John Devolle illustrates Make-A-Map guide books for the British Library
John Devolle offers his distinct conceptual style to illustrate the Make-A-Map guide booklets to accompany the Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line exhibit at the British Library. The exhibit will be open to the public until the 1 March 2017. The exhibition focuses on how the past 100 years of mapping technology has shaped the society we live in. We had a chat with John to get his take on the project!
How did you approach this specific job?
I was very excited to be involved on this job as I’m a big fan of the British Library, the building is amazing, but also, over the years I have been to a few of the exhibitions they have and they are always really interesting, they have so much amazing stuff (not just books) in their archives! So when I first found out about the commission, I already had an idea of trying to do something involving the British Library building, even before I had the full brief! Whilst drawing up initial sketches the idea presented itself of making the building more ship-like, seeing as the exhibition was about maps / navigation. It was only after showing this concept to the client that they informed me that the building was originally conceived to be like a ship with the towers and round windows mimicking portholes etc, so the fact that I gave it a crow’s nest was very appropriate. I originally drew up 3 ideas, as seen below. We ended up going with a combination of ideas 1 and 2, so I worked up a more finished rough, also shown below! From there, I actually began on the final artwork.
Were you given much direction or did you have free conceptual reign?
I was given quite a free reign, and luckily they went with my first idea, pretty much. Once we agreed on the basic concept they pitched in some ideas for what details to include, they didn’t want to focus too much on old fashioned ideas of navigation so we needed to include some more contemporary and futuristic things, hence the rocket and the car being added.
How was this job different than others?
Every job is different! But this was a particularly fun one, and its always nice when the client like your ideas and lets you run with them, so in that way it was a very straight forward job, but is was nice to be involved in something like this, the exhibition itself is amazing! Everyone should go check it out.
Any other general thoughts on the project?
Just want to send a special thanks to John Overeem at the Births Library for Art direction and layout design.
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