Illustration: The Best of the Best
Illustration has seen a new lease of life in recent years with technology making it easier than ever to experiment and discover. This new found freedom has given way to a generation of exciting product designers, turning simple doodles into incredible must-have interior accessories, greetings cards and fashion accessories. Freelance writer and editor Rachel Ward uncovers her 'best of' from Pulse 2016.
1. Su Owen
Norwich-based Su Owen taught A-level art before taking the plunge in 2012 and setting up her eponymous brand selling silk scarves, cushions and screenprints. Often inspired by natural forms, especially flowers, or pop culture, from circus to cabaret, her characterful designs begin life as hand-drawn illustrations that she prints on to products and sells via her e-shop, Etsy, Notonthehighstreet.com and Amara. The new collection that launched at Pulse 2016 is inspired by vintage tattoos, complete with mermaids, swallows, ships and Moby Dick – how seductive!
The move to set up HJEM (which means home in Danish) in 2014 was a natural one for former art director Emma Richmond, as it brought together her love of architecture and interiors with her experience in graphics and communications. Based near Geneva in the Alps, the surrounding landscape provides Emma with a great deal of inspiration for her paper goods and homewares, which are categroised by living, kitchen and kids. Featuring a clean graphic aesthetic and minimal palette, her products also have ethical and ecological values at their core and are sold via a number of European-based stores as well as through her online shop.
3. Scout Editions
Based in London and established in 2014, Scout Editions is made up of brother and sister duo graphic designer Pui and marketeer Wai. Inspired by folklore, each piece in their eclectic range of printed homewares, accessories and paper goods tells its own story. The latter also uses the Japanese riso printing process, which employs soy-based inks and ensures each one is a little different. Available through their e-shop as well as Paul Smith, Design Museum, The Conran Shop and Present & Correct, many of the products are sold as editions so catch them while you can.
4. Lindsay & Yoshi
Established in 2011 and based in rural Aberdeenshire, Lindsay & Yoshi is the brainchild of Lindsay Johnston (Yoshi is her German Shepherd), a graduate of Aberdeen's Gray's School of Art. Her fascination with the illustrations and stories of Beatrix Potter and the repeat patterns of William Morris and Liberty of London have greatly influenced her designs, which often depict animals and the natural world. Each piece begins as an artwork, which is transformed digitally, often to eye-catching kaleidoscopic effect, before being applied to cushions, scarves and greeting cards and sold via her e-shop.
5. Kelci London
Launched just last year, Kelci London was set up by designer and artist Kelci Jun after she graduated with an MA in Illustration from Kingston University. Already attracting lots of attention, her charming designs frequently make a composition out of the iconography associated with a particular place – her very first product, for example, was a tea towel that celebrated ten of London's bridges. Kelci has since expanded her range to include greeting cards, limited-edition prints, ceramics and wrapping paper, and has many more designs in the pipeline. We say watch this space.