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Illustrating Science Fiction

Thursday 18 May 2017

As we prepare for Into the Unknown, we teamed up with contemporary illustration magazine, Wrap, and invited illustrators, artists and photographers to to submit their designs for an exciting new series of science fiction inspired prints.

We received a fantastic selection of entries and, with the help of Into the Unknown curator, Patrick Gyger, Barbican Buyer, Margaux Soland, freelance illustrator and animator Tom Clohosy Cole and Wrap Editor, Polly Glass and Creative Director, Chris Harrison, we chose our winning five designs and one overall competition winner.

You’ll be able to buy a copy of the below prints in the Barbican Shop.

Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction takes place 3 June–1 September 2017.

Our winner is…

Winner: BloodBros - 'Art Forms of Fiction'

‘I've taken inspiration from Ernst Haeckel's 'Art Forms of Nature', creating a specimen sheet of sci-fi related themes: i: 'Host' ii: 'Rock' iii: 'Flora' iv: 'Intelligence' v: 'Mother' vi: 'Bubblegum' vii: 'Slime' viii: 'mutation' ix: 'A.I.' x: 'Sea life' xi: 'light/reflection' xii: 'Alien life' xiii: 'sound'. In several cases the specimens draw influence from specific movies/books.’

Judge's Comment: ‘This is a really exciting response to the brief. It probes our visions of the future with exciting imaginations of organic lifeforms and oozes fun. When I first saw this print I was struck by its visual power and when I started reading about the concept behind it I was all the more impressed. This entry was the most well rounded and accomplished, a truly inventive take on the theme.’
Andrew Hulme - 'Space Mum'

‘It's just another day in the life of Space Mum; she’s out of this world. Inspiration is taken from artwork relating to the Space Race of the 20th Century between the United States and Soviet Union, using colours and imagery from Soviet Poster designs.’

Judge's Comment: ‘I found Andrew’s print really playful and clever, it tells a sweet story but is also beautifully rendered. I like that it appeals to a wide audience reaching beyond science fiction fans while still staying true to the brief.’
Ed Blunt - 'Departure'

‘With this illustration I wanted to capture an intimate moment of farewell before an epic journey into the unknown.’

Judge's Comment: ‘A really successful design, the layout is very efficient and the image tells a story instantly and beautifully.’
Guy Warley - 'Old Earth'

‘As with most of my illustrations I draw inspiration from the hundreds of science fiction books I’ve read, from Asimov to Iain M Banks. I like to start with a rough idea then see where it takes me. I let the viewer make up their own mind about the story.’

Judge's Comment‘Guy's work is visually striking. He uses perspective and scale wonderfully to create a vision of the future that truly transports us. This print was one of the most evocative entry in my opinion, very cinematic and detailed, the skill of the illustration was truly accomplished. It felt really appropriate to the brief and exhibition audience. ’
Kirsty Fabiyi - 'Horizon'

'This piece has been inspired by the discovery and possibility of duplicate/earth sized planets light years away in the Trappist-1 system hosting lifeforms. The colour scheme is inspired by Planet B, closest to the dim salmon sun that appears bigger in the sky in comparison to our yellow distant sun.’

Judge's Comment‘Kirsty’s print is both beautiful and subtly evocative, the graphic elements and colour palette are very strong and it really stood out from the crowd’

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