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‘A Gosling’ by Stuart Kolakovic

Article illustration for A Gosling by Stuart Kolakovic

Over the Easter weekend, Sam and I visited a local art gallery, which was selling souvenirs from an affiliated gallery down the road; one that’s currently showing an independent comics exhibition (and one I hope to visit before we move). Among the books for sale was a small comic called ‘A Gosling’ – written and illustrated by Stuart Kolakovic – and it seemed the perfect subject for the second post in the Design Inspiration series.

When I say this comic book is small, I mean so in every sense of the word. Standing at a mere 102mm x 145mm and spanning only 16 pages (including dust jacket), it would not be unfair to call ‘A Gosing’ pocketsized. And I suppose that was the first thing that attracted me to it. That, and it’s ‘handmade’ aesthetic (something I’m rather fond of, as I’m sure you know by now). For the record, I don’t think it actually is handmade, but the binding has an almost hand-stitched look (I’m no binding expert – please fill in the appropriate term here) and the paper – although of a fairly heavy stock – has the sheen often given by a regular colour photocopying process.


The other thing that struck me was the aforementioned dust jacket. Just why would a 16 page, non-hardback comic need a dust jacket? Well no reason at all, as far as I can tell, but it really adds some ‘oomph’ to the whole package. Something that’s always fascinated me is when a designer goes to the trouble of printing on the ‘concealed’ covers of a book (as Stuart Kolakovic does) so that there’s a nice surprise waiting underneath the dust jacket for the reader who cares to take it off, peeling away the layers for more visual goodness. Phwoar! It’s like an erotic design fantasy…


Anyway, it hasn’t escaped my notice that I’ve been speaking exclusively about the outer, design-focused experience of the comic and have so far failed to address the illustration itself, which of course is the main draw. I won’t go far into this realm, since this is a blog series based on design, except to say that Stuart is one of those illustrators who truly is a designer as well (a rare breed). Basic layout principles are a prominent skillset in most comic book illustrators due to the nature of the medium, but they’re essential when you handle every single aspect of the process like this man does. His use of colour, too, is one to be admired, and it’s put to perfect use in the story-within-a-story section in the comic book’s centre spread.


A quick peak around the interwebs happily tells me that Stuart Kolakovic has a very competent website, a blog where he posts previews of upcoming projects, and an Etsy store where you and I can get our grubby little mitts on even more of his comics and prints. Get yourselves over there, readers – this man deserves our cash!

(If you’ve also read the first post in this series, you’ll notice that I’m already favouring print design as an inspiration. Hmmm… interesting. strokes beard Well, this is no accident, and at Future of Web Design in April, I’ll be talking about just how inspirational print design can be to us web folk.)