Jess Stewart-Croker – Illustrator

At this years Directors and Art Directors (D&AD) New Blood festival where the best of this years creative graduates comes together to show their work, I got to experience the coming together of student and professional to contemplate the next stage of the creative industry. Jess is one of the graduates that caught my eye, with her illustrations standing out against the white background of the exhibit.

Introduction from her website

I’m Jess, and I’m a third year illustration student at Plymouth University. I work primarily with traditional media such as watercolour, gouache and pen and ink. I am inspired by many things, I love a good wander around a museum with a sketchbook, and history often has a strong presence within my work. I also enjoy doing my own typography. The work I produce aims to capture the beauty and detail of an object in a traditional and intricate manner.

How did you decide on your style? Your medium? Were you always fond of drawing?

 I have always loved using traditional mediums like pen and ink, gouache and watercolour but my style has considerably evolved over the last year or so. I love to use great detail and precision in my work but I also love the unpredictability that comes with using ink and watercolour. I also use a dip pen for most of my line work which allows for even more detail!

 Tell us about your latest project? University or otherwise?

My last project at university was my travel illustration project, for which I designed the Russian map. The idea was to promote architectural and historical travel to a new audience, focusing mainly on Russia’s two main cities because I loved the architecture and atmosphere when I went there a few years ago. I’m also currently working on a private commission, which is a watercolour painting of Rhinefield House in the New Forest as a wedding present for a couple getting married there this summer.

 Do you have an artist/designer you admire? Or works you aspire to?

 I love Emma Dibben’s work, also Julia Rothman, Erin Buckley, Hannah McVicar to name a few. I also love David Gentleman’s watercolours plus I’ve always admired the ‘golden age’ illustrators – Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen etc.

 Commercially, where do you see your work?

 I can see my work being mainly editorial based, though I would love to do more branding and packaging – I loved working on the Douwe Egberts coffee packaging brief. I’m also currently working on some possible branding design for a company based near the Peak District, so you never know where or what format your work may end up in.

 With the amount of focus on digital work at the moment and new technologies, do you think hand drawn works will always have a place?

Digital work will continue to grow especially with all the considerable advancements in technology recently. I have an iPad and I love using it for sketching but personally I don’t think digital work will completely overpower traditional media. There is always something refreshing about hand drawn or painted work that will continue to captivate people, so I think (and I hope!) hand drawn and painted illustration will hold its place within the creative industry for a long time.

I really like the combination of delicate images with hand drawn typography that make the images very accessible and true to life. I think Jess’s work is really usable when it comes to corporate imagery, editorial illustrations and packaging and just really nice to look at. Find more images and info on her website

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About Gabrielle Taylor

Currently finishing my degree in Advertising, while working as a photographer, you'll never find me without a camera or pen and paper. Always exploring looking for something new, whether that be a cutting edge design, a good book, some new tech or just a interesting person with something to say. I am an art lover, an enthusiastic traveller; finding myself in New York and Paris last summer and London for most of Spring, I also have a slight obsession with movie trailer music. My latest project has been designing a hypothetical new floor for Liberty of London, an amazing British brand and a collaborator with Gola. Looking forward to expanding Born in Britain's talent pool and getting to know Gola.

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