JESS VARNISH: TAKE THE LEAD
THE ONE-LAP WONDER
A CYCLING SCIENCE PROJECT
DEVISED TO TAKE ON THE AUSSIES
SHE WAS 3 YEARS IN THE MAKING
NOW GOLD IS HERS FOR THE TAKING
VICTORIA PENDLETON: TAKE THE PACE
VIC OF THE VELODROME
THE POCKET-ROCKET ON PEDALS
PETITE BUT PACY
SHE PROVES MUSCLES DON'T WIN MEDALS
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Paul X. Johnson. As a child, Paul was skilled with a pencil and paint brush, but it wasn't until he went to Northumbria University to study design that he decided to pursue a career in the arts.
He graduated in 2009 and hasn¹t looked back.
Paul creates his own world within his illustrations, with a cas t full of the beautiful and the da mned. His images poss ess a melancholic beauty and innate sense of style that makes them feel timeless. Paul's work is hand-drawn and painted, and finally the image is cleaned up and edited in Photoshop.
His atmospheric drawings have been used by an array of clients including The Times, The Guardian, Elle and GQ. This year he was also selected to exhibit his work at Somerset House for Pick Me Up 2012. Paul likes to add his own unique style to every project he embarks on, whether it's personal or commercial, he will always feel a deep connection to all his creative output. Currently residing in his hometown of Newcastle, Paul admits to being mildly addicted to Tumblr. He also lists Sylvia Plath, Stanley Kubrick and Ren & Stimpy.
Power, speed, determination. None of these things describe me. They are, on the other hand, definitely qualities that you could use to describe Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish.
When capturing these characteristics in my illustration, I started by looking at relevant images of the girls. I watched videos of races to get and idea of their physicality and riding style (all hail YouTube) and collected references of them from a variety of angles. This gave me a good platform to begin sketching as I felt I had a good grasp of how they actually looked.
I started with some really rough thumbnail sketches to get a feel for possible compositions. These then developed into a handful of more finished sketches until a final one was chosen for me to paint. It was imporant to me that I projected a sense of mood and drama so close attention was paid to the colour scheme. I kept the background dark to really make the girls standout and give a sense of everything around them being blocked out, focused only on the race.
I had a great time working on this cover and it was such an honour to be asked. Good luck today Victoria and Jess!