Little White Lies

Illustration by

Petra Eriksson

Under the Cover: Petra Eriksson

We go behind the scenes on the cover of LWLies 102: The Challengers Issue with illustrator, Swedish artist and graphic designer Petra Eriksson.

In the first of a new series, we’re going to be shining a spotlight on the amazing illustrators and artists who help to make Little White Lies one of the best-looking magazines on the shelf. First up, we had a chat with Petra Eriksson who is responsible the cover of our 102nd issue, inspired by Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers. We asked her to paint a portrait of her working life and give some details on how she would approach such a project.

LWLies: Paint us a picture of your work space. Do you feel it’s perfect, or do you have plans to enhance it?

Eriksson: I have a studio in a big industrial building in Eindhoven that is shared with a lot of other creative people. I love my space, mostly because of the really big windows and all the light it lets in but I definitely need to give this place some more love. I want to get a proper book case to display some of the covers I have worked on but also to better organise the art and design books I have for inspiration. And at some point I also want to add a colourful comfortable armchair or sofa to make it a bit more cosy.

What’s the first practical thing you did for this LWLies cover commission?

I started the process by looking through all of the reference photos that had been shared with me, as well as gathering a few extra images on my own to make sure that I could see the three actors’ faces from different angles. I also watched the trailer a couple of times to try to pick up some details from it and the overall feeling of the film.

LWLies covers always contain portraits – what’s your approach for drawing people / likeness?

Getting the likeness right can be really tricky, especially in these overlapping portraits where a lot of things need to be simplified and where the overlapping shapes themselves can take away from the likeness of a person. To try to get it as good as possible I look at many photos of the people, ideally photos from different angles to find specific details in their facial features and expressions that will help. Specifically I’m looking at the shape of the eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows and dimples or how their face changes when they smile etc. I find that if I get these things right that helps a lot with creating an overall likeness.

For this cover, tell us how you worked with the colours and the layering to achieve such a vibrant effect?

Creating these kinds of layered artworks is a bit of a puzzle so I tried a lot of different colour directions before I landed on a version that I was happy with. I wanted to incorporate as many of the brand colours as possible but I knew I wanted to add some more colours that would work well in their faces. I also really wanted to work with the light blue of the palette to pick up the colour of Zendaya’s jacket in one of the shots of the movie and I knew it would pair well with a warm and intense orange-red colour. Those two colours together with the off white and black became the foundation of the palette and the rest fell into place from that.

The layering is sometimes tricky because it needs to be done in a way where it doesn’t make the faces look weird. It’s always easier with the clothes that can be more graphic but the shapes that goes into the face often needs to be a bit more tuned down to not interfere too much with the facial details.

Is there someone you’ll show your early drafts to for instant, honest feedback?

It depends a lot from project to project, but sometimes I will share it with my partner Guillem, he’s not a designer but I know he will always be honest with me 🙂

How do you know when one of your artworks is finished?

Usually I decide that something is finished when I feel happy with the dynamic between colours and shapes over the whole image. During the process there are often the moments of feeling that something is a little bit off, maybe a shape doesn’t fit in with the other shapes or some colour is taking too much (or too little) focus and the process is a lot about tweaking these elements until I feel satisfied.

How can our readers support you and follow your work?

They can find me at instagram @petraerikssonstudio and also at my website I’ve been on a social media break but I am planning to get back to it as I’m really enjoying the chance to connect with people and to be able to share a bit more of my process and thoughts there. I really appreciate people connecting to me and following me there as it helps me share my art with more people.

LWLies 102: The Challengers issue is available now

Published 22 Mar 2024

Tags: Little White Lies Magazine Petra Eriksson

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About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.