Christoph Niemann’s editorial illustrations: creativity and a sense of humour


Christoph Niemann is one of the most respected editorial illustrators and visual artists right now. He collaborates with The New York Times, has designed several covers of The New Yorker (some of them are even animated), and you might have probably enjoyed one of his doodles when browsing Google. I found about Christoph Niemann when reading/visualizing this story about the Football World Cup in Brazil on The New York Times. It’s a great example of great journalism: it meets good reporting and interactive and visual elements.

His work is always intelligent, full of meaning, fun, and with a twist. Plus, the drawings are beautiful. Steven Heller defines it: “His keen ability to go beyond the one-off pictorial gag into a realm of visual profundity (…) to turn words into pictorial representations that trigger everything from laughter to tears while effortlessly illuminating difficult political and social issues“.

How talented people find their inspiration and are pushed to reach higher levels is something that has always fascinated me. Niemann explains his approach: For each job I have a certain person in mind that I would want to like the piece (whether they end up seeing it or not). I always try to imagine that person looking at the piece and wonder whether he/she would think it’s funny/lame/unexpected, etc”(via). Actually, it’s quite similar to Jeffrey Eugenides‘s view (Middlesex, The Marriage Plot): “No matter what you’re writing, you have to think that it is a letter to your most intelligent friend. Don’t be condescending. Don’t give superfluous explanations. Don’t write for an audience or readership, write for the reader as an individual”.

You can find Niemann at Instagram, in Wired, in the financial column from The New Yorker illustrated by him, in Newsweek… Oh, and check this awesome story about the creator of Etch a Sketch (drawn in an Etch a Sketch!).

A selection of his works:

MoMA floor plan
ChristophNiemann1This creative map illustrates the distribution of the MoMA in a genius way. More than 30 art pieces are displayed in the drawing, can you identify them all? Clues: there’s Dali, Rousseau, the Bauhaus, Matisse, Méliès, Mondrian, Magritte, Lichtenstein, Rothko… You can check this site where you’ll find the answers. Niemann explains how he approached this particular work: “The most satisfying ones [art pieces] were the elements where the audience and the artwork interact, like the [René] Magritte (the woman standing in front of the eye) and the [Henri] Rousseau (the visitor looking at the assortment of plants with the lion).”

Google Doodles
christoph-niemann13Other workschristoph-niemann4SD_prev2christoph-niemann5christoph-niemann3christoph-niemann6christoph-niemann2



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CJ Hendry’s photorealistic drawings

CJ Hendry is a young illustrator that creates these amazing photorealistic drawings inspired by fashion pieces: the Chanel 2.55 bag, a bottle of No.5, a pair of Saint Laurent shoes, the Kenzo loafers… And bones too: spinal columns, skulls… So far, the most technically challenging drawing was the fedora hat by Ralph Lauren.

This artist based in the sunny city of Brisbane, Australia, is able to create true black and white masterpieces with her talent, a white piece of paper by Canson, and fine (really fine) pens by Staedtler and endless labels. To get those loyal shadows and lights she first sprays the object with white paint (yes, she did that with a real 2.55 too, as you can see on this video. Advise: not for fashion-sensitive people). Then she takes a photo of it, makes the draft guided by the proportions of the original photo, and finally she draws it with nearly microscopical strokes, using several layers of strokes and shadows. In order not to get bored after hours and hours spent at her studio drawing, she listens to audiobooks while working. She’s already “listened” to the first four Game of Thrones books, which last more than 30 hours each. You can make an idea of how much time those drawings take… She spends days to finish a drawing (some of them are more than 2,5m long), and when she draw the Louboutin sneakers, just the right shoe took five days.

She’s shown her work in galleries. She doesn’t have a website, but you can follow her creations at her Instagram account. Right now she’s studying at the university and squeezing time to draw.

CJ Hendry next to one of her works

Photos and drawings by CJ Hendry

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