President of Directory of Illustration, Elizabeth Owen, has curated her highlights of illustration projects created specifically for the purpose of self-promotion or portfolio development.
This self-initiated work is often an important part of an illustrator’s professional and creative development, offering the opportunity to develop a creative voice, a signature style, or to help make a move from one sector of the illustration industry to another.
WIA2020 delivery partners, USA-based Directory of Illustration, specialise in helping illustrators get the best out of their self-promotion.
What would it be like to be free of self-doubt? For this artist, it’s flowers, horses and beauty. Anna takes on the fear and questioning that every creative person experiences. The honesty of this piece is what makes it so effective.Elizabeth Owen
Anna is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Berlin, Germany. Since graduating in summer 2019 she has worked as a freelancer for clients such as Netflix, New Yorker Magazine and Eye On Design Magazine.
Going overhead, the color palette and dense feeling help focus us on the character floating peacefully down the river. Evie makes a cinematic choice here. It’s as if a camera was flying over the forest and captured the moment just as the river traveller was floating by. Perfect timing.Elizabeth Owen
Evie Zhu is originally from Nanjing, China. She is currently studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art, USA, as a graduate student in illustration.
This captures the exact feeling I have when our dog commands attention. Even if I’m doing something solitary, like reading, her appearance changes everything. An illustration like this will always bring a smile – and that’s the hallmark of Iker’s work.Elizabeth Owen
Iker Ayestaran is based in Spain. He specialises in digital, gouache and graphic art. Represented by Synergy Art and Shannon Associates, his clients include: The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The New York Times, Fortune, Variety, Penguin Books and The Economist.
This series takes almost everything I know about art and distorts it. In a good way. The strange angles and lack of focal point don’t offend at all. They make me applaud instead. I know art directors will want to work with bold artists like Jessica.Elizabeth Owen
Jessica grew up in Ontario, Canada. She recently graduated from the Honours Bachelor of Illustration program at Sheridan College, Canada.
It’s great when art can make you relax. I’m ready to grab a cup of coffee, a book, and find that perfect spot.Elizabeth Owen
Young Lee is a freelance illustrator based in Seoul, Korea. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Design at Washington University, USA.
So clever! This interactive game is the perfect way for Jacques to show off his conceptual talent, bold style and design skills all at once. It really drew me in and made me want to examine the meaning behind each character and icon.Elizabeth Owen
Jacques Kleynhans is an illustrator and graphic designer born in The Free State, South Africa. Recently he has settled on illustration as a full-time passion and profession, and works alongside his wife between South Africa and The Netherlands.
Liam makes bold choices here. The figure fills the frame with oversized body parts. The shadows of the racket strings bend around a leg. And because there are so few colors, each one comes through with real power.Elizabeth Owen
Liam Eisenberg is an illustrator based in New Jersey, USA. He is a graduate of Montclair State University (BFA Illustration/Animation), 2017 and School of Visual Arts (MFA Illustration), 2019.
Art directors want to see consistency in a portfolio and one of the most effective ways an artist can demonstrate that is through series work. Mary’s five great pieces work together to show her ability to elevate a concept in a fresh way.
The Ring-Tailed Lemur at the turntable is my favourite, with clever little details like the power strip in the middle of the jungle.Elizabeth Owen
Mary Flora Hart is London born illustrator. She recently graduated from Arts University Bournemouth.
There’s no ambiguity here. As someone who admittedly uses television as a narcotic, I understand this immediately. The best editorial pieces present a strong point of view.Elizabeth Owen
Rafael is a self-taught artist, sculptor, digital and traditional illustrator, and painter from Lima, Peru.
Jia illustrates a point of view that is easily understood. This is the type of art that a commissioner is looking for.Elizabeth Owen
Jia Liu is originally from China, and is now based in the USA. She graduated from the Illustration Practice MFA at MICA, and has since worked as a children’s book illustrator. Jia Liu is represented by Painted Words Agency.
Big strokes and big colors make a big statement. By minimizing the detail, Ruby’s image takes on a sculptured feel. Everything has shape and weight in this strong work.Elizabeth Owen
Ruby Sgueglia is a New York native illustrator. She graduated with her BFA from Parsons the New School for Design in May 2020.
I can’t help but think of the term “Deep Dive” when I see this. It’s a deep dive into the artist’s concept, thought process and talent.Elizabeth Owen
Yining Li is a US-based illustrator.