To all of the illustration graduates this year, we are in awe of you!
We know the last few months have been a huge undertaking and you may not have been able to create the work you intended to. Without studio spaces, workshops or the materials you had planned for – you have had to change and adapt. But if illustrators excel at one thing, it’s finding a creative solution to any challenge.
Here at the AOI we work closely with universities all around the UK, and we have been astounded by the versatility, resilience and undeniable talent of this years graduates. We have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how graduates have pushed the boundaries of their work, using illustration as a tool for reflection, expression and protest.
In this feature, we are celebrating 10 up-and-coming illustrators, who stand out in our minds. From paper-cuts to placards, these illustrators have demonstrated incredible creativity in the face of adversity, and we know they will take the industry by storm.
Amber Butler is a recent graduate from the University of Hertfordshire. She describes her work as political, punk and bold. Amber aims to use her artwork as catalyst for change, creating illustrations around topics such as sex worker rights and human trafficking. Her recent focus has been creating powerful artwork to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Greg McIndoe – or Headless Greg – is recent graduate from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. His work focuses on abstraction, and takes a refined approach to colour and shape. Throughout his final year of study, Greg wrote and illustrated Wilson Strange, a thought provoking book that explores the connection between creativity and mental health.
Tanya Kearsey is an illustrator and animator based in Dorset, recently graduated from Art University Bournemouth. She makes strange characters and mysterious worlds with the combined use of traditional and digital media. Tanya is interested in the psychological – and enjoys creating imaginative narratives to illustrate our inner thoughts and experiences.
Charlotte Leadley is an illustrator from Plymouth, graduating this year from Plymouth College of Art. She aims to use illustration as a tool to ignite social change and reframe discussions on global issues. Charlotte is inspired by connections between people and environments, exploring her narratives through dynamic composition and energetic movement.
Joshua Donkor is a recent illustration graduate from Cardiff School of Art. He describes his practice as visual narration, working through portraiture, landscape painting and installation. Joshua’s recent work challenges perceptions of racial identity. His incredible portraits aim to fully represent people’s life stories, free from standardisation and stereotyping.
Megan Dymock is a recent Cambridge School of Art graduate. She creates intricate 3D sets out of paper, then uses careful lighting and photography to produce her final artwork. Megan aims to celebrate the beauty of ‘the everyday’ through her imagery. She enjoys spending her days cutting up paper, obsessing over tiny details and taking over multiple desks.
Rosa Kusabi is a recent graduate from Liverpool John Moores University. She is an Animator and Printmaker, with a passion for Risograph printing. Her work is energetic, politically motivated, and stars strong non-conforming women. Rosa’s work is heavily inspired by 70’s female punk bands, who inspired so many women to rebel and be creative.
Rory Wynn is a recent graduate from Camberwell College of Arts. His work experiments with a combination of 3D, film, traditional and digital illustration. Rory’s illustrations are very expressive, with an emphasis on humour and play. His work is reactive, often providing a fresh and interesting commentary on power and politics.
Beth Suzanna is a recent graduate from the University of West England. Her work uses simple shapes and bold colour to open discussions around complex societal issues, such as wellbeing, inequality and sexual health. Beth aims for her illustrations to be positive and uplifting with a hands on, tactile approach to both the research and making process.
Jodie is an obsessive sketchbook drawer, illustrator and recent graduate from Cambridge School of Art. Her illustrations and animations are all created traditionally, using gouache and coloured pencil. Among other wonderfully atmospheric projects, Jodie has created an observational drawing book, which explores a relationship between light sources and figures at night.
We can’t wait to see what this new generation of adaptable, innovative creatives will bring to the illustration industry. If you are interested in commissioning any of these talented graduates for an upcoming project, we recommend you reach out!
The AOI supports Illustrators at every stage of their career with resources, advice, events, and much more. Whether you need help navigating your first commissions, or you want to belong to a thriving community – Find out more about AOI membership today!