Since 2011 a large part of my life has been spent writing and drawing semi-topical comics for Guardian Weekend and Prospect. It sends me insane in on a weekly basis but I love it too. Mostly I don’t take on comics commissions outside these publications because I find them difficult and time-consuming to make. They’re basically miniature comedy sketches about whatever I think is ‘in the air’ at the time, and they never feature recurring characters or continuing plots. Sometimes I paint them but mostly I do ink and lettering on paper and then scan and colour digitally, for the sake of meeting deadlines. Some of these strips are collected in my book Some Comics By Stephen Collins (Jonathan Cape), and a selection of limited edition prints are available in my shop.
July 2014: commissioned by Pimm’s in conjunction with Mother London and Love Creative to illustrate a full relaunch of the Pimm’s website and social media presence. The brief was to provide a light visual tone representing the ‘world’ of each product, as well as extensive lettering and icons around the site.
Social media illustrations (“In summer, it’s never not Pimm’s O’ Clock”):
Miscellaneous work for magazines and newspapers
Radio Times: enjoying your midlife crisis. Gouache and ink on paper, digital editing, 2017
Guideposts magazine (US): reader’s story about an older woman who makes friends in a new town by discovering her local launderette book club. Gouache and ink on paper, 2017
Work for Pimm’s (July 2014) in conjunction with Mother London to illustrate a series of press ads.
– THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER –
Praise for THE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL:
“A total work of art which elevates itself beyond comparison.”
– Nick Hayes, Literary Review
“The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is an artistic marvel”
– AV Club
– Glen Weldon, NPR
“The British invasion has begun anew via The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil.”
– Beth Carey, Comics Alternative
“An amazing book. Completely original. Surreal, yet believable.”
– Raymond Briggs author of The Snowman
“The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil has the tone of a playful fable, from the cracked syntax of its title onward… It’s a rather Seussian premise, and Collins underscores the joke by nudging narration and dialogue into half-rhyme […] For a book about the liberating joys of disruption, though, it’s exceptionally disciplined: Collins renders several hundred pages of immaculately ruled buildings and bean-faced people (and the fuzzy curlicues that interfere with them) in meticulous, microdetailed pencil textures.’
– Douglas Wolk, New York Times
“If you go to the comics shop to encounter unfamiliar talents, to get that shock of the new, this is your best bet.”
– The Comics Reporter
“Clever, funny and beautiful to look at… surely destined to become a classic.”
– Rachel Cooke, The Observer (UK)
“Filled with elegant black-and-white sketches and darkly philosophical commentary, Collins’s graphic novel details what happens when borders collapse and stories have no tidy endings.”
– Time Out New York
All kinds of 21st-century anxieties writhe under the text: fear of immigration, the collapse of cultural homogeneity, ecological devastation—the end of a particular way of life […] Collins nimbly avoids the potential pitfalls of preachiness or meaningless absurdity here, leading to a confident and convincing début. I look forward to more.
– Edwin Turner, Biblioklept
“It’s part satire, part parable, part nursery rhyme and part disaster movie, and it’s an utter joy to read.”
– Tom Gatti, The Times (UK)
it’s kind of Roald Dahl – it’s very funny, dark, fable-like and about exactly what it’s title says.”
– Linda Holmes, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour
“An imaginative and funny fable that can be enjoyed on its own terms and as a nicely judged satire on ignorance, routine and the deadening influence of corporate and celebrity culture.”
-James Smart, The Guardian (UK)
“Almost Kubrickian in the way it uses technical precision to exert such a level of experiential control over the reader[…] like Dahl’s work, Collins’ comic is deeply funny, never taking itself too seriously. It’s full of jokes that seem casual and carefully timed—not the kind of jokes that knock you off your seat, but the kind of jokes you keep in your head for a long time.
– Shea Hennum, This Is Infamous
“A gorgeously penciled fable. The pacing and page design are immaculate.”
– Teddy Jamieson, Sunday Herald (UK)
“There’s a touch of Roald Dahl to this dark, beautifully drawn and wonderfully surrealist tale.”
“A witty and surreal response to conformity, and how we should embrace our difference. Accompanied by incredible pencil drawings, you will be blown away by the quality, and be humbled by the underlying message.”
“An inspired swirling of the mundane with the surreal… published in a super-sized, yummy parchment-like hardback drawn in soft pencil, it’s like a children’s book for the anxious adult.”
– Metro (UK)
WINNER OF THE 9th ART AWARD 2013
WINNER OF THE GRAN GUINIGI AWARD 2014 (LA GIGANTESCA BARBA MALVAGIA)
Miscellanous illustrations, paintings, etc…
Painting commissioned as an employee’s leaving present by advertising agency AMV BBDO. Gouache and ink on paper.
Family portrait, private commission, gouache and ink on paper
Wedding invitation for friends (they live in Charlton and this is geographically accurate). (Sort of). Gouache and ink on paper.
Advertising campaign commissioned by Time To Change / Mind in conjunction with DARE media. The brief was to come up with an idea to combat taboos around discussing mental health issues.
Sketchbook and Works in Progress