Childlike Wonder

image by Veronica V. Jones

Nick Southam

Two young adventurers ride a rocket-powered vehicle. A figure in a space suit is bathed in eerie green light. A young woman is held captive by a tentacled monster near a large glowing orb.

In a world where tots and teens reign supreme, surely Nick Southam would be king. His whimsical, moody illustrations reveal a youthful spirit, but the studied grace of his forms reveal artistic experience beyond his years. Manically wandering between cartoon and painting, Mr. Southam’s works are unified by the expressiveness of his characters and the depth of his settings.

While precious few of his creations appear old enough to drive, they all exhibit a take-charge attitude that practically guarantees their victory over impossible odds. With all of this improbable pluck, Nick still skillfully avoids the common pitfalls of children’s illustration by neither being too saccharine nor overly glum. What we have here are beautiful illustrations that just happen to feature an awful lot of children.

Like many slightly slacking artists these days, Mr. Southam’s latest projects aren’t in his main gallery, but over at his blog. As long as he keeps creating his uniquely childlike artwork, he can certainly be forgiven for that.

Written by in November of 2009. Last edited April 2017.

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  • Henry - November 10th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    I agree, his animation is so whimsical and youthful yet full of energy. Thanks for the recommendation, really love Nick’s stuff.