Michael Parkin illustrates parody fishing magazine
Michael Parkin shows his playful side with his newest illustrations. The vibrant illustrations display his never-failing energy and ability to create texture. We had a short chat with Michael to get his take on the project. See what he has to say below and check out the awesome illustrations!
What was the inspiration behind this project?
At the beginning of the year I got a commission for Times Higher Education for an article about the dumbing down of University courses, and how some lecturers are now making comparisons between classic art/literature and modern pop culture in an attempt to appeal to students. This sparked a thought in my brain that ended up producing a mash up of classic art and gossip magazines - which the Art Director liked and I worked up to a final for the magazine.
I really enjoyed thinking up the fake headlines on the magazines and giving myself freedom to write anything, which led to me taking it further and writing my own small gossip magazine called 'Blab'. At the time I was looking for something a bit different to send out as promo material to Art Directors and thought this would fit the bill. The project was turned around quite quickly, and whilst there are bits I would definitely change, I enjoyed the whole process immensely. It was featured on It's Nice That and was well received, so I decided to work on another.
This time I have picked a fishing magazine to parody in my own way, and am taking longer on it so that it will hopefully have more pages and be a bit better finished. I am maybe half way through as I write this, although ideas keep flying to mind so it is getting bigger and bigger!
How did you first approach it?
The project has been in my mind for quite a long time, so ideas gradually formed and I had quite a bit planned out before I had even started work on it. I generally form as much of the idea as I can and whilst I am still excited about it I start work on the illustration for each section. As these come together a layout starts to make sense in my head and I can work to the space available. I have pretty much sorted the cover (although the article titles need to maybe go on there at some point) and a few articles are also ready. I regularly bounce ideas off my friends Dan and Ed who are really helpful in telling me whether what I have is rubbish, or showing me a new direction I could take things in.
Once all of the illustration is done I will work up the copy and then move on to tweaking and laying everything out ready for print. The project is quite drawn out in terms of time, as I am also working around commissioned work and other bits and pieces - but I hope to get it all finalised before January...
How was this project different than others?
I guess the most similar project to this would be a graphic novel I worked on for my Final assessment at university. It was a long process that required me to plan it all out and work it all up over time. Since making that I have fallen more in to editorial illustration (which I love), and that usually involves a tight deadline so I am used to working quickly and getting an illustration finished and signed off in a short time window. The magazines are different in that it takes a long time to put it all together and whilst I enjoy it, I do also find myself itching to get it all done quickly so I can see the final piece. This is partly why Blab was a bit rushed, and I am allowing myself as much time as I need to make this one (Sweet Breams) to a better standard. It will be used as promo material after all, and I want to reflect the best of my work in one booklet.
Any other general thoughts?
I was chatting to a friend about this the other day, and was explaining how much I enjoy making these magazines. He really enjoys reading them, and I mentioned that I might try and make it a biannual thing, which will hopefully grow over time. I am going to get more of Sweet Breams printed that I did for Blab, which will allow me to send a bunch out and also to sell some for a good price online - hopefully funding the next one! I think I am going to choose a different genre of magazine for each print run, to keep things fresh and fun - and there is definitely a rich variety to choose from. Maybe the next one will be horses or trains, or caravans or knitting...
I really hope people enjoy the magazine as much as I enjoy making them. I think there is a lot of serious and often scary reading material around and my aim is to provide a bit of nonsensical respite from that.
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