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Review: Brian Ewing “Don’t Hold Your Breath”

Review: Brian Ewing "Don't Hold Your Breath"

Brian Ewing is a poster artist who has been around for quite some time. His strong work ethic and unforgettable style have made him a cornerstone in the aesthetic of modern alternative music. His new book, “Don’t Hold Your Breath: Nothing New From Brian Ewing” features page after page of large, vibrant rock imagery with footnotes on process, and heaps of praise from his peers. Continue reading below to learn more about this great new release:

Review: Brian Ewing "Don't Hold Your Breath"

The book itself is quite handsome. The cover features one of Ewing’s signature images created for the band Brand New, and a gloss coat that makes the water in the image reflective, but the leaves and logo floating on top matte. The hardcover is quality and the stock the book is printed on is thick and colors are vibrant.



Review: Brian Ewing "Don't Hold Your Breath"

The artwork isn’t categorized in any discernable way, not chonological like I would have suspected. All I can gather is that Ewing chose to group similarly themed designs and/or clients next to each other, but regardless, the book represents a very strong and cohesive body of work.



Review: Brian Ewing "Don't Hold Your Breath"

What is most interesting to me, besides the artwork, is reading Ewing’s notes about each piece. He sometimes talks about his thought process between a series of similarly designed prints, each design building on the last. Another example of these interesting footnotes is that a certain ‘zombie girl’ design was rejected by the printer due to personal issues with the content of the illustration. Who knew that artists got rejected by printers? Luckily the print was re-purposed later for the band Converge (awesome) and was able to see the light of day.



Review: Brian Ewing "Don't Hold Your Breath"

Another great feature of this book are the drawings in the margins. This layout choice reminds me of sitting in class and doodling on the edges of my assignment, and I’d imagine Ewing made this choice to reflect his experience with that. These sketches also show you the artist’s process, starting with the original sketch and tweaking composition and assembling separate drawings into a finished poster design. Many posters have a handful of initial ideas and it is always interesting to see the one that was chosen to be used in the final image.

My only wish is that occasionally more respect would have been paid to these originals, giving them more space to shine. Upon starting this book, I knew Ewing could turn out a great finished product but I never knew how nicely rendered his initial ‘sketches’ were.  It is easy to say that the artist is quite a talented draftsman, and luckily we are treated to a full page pencil drawing in the very back of the book.



Review: Brian Ewing "Don't Hold Your Breath"

This volume is a great showcase of skill from a man who is hardly done. I would anticipate several more volumes of work from Brian Ewing as he continues to populate our world with some very important things: punk chicks, zombies and lots and lots of awesome skulls. “Don’t Hold Your Breath: Nothing New From Brian Ewing” is highly reccomended reading, and Amazon has it right now for only $16.55. This would make a great gift for anyone interested in music or art.



Review: Brian Ewing "Don't Hold Your Breath"

Like what you see above? You’re in luck. Our monthly contest is back! Stay tuned for details October 1st!


Category: Books, Gigposters, Illustration, Reviews No Comments »

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