Richard Silvester
May 12, 2014
Reading time:
5 min
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Matthieu Bessudo (nicknamed: mcbess), you probably never heard this name before, until now. It’s OK, you are forgiven, let me introduce you. Mcbess is an illustrator, an expensive one (as he states on his website), and there is a reason for that. He is truly…one of the best. There, I said it!

Despite the fact you probably never heard of him, I’m pretty sure you have seen his work somewhere in a place where natural light doesn’t reach and people run like headless chickens – the London underground that is. His work is featured in posters all over London as part of the recent campaign ‘Travel Better London’, by the Transport for London which addresses the passenger’s etiquette in a poetic and illustrative manner.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2952″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]Image credit: © mcbess[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Mcbess has an extremely distinctive surrealistic — arguably utopian — style of illustration, which many times is implemented within an isometric landscape. Highly elaborate handdrawn monochrome illustrations made with ink on paper and a dirty rock ’n’ roll spin to them. You know it’s him when you see sailors with bushy beards with things living in them, juicy steaks with facial expressions, half naked groupies with over-exaggerated big breasts,tattoos of steaks and anchors, all illustrated in the absence of colour while accompanied by precise handdrawn typography and lack of everyday logic. His influences include cartoons from classic motion picture studios such as Fleischer Studios  and Merrie Melodies giving his work a friendly and sometimes creepy (in a good way) retro atmosphere. Elements of Popeye the Sailorman, Mickey Mouse, and  Betty Boop can be seen all over his portfolio.

Music is another clear reference point. Aside from all the visual clues that expose this passion for music (guitars, amps, drum sets)that can be seen in most of his graphics, he clearly ‘advertises’—in a discrete way— the band “The dead pirates”  (of which he is part of)  in TFL’s posters mentioned above. This can be seen on members of the public wearing t-shirts of the band.

Mcbess is another example that convinces me that a successful illustrator, or any kind of designer really, is someone who creates a portfolio of work that screams his name. Strong identity should be visible in your portfolio in order to make it recognisable and memorable for people. Spending a lot of time mastering one style, one technique (10,000 hours they say) should be considered as good practise, as clearly illustrated (literally) by the french bearded creative now under the spotlight. It’s simple really, at least in theory; great typographic skills, consistent art direction and theme across a body of work = success.

Keep on rolling, you crazy monochrome rock ‘n’ roll pirate![/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]