The Man Who changed the look of British Illustration

We were delighted to welcome Ben Cox and Brian Grimwood of The Central Illustration Agency to inspire students and staff last Friday at ECA.


(Our signed and illustrated copy of Brian’s book)


Ben began by introducing us to the agency and how it came to be, the vision that Brian had when he brought together a group of Illustrators in 1983. It was a really helpful introduction to what an agency should be and its relationship with both its clients and its designers as Ben walked us through some of their projects.


He described the vast array of projects they help bring about from shop windows such as Andrew Foster’s below, to book jackets and the transformation of spaces for a product launch. It was exciting to hear about the ways they bring their artists together – from collaboration to produce newspapers, to an Illustration Street party they held (definitely working out how to turn that one into a project…!)


Brian followed, who shared a vast range of examples from his professional experience, charting the developments and changes in his focus, and showing his enthusiasm for particular projects. This was intermingled with stories about working for Paul McCartney and later the Beatles, school days with David Bowie and the quirks of working as an Illustrator in Singapore.


(Brian inspired students to observe everything as he showed some of the portraits he is constantly drawing)


Much more information about the CIA and Brian’s career can be found interspersed with beautiful images in two recent publications:

The Central Illustration Agency – Licence to Inspire, Pirum Press 2010

Brian Grimwood – the man who changed the look of British Illustration, Black Dog Publishing 2012

All images above are taken from these publications.


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