One of the joys about designing a magazine (and not everything about magazine design is joyful) is that you get to try out new ideas and use new photographers and illustrators on a regular basis. The Winter 2011 issue of The Positive Side gave me the bonus opportunity to work with two new-to-the-magazine illustrators, John Webster and Raymond Beisinger.
I’m always on the watch for potential new illustrators. (Yes, Canadian illustrators with a strong conceptual basis, please contact me.) But I can’t quite remember when Raymond’s illustrations first caught me eye, whether it was in the pages of The Walrus or of Quill & Quire. Anyway, his highly graphic style and excellent conceptual abilities had me quickly searching for him on the web, bookmarking his website and adding him to my mental “Find projects for these illustrators” list.
When I got the first draft of “Behind the Walls” I knew I wanted Raymond. I first approached him about illustrating the article back in the spring of 2010. Unfortunately he was too busy, but he let me know that he found The Positive Side and the article interesting and that I should keep him in mind for future projects. As it turned out, the article didn’t make it into the summer issue and was postponed until the fall. When I knew for certain the article was back in the mag, I followed up with Raymond and he agreed to take it on.
I think the article really played to Raymond’s strengths as an illustrator: it was on a topical subject (HIV and hepatitis C in Canadian prisons) and it dealt with a number of complex, inter-related issues. The full-page illustration to lead the article, shown above, met all of my expections. The spot illo he also provided was an extra bonus.
To see more of Raymond’s work, check out his website.