Under the distinctive name of ‘badly drawn icons‘, illustrator Rob Matthews documents the English Premier League season, by creating a moment of the weekend. This week he produced a striking image of the Arsène Wenger/José Mourinho brawl. His work gains much attention on social media and has also been discovered by commercial giants like BT Sport and Adidas.
We really love the Mourinho-Wenger illustration; what makes this moment so special to you?
“This season I have taken it upon myself to creat a moment of the weekend, documenting the English Premier League season. I watch a lot of football at the weekend – my girlfriend hates it! I chose what I feel is the stand out moment from the weekend, what I feel has been either out of the ordinary or something that has just been world class! This weekend just gone, I produced the Wenger/Mourinho battle #theheavyweights piece, as in my eyes it was the moment that stood out from the weekend. Wenger is usually such a calm and calculated man so for him to lose his cool and kick off against ‘The Special One’ I knew it would make a great iconic image.”
You are a freelance illustrator who loves football – can you explain the origin of both these passions?
“I was born in Liverpool, therefore was born into a love of the beautiful game. My dad took me to Anfield for the first time when I was six and I have been going ever since. Having played footy all my life, at a pretty high standard, I love both playing and watching, still trying to play now even after ACL reconstruction and numerous injuries! I’m like the local Darren Anderton!”
“At College I was really into art and design and had some great teachers who made me realise you could actually make a living out of it. When choosing what to do at uni it was either going to be Sport or Fine Art? In the end I choose Fine Art – Printmaking as I could play sport on the side.”
“I graduated from Loughborough University with a Fine Art (Printmaking) Degree in 2008, having worked mainly on installation pieces, still not really knowing what I wanted to specialise in. However throughout my time at uni I kept looking at footy and it’s relationship with art and was always intrigued and wanted to be able to mix my two favourite hobbies.”
Badly drawn icons … interesting name! Why have you chosen this name?
“During my final year of uni I began creating humorous illustrations and portraits of celebrities and footballers under the pseudonym badlydrawnicons. I initially joked at first calling myself badlydrawnicons, as I had began to draw people who I thought deserved to be drawn but probably never will, and they were pretty rushed sketches, so in my eyes they were badly drawn, the name just stuck!”
How would you describe your style? I’ve noticed most of your football drawings have faces without eyes, no nose and mouth – why?
“Over the past 4-5 years I have worked out a technique that works and gives what I feel is a sharp, crisp, modern outlook on great sporting moments. I produce the images without facial features as the faces always take up a lot of time, and I like to get the image out there ASAP; also I like the bold simplistic manner of the images to speak for themselves, and create their own emotion. I love how people on social media react and interact with the images.”
Have you images been used commercially? And: what are your future plans? Dreams? Hopes?
“Through Twitter I have gained some great followers and luckily enough been able to get some work through it. I have produced work for BT Sport and Adidas used a piece of mine from the Champions League final last year. And I am currently working on numerous other collaborations. Currently I work freelance part time as I have another job as a full time multi media designer, so I suppose my dream would be to eventually become freelance full time and work solely on sports illustrations.”
Here are some links to work of Rob Matthews:
Adidas: Classic Bale