Celebrating Illustration | A Roundtable Hosted by Georgia Keeling and Elaoise Benson

!GWAK Visual Art Correspondents Georgia Keeling and Elaoise Benson speak to illustrators from the !GWAK community about the mindful, political and creative possibilities of the medium.


EVA MALLEY


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

It’s just something I’ve always done and find comfort in. Drawing is such a perfect form of expression and escapism - my life would be very dull without it! I love using fineliner pens or working digitally on Procreate.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

My 'Housemates' print is probably my favourite currently. I’m really pleased with the overall composition of it, and love working on intricate, detailed pieces. I think it resonates with a lot of my followers as most are very similar to myself and at an age of starting uni, moving out, and finding their own path in the world.


Eva Malley

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration allows me to capture somewhat basic scenarios of everyday life, and give them a moment of appreciation. Almost romanticising daily tasks like reading a book, watering plants or going on a walk. I like to communicate that a simple life is also a beautiful life, and there is a lot of comfort in normality.



EMILY COLLYER


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I enjoy illustration because of how much is possible under that umbrella term - from painting and drawing to animation and clay making! My preferred medium is gouache paint

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT. This is a recent illustration of mine, showing a lady on her bed in leopard print underwear with a glass of wine and sex toys lying out in front of her. I call this 'The Perfect Night In', and I think it shows a woman proudly expressing her sexuality in the way she chooses to, going against gender norms of how women are “supposed to be”. This also shows that there is no one way to be a woman; we are multifaceted human beings, and deserve to be represented as such!


Emily Collyer

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration allows me to communicate my identity as a queer woman, as well as expressing female pleasure and wlw relationships away from the eyes of the patriarchal society we live in.


BELLE KIDD

WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I’ve always loved illustration because I feel like I have so much freedom in what I create and I can find inspiration almost anywhere! I really love working with just pens and pencils because they’re so easy to carry round if I’m going out for a walk and I feel like it’s the fastest way for me to get what I’m thinking out on the page!

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

This is one of my favourite pieces I’ve done. It’s of an old chair in my parents' house that I’ve always been drawn to since I was younger - as if it’s literally inviting me to sit down on it. I think that household furniture has a lot of stories to tell. You just have to look closely to find them.


Belle Kidd

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration allows me to share my thoughts and feelings with anyone who is willing to listen - ranging from deeper emotions to silly and wacky comments. I think it’s all about the story.



IZZY AYRES


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I enjoy illustration because, compared to other outlets/forms of my creativity, it’s quite instantaneous in its gratification of fulfilling that need to create and let out whatever it is that’s buzzing and jangling about up there in my mind. In the sense that I can just sit down and draw without having to necessarily think too much about what I’m doing. I suppose it’s quite a raw expression and pretty much always accessible and easy to do. Whereas if I’m making a physical three-dimensional sculpture or wearable objects to perform in, it's a much longer process. All I need is a black fineliner, maybe some crayons or oil pastels, whatever is lying about, to work in my more illustrative style.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT. It is so difficult to pick a favourite but I shall try! I don’t know if I would say it’s my favourite but I just did this little piece the other day and I think it sort of sums up most of my work - I mean it’s a bunch of hairy naked ladies, trying to figure themselves and their flesh sacks out. Like a lot of my work, to a degree it has these sexual interactions occurring between the characters, but I don’t view them as overtly sexual or sexualised bodies - more so curious. The tone is more one of wonder/confusion and awe to the flesh they themselves own and of those they're surrounded by.


So despite the fact that, yes, that girl's got her tongue pointing towards that other girl and her genitals, it’s still not a picture defined by lust - more so by exploration. While sexuality and sexual identity is a facet of the conversations taking place between the women in my images, I wouldn’t say it’s at the forefront. It’s a bunch of bodies trying to explore the connections between their physical forms with that of their personal identity.


Izzy Ayres

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

I guess I sort of touched on this in why I enjoy it so much but for me - it just lets me communicate the crazy hazy world in my mind. It’s all those unspoken feelings and curiosities I have. It’s allowed me to represent visually all the confusion around my feelings of identity and my emotions. The frustration and utter joy of existing, and just being a body. It’s a way to communicate in quite a succinct visual form the completely non succinct complexities of being and all that comes with it.



MAIS AHMAD


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

Ever since I was young, I've always been interested in art and animation. Nearing my high school graduation, I started illustrating rather than painting, and developed my genre more throughout university and my freelancing career. My work usually revolves around spirituality, peace, and nature. Illustration helps me pause moments in my life, and frame these feelings or visions that I have throughout. I love to look at a piece of art and feel that it has affected my life or provoked a certain feeling or thought, and I like to believe that my illustrations provide a little slice of serenity to my viewers. I usually work by sketching a drawing or idea out that I later scan and line digitally. 


SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

This is a piece called Daydreaming. I like to incorporate different natural elements (water, fire, earth, and so on) and they're symbolized here by different shapes, representing the bond between Human and Earth. During quarantine, I didn't go out much other than cycling every day, and after restrictions were lifted, I went on a hiking trip to a nearby town. This desire I had to leave the city and just engage with nature, was fulfilled; it felt as if I was holding my breath for so long, and I had finally taken a deep breath. Daydreaming represents that desire to just ground yourself, away from all these daily distractions, and connect, to nature, people, and yourself. A way to recharge.


Mais Ahmad


WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration enables me to visualize and translate feelings, goals, visions, and dreams. I experience very vivid dreams, and although I don't always replicate or illustrate the elements of my dreams, the surreal and dream-like state sticks with me when I think of the next artwork.



BEATRIX HATCHER


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I’ve grown up with drawing and it’s always been a part of my identity, which somehow snowballed into a career! I enjoy expressing ideas visually, as well as telling stories through pictures, and hope that other people will enjoy it too. Currently my work is all digital, using Procreate for the iPad Pro and Photoshop to create work, as well as sketching stuff in pencil in sketchbooks.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

This is a really hard one as I don’t have ‘favourite’ illustrations as such - I am very self-critical! I’d say I like the pieces of work that I have made most recently, that I haven’t had time to pick apart just yet. I think at the moment it’s the map I did of Sydney and its beaches, as it’s the piece of work that I most enjoyed creating recently, and the one that reflects my current work and direction. It was one of those projects that I got really into and stayed up all night finishing! If you asked me this question in a month, I’d probably tell you something totally different – I think to an extent that is healthy though; hopefully it means my work is constantly evolving.


Beatrix Hatcher

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Whatever I need it to for any given illustration. It can be something personal, or something defined by a client. There’s an element of storytelling to a lot of my illustrations as well, as I think it’s really interesting how you can convey the idea of a narrative in a single image. In summary, I believe it allows me to communicate something that words can’t!


TIJANI FAYZAK


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I enjoy illustration because I feel have the freedom and control of drawing very specific things. It allows me to fully realise my imagination onto paper. My preferred medium is fineliner and markers, but I also use digital processes for colouring my work.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

This is my favourite illustration I've done recently. It's inspired by a scene in A Clockwork Orange and communicates a retro futuristic young adult's room.


Tijani Fayzak

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration is great for communicating narratives and themes that I like to combine with pop culture and change it into my own style of art. I like to explore various ideas and illustration allows me to do so.



GEORGIA BORRETT-LYNCH


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I enjoy illustration because I have to focus on the subtle details of what I’m drawing, so everything else that’s going around me on disappears. I prefer to use ink pens and watercolours which creates a messy, loose feel to my work.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

A lady selling grapes in Chinatown, New York. She set up her stand on the pavement of an extremely busy road, and yet she was so relaxed and content, just placing bunches of grapes into bags and selling them.


Georgia Borrett-Lynch

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration allows me to capture the small overlooked scenes of day to day life; the way someone is sat or the composition of buildings on a street corner.



DOMINIC MORRIS


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I started drawing every day as a new year's resolution and loved it so much that I never gave it up. Illustration is like meditation for me, and allows me to create weird worlds. It's a form of communication that fascinates me.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

I was stuck in a creative block after doing Inktober last year. I drew this in a completely improvised style, not knowing how it would turn out, and it really reignited my creative drive. It took a lot of perseverance but it paid off in the end. It always makes me super happy when I look at it.


Dominic Morris

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration allows me to express myself through a constantly evolving style. My main goal with my art is to connect with others; if I can make someone feel something when looking at a piece, it's extremely rewarding.



MEG WATTS


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM? 

Illustration is all about call and response for me. I wait for an image from the text that strikes me; this is normally what I end up responding to. I know that I'm ready to illustrate something when the words call out a distinct, visual image, and I can see a way of either bringing it to life or subverting it; then it's just up to me to pop it onto paper. 

I was always told that my style was too illustrative whilst studying fine art at school, so I've just leant into that. I put my own (normally slightly comedic) spin on whatever text I'm given. I wouldn't necessarily call it a style, but other people seem to like it, so I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing! I normally work in black ink pens just because I like the speed with which I can work; however I also enjoy layering ink drawings over other mediums (like acrylic or collage), using a limited colour palette of markers and working digitally. 

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

I've always illustrated my own writing,  but recently I've been illustrating a lot of black and white pieces for friend's projects: namely Charlie Joy's community poetry project, @lockdownis_ and Clara Comini's upcoming poetry collection, 'Creativity in Closed Quarters'. Illustrating this collection was a really beautiful, ekphrastic experience and I'm so excited to see the end result in print! (Clara's handle is @clarascreativecorner)

I'd have to say that some of my favourite illustrations have come from a travelogue I made back in Turkey, in 2017; sketching and writing in situ has got to be my favourite way of working - it's truly immersive, and I feel like that's reflected in the dynamism of the work. I also enjoy the challenge of working with limited materials and time, due to the restrictions of travel. 


Meg Watts

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

For me, Illustration allows another level of visual and emotive impression, humour, contrast or subversion. It allows me to showcase my own agenda to an extent - including characters with diverse body types, skin types and gender expressions. I also make a point of reducing waste in my art and illustration, as per my activist mindset - I recycle all of my pens, salvage all of my collage materials and paper, and tend to work digitally if this is going to be the most feasible low waste option. This means that even for pieces without an environmental focus, my context as an environmental artist and creator lends an additional narrative of sustainability to the work. 



ELLY LYNN


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM? 

I think what I love most about illustration is the meditative process it allows for me. When I illustrate, I create an initial design on pencil and paper and can then spend hours and hours tracing and shading with dotwork. This creates a space for my mind to wander and allows me to feel really peaceful for a period of time whilst I'm working. I love to paint fairly large scale oil paintings, but equally love illustration so I honestly can't say that one is my favourite medium - they both are!

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT. 

It's hard to choose a favourite illustration, but this is definitely one of my favourites. I'm fixated on the idea of distorting the female form and what questions this creates about female identity and sexuality. In this illustration I've used tentacles as a distortion, which I use throughout my work quite a lot. I like that they feel suffocating against the figure, and the contrast and depth in tone they create in the illustration. 


Elly Lynn

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Taking the female form, which to me is the ultimate symbol of life/creation/beauty and contrasting this against destruction and imagery charged with darkness or violence just creates an effect and feeling that I adore. As I mentioned above, illustrating this creates so many questions about female sexuality and identity, so this is what I'm communicating. It's ended up being a way to explore my own identity as a young female artist as well, which I never really expected!



WILL BAKER


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM? 

The sheer broadness of what is considered illustration is what draws me to it. When asked about my vocation, I’m likely to refer to myself as an illustrator rather than an artist. There’s something inaccessible about art and the artist in regards to attitude that doesn’t really sit right with me or my temperament. Illustration is about conveying an idea, telling a story and as such there’s an importance to being understood that, for me, just makes sense. As someone who strives for honesty and authenticity in many aspects of my life, the process of making something complex and ineffable into an image more widely understood speaks to me. Illustration is very self-indulgent in that I get to look inwardly at myself and my perception of an idea and transform it into something with the intention that more people will “get me” after they’ve seen it. 

My illustration work has its roots in printmaking, specifically relief printmaking such as linocut and wood engraving. All visual media is involved, of course, but the multi-layered involvement of printmaking from designing through to the actual printing of the image gives me time to realise what the it is currently saying and what it is missing. I can make changes as I please. 


SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT. 

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite: as I look through my Instagram all I can see is growth as I expand my style, my medium and my knowledge. All I see is what my favourite could be if I keep going, as I get more ideas and as I feel the itch to make an illustration or a print. Instead, I’ll let you decide what your favourite is. 


Will Baker


WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Simply everything and anything I choose. There’s no limits to what I can convey, no rules. Most of my work has an element of emotion and identity to it. A person might not be necessarily present in my work but their identity and my searching for ‘the authentic’ is there all the same. Identity is something that interests my immensely and it’s this that illustration allows me to convey.



DAISY HEYES

WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I enjoy illustration as it is such a broad industry that allows me to experiment and explore to my heart's content. It’s that perfect medium between traditional fine art and typically quite commercial graphic design. I’m always trying to find that balance between exploring themes and concepts that I find interesting, but also keeping my work commercially open for any potential clients. I don’t know if I have a preferred medium - it really depends on the context of the project I’m working on, as different processes are appropriate for different contexts. I have always had a soft spot for print processes, particularly linocut, but I’m conscious to not call myself a printmaker as it isn’t a practice I have perfected.


SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT. 

My favourite illustration is a linocut print of the Tower Buildings in Blackpool. It was part of a project called ‘Often Overlooked’, where I explored three 19th century landmarks in Blackpool that are often overshadowed by their bigger, flashier counterparts. I spent time visiting the buildings, drawing on site and researching their history, and in the end created three linocut prints of the buildings, mimicking the woodcut illustrations that would have advertised these attractions in the 1800s. I was particularly proud of the lino of the Tower Buildings as I had to create three separate lino plates, print them separately and then edit them together to make up the final illustration.


Daisy Heyes

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

I can find communicating concepts in writing quite difficult - I’m good at retaining and learning information, but not the greatest at creating my own pieces of writing. I really wanted to do History at university, but knew I would be awful when it came to writing essays, so studying illustration has given me the ability to research these topics I find so interesting, but present them in a way that I do best - through image making. Illustration allows me to communicate concepts and themes that can sometimes be quite challenging to both others and myself. Breaking down a theme and trying to put it together as an image often helps me to wrap my head around the subject at hand.



AMELIA COX


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

Illustration allows me to express my creativity and develop various artistic styles. My preferred medium is usually pen/pencil because I can draw a quick sketch anywhere and any time. Paint, however, allows me to further develop these sketches into a finished piece,

So both have their purpose.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT. 

One of my favourites is also one of my most simplistic drawings. It’s drawn with a pen, and contains random sketches I draw whilst watching tv and/or socialising with my housemates. They are all things I just think of as I sketch, straight from the imagination. The smaller & quicker sketches I enjoy more because there’s no planning involved, they’re spontaneous and though simple, usually turn out odd. I think I also like them a lot because they remind me of my friends.


Amelia Cox

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

My creativity. And the thing with creativity is that, at least for me, it is just self-expression, rather than actively communicating something. Painting and drawing in essence is the purest form of enjoyment for me personally. It allows me to, in a sense, revert back to being a child, doodling all over a page which is why the simplistic ones are my favourites. So I think, if anything, my illustrations would try to promote and embrace individuality and creativity, and with that, the importance of self-expression.



FLO BULL


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I enjoy illustration because I feel that it allows me to convey the thoughts and feelings I might not be able to express through words. I’m an avid reader as well, and so book illustration has always been a big part of my life and I feel very drawn to it. I believe that illustration is such a powerful tool when it comes to raising awareness of political issues and spreading positivity - not only through social media, but also through posters or stickers that can be put up in public spaces. Creating an engaging, interesting image will definitely catch people’s attention, and once they’re drawn into looking at the work, they’ll discover the meaning or message it holds. 


My preferred medium currently is using Procreate on my iPad. I’ve been teaching myself how to do digital art after spending most of my life only using traditional materials like pens and pencils, so learning these completely new skills is taking up a lot of my time - I still feel like I need more practice! 

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

This is of my recent digital illustrations that I’m most proud of - I like the texture that’s been created by using a painterly brush setting. I’m also happy with the way that the soft, curved line work conveys the human form in a satisfying way; being able to fill up the whole canvas to produce a visually appealing composition is something I’ve been working on, and I think this piece demonstrates that as well. 


Flo Bull

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Well, as an example, I hope that this piece can communicate strength and determination within the defiant look in the woman’s face, implying that she is proud and unashamed of her body hair. I like my work to often have underlying feminist themes, because as I said before, illustration is a powerful tool to send positive messages. Again, using this piece as an example - I hope that adding something so simple as body hair onto my characters will normalise it, and help teach younger girls (who are more at risk of being manipulated into thinking that they have to be completely clean shaven by the media - and the patriarchy!) that they’re in charge of their own bodies, and that they don’t have to shave if they don’t want to.



LIVVY MITCHELL 


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I really love the idea of illustration as visual communication and storytelling, and I think that's what really keeps me engaged with it. I mostly work with traditional collage methods using a photocopier, which I really like for its aesthetic and the adaptability it provides in image-making. I've also become interested in pencil and wax pastels for drawing because I love that added texture.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

I did this for a project focused on the depletion of my collage materials, and trying to use up all my paper. I'm really interested in dadaist collage and writing methods so I like to use a limited collection of words to make a new poem out of it, and that's what I did in this piece.


Livvy Mitchell

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

I like that it lets me communicate whatever I want! I feel like collage work in particular really provides a wide scope of possibilities to explore various topics in different projects, by having the ability to merge a range of visuals into one composition. I'm particularly passionate about communicating about socio-political topics in my work, and illustration has always been a good way for me to explore that.

MICAELA KOENIG

WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I enjoy illustration because it situates me in a suspended kind of ambience in which the possibility of combination presides over certainty or obligated accuracy.  It allows so much room for references, allusions and mergers that consolidate visually and conceptually multi-connective products. I kind of see illustrating as a distortable mix and match game of visual representation that allows for seamless encounters between apparently unmatchable parts. 

My favorite way to illustrate is to go back and forth between pencil and paper and a digital format. I think there’s some roughness and character to the lines and expressions created on paper that tools like the iPad aren’t able to fully replicate, but digital tools possess a quickness and ease that allow for a less frustrating process of visual problem solving. At the moment, I’m really enjoying creating diary-like drawings that I’ll sometimes transfer to digital and clean them up to create tattoo flash sheets with them. 

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION THAT YOU’VE MADE AND TELL US ABOUT IT. 

I think one of my favorite illustrations I’ve made is a medieval scroll-like, caricature depiction of hell, purgatory and heaven within my home city, Guayaquil. Even though the end result wasn’t what I expected, it is a piece based on the element of combination that I mentioned previously. I wanted to portray the idiosyncratic behavior of my fellow Guayaquileans through a satire that used elements of religious narrative, in which Latin American society is well rooted in, to showcase a not-so-subtle hypocrisy that has forged a society seemingly shocked with the divisions it has itself created. 


Micaela Koenig

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

I think it mainly allows me to draw unexpected (or fully expected) connections between things and to formulate self-sustained environments in which every bit (from composition to content) adds a layer of significance to them. Personally, it is a means for me to portray my fascination with caricaturesque imagery and behavior around me and to appropriate and resignify emblems of my everyday life, through the creation of often specifically pointed compositions.


MATILDA SHAW-NICHOLS 


WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERED MEDIUM? 

Illustration is my passion, everything else sort of coincides with illustration. I love that it can be so easily accessible; you can find drawing materials anywhere - whether it is drawing in the sand on the beach or finding a rock to calve into. I never realised how entwined it is in day to day life, newspapers, adverts, the making of a building...


I would say that my favourite medium currently is print - monoprinting, relief printing (lino and rubber stamps) and I want to get more familiar with riso and screen printing especially. I enjoy making patterns and like to put my illustrations on physical things, like ceramics and (some) textiles.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION AND TELL US ABOUT IT. 

I judge myself so easily and compare myself to others which then degrades me and my work. Over lockdown, I have pushed myself to focus and not to give up on something until I can be positive about where it is going.


I am most proud when I have a fresh thought not looking for anything and get an idea, a completely random spark that creates a vision. I have chosen this because I did a series of these sorts of images which were ‘finalised’ on playing cards, all loosely tied up by multiple ideas that didn't really work altogether. I want to push it further and sometimes you have to work backwards in order to get a good idea. But I am still pleased with the outcome and my method, which is monoprinting drawn with pencil. I just found the process very fun, scribbling on with pencil and not knowing what will show up on the other side.


Matilda Shaw Nichols

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE? 

Illustration I feel is the best way of communicating anything - a funny feeling, someone's life, a realisation... I like to portray little scenarios that have made me laugh earlier in the day. I think I feel as though I can get away with things in my illustration that I would initially be afraid of because I would feel as though I am being judged. It makes me be more confident in myself through the areas I explore. It allows me to be more of who I am.


PRITHY PARAMSOTHY

WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I’ve always loved drawing, but it was only at uni that I realised that illustration was what I preferred. Throughout school and A Levels, I studied fine art, and I found that my my work was very restricted and I aimed too hard for perfection. After studying illustration, I realised how expressive I can actually be, and actually started drawing more, sketching with felt tips and fine liners then progressing my sketches onto the iPad. I found a way to enjoy being a creative. 

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION THAT YOU’VE MADE AND TELL US ABOUT IT. 

Recently, with my final degree coursework, I started to actually look into current affairs and representation, but also how messages can be received through drawing. Two of the pieces I made were in the height of the BLM movement. I made them to shine a light on amazing black figures, who have not only impacted me, but have made a significant mark on history. The other two were an entry for a Tate collective competition and an experimentation with colour. Over lockdown I’ve had time to push myself out of my comfort spot and actually just get back to drawing for fun.


Prithy Paramsothy

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration allows me to communicate so many of my frustrations. As I mentioned, with doing my final year project, I decided it was important that I looked into representation and how I feel being a second generation immigrant. I normally struggle with words but I found that through drawing and print making I was able to create a substantial amount of work that was able to communicate things that I would never be able to say just through words. I’m most comfortable when I’m creating; to be able to voice my opinion, and communicate my feelings has had a positive impact on me mentally as well.


SOPHIE COOKE

WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

I started doing art in general with illustration and still rely on it as my first port of call. When an idea/feeling comes into my head, I'll normally scribble it out with black biro and some highlighters or go straight into my sketchbook with oil pastels. Biro and oil pastels are probably my most used medium for illustration. My main practice is painting, but illustration definitely underpins everything and it’s where all my paintings come from.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION THAT YOU'VE MADE AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

This is an illustration I did at the start of my foundation course last year, when I was focusing on the process of making art, rather than any narrative ideas. I was using markers to draw blind and just feel the shapes of the body. I love the movement that it has and the disregard for anatomy in general. Also, pink and yellow is one of my favourite colour combinations! 


Sophie Cooke

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

I think illustration lets me communicate in a more raw way than painting; it’s less pressured to me, so I can be very loose and rough with it. It definitely has become an outlet for me in a way that painting isn't always.

LAINA DEENE

WHY DO YOU ENJOY ILLUSTRATION AND WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED MEDIUM?

As a way of working, illustration is really broad in the sense that you can use any medium you want, on any scale - it feels very freeing. But at its heart, and for me, it always starts with drawing. I mostly use sketching as a way to organise ideas in my head that I want to develop - to capture memories, people or places. I can be quite sentimental at times and I find that drawing allows me to revisit moments or environments that have positive feelings attached to them. Similarly, whilst drawing, I’m always thinking about a narrative or characters that could take place within it.

SHOW US YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATION THAT YOU’VE MADE AND TELL US ABOUT IT.

This is a sketchbook piece from earlier in the summer, which I drew in Richmond Park. It’s not necessarily my favourite visually, but it reminds me of the heatwave and the fun I was having at the time. I wanted to portray a sense of togetherness, and used the colours which felt instinctive, thinking about feeling more so than the natural colour surrounding me.


Laina Deene

WHAT DOES ILLUSTRATION ALLOW YOU TO COMMUNICATE?

Illustration allows you to communicate thoughts and feelings that sometimes cannot be shared through words, which makes it partner with storytelling in such an emotive and personal way. It’s also able to portray moments from memory that can be easily lost or forgotten with time, and places or events that you may never visit again.