To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ is now available to pre-order, exclusively on This Is Anfield.
Designed by football illustrator Alex Bennett, the unique artwork is the history of the Reds in one image – from the club’s inception in 1892 to the 2020 Premier League title.
After almost two years and over 2,000 hours of painstaking work, you can now pre-order it today!
We spoke to Alex to find out more about the process involved, the hidden details, and why this makes a truly unique piece of Liverpool artwork.
First off, are you saving space for a certain image…?
Yes, of course! The fact that I will complete this illustration with such a historic moment as Jordan Henderson lifting the Premier League trophy is brilliant. I’d like to say it was planned but I can’t say I gave it a second thought when I started it!
That’s a relief! When did you start the Liverpool Mishmash and how much work has gone into it?
I started the Liverpool Mishmash back in October 2018. I estimate I’ve spent around 2,000 hours illustrating it as well as a vast amount of time researching certain moments from the club’s history, responding to emails from supporters, watching YouTube videos on repeat of goals to ensure I get the body positions in an accurate position.
There are some amazing details in the Mishmash. How does the design process actually work?
I spent a couple of months working on adding some of the more obvious things to the canvas. For example, the first things that went in were the Shankly Gates, Grobbelaar’s spaghetti legs and Gerrard kissing the camera at Old Trafford.
Once I added those in, I opened it up to social media to ask for ideas and suggestions from supporters.
When people get the jist of the idea and see that I am adding their suggestions, a small wave of information suddenly turns into an avalanche of stories, images and anecdotes. It has become near enough impossible to respond to everyone’s ideas so I apologise now, I wasn’t being rude! I did read everything though!
I illustrate everything using the medieval tools of pencil, paper and ink. Once I am happy with the outlines, I will take them into Photoshop where I add colour, shading and the shirt graphics and numbers. Once I am happy with the accuracy, I will take the individual drawing into the main Mishmash canvas.
A certain scenario such as Collymore’s late winner vs. Newcastle has to be placed where he scored on that part of the pitch.
As it builds up, it becomes more and more like piecing together a jigsaw in reverse. Some things can move anywhere but certain key incidents can’t move and therefore dictate where other moments can go.
Over the course of the 20 months of creating this, I have reduced the scale twice. I always knew I was going to be depicting the Kop, and one of the many things the Kop is famous for is the banners and flags. The amount I have been asked to put in has been relentless. They have taken up a fair bit of room so I have adjusted the scale to where it hopefully has a balance between them and the rest of the crowd.
What are some of your favourite parts of the Liverpool Mishmash?
It’s always the comical moments that are my favourite parts. For example, the kids from the Accrington Stanley milk advert, Keegan falling off his bike during Superstars, and the fan giving Origi a big kiss!
I spent far too long drawing the graffiti on the wall from the Anfield Rap. The Liver Building was also quite a challenge. Overall I’m quite happy with how it’s all pieced together (so far)!
And what are the best requests or hidden details fans can expect?
It’s impossible to say but recently it’s been McAllister’s late free-kick winner at Goodison as I’ve sat on that for a few months as I wasn’t sure how it would fit. Fortunately, I was able to nudge Alonso shooting from his own half along!
It may not look it but there’s still a bit of space left. I will be adding more incidents and suggestions from the past that I have been requested. Of course there will be many highlights from the games to come to add. I’m just hoping there are no more blockbuster strikes from the left-hand side of the goal as that part of the pitch is quite congested!…. I’ve tempted fate there!
Fans who order this can expect to look at this and bring back lots of happy memories. Of course, not everything in the Mishmash is good, I have tried my best to be respectful to tragedy and fans and players who have passed away.
It will be a talking point in any Liverpool fans household for years to come. You’ll spot something new every time you walk past it. It’s been an incredible challenge to create but a highly enjoyable process.