Cartooning and editorial artwork often go hand in hand. Editorial illustrations need to convey a sense of an article’s content and tone, which can be at times grotesque or absurd. If done right, the illustration can add an extra nugget of thought to a piece, or even explain aspects of the content that are best described visually. James Clapham is both a cartoonist and an editorial illustrator, and he combines his often surreal sensibilities with responses to items in the news, creating memorable images on everything from genetically modified fish to superhero porn parodies.
Clapham is currently studying for his masters in illustration at Camberwell School of Arts. In the meantime, though, his illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines. And even when he’s not creating editorial illustrations professionally, he’s creating them as his personal response to articles about the science of cheese:
The rise in the ocean swell:
Chimps who play with twigs in much the way children play with dolls:
The effects of strychnine on the human body:
Genetically modified foods:
One of Clapham’s exclusively personal projects is illustrating the text of William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch:
In his other personal illustrative and cartooning work, Clapham plays with figures and proportions, creating scene upon scene of carefully embellished weirdness. The results won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but there is a clear sense of playfulness in Clapham’s work. You can see more of his work at his Cargo Collective page
and his Tumblr
, although be warned that not all of Clapham’s comics and illustrations are safe for work.