Here’s a round up of a few of our favourite illustrators who never fail to provide creative inspiration; whether that be fashion, design or even a new perspective of ourselves.
Laura Callaghan is an illustrator based in South-East London who uses Indian ink and watercolour to create her striking colour and pattern saturated images. Specialising in the “Femme Fatal” figure, the women of Callaghan’s illustrations are undeniably badass. The lush decadence of pattern and colour reflecting characters who are unapologetic; meeting the viewer’s eyes with a defiant glare, they utterly negate the typical waif-like “pretty girl” dominating illustration today. Instead these women sport undercuts, piercings and tattoos; their ideal hobby poisoning Tinder dates, rather than making daisy chains. Unsurprisingly, Callaghan is highly successful you can find her work not only on her website but also in NYLON magazine, Stella Magazine, The Times and Urban Outfitters website to name but a few.
Harriet Lee Merrion
Harriet Lee Merrion’s work creates thought provoking and sometimes unsettling images through fine lines in black and white with the occasional introduction of delicate pastel colours. Often choosing to explore complex emotional states, it’s interesting that many of Merrion’s images present characters partially or entirely submerged in water; the process of viewing her illustrations mirroring this, as we are drawn into a dream-like narrative. I am reminded of Freud’s theory of the Id, which can be likened to a sea; through viewing Merrion’s illustrations we gain a greater understanding of that dark and uncanny world of the dreamer’s mind and the repressed desires and emotions contained within it.
From Jane Austen to sexy Tudors, Sherlock Holmes to pirates, Kate Beaton has a witty take on almost any famous historical figure. Utilising a sketchy, seemingly effortless style Beaton skilfully expresses the essence of her subjects in a few strokes creating an appealing immediacy and dynamism to her illustrations. If you enjoy indulging in the odd literary classic, or have ever attended a History or English class you are bound to find something which makes you cackle away nerdily on her website Hark A Vagrant.
In her own words Juliana Swaney’s work is inspired by a love of “fairy and folk takes, any and all animals, classical music, houseplants, and antique typography and design”. These influences can be perceived weaving through Swaney’s delicately rendered drawings, the grave faced wispy children reminding one of Edward Gorey’s dark morality tales of children gone astray. Using traditional media of pencil, watercolour and gouache Swaney accentuates the folk aspect of her work. Her images seem familiar, a girl watched by a wolf or twins lost in a wood, but with a darkly enchanting “grimm-brother” twist to them. If you feel in the mood to escape reality and enjoy fantastical fairy tale imagery be sure to check out her website.