A new book celebrates 50 years of Tony Meeuwissen’s incredible art

Published this month, the colourful monograph explores the fascinating themes, styles and imagery of Tony Meeuwissen, one of Folio’s esteemed Legacy Artists.

Folio celebrates 50 years of Tony Meeuwissen 1

Tony’s work is woven seamlessly into the history of illustration through a career that has spanned more than five decades; his work is instantly recognisable within the creative industry for its wit and endlessly refreshing creative approach. Tony Meeuwissen (pronounced Maywissen) has responded to tremendous creative challenges over the decades, developing an endlessly fascinating visual language. While the illustration and design industry has been revolutionised over the years, Tony’s traditional art style is as relevant as ever, proving that talent is forever.

Tony has collaborated with Folio illustration agency’s founder Nicholas Dawe to produce ‘The World of Tony Meeuwissen – A life in illustration and graphic art’, which covers more than 50 years of Tony’s incredible work. Nicholas Dawe, writes: “I have loved Tony’s fascinatingly detailed illustrations ever since I began working with him decades ago. In my admiration, some years back I suggested we put this monograph together as an independent publication.”

The new monograph, which is released this month, covers Tony’s remarkable career: from joining a commercial art studio aged 16 to winning numerous international awards, gaining career-defining commissions from the likes of Penguin Books, Radio Times and the Royal Mail, and becoming the only illustrator to win the design industry’s equivalent of an Oscar, D&AD’s coveted Black Pencil – he won it twice! In 2013, Tony became one of only 200 design giants to be honoured with the lifelong title of RSA Royal Designer for Industry.

As told by Peter Marren in the book’s foreword, “Tony learned his craft in the marketplace of commercial art. He learned how to handle a wide range of media to develop graphic ideas while also discovering the beauty of typefaces. In the process he evolved his very distinctive artistic language, his own way of seeing the world: colourful, eye-catching, beautifully executed, his work is a product of his unique vision.”

Tony’s work has been described by legendary graphic designer Mike Dempsey as “inventive, intensely detailed, and full of wit and beauty”, so it is no surprise that his illustrations bring joy to 9-year-olds and 90-year-olds alike; his artistry has qualities that everyone can appreciate. The wry wit and playful detail that is the hallmark of Tony’s work has made him a popular choice across the design industry: his portfolio boasts a delightful collection of work, including numerous beloved book covers, iconic postage stamps and, perhaps most notably, his award-winning transformation playing card deck, The Key of the Kingdom, which is currently on display in London’s V&A Museum as part of the V&A Illustration Awards 50th-anniversary presentation.

Each of Tony’s illustrations contains many delightful concepts realised with meticulous detail – one look is never enough. Penguin’s celebrated Art Director David Pelham praises him as “an artist with the eye of an illustrator and the mind of a designer, one able to solve visual problems with remarkable originality, skill and panache”. Tony forged a new path for artists with his unique creative process, which he describes in this book as being to “approach every new venture with fresh eyes, without any preconception of how things have been done before”.

Enter the Strange and Beautiful Realm of Tony Meeuwissen
“The allure of Tony Meeuwissen’s work, beyond its inimitable style and execution, lies in the traditional process involved in its creation. At a time when digital design and illustration tools allow for a fast pace of production, Meeuwissen’s practice is refreshingly analogue. Equipped with only his drawing board, pencils and paintbox, he operates at perhaps a slower pace, but the finished product is undoubtedly richer for it.”Creative Review

‘The World of Tony Meeuwissen – A life in illustration and graphic art’ is now available to purchase from all major book retailers.

Purchase your copy direct here!