All posts by It's Nice That

Founded in 2007, It’s Nice That is a publishing platform that encompasses several different online, print and events offerings as part of its mission of championing creativity across the art and design world.

Illustration: Few image makers evoke atmosphere as well as Kilian Eng

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One of my absolute favourite spreads in The Annual 2013 is a double page illustration of a couple being boated through a mysterious subterranean world. It springs from the mind of Sweden-based master of atmosphere Kilian Eng, whose portfolio I checked back in on this week. His Behance proves he’s been impressively busy; alongside the weird and wonderful sci-fi flavoured worlds we know he is so adept at creating, there’s various other treasures to be enjoyed, not least his concept art for “mind-bending action film” KOYAKATSI. Fantastical imagination and technical expertise is one thing, but add in this level of consistency and you know you’re in the presence of something really special.

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Photography: Candid portraits of London’s rapidly decreasing independent shops

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Has anyone else realised that no matter which UK town you’re in, the high street remains the same? The eerie Groundhog’s Day feeling of seeing the uniform Nero, Boots, Costa, Sainsbury’s Local, Primark strip that is ubiquitous to any town is enough to make you want to invent a time machine and go back to the land of independent crafts. This is exactly why projects such as this one by Laura Braun are so important. Laura went on a voyage around London to find some of the most important independent shops in the capital and took a candid portrait of each shopkeeper. We love projects like these – proof that the photographer has not only made an outstanding project but that they have also taken the time to get to know their subjects.

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The Weekender: We’re back, we’re fat, and we’re raring to go. It’s time for The Weekender

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Wilkommen to the new year! We’re back! We’ve actually been back for a few days now, bleary eyed and full of gravy we waddled to our desks and began tapping away, firing up the internet for another year of content. Are you excited? You should be. More importantly, this is the first of a whopping 48 Weekenders to come. Not as excited? Fair enough, it is a bit of a weird weekly tradition. We like it though.

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Mixtape: A little new year-themed mixtape for you to soundtrack the start of 2014!

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Yep, you’re back to work. You’re poor, wet and cold and with a long expanse of grey ahead of you…But cheer up! It might never happen! We’ve put together 12 songs all with underlying themes of “new” or “return” or “back”. Apologies about the Take That, but you know what? We do want you back, and we want you for good. Put it on the office stereo and watch those frowns turn upside down.

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Photography: Russ McClintock crosses the wilds of America by bike

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I’m tempted to introduce this post by saying something about the weather or my ride into work and how crappy it was today, but that would belittle the extraordinary journey that Russ McClintock made way back in 2004, cycling a mammoth 4000 miles in 51 days from Seattle to New York. The usually fashion-themed photographer hit the road with nothing but a one-man tent, his wheels and a camera, capturing the simple sights he saw with a tourist’s enthusiasm and the eye of a professional. I’m a sucker for images of roads trailing off into the distance at the best of times but the story of Russ’ solitary journey make these images all the more engaging.

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Miscellaneous: An incredible archive of the beautiful, much-loved Ladybird Books

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Did anyone catch that BBC Ladybird Book documentary that was on just before Christmas? It was a fascinating look into the creation and the artists behind the books most of us grew up with. Whether you wanted to read about how to tie knots, the difference between villages and towns, or just animals that hibernate, Ladybird Books had a publication dedicated to nearly every subject on the earth and beyond.

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Publication: Illustrators and writers come together for special new book

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It was during the dying embers of 2013 (Remember that? How young we were…) when this little book dropped through our letterbox and it’s fair to say it’s had me engaged, engrossed and utterly charmed ever since. You Are The Friction is the latest release from Sing Statistics, the independent publishers run by illustrator Lizzy Stewart and designer Jez Burrows (once of this parish).

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Animation: A group of animators create a paean to terrible nights out we’ve all endured

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This animation is described as “a film for everyone who has ever been on a shit night out,” and is a super-fun tribute to those evenings in dingy clubs where the music is too loud, the drinks are too pricey and the clientele is too dickhead-y. Compiled by Kristian Antonelli, James Duveen, Wesley Louis, Tim McCourt, Jonathan Djob Nkondo, Sam Taylor and Bjorn-Erik Aschim (who also directs), there’s a great deal to identify with alongside some more off-the-wall characters. Also keep your eyes peeled for a little Keith Haring cameo about half way through.

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Film: A pottery zoetrope animation? Go on then, it is Friday after all

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Long before the days of the Nintendo Wii and Hug Me Elmo there was the zoetrope; a very cool old-school gadget which creates the illusion of motion from a series of images which you spin around rapidly on an axis. It may have been sadly shunted to the toy-store sidelines but in December RAMP Ceramics collaborated with Jim Le Fevre to bring the humble zoetrope back into the limelight, stepping it up a notch by creating a ceramic pot which works in the same way.

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