Jonathan Gibbs’ professional practice involves illustration, drawing, painting, and printmaking. At various times, this synthesis has included observed and figurative representation as well as imaginative composition and pure abstraction. All his commissioned works take the form of wood engraving. Gibbs’ approach to academic teaching encapsulates a foundation of drawing skills, uses of colour and composition, allied to the visual interpretation of literature and pictorial narrative. He takes a liberal and inclusive approach to the teaching of Illustration, from Stage 1 through to MA studies and PhD. In his research interests, Gibbs exhibits a collection of new work every two years as well as taking part in various group exhibitions. In his research he is exploring aspects of Ink and contemporary approaches to Drawing. He is developing these themes with an assorted group of ECA academic staff.
Recently he has worked for Faber & Faber, Radio Times, Routledge Pubishing, and Hamish Hamilton. Gibbs has produced a variety of book jacket and editorial designs, including Ulverton by Adam Thorpe and Henry II by Richard Barber. He has illustrated Prada shoes and handbags, and a fabric design called Herring Moon. Gibbs also designs logotypes, bookplates, and letterheads. A recent solo exhibition entitled Life is but a dream at the Open Eye Gallery has been his eleventh since 1987, displayed forty-two new oil paintings, pencil drawings and wood engravings. This selection included commissioned pieces, including The Lumber Room, a large-scale wood engraving for Random Spectacular magazine, commissioned by St Jude’s Modern British. He has made a woodcut print from a decommissioned diving-board, fifteen feet in length. A series of landscape illustrations for Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks encapsulates Gibbs’ research interests in literature and the graphic arts. Indeed, the content of his teaching and research is closely integrated with Gibbs’ professional practice as an artist & designer.