I thought it might be fun to introduce a few of my heroes – all of them have an illustraion connection and can inspire me when I’m stuck.
I first became aware of Keri Smith many years ago, she blogged about her journey to become an illustrator – I was hooked. Since then she has created many amazing interactive creativity books including ‘Wreck This Journal’, ‘This is Not a Book’, and, most relevant to this blog ‘How to be an Explorer of the World -the Portable Life/Art Museum’.
What I love most about Keri’s books is the have a go attitude. She recognises that doing something, taking a DIY approach and seeing what happens can be a much more rewarding experience than agonising over trying to create something perfect.
When I first left uni, I had a lovely job selecting books for school libraries, encouraging pupils to read and shadowing the Carnegie & Greenaway Awards. This is where I first discovered Chris Riddell’s work and then actually got to meet him for the first time at an event we organised. He drew live, right there and then, on a flip chart with a brush pen he whipped out of his jacket pocket. Amazing!
I’m now hooked on his Tumblr account where he shares pages from his sketchbook. Some show him on his adventures, some are people and scenes around him and some are characters. Chris’s love of drawing and the prolific amount of illustration he creates is awe-inspiring. Plus, he’s currently the UK Children’s Laureate.
The b goods are a husband and wife team, Ben and Fi O’Brien. They create homewares and gifts with a strong emphasis on stories – themes they explore are nature and travel, life and living, communities, colour, friendships and freedom. How lovely is that?
Every design has its own story, as does their shop:
“There’s fun to be had” said the forest to the cabin. “Let’s go and play” said the cabin to the forest. Together, they climbed up the mountain, stopping where the hikers would stop to take in the view. They sat and planned their next adventures, seeing how far they could go. “I can see forever!” said the cabin to the forest…
I recommend checking them out, I think it’s a lovely approach to design. If you could all combine our work with our values what a different place the world could be.
Helen Dardik is an illustrator who is on the lookout for all things fun, fresh and beautiful! Her work is a fantastic blend of pattern, line and colour with characters and plants.
I love following her Instagram, she seems to be designing every day and often shares video where you see the work being created. I feel that her work is so unique, I think because she obviously invests so much time to her craft that drawing is as personal and fluid as handwriting for her. If you ever need a bit of visual escapism, check out her work.
I met Marta when I did a summer school at Cambridge School of Arts, she used to be a graphic designer in Barcelona until she decided to pursue her interest in Children’s Book Illustration. She did an MA at the Cambridge School of Art. and after finishing the course, she has gone on to publish many gorgeous books.
I love her free style and her characters are so engaging! She often shares sketches based on her day or how she’s feeling. I love how by illustrating something it starts to take on its own story.
Heroes are great for inspiration. It has never been so easy to follow illustrators adventures.