This month's cover art: Matt Johnstone

January 2, 2019

 

This month’s cover is the work of Matt Johnstone, who has been working as an illustrator since graduating with a degree in Graphic Design from Central St Martins in 2005. “The thing I’m probably best at is creating detailed scenes out of lots of elements,” says Matt when I ask him how he describes his work. “Whether it be a face made up of objects, or an imaginary landscape full of people doing different things, I’ve always loved images that you can look into and discover things. When I was younger, I liked Where’s Wally, adventure puzzle books and Asterix.” 


Matt starts his designs with an old-school pencil sketch which he traces in ink before scanning into Photoshop to play around with the colours. “My work didn’t used to be so bright – I used to restrict it to a limited colour palette inspired by old comic books – but recently, I’ve been choosing much bolder, brighter colours that you wouldn’t necessarily put together. I like to use them all at once!”


His love of detail and colour come together with mesmerizing effect on our cover: there’s a lot going on. “I wanted to create a face of a community-minded person, built up of lots of elements to do with helping out, carrying shopping, gardening, painting... It was nice to have an open brief and to take my time.” 


“When I’m working on commercial briefs, the client usually has a strong idea of what they want, and there’s not always the time to work in as much detail as I’d like. I regularly illustrate a piece in the Guardian sports section, and with that, I’ll get a brief at ten in the morning, and I need to get it back to them by three in the afternoon. I have to work quickly, but I’ve got used to it. It used to be written by Russell Brand, and he would file his copy really late in the day, so I’d get the brief about an hour before the paper went to print. That was the toughest deadline I’ve had.”


As well as the Guardian, Matt illustrates for a number of magazines, creates illustrated maps and, most recently, has designed a record cover for dance label Size Records. Represented by illustration agency Jelly London since 2007, he’s also created murals for offices, covered the walls of boardrooms with illustrations for advertising pitches, and drawn at live art events, something which he enjoys. “I’m inspired by the people that I meet at those events. I’ve done quite a few live art jobs where you get to meet lots of other artists, which is nice because working as an illustrator can be quite solitary. My work is usually very considered, but when you draw at a live event like that, you’re working more instinctively, which gives you fresh ideas.”

 

You can see more of Matt’s work at mattjohnstone.co.uk 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

More like this:

Please reload

  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon

© 2018 Viva Magazines Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon