From quirky children’s book characters, to more realistic depictions, animals are a great source of inspiration for eye-catching illustration.

This selection from across the WIA2020 shortlist categories shows the inventive ways that illustrators use animals as characters and motifs for a range of uses, including children’s books designed to delight readers, to design projects created to inform and raise awareness around environmental issues.

Mariajo Ilustrajo: Flooded

This illustrated children’s book was created for Mariajo’s MA in Children’s Book Illustration. The animals are drawn with an exciting freshness and spontaneity using acrylic ink, pen and dry brushes, with graphite for texture, finished digitally.

Mariajo was born in Madrid where she studied Illustration at the School of Art, Arte 10. She has worked as a freelance illustrator since then  completing projects for a wide range of clients with some personal projects along the way.

View the complete project >

Becky Thorns: The World of Whales

Little Gestalten commissioned Becky to illustrate a non-fiction children’s picture book covering both facts about whales and exploring how humans can improve the environment to ensure their survival. This work features 74 pages, illustrated with digital illustrations that show the behaviour and characteristics of all species of whale to be found across the world.

Becky Thorns is an illustrator and lettering artist based in Cornwall, specialising in children’s illustration and literary themed works. Since graduating from Falmouth University with a Fine Art degree in 2015, she has worked in the creative industries.

View the complete project >

Mruna Mistry: Pangolin

Mruna’s work was created as part of an M.F.A. Illustration thesis that advocated the use of illustration in surface design for various products and markets to promote awareness about animal protection and conservation. The surface design for this scarf was aimed to highlight endangered species, such as the pangolin. The realistic depiction was created using scratchboard and ink with a hand lettered border.

Mruna Mistry is an award-winning illustrator and surface designer with an architectural background. Working primarily in traditional media, Mruna combines watercolour and grisaille paintings with digital additions and enhancements to create intricate and colourful illustrations. Mruna has a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, India and an M.F.A. in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, USA.

View the complete project >

Takashi Miyata: LOST RABBIT

Takashi created Lost Rabbit as a personal project. The lost rabbit is an unusual character, drawn in black felt tip pen, creating an uneasy atmosphere.

Takashi graduated from Hiroshima City University Faculty of Arts in 2005, and works now as an illustrator full time. They are based in Japan.

View the complete project >

David Dean: The Girl Who Stole An Elephant

David Dean’s illustration for a book cover reflects the sense of adventure of the story, which is set in the Sri Lankan jungle. The charming relationship between the girl and elephant shines through this digital illustration. This illustration was commissioned by Nicola Theobald of Nosy Crow.

David lives in the north of England and has been practising for 20 years, having studied at Manchester Metropolitan University. He works primarily in children’s publishing and has created covers for well over 100 books.

View the complete project >

Charlotte Manning: Canadian Animal Alphabet

This project was created for a final university project, titled the Canadian Animal Alphabet. It features a diverse range of well known and rarer species of animals found in Canada. They are created using mixed media and pochoir (stippling) technique.

Charlotte is from Northumberland, UK, and is a recent graduate from Cambridge School of Art, where she completed an MA in Children’s Book Illustration. She enjoys illustrating anything to do with animals and nature. She works in mixed media with painting and pochoir.

View the complete project >

Yasmeen Ismail: Would You Like a Banana?

Yasmeen was commissioned to write and illustrate a picture book by Walker Books.  After much development of the illustrations and interplay of text, these bold yet painterly characters are full of life and zest. The work is made using mixed media including gouache, oil pastel and collage, with hand written typography.

Irish-born, Bristol-based Yasmeen Ismail is an award-winning author, illustrator and animator. She now lives with her husband, their son and Betty the cat. She is represented by Bright Agency.

View the complete project >

Ana Victoria Morales: All Good Things are Wild and Free

Ana created this book cover, based on the quote which is repurposed as the title. The layered leaves, and stylised, patterned animals characters create a design full of depth and texture with a sense of intrigue.

Ana Victoria Morales is a Venezuelan illustrator based in Luxembourg. She has been working as an illustrator for two years, and her business has been steadily growing. She is currently studying for an MA in illustration at Hertfordshire University.

View the complete project >

Back to the showcase!
Return to the WIA2020 Showcase to discover more great illustration!
Freelance Illustrators!
Join the community for support, and benefits during Covid-19 and into the future.


Join our mailing list to get the latest news.