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Leigh Wells

20th Anniversary

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This year is the 20th anniversary of my transition from design into illustration! It has been a great twenty years with so many wonderful client experiences and crazy changes in the industry. Back in the old days, I illustrated completely by hand, using acrylic paints, graphite, ink, paper and lots of glue. Yum! Though my methods have since changed, I have an extensive archive of lovely mementos of that early analog process.

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The Summer of Maps

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Hope your summer has gone well. Mine was full of lettering and map assignments, drawing exotic locales instead of visiting them… wait, is Miami exotic? These maps appear in the Sept/Oct 2105 issue of Virtuoso Life magazine. Korena Sinnett art directed the Amalfi Coast Map, and the Miami map was for Melanie Fowler.  more…

Studio Visit

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A while back, the photographer-writer duo, Klea McKenna and Nikki Gratan, publishers of the art blog In The Make came to the new Berkeley studio for an interview and visit. After several years in San Francisco, and New York before that, I’ve enjoyed the light, space and temperature (!) of the new place. Though I usually I keep the art part of my life separate from my illustration work, I thought I would share these photos, so you can see where things happen.

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The Yarn Pyramid

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 A slyly amusing and lovingly produced riff on the classic Food Pyramid, dreamed up and designed by my talented neighbor and friend, Karen Templer. Was fun to illustrate these icons in a style to evocative of an old-school educational poster. more>

Recession Profession

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Over the years, clients have asked me to letter their wedding invitations—requests that I didn’t have time to engage until a few years ago, when many publication clients closed their doors and the illustration assignments were harder to come by. I decided to teach myself to do my own take on Copperplate calligraphy using a split nib pen. more>

It’s Science!

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I’ve had the pleasure of working more this year on science images than ever before. These assignments tend to have slightly different goals than the typical editorial piece, in that there is an emphasis on conveying information in an accessible way. I relish the research on new topics, reaching an understanding of the content and trying to synthesize it visually. more>

Don’t Give It Away

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Every person with a creative livelihood should read this recent New York Times article by Tim Kreider. He articulately describes the experience and implications of being asked to work for free. It is titled, “Slaves of the Internet, Unite!”, but the issue most certainly predates the internet.

Leigh Wells Lettering Illustration Time Magazine Gun Violence

Do Words Kill?

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In January 2011,  after the Arizona shootings, I got a call from D.W. Pine at TIME Magazine to work on possible cover for their January 24th issue. The focus was to be the debate about charged political rhetoric that preceded the tragedy in Tucson — and then was revived by it. He had an idea that was very well suited to my work, using a composition of hand lettering within a silhouette of a Glock pistol. more>

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