Artist Mike Perry’s 'trippy' Broad City colouring book is best shared with friends


Digital Arts | 03 August 17

You may have seen Mike Perry's bright and cheeky illustrations on TV – especially if you're a fan of the Comedy Central show Broad City – but soon Mike's illustrations could be on your coffee table.

After illustrating all the individual title sequences used for Broad City, Mike is releasing a colouring book with Laurence King filled with detailed illustrations based on the quirky narrative and colourful characters of the show – so expect to see "all kinds of funness".

For those unfamiliar with Broad City, it was developed into a TV series from the web series. Now in its third season, the show follows Abbi Jacobson and IIana Glazer as best friends navigating their way through New York in their 20s (almost like a female version of the premise of Flight of the Conchords). Of course, your 20s can be vibrant years, infused with experiences of never having money, unconventional romances and crazy nights out.

Mike had a chance encounter with Abbi Jacobson at Art Basel, where she suggested he create the title sequences for the show after he put together a few examples – and he has been doing it ever since. At the end of this season, Mike will have created 40 different title sequences. 

"I just had so many ideas and I presented them all, and everyone was like ‘These are great why don’t we use all of them?’ It’s as simple as that," says Mike. 

"It took a network that was willing to pay for that, and then it took someone to believe that it was a good idea. And then here we are." 

Check out some examples of Mike’s title sequences below.

Mike's sketches from the early process of working on the show (ideas he had four of five years ago) can now be enjoyed by anyone who wants to indulge themselves in a little adult colouring-in. 

From The Broad City Colouring Book Courtesy Mike Perry / Laurence King / Comedy Central

Mike says The Broad City Colouring Book is designed to be enjoyed and experienced amongst friends. 

"When I was thinking about the book originally, I was fantasising about this idea of getting stoned and colouring the book with your best friends," he says. 

"You’re sitting there, and you have these really dense pages, and you’re just chilling in the afternoon, maybe having a glass of rosé, and you’re just doing some colouring. 

"I tried to encourage collaboration by putting certain pages upside down, or one page in a certain direction and the other in another direction, so if you were sitting down across from your friends they could work on one side and you could be working on the other." 

Mike says although the illustrations are quite detailed, there are "lots of goofy things", mazes, inside jokes from the show, and his own musings for the "trippy world of colouring books".

From The Broad City Colouring Book Courtesy Mike Perry / Laurence King / Comedy Central

There’s even a map of New York City in the book that allows you to get an idea of where the stories from Broad City take place, and where people live.

"There’s definitely attention to detail. I coloured in a couple of pages, I hadn’t done that yet, and I was like 'Oh yeah, this is what happens when you create detailed work and try to colour it in'," he says. "There’s just a level of obsessiveness."

From The Broad City Colouring Book Courtesy Mike Perry / Laurence King / Comedy Central

Mike says creating the title sequences for Broad City since 2014 has broadened his creative process from just illustration, to animation. 

It’s a very loose process he says. For each one he proposes little short animated sketches of different ideas, around 30 or 40, and the best are chosen. 

"When I first started, I was doing them all by hand on paper, which was very time consuming and involved a lot of canning which was pretty annoying. 

"A couple of years ago I brought a big Cintiq and I’ve being doing everything in Photoshop. Instead of page by page, frame by frame." 

In terms of creating ideas and finding inspiration, Mike says it’s pretty straight forward. 

"I watch the sunlight move around my space, when I walk to work I notice the flowers, and talk to strangers, just try and be an open person. Ideas have never been the hard part."

Artist Mike Perry

"The book is just a good opportunity for some friends to get together and know each other a bit more over some drawing, which is one of favourite activity to do as a fellow artist." 

The Broad City Colouring Book will be available for £9.99 from August 28 from Amazon and Laurence King.

Mike continues to work in his studio, where he’s been based for 11 years. After finishing up a project for Broad City that will air in autumn, which has taken up his last six months, Mike has an exhibition in Los Angeles in October. He’s currently creating paintings for that and expanding his studio.

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