Though the internet has had a major impact on pop art—and art in general—a resurgence in illustration has been building over the past few years. For her new book called “Illustration Next,” veteran illustrator Ana Benaroya has compiled the works of 50 leading illustrators from across the globe and the images span the bright and cheery, to the dark and cynical and everything between. Divided in two parts, the book is a sort of “who’s who” of the contemporary illustrator world. In the first half, well-known artists like Yuko Shimizu, Julia Rothman and Mike Perry provide some of their richest work alongside a brief Q&A with the author. The unique style of the illustrations is enriched by the way these divergent personalities approach Benaroya’s questions.
For the second half of the book, Benaroya pairs two illustrators together to collaborate around a given theme. The prompts are simple one word parameters from the very broad, like “death” to the more tangible, like “iceberg.” Given the creative interpretation of each theme by the teams, the second half of the book provides a body of unique work. Along with the exclusively created illustrations, Benaroya interviews the artists about their experience collaborating as well as their inspiration for the drawings. In a field that is often guided by commercial interests and advertising or editorial aims, directing illustrative talent towards a more abstract goal in a collaborative setting is an interesting experiment. With the illustrations waxing and waning in both directness and collaborative nature, it illuminates the range of the creative process between artists.
Images by Graham Hiemstra