August's issue of Outside Magazine – its "Encyclopedia of Gear" – is sure to stand out to readers, not just for its comprehensive study of what gadgets, garments, and equipment are right for their outdoor activity of choice, but because about 85% of the issue was illustrated by hand. That hand, of course, belongs to F+J artist Tim Tomkinson, who was approached for the behemoth (about two month-long) project after working on a single page of gear illustrations for the magazine’s Adventure issue in May 2015.
The current issue, by contrast, required no fewer than 65 illustrations, choosing the more analog medium over photography because, as creative director Hannah McCaughey, put it, “it was the most organic way to do it, because the stories themselves were going back in time to show where and how some of the most essential pieces of gear were invented. Doing the same for the design, art, and type was only natural.” Tomkinson even illustrated the logo on the magazine’s cover, giving the issue a completely cohesive look.
When pressed for favorite pieces from the project, Tomkinson said he was happy with the way “the American Gothic-inspired portrait of Mary and Lloyd Anderson (REI founders) on the very first spread of the issue” turned out, “and the portrait of Jack O’Neill (founder of O’Neill wetsuits).”
Would he illustrate an encyclopedia again?
“Absolutely! Especially if it’s for Outside Magazine. Hannah McCaughey was an absolute pleasure to work with, and somehow made the scope of this project far less daunting than it should have been.”