Abstract illustration represents unbridled imagination

Good Wives and Warriors reveal how they fulfilled a challenging cover commission for New Scientist magazine.

One of the most challenging tasks you can be presented with as a pro illustrator is to visualise an abstract concept. And the cover story for September's New Scientist magazine fell squarely into this category.

Illustrating this feature fell to Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell, aka Good Wives and Warriors since 2007, whom we last spoke to about their Commonwealth Games Mural. The brief from the publication was very exact so – perhaps ironically – they were unable to let their imaginations run wild...

"New Scientist was quite specific about the style and imagery they wanted to represent imagination," the pair explain. "There were specific references to children's imagination so we had to include a number of clichés like dragons, mythical creatures and unicorns. We needed to represent imagination, not really use our own, so it needed to have conventional and recognizable links to the article."

As you can see though, the pair still managed to put their unique stamp on the illustration. All in all, it's a beautiful, and deceptively intricate, design that truly illuminates and enhances the words rather than detracts from them – as all great examples of editorial illustration should do.

Have you seen an inspiring editorial illustration? Let us know in the comments box below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.