“Varoom – the journal of illustration and made images”


Varoom Issue #9 2009

I sometimes treat myself and buy VAROOM magazine, (its a treat as its a tad pricey, but I have to say when I do get it, I am so enthralled by the quality, I wonder why I don’t buy it more regularly and assure you its worth every damned penny – go buy it now!)

Varoom magazine is dedicated to illustration, the current issue, shown above, is actually an ‘illustrated lettering edition’ and as you can see from the front cover artwork, the work is mind-blowing! If you’ve not bought it before, the magazine is a true joy to behold, the pages are thick and I mean THICK and glossy…the features really make the most of this high quality and display the artwork BIG, which, I guess, is really as it should be, for an illustration magazine…

I was really interested in the cover story feature, and was engrossed reading Steven Bateman’s interviews with various lettering artists. In his introduction, the distinction is made between type that is designed to be used across various media, and type that is used to be illustrative, as say, a one-off:

“…illustrated letterforms are liberated from this requirement and are free to boast pictorial qualities enlivened by the idiosyncrasies of the artists who made them…”

Interviews and artwork in the feature include work by; Marian Bantjes, Mike Perry, Grandpeople and Alex Trochut (who also designed the cover artwork, above.)


On a personal note, typography is a really difficult subject for me to comment upon, as its not something I’ve studied (though I’ve had to make decisions based on what might work across a feature or entire magazine and I literally cack myself) …but I am respectful of type and the talent of typographers and feel drawn to it, as it were… So to then look at type from this new perspective, as illustrated letterforms, hhhhhmmmm, interesting…and yes, I believe Steven Batemen hit the proverbial nail-on-the-head, with his comment whereby the artist includes a bit of his or her personality in what they’re working on…


During the course of the various interviews you are also made aware how much of a painfully double-edged-sword fame or notoriety is, as often clients want the exact same style seen in previous work… whereas they (the artist) has moved on, or knows that a particular style doesn’t suit the project/brief they’ve been commissioned to work on…I believe it was Marian Bantjes that made a particularly interesting comment on turning down work that had dull copy, and to that extent enjoys or prefers working with her own words, because there’s no escaping bad copy… its just bad… it can’t be dressed-up… – interesting… Marian Bantjes also had some really interesting comments about how she works through an idea, discarding the obvious, then coming full-circle back to the original idea… (…heh heh…) I was further intrigued to read Mike Perry say that he had a short attention span and as such, prefers to work early mornings and oh yeah, Alex Trochut saying he’s actually not good at drawing! – er,. wow… (…pick me up from off the floor!)



There is obviously a ton of other stuff in the magazine, I can’t regurgitate it all here, seriously, GO BUY VAROOM NOW! Though, very quickly, I’ve gotta mention, the “sticker” feature, below, is also FAB, perhaps a little short though….



One response to “Varoom

  1. Pingback: It’s Nice That « caffeinatedKit

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