Promising ‘Words with bite,’ Scottish literary magazine Extra Teeth launched earlier this year after a Kickstarter campaign. The words deliver on that promise, but what makes the publication all the more impressive is its appearance.
Across the first two issues, designer Esther Clayton has established a spacious, clean design, that lets the stories and essays breathe in a way many lit mags overlook. Extra Teeth is easy to read, switching between a serif and sans serif text font and using a three column grid structure that speaks of magazines rather than books. So often lit mags feel the need to be bookish; this one is comfortable as a magazine.
But that design might just be too quiet were it not for the other visual element the team have established: each issue features the work of a single illustrator. From the cover through each story, one artist spreads themself out across opening pages and later inset details to provide an overall identity for the issue. Maria Stoian contributed to the first issue, and now David Lemm has illustrated issue two. Here’s a look at how his work adapts to different parts of the issue.
ONE Lemm’s palette of colours and shapes is set up on the front cover, the magazine’s logo fitted within a collection of parts from the artworks inside the issue – like an overture before a concert.
TWO The natural placement of illustration is alongside the headline on the opening spread of a story, in this case a piece translated from an archive piece by Palestinian writer Nayrouz Qarmont. Here, Lemm portrays the key event in the following text, an explosion in a hotel restaurant, in a piece reminiscent of the great graphic designer/illustrator Barney Bubbles.
THREE A more complex use of the same elements accompanies Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s fictional account of two teenagers and their family: self harm and video games both register in the visuals.
FOUR This is one of a series of four pieces that run on consecutive pages, the number of black discs in each frame growing frame by frame. Writer Hidden Ink Child uses a diary format to tell a tale of shoddy building maintenence, Lemm emphasising the passing of time with animation-like development focusing on the growth of a black mould. What starts on the floor grows to take over the whole living space and ultimately more.
FIVE Katalina Watts’s brief tale of an extraordinary sexual encounter sees the now familiar graphic elements used to describe fertilisation and subsequent cell division, using a comic strip structure.
The use of a single illustrator is a really clever way to draw together the different voices and writing styles in Extra Teeth, and Lemm’s use of similar shapes and colours does a great job of doing so.
Editors: Heather Parry & Jules Danskin
Designer: Esther Clayton
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