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Ste IllustratesFreelance Illustrator

Illustrations that inspired me in 2016

Marc Aspinall's work - a big inspiration in 2016

I saw an incredible amount of fantastic work last year, a lot of inspirational work that helped guide me too. As is customary at the turn of the year with blogs and such I thought it only fitting to follow the crowd and do a top, erm 5 (maybe 5? Let’s see how I get on) favourite illustrations of the year we’ve only just left behind because it’s been a strange year a big year – a hell of a lot of development and discovery. Year 2 of being a freelance illustrator, struggles, challenges, successes and at the end a lot of positive and hopeful new paths to explore. More on this in another post (oh I know – you can’t wait for that) so here is the people who’s illustrations I saw in 2016 and loved and felt inspired by.

Now this list will include illustrations I discovered in 2016 so they may or may not be from that year but I saw them last year and they seriously impressed me and I want to share them here and tell you what I thought of them.

So first up is the Mighty Marc Aspinall who is most likely my favourite illustrator. I just love his work and the attention to detail that goes into it – knowing first hand a little what goes into each piece as I have the pleasure of knowing Marc and chatting to him about his creations, it impresses me even more when I see his work go from idea to finished piece. Each set of illustrations he makes are just staggering – the complexity and nuances of his gorgeous line work, lovingly – and a lot of the time painstakingly – textured marks just create the best work. Yet it’s one of his simpler renditions that really caught my eye this year and believe me this was tough! Marc’s work for Sekford saw him produce a fabulous set of illustrations but none more than this one of the worker crafting a watch

Next up is Cecilia Carlstedt – who is an incredibly talented fashion illustrator and wow her work is mind blowing – not just because her figures and forms are accurate and striking but the use of line and colour is so expressive and engaging – you take a lot from her work it invokes so much feeling and interest, like fine art – there’s passion and idea behind it, yet technically it works – which really appeals to me as I like fashion and illustration more so than art but I appreciate art so this is a fantastic coming together. Cecilia’s artwork for H&M took my breath away when I saw it huge on the wall of the St. Helens branch – really really inspired me.

Christian David Moore – I’m not sure how I came about him but I’m glad I did – his technique and brush strokes are a real inspiration to me, especially after I hit on the fashion style I’m trying to perfect myself – when I started Christian’s work was definitely a help in application of line and brush work. It’s such beautiful work.

Simone Massoni’s work for Mr Porter hit my doormat – literally – I got the newspaper delivered that Mr Porter send out and it came with a Christmas catalogue that featured Simone’s work, I loved it – the interaction with products and the playfulness of the illustrations but also the simplicity of the characters with the use of texture and line. It reminded me of an older style and more of the vector work I do, funnily I was exploring it again when the catalogue appeared so Simone inspired me to try it out further.

I was on the Rapha website and it was around the Tour de France time and some seriously cool illustrations stared back at me. Matt Blease has a real playfulness about his work too, like Simone, and these illustrations really struck a cord. Simplicity and wit galore – a real key in his work – really impressed me and made me want to try something a bit simpler and graphical than the more realistic work.

So got to 5 – I think that’s a nice number – I saw a lot of other good stuff too shout out to Cristina Alonso, Robin Davey and Tom Haugomat always inspiring me – esepcially when I walked past Tom’s work in London. Being inspired and motivated by other illustrators is such an incredible feeling – it makes you work to get better, try new things, explore new techniques – it keeps you wanting both in yourself and in your illustration a desire to improve a desire to learn and a desire to draw, and I do rather like to draw.

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