THURSDAY NIGHT! Illustrated Covers of Viva Lewes by Neil Gower

THURSDAY NIGHT! Illustrated Covers of Viva Lewes by Neil Gower TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE!!

Illustrator/graphic artist Neil Gower has been creating covers for monthly UK regional entertainment magazine Viva Lewes since 2007. Gower creates the complete cover, image, typography, and logo, using a different stylized treatment for each issue; he has illustrated over 40 to date. His influences are vintage illustrated covers from the early 1900s, painters like Matisse and Picasso, and whatever cultural iconography seems appropriate. The artwork is all produced old school-style, painted and drawn by hand, and then scanned for reproduction. The result has been a brilliantly memorable series of illustrated covers.

Gower will be speaking at the Type Directors Club in NYC on May 26 at 6.30 about his book and magazine cover illustrations, as well as his extensive work on illustrated maps. "Jackets, Genius and Putting the 'Art' Into Cartography" will be a memorable evening of visual inspiration.

We talked with Gower about the process behind his striking Viva Lewes covers, and he shared a gallery of some of his favorites.

How did you get started illustrating Viva Lewes covers?

Neil Gower: My involvement arose out of my love for the town I came to live in 16 years ago. This, coupled with the fact that while I was lucky enough to have commissioned work appearing all over the world, very little appeared close to home for my friends and neighbors to see. I produce these cover designs free of charge in exchange for a completely open brief and the chance to let my hair down in a way that is difficult in the more tightly art-directed projects I am used to.

What is Viva Lewes magazine?

Neil Gower: Viva Lewes is a free guide to--and celebration of--the town of Lewes in Sussex, England; its people, its history and what is happening there each month. The monthly magazine was launched in 2007 and the first cover I did was for Issue No. 5--the tattooed heart and hops. The success of this gave us a vision of the magazine not having a conventional masthead so that every cover was a totally blank canvas. It is a free magazine, delivered to every house in and around Lewes so it doesn't need to stand out on a shelf. I have produced 44 covers for them in total, the last one being the 100th issue last January. Other long-term publishing projects have prevented me from contributing so often of late, but I am scheduled to design their next Christmas cover.

How do you create the artwork?

Neil Gower: All of my images are drawn/painted by hand. I heartily embrace the digital world for promoting my work but, for me, a life without proper paint and ink to splash around would be a barren one. I select a medium depending on the image/effect I am trying to produce. My default option is painting in gouache, but there have also been designs in acrylics, pencil, watercolor, and even Matisse-style paper cut-outs. This means I end up trying out styles and media that are unfamiliar. I find this process of constantly scaring and surprising myself a great way to keep me on my toes creatively.

The concepts are the hardest part, as I like to give the designs depth and layers of meaning. They are entirely driven by the magazine's content which is, in turn, driven by a monthly theme and events in the town. I always try to incorporate plenty of visual references into each design; some obvious, some so subtle that they only become clear when the magazine is read.

See an extensive gallery of Viva Lewes covers at Neil Gower's website here.

Tickets for Neil Gower's Type Directors Club presentation on May 26 are available here.

Neil Gower on Twitter: @neiljgower

  • Oh my god ! exceptional design . Nice to see those birds design . Looks like real and . So i'm pleasure to see those .

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