By Artists For Artists

Rebirth of Illustrated Magazine Covers

A hundred years ago, all magazine covers were Illustrated by renowned artists. Even the fashionable Vogue once used drawings and paintings for the covers, feature articles, and ads. However, the invention of photography changed the world of publishing forever.

Photography provided a more effective and cheaper solution to put images and visuals on the pages of newspapers and magazines. It was also a faithful representation of reality, unattainable by art. Fashion magazines were the first to adopt photography, and it quickly became an integral part of every fashion magazine. Publishing houses allocated big budgets for photoshoots, famous photographers, supermodels, and luxuriant locations. 

Perhaps due to pandemic and lockdown restrictions, or as a way to raise awareness about sustainability and environmental issues, the world rediscovered illustrated magazine covers. We have gathered some of MINUS ART‘s favorite examples. 

David Salle for Vogue Italia, January 2020. Lili Sumner in Gucci, styled by Tonne Goodman. Cover courtesy of Vogue Italia.

Vogue Italia, January 2020

In January, Vogue Italia replaced its magazine cover and fashion editorials with illustrations to reduce the environmental impact of photoshoots. It was a conscious decision that captured the attention of the entire fashion world. Not only is this the way to reduce carbon footprint, but it also has an impact on consumerism, psychological issues associated with the beauty industry, and plastic consumption.

“Packed House”, Barry Blitt for New Yorker, August 24, 2020. Cover courtesy of New Yorker.

The New Yorker, August 2020

Barry Blitt’s Packed House on the cover of the New Yorker addresses the reality of living in the pandemic. Enjoying concerts in person is a foreign concept for the majority of the countries; at the same time, the world of art and music continues to thrive. With artists finding new subjects and themes to explore, and audiences looking for new ways to consume creative content, the future of the industry is open to interpretation.

Kerry James Marshall & Jordan Casteel for Vogue US, September 2020. Cover courtesy of Vogue US.

Vogue US, September 2020

Kerry James Marshall and Jordan Casteel were the artists chosen by Vogue US to illustrate two covers for the September issue of the magazine. The aim was to give hope in a time of struggle with the pandemic, natural disasters, political unrest, and social conflicts. Vogue US turns to art for comforting its audience and conveys a message of tolerance, kindness, and humanity.

Jill Pelto for TIME, July 20, 2020. Cover courtesy of TIME.

TIME, July 2020

Illustrated by Jill Pelto, TIME’s July cover raises awareness about climate change. The magazine chose to convey the message through art and science to make sure its audience understands the impact we have on our planet.

Whether magazines use art to convey powerful messages about sustainability, consumerism, and climate change, the results are admirable. Artists now have a voice in the almost unattainably exclusive mass-media culture, and they are using that voice for highlighting worldwide issues and providing solutions for them in the form of masterfully-crafted illustrations.

Article written by Monica Radulescu

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