Playboy's hand-drawn doodle-illustration cover

We chat to Sarah Coleman, aka Inkymole, about her commission to create Playboy's first illustrated cover.

An unusual cover for Playboy, and an unusual commission for Sarah Coleman - who was delighted to take part

Pen-and-ink illustrator Sarah Coleman, aka Inkymole, is the artist behind Playboy magazine’s first illustrated cover for 23 years, mixing hand-drawn coverlines with her trademark doodles and flourishes.

Coleman, whose images have featured in numerous editorial, advertising and fashion projects, was perhaps an unusual choice for Playboy - and she was as surprised as anyone to find an email from Playboy’s new art director Mac Lewis.

"I thought that it was spam at first," she explains. "It was about 2am and I was thinking I should call it a day. So I ignored it for a bit. When I checked, I was excited and rang the art director straight away. With a very tight turnaround, I had to start drawing the next day. I’ve worked for lots of high-profile clients but I think because this one is so iconic, with its own colourful owner in the form of the famous Hugh Hefner, and the stories of Playboy mansions and parties, it’s a bit legendary."

Position of the month

Coverlines aside, Coleman largely had free rein when it came to creating the illustration - with the one snag that the cover image itself could be any one of nine possibilities. "The art director wouldn’t know which one until right at the last minute, when 'The Hef' made his choice," adds Coleman. "So I had to create type that would, firstly, fit around nine different poses and, secondly, be capable of easy, fast tweaks in the final stages."

So what’s it like knowing that hers is the first illustrated cover for 23 years? "I’m really very pleased," she beams. "If I never do another one again - even though that would be fabulous - I’ll always be proud of this one."

This interview was originally published in Computer Arts issue 208.

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