Friday, 23 May 2014

WBL: Illustrator Hunt

Below are the results of my 'Illustrator Hunt' - 3 illustrators taken from 3 different sources, examining them through their work practices and qualities.

From Waterstones: Holly Macdonald - Book design and illustration.

Style: Macdonald's style varies between works as she is a designer as well as an illustrator, some of her covers are quite generic, in that they use photography from other sources and pre-existing fonts.
Her illustrative work is far more interesting and contains some consistent elements, such as silhouettes, block colours and illustrated borders. She sticks to a niche of working with digital media.

The Cowards Tale is a book about a boy who is sent to live with his grandmother in a welsh town, who begins a friendship with the town storyteller and beggar. The cover captures these two main characters and the theme of history/ memory well, however the colour scheme and style of the bottom half of the cover connotes a Mediterranean theme; the red and yellow, bold geometric shapes on the hills and the image of the fish. 

This cover for the romance novel God is an Astronaut brings in a key element of the story, Jess'  greenhouse, and combines it with a big cheesy moon to convey the romantic elements.

Art director and freelance designer. Doesn't list any work other than book cover design, all of which is paid work. Not a lot of personal info either to find influences etc. Though I assume she enjoys design and narrative.
Clients include; Oneworld Publications, Bloomsbury Publishing,

Her websites: and

AOI Images 35: Miriam Latimer - Children's books and editorials.

Style: Latimer displays two distinct styles, that for her children's book illustration and that for her editorials.

Her picture book images utilise acrylic, coloured pencil and collage. Human and object forms are round and exaggerated. Colours are not flat, the strokes of mixed colour can be seen. Texture is often included in the images; as hand-drawn patterns, mark making or as photo-collages, such as the curtains. Colour brings definition to the shapes, rather than relying on lines. Generally the colours in the background are less vibrant than those in the foreground to provide contrast between figures and the setting.

Her editorials adopt a looser style of pen drawing, made up of cartoon style sketches which are coloured via digital media. Proportions are less exaggerated. Detailed backgrounds are less frequent and occasionally backgrounds are completely omitted to utilise the focal point of the image. 

Studied illustration at Bristol UWE in 2003.

Clients include; Ladybird, Devon Life magazine, BBC Who Do You Think You Are magazine, Barefoot books.

Her website:

From a previous project: Jim Field - Children's book, book cover and editorial illustration.

Style: Exaggerated proportions, cartoon feel, curved forms. Combination of block colours and pen stroke patterns/marks which suggest textures of fur or feathers etc. Occasionally form is reinforced by line work, which is either black or complimentary to the main colour. Illustrations sit on white or block colour backgrounds.

Editorial work varies in style, some has a similar feel to his work for children, some in the form of caricatures and other work utilising similar mark making techniques but more realistic proportions.

Graduated from Hull School of Art and Design in 2002, now based in Paris.

Clients include; Harper Collins, Usborne Publishing, Oxfam, Channel 4, Nokia.

His website:

So it seems that it's important to take a broad approach to illustration, taking part in several different practises. Though it's probably easier to be more productive finding a practise that you enjoy/are passionate about.

It's appropriate to be flexible with the style that you use, as different styles will be relevant to different contexts/briefs/practises. That doesn't mean that you have to adapt a completely new way of drawing though, as you can use the same techniques.

Though there weren't any examples in my hunt, it's not uncommon for an illustrator to have another career on the side or have a purely recreational career as an illustrator.

There's LOADS of different clients out there, it's just a matter of exposing yourself to them (tee hee.)

No comments:

Post a Comment