Monday, May 3, 2021

Louise Brooks illustration in Jonathan Edwards book

Tipped off by a Facebook post, I emailed Welsh artist / illustrator Jonathan Edwards about his book, One hundred and thirty one faces: sketchbook vol 7. This 124 page book features pages from Jonathan's sketchbook as well as a few finished pieces. Most are in color. Among the book many subjects are author James Joyce, singer Francois Hardy, musician John Coltrane and Duke Ellington, artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michael Basquiat, and many others. . . including Louise Brooks. Below is a quick flip through of the book, in which Brooks is one of the first personalities seen.

I emailed the artist, and asked why he included Brooks. He responded, "The portrait was originally drawn for an online B&W drawing competition that a friend of mine, Kunikazu Noguchi - a Tokyo based caricaturist, organises. I couldn’t resist drawing Louise Brooks. She’s such an icon and a gift to draw especially in pure black and white." 


Brooks was caricatured a number of times during her career in film -- in the 1920s and 1930s -- and she has also been caricatured a number of times in recent years. I have seen many if not most all of the caricatures from then and now, and this one is a favorite. Like other depictions of the actress, this one is stylistically angular, which I feel depicts a certain hardness in Brooks -- which is true. 

Jonathan Edwards work first appeared in 1993 in Deadline and Tank Girl Magazine with strips such as Dandy Dilemma, Simon Creem, The Squabbling Dandies and one pagers about Scott Walker, Sly Stone, Nancy Sinatra, Kraftwerk and The Beach Boys. Since then he has worked for the Guardian, Mojo, Q, Mad, The Black Eyed Peas, A Skillz & Krafty Kuts, The Jungle Brothers, The Glastonbury Festival, etc. His comics include Aunt Connie & The Plague of Beards, A Bag Of Anteaters (with Ian Carney) and Two Coats McWhinnie (also with Carney). He has also been a regular contributor to the Guardian since 1999, and illustrated the Hard Sell weekly column in the Guide from 2002 - 2011. His character design work includes collaborations with partner, Louise (AKA Felt Mistress), and his vinyl toy, Inspector Cumulus, is available from Crazylabel toys. For more details about the Felt Mistress collaborations (including our Selfridges Christmas window display) please click HERE.

Jonathan Edwards book, One hundred and thirty one faces: sketchbook vol 7, can be purchased HERE. Also available on his website are other books, prints and posters.More about the artist and his work can be found HERE.

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