Rivers and Oceans

The waterways of the natural world provide a wealth of inspiration for illustrators, including non-fiction memoirs, children’s books that capture the magic of storytelling, as well as narratives on the impact of sea pollution.

Cover of Below the Edge of Darkness by Edith Widder, Illustration by Jennifer N. R. Smith | WonderTheory

Jennifer N. R. Smith | WonderTheory: Below The Edge of Darkness

Deep sea bioluminescence was the speciality of Marine Biologist Dr Edith Widder, who is the subject of this memoir. The illustrations were created with a combination of collage, paper marbling and traditional drawing techniques to capture the beauty of this natural phenomenon.

Owen Gildersleeve: Atmospheric Rivers

Commissioned by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, this papercut illustration depicts water vapour levels in the west coast’s Atmospheric River. A combination of coloured paper and foam board creates a sense of depth and shadow.

The Vanishing Lake - Paddy Donnelly

Paddy Donnelly: The Vanishing Lake

Using a combination of surreal details, with the landscape resembling animals, as well as observations of light and colour, this is the story of the wonder of nature and the magic of storytelling.

Kefan Shi: Garden

Motifs of cranes, vases and bonsai trees come together to create a dreamlike and surreal landscape, which communicates the fragility of protected birds that live along the Huangpu River in Shanghai.

Rômolo D’Hipólito: Amazon River

This bright and colourful non fiction children’s book tells the story of the Amazon river, from the wildlife and geography surrounding it, to the people who live there. The book has the feel of a travel journal, and is both informative as well as a chance for contemplation.

Soojin Kim: Scales and Shards

Using the medium of a graphic novel, the simple colour scheme and close up compositions of this illustration series communicate the need to address the impact of plastic waste on the planet.

Now the boy goes underwater for the first time. And discovers a world he never knew existed. This is the surprise page full of magic. Text reads:

Dorien Brouwers: SAIL

Delicate textures and atmospheric colours come together in this wistful storybook. Using watercolours and mono-printing, the illustrator captures subtle details of this underwater world.

Jess Mahy: Some Boats

From canal boats to cargo and fishing boats, this collection of illustrations was an opportunity to explore a range of techniques from mixed media and collage, to gouache and colour pencil. Small figures in each illustration, as well as delicate observations of light and colour, help bring the subjects to life.