WNW MEMBER ANDREW JANIK SERVES UP "A GRAPHIC
HISTORY OF SPORT"
WNW Member Andrew Janik has combined his two favorite things, sports and illustration, with his new book A Graphic History of Sport, which serves up illustrative renderings from the world of athletic competition. It hits shelves today. Below, we talk to Andrew who tells us how the project got started: "I started the [Instagram] feed @lessonsinsport. An Art Director I had worked with showed it to a friend of his, Jay Sacher, who would become my Editor at Penguin Random House. Jay’s first email basically said, 'Hey, you want to make a book?' A little over two years later, here we are."
We also talk to Andrew about his favorite sports stories and what the biggest creative challenge was of bringing this project to life: "I wrote the text for the book as well, and I think the last thing I had seriously written was a term paper in college, so dusting off those skills was definitely a challenge."
Tell us a little bit about your creative background. Who is Andrew and how did he get here?
Hey WNW. I’m originally from the great state of Michigan and moved to New York a few months after graduating from school. It was supposed to only be for a 3-month internship, but one thing led to another. I’ve been living here over 10 years. Over that time I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of really talented people on all sorts of different projects, but I’ve been honing in on illustration over the past few years.
How would you describe your creative style? Do you recognize a signature style that links all of your projects, or do you try to excuse yourself and approach each project as its own entity?
It definitely depends on the project, but I like to bring a simplistic, colorful feel to most things I do. One of my favorite quotes is from Milton Glaser who said, “Just enough is more.”
You have a book coming out called The Graphic History of Sport. When did you come up with the idea, and how did it evolve over time?
I had been wanting to combine the two things I like most in life: sports and illustration. I had been kicking around some ideas about the best way to do it and started posting the illustrations on Tumblr. After people started responding to them, I felt I could reach more via Instagram, so I started the feed @lessonsinsport. An Art Director I had worked with showed it to a friend of his, Jay Sacher, who would become my Editor at Penguin Random House. Jay’s first email basically said, “Hey, you want to make a book?” A little over two years later, here we are.
Can you share some of the creative challenges and breakthroughs that came with this undertaking?
I wrote the text for the book as well, and I think the last thing I had seriously written was a term paper in college, so dusting off those skills was definitely a challenge. It was also interesting being the client for once, as the in-house team at Penguin Random House did the layout design (Shout out to Ian and Danielle. Sorry for all my emails.)
Which of the featured tales of sports history is your favorite of the collection?
I learned a lot researching and writing about a lot of these folks, but the one that stuck out to me most was Maurice “Rocket” Richard, the famous Montreal Canadian. He was a hero and a pioneer to many French Canadians and so beloved that there was a riot when he was suspended for a game one year. He personally went on the radio to calm everyone down, and it worked. That’s pretty rad.
Which of your accompanying illustrations are you proudest of and why?
There is something about the boxing pieces that I really enjoy. Boxing has such a weird, awesome, craziness to it, which added to the enjoyment of researching and creating them. I like how boxers can essentially pick their own uniforms, and say to the world, “This is who I am."
Who and what are your biggest creative influences?
That’s always tough. I’m going to say the 1960s and New York City.
What do you do when Not Working? Are you an athlete or an avid fan of any teams?
I still play on a basketball team (BASE TAN boyz for life) and also grew up golfing, which I still try to do as much as I can though it’s not the easiest while living in the city.
Who are some WNW Members whose work you admire and why?
Matthew Hollister - Matthew does a lot of sports-related work too. He has a great style and I love his portraits.
Wade + Leta - So colorful and wonderfully weird. I hope if there’s any sort of afterlife, they’re the creative directors... Wade and I also play basketball together. He got game.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The book is out February 28th! Thanks for the chat!