Illustration Week: Jo Davies meets illustrator collective Hvass & Hannibal

Making Great Illustration

Today on Illustration Week: Jo Davies interviews the Danish collective Hvass & Hannibal for her research for Making Great Illustration. You can purchase this book and more in our on-going Illustration Week sale.

One of the joys of visiting illustrators around the world is the travel, and Copenhagen is a beautiful city to visit – its canals and a fairy tale buildings lending an air of enchantment. I was able to visit the Danish collective Hvass & Hannibal whose diverse and distinctive work seems to reflect this culture.

Hvass & Hannibal work in a trendy area of town where second hand retro shops sit next to interesting coffee shops. Their studio is in a basement; a warm haven and the illustrators too offer warm greetings and tea.

Interviewing a collective is a tricky business but Sofie and Nan seem well accustomed to answering each other’s questions and contradicting each other’s replies. I get a sense that there are no egos, just searching minds. I’m especially interested in their working relationship, which in many ways parallels that of Derek’s and mine. They are individuals working closely together in no need of individual ownership. They are strong and creative and their work seems to be a genuine extension and expression of who they are as Scandinavian artists working with curiosity about what may be around the corner.

They are an interesting duo and I’m lucky to see so much of their work in the flesh on the studio walls – delicately coloured sculptural pieces, patches of intertwined fabrics, Alexander Calder-like constructions.

These artists exhibit, design, construct and create and their work has a broad international appeal that has taken them to places including China and the UK. In many ways these artists reflect a big shift that has occurred within contemporary illustration, a shift that sees a breaking down of boundaries alongside the sharing of cultural distinctiveness.

Jo Davies is co-author of Understanding Illustration, Making Great Illustration and Becoming a Successful Illustrator, all with Derek Brazell.  Jo and Derek are currently working on the second edition of Becoming a Successful Illustrator, which will publish in 2017.  Their website has more information on all the books including additional material and blog posts.

Bloomsbury Illustration Week