Holly Exley is a young British illustrator with some big clients under her belt including Marks and Spencers, Stylist Magazine, Lonely Planet and The Wall Street Journal. Pursuing her natural talent with watercolour painting, Holly has been commissioned to work on projects from illustrating music apps, wildlife and cooking books, and city and charity campaigns. Her illustrations have an uplifting aesthetic with colour washes of wonderful hues, with an emphasis on light and contrast. I really like her food illustrations…food never looked so good! Holly has a blog, website and also a YouTube channel where she talks about her work and the life in the world of illustration.
With over 10 years experience in the art and design industry, Parisian illustrator Babeth Lafon has made a name for herself in fashion, beauty and life style magazines. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Architectural Digest, Glamour and Marie Claire. Her clients include L’Oreal, L’Occitane, Bare Escentuals, Stella Artois and ELLE.
Aside from her ‘hip’ name, Babeth’s drawings are commercial and complimentary to the label’s look she works with. I can see why her pastel colour palette and light washes work well for beauty in particular, they are fresh illustrations that are easy on the eyes . What I mean by this is as the ‘magazine consumer’ we tend to glance very quickly and turn to the next page, as with anything we need to be pulled in! Babeth’s illustrations do just that, making the products or content far more interesting. Check out her work below (I really like her perfume bottle illustrations).
Starting out with spontaneous mark and colour forms, with little expectation of the end result, her paintings reveal themselves through the process of painting; Betsy Walton creates as she paints. Walton’s work is as expressionistic as it is surreal, from the titles she gives each piece to the half drawn figures and cut out geometric pieces of gold leaf overlapping washes of paint. Her work attempts to reach the sublime, delving into the relationship between objects and people and the sense of mystery behind our everyday encounters. Needless to say her colour palettes are beautifully dream-like, evoking feelings of transcendence to the viewer.
‘We can experience the sublime in the same room where we fold the laundry, and perhaps at the same time.’ – Betsy Walton.
Dan-ah Kim, a Korean film maker and artist who’s work really captures what illustration is all about. Her work reminds me of eastern folk tale illustration. Her paintings have an emotive presence through composition, colour and narrative appeal. These mysterious, beautiful illustrations often put the viewer in a voyeuristic position as though we are looking in on something that we shouldn’t. Kim often paints on wood panels, beginning with pencil and paint, then layering with other medias such as paper and thread. Check out her website to see more of her work.
Sandra Dieckmann, a successful illustrator, maker and artist. Dieckmann has collaborated with numerous partners and been commissioned by many clients, including WWF, Etsy, Wildlife Aid, Magma Books and Anderson Press. She has an extensive list of worldwide stockists as well as selling online. From seeing her distinguishable portfolio of work you can see why Dieckmann has become so liked in the consumer market, in particular the arts and crafts circles.
I came across Dieckmann’s pop up shop in the Crafty Fox Market and was blown away by her work! (I bought every type of paper stationary she was selling) She has a lovely collection of bear prints, which seems to be the main animal she draws, along with some wolf and fox designs and the occasional cat in costume. Her work has a dreamy, nostalgic mood about it, through use of warm and harsh cold colour palettes. Some of her pieces are quite striking and border on the whimsical fantastical side of nature. Combining human and animal in strange juxtapositions and playing with their proportions – reminds me very much of fable narratives and folk tales. Inspirational work truly.
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