustrations than that of political and geometric art, which I cannot deny was my first train of thought upon reading “getting the gist” exercise. Finding a couple of interviews with art directors such as Sarah Habereshon and Kjell Reigstad I was able to get more insight into want a client would require and looks for. It also confirmed my own personal drive to find my creative voice and style will help me stand out from the crowd, tips on how to be professional and tackle a brief and client.

“My life will be the best illustration of all my work.”

Hans Christian Andersen

I also found this most useful youtube video by holly Exley, half the work she does is editorials and worked for many clients such as the Wall street journal.

Holly has given me a lot of food for thought and will be watching more of Holly on youtube very soon, she seems very insightful and willing to share advise to help others and also added a couple of books she had recommended on to my amazon wish list.
While I had already had how to be an illustrator on my list, I’ve now also added

  • Becoming a successful Illustrator (Derek Brazell/Jo Davies)
  • The Illustrators guide to law and business (Simon Stern)

While now having a bit better understanding of editorial illustration and just how vast it really is, the styles, the voices, mediums are endless and yet I was only going to make it even more vast by my choice of editorial for this exercise, it was also going to take me down a new route I never even thought of.

The editorial which I picked is titled “Should we really be spending a month’s rent on our face” It is about skin care products costing £300+ (£947 for 20ml night elixir)
Key words after reading, rereading, highlighting, skin caviar, face creams, rent, skin care, golden goo, splash on their face, Sparks of joy and EIP (extremely important people)
The gist of the editorial is that the writer does not agree with spending this amount when can spend £50 and get same effects, she does not have an negative narrative.

(c) Elle
(c) Elle
(c) ELLE

I’m thinking maybe a fashion illustration inspired, looking at ELLE where I got the editorial from everything is clean, elegant, sharp and simple class. The original illustrations I wanted to research and study have lost relevance in this piece, it is still something I can do and aim for on the side of these exercises with adobe illustrator, maybe give myself a little task while I try and master the software.

So moving on from my very first thoughts and ideas, I now needed to take a complete new direction, so lets look into the possibility of the “client” being ELLE to get the right vibe. ELLE is the world largest fashion magazine and targets young women aged 16-30. It is a worldwide lifestyle magazine covering fashion/beauty and health. Other magazines similar to Elle include Harper Bazaar, Vogue and Marie Claire.
I’m getting the whole fashion vibe from this, I had studied at college fashion design and my head was always in these fashion magazines, it is interesting and different to look at it from an new perspective of illustration than that of clothes fashion, however it meant the direction which this is taking isn’t completely alien to me, even if my on trend with the styles may be ten years out of date now. As I look at this I also became increasingly aware that it it more aimed at “beauty” part of the the magazine, thinking of images from the good old visual library in my head, portraits in a fashion illustration style showcasing hats/makeup come to mind so is there such a thing of beauty illustration in editorials ? I mean I’ve seen things for this to make sense, but would have easily dismissed as “fashion” type of illustration as the two would do hand in hand really.
Taking to google I searched “Beauty Illustrations” and the result was spot on for my “vibe/mood” that I think I’m going to aim for.


I found a selection of illustrators who work I just love, I found them to be quite similar in styles (guess I like this type of stylized look). I somehow narrowed down to four Henryk Zimak who I liked for clean lines and line weight and style, I honestly fell in love with Janice Sung, her work is along the lines of what truly inspires me type of vibe I like in stylized portraits, it would be temping to just have Sung work as main source of inspiration however I’m feeling needs to cleaner and less stylized. Another two that caught my attention Wai and Caroline So.
I’m thinking at this stage maybe finding a middle ground between the work of Janice Sung and Caroline So would be sensible. I had also highlighted another couple of illustrators called katherine Asher and Petra Dufkola due to having a fade out/ink wash type of technique I could explore in this piece. I have a feeling Wai style is something I will visit again if not on this exercise but something in the future in the course or personal study.

OCA inspired by beauty
Found myself inspired by Henryk Zimak, Janice Sung, Katharine Asher, Caroline So, WAI and Petra Dufkova

I early this year I had done a personal digital art study on portraits, I really liked this style then and the whole mood I had set. It could be something I revisit during this exercise?

Now I have an idea of styles I wish to explore, I need to remind myself the key words again as I am about to start sketching.

Skin caviar, face creams, rent, skin care, golden goo, splash on their face, Sparks of joy and EIP (extremely important people)

Reminding myself these key word also opened up areas where I would need more research while working on my sketching / idea progress.

  • Gold – texture / colour / pouring / block
  • portrait to suit pose needed
  • money
  • Skin Caviar
  • Expensive face cream product (Bottles / tub /design)
  • styles of Janice Sung, Caroline So and Katherine Asher
  • Colour Palette to suit the Editorial and ELLE
OCA Skin creams
Research on skin creams
OCA Pininterest board 2

Most of images found online is in my pinterest board http://-

Right, I have a direction, bit of ground research and my keywords lets get creating
Pt 3 to follow soon!

References and useful information links I found this page full of different styles so linking to refer back to at a future date.

Henryk Zim
Janice Sung
Caroline So
Petra Dufkova
Katherine Asher

One thought on “Getting the Gist Pt2

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