Featured Artist - Mark Ruffle

3 minute read

Hi, my name’s Mark Ruffle. I’m an illustrator based in the UK. This preliminary artwork was created for a children’s book commissioned by Dorling Kindersley, called The Space Race, written by Sarah Cruddas, published 2019.

Like lots of book projects, there was some sample work drawn beforehand, to get the look and style of the book pinned down before the main commissioning commenced. The artwork style and design were to be influenced by the time periods covered in the book from 1940’s to modern day rockets.

Sample spread for The Space Race. I used Phantasm to create the halftone on the diagonal divide. It was important to break up the page keep the rocket as large as possible, and highlight the Command module diagram.

This was a great project to work on, anything to do with space is a gift for an illustrator brought up on Star Wars. I love the topic of space, and because it required artwork that reflected the times, I could indulge in some retro graphics.

DK supplied mood boards for the project but I also looked at stamps from an old collection given to me by my dad. I really like the perforations, shapes, limited palette and clear graphic style. 

I drew these during the early stages of the project. They were intended as designs for the folios but I got carried away and created stamps. Astute‘s Phantasm plugin for Illustrator with it’s vector halftone tool is the perfect solution for creating editable vector halftones. 

A great feature of the tool is being able to add gradient to a halftone fill quickly and easily. This gives a super retro fade and adds some dramatic backgrounds for the stamps.

In the Phantasm halftone dialogue I set the ‘Type’ to colour, ‘Pattern’ to grid and irregular so the dots alternate and sit closely together. I then set the DPI nice and low so the dots are big and you can see the colour separation.

This is a spread from the finished book. I used halftone patterns to give the shadows extra interest.

All artwork ©Dorling Kindersley


 Featured Artist - Mark Ruffle

Mark Ruffle

I’m an illustrator and designer based in the Cotswolds, UK. All my artwork is vector based, drawn in Adobe Illustrator. I’ve been fortunate to work for a variety of clients, mostly in children’s publishing. In the past couple of years I’ve been busy working in children’s non fiction, often taking on all the drawing and design. If you’re interested in my illustration you can contact me at mark@rufflebrothers.com

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