Perhaps it’s London-based illustrator Kellie Strøm’s inability to swim that led to his interest in creatively charting the nautical horrors of the sea, but as his latest project demonstrates, it’s likely his Scandinavian roots that inspired Strøm’s exceptionally detailed drawings of dramatic oceanic sagas. Produced by Nobrow for their Leporello series, “Worse Things Happen at Sea” is a double-sided panorama chronicling mythical maritime adventures. From a more modern tale of a massive squid pulling a plane out of the air with its monstrous tentacles to the classic image of vikings beleaguered by strong storms and ferocious dragons, Strøm uses his serious illustration chops to recreate the mythical world his imagination seems to innately conceive.
The seasoned artist spent two years creating “Worse Things” using a magnifying glass, very fine pens and an intricate color-separation technique to result in “a silly amount of detail” throughout the concertina book. In a quick video highlighting his meticulous process, Strøm explains that his artistic interest lies in exposing the structures behind what he’s trying to show compositionally—an element that only truly works on paper.
Whether used to inspire the imaginations of children, as a mantlepiece artwork or as inspiration for a nautical tattoo, “Worse Things Happen At Sea” is a collectible treasure in illustrated form. You can now pick up Strøm’s book—complete with Francis James Child’s 1880s folkloric ballad “The Mermaid” gracing the interior of the jacket—online from Nowbrow for $16.
Photos by Karen Day