Creative Soccer Culture

Iconic Boot Illustrations by Josh Parkin

An illustrator with a passion for football and the plethora of beautiful boots that come with it. Josh Parkin has used his craft to produce a unique series of football boot illustrations.

A huge selection of brilliant boots that have been morphed into his style, there's some contemporary as well as old school classics in the mix. The aim is to make a completed print and there's one space left. With this in mind, we caught up with Josh to find out a little more about this project.

Your style is truly unique, what led you to apply your craft to football boots?

Believe it or not, when I was younger, I drew football boots all the time. It was quite a unique hobby looking back, but I found it really interesting. As early as years 5-6 at primary school, I used to pick certain footballers, and choose a brand that would suit them and the way they play. I was as much interested in the brands, as I was in the players. Typically I’d draw Diadora boots for a ball winning hard man type, adidas for the technical passers, and Nike for the goal machines.

Over the past few years, my style of illustration has always complimented footwear, especially trainers (or sneakers if you’d like) so it was only a matter of time that I’d revert back to football boots. Especially having worked for adidas on the ZXFlux UK launch, and seeing the success of that, it gives you the desire to push your craft, your style onto other audience group.

Some description

What do you think it is that makes the boots you have started illustrated so special?

I think when people see my illustrations; they appreciate the handmade aspect. The fact that there may be a slight wobble in a line, the unevenness of dot shading that isn’t quite perfect, or the fact that the black ink on white is so simple but effective. Everything these days seems to be crisp vectored lines, created using a template on a computer. Where as I’m still taking pens apart and getting covered in ink as I refill cartridges! Even now as I write this, my studio desk is covered in post it notes, tracing paper and rags covered in ink splodges.

There is a genuine interest there though, a proper love for design, and how brands constantly push technology. I remember the 2002 world cup, Del Piero wore the Champagne Predator Mania with the tongue cut off. I had that Match Mag poster on my wall, but never dared to cut the tongue off my black pair (my mum would have killed me!)

Some description

We've noticed there's one space left on the poster, what boot is going to complete the bill?

Its interesting you mention that. So basically, the idea of doing this print was quite, ‘off the cuff’. I decided I wanted to do a piece inspired by football boots, but couldn’t choose a way of selecting which ones to draw. Using I selected my favourite boots from the 2014/15 season. As the illustrations neared an end, I realized I had space for 3 more boots. I decided to use that space to draw three classics. I currently have two inked, the adidas Predator Precision and Nike’s Mercurial R9. As for the final spot, maybe that's something visitors of your site could help decide?

Some description

Have you got a favourite from those that you've drawn?

It’s hard to say really, The Copa Mundial is one of the greatest boots of all time, and is instantly recognizable. But then I look at the Puma Evopower Dragon, have you seen that boot!? It’s mad. The details and shapes compliment the dot shadow effect that I’ve carried out throughout the piece. I also love the look of the Nike Hypervenom Phantom. I drew that boot for my nephew Zak, who is just as mad about football, and boots as me, even though he is only 8.

Some description

What's next, some kits?

There are some more classics (boots) that I’ve drawn in a sketchbook that have made it as far as instagram so far - they just don’t fit on the current poster. So maybe there is scope to create a classics collection, maybe the stand out boot from each major tournament for the past X amount of years.

There’s also on-going talks between me and my L10studio to create a small publication, including the boots I’ve illustrated alongside some typography and key boot details, like price, playing surface and weights.

Kits would be an interesting one too. Something I’d definitely have a crack at. The old adidas catalogue adverts are iconic, maybe I can lend my style to something like that. Thanks for the idea SoccerBible! Haha.

Big thanks to Josh Parkin for the time answering our questions. What boot do you think should complete the print? Let us know in the comments below.


The Creative Soccer Culture Brief

Sign up to our newsletter and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the world of Creative Soccer Culture.