Adam Black

Adam Black is a happy-go-lucky 18-year-old, just starting art school but already reaching notoriety for his enlivening bold and poppy work which as featured on t-shirts he has designed, gig posters and much more! Definitely reminiscent of the Cape Town sunshine he grew up in and now Nottingham based, his work touches upon the clear political and socio-economic undercurrents in both the South African and the UK landscapes.

Think: ‘Whut!?’ ‘Arms’, ‘Life’ to name a few slogan-like texts which lie sprawled, in funky letters across drawings, paintings and increasingly digital and collage work. It is hard not to like. Like, it is hard not to like this scanned piece of ham. Adam works very quickly and points out various family members painted in his recognisable but perhaps unflattering style, seemingly always armed with drawing materials! Paintings are light hearted and slightly satyrical and the film photographs very sincere and documentary-like, collage work perhaps playing lightly between the two.

Check out Adam’s website at, tumblr – and follow him on Facebook at for new work and updates,

(All images copyright to Adam Black)

Caitlin Hazell

Caitlin Hazell is a wonderful illustrator who regularly contributes work to the well known teen magazine, Rookie. This perhaps sets the tone for her illustrations which employ pop culture and personal narratives to create a sensitive voyage through teenage life.

Caitlin’s own journey is documented though her blog which runs much like one of her moleskins, filled to the brim with scrawling snippets and scenes. As her Rookie biography states, she ‘enjoys looking out for the small things in life people usually miss’ and I think this goes a long way to describe her work which acts like a very sincere spectatorship on the big bad world.

dumb stuff is the name of Caitlin’s bigcartel site where she sells sticker sets and her past 6 Zines which appear like diaries or journals – completely covered in text and felt-tip. One of my favourite illustrations of Caitlin’s reads ‘Don’t worry Mr Sheep – i’ll come back later and get you out (child talking to Damien Hirst’s ‘Away from the flock’)’ and for me her work goes some way to create a breathing space or at least something lighthearted and fun. It is really easy to fall in love with!

You can see Caitlin’s work online at Rookie, as part of Bunny Collective and here.

She is fiercely productive so definitely one to follow!







Will Sweeney

There are fewer greater places to discover illustrative talent then at a celebrated institution like the Design Museum in London: it was there, during Vestige’s technology-based event, that I discovered the eclectic work of artist Will Sweeney. Treading somewhere between the mainstream and the obscure, Sweeney’s work nevertheless captures the popular imagination with elaborate drawings and renderings of fantastical alien landscapes and hybrid creatures – something Japanese, something 60’s inspired, something that entices and arrests your senses.

Some of Will Sweeney’s most commercially successful work includes his music videos for Birdy Nam Nam and his comic Tales from Greenfuzz. Watching Birdy Nam Nam’s music video The Parachute Ending is like taking a short acid trip: the colour positively pops in a psychedelic tableau of Iron Maiden-esque statues, flickering sci-fi screens and symbiotic plants in what Sweeney calls a “meat versus vegetables” kind of story.

Another of his works, Purposemaker, is a stunning pencil work of such detailed precision it likens itself as a futuristic interpretation of famed Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel’s Dulle Griet. A diorama of surreal characters juxtaposed on a flattened landscape, both works seem to reference allegorical interpretations of life and death – in times and places both real and imaginary.

Illustration, prints, comics, videos, toys, clothing and even exhibitions: the prolific artist has extended his incredible style to incorporate all aspects of commercial design and co-runs his London-based outlet Alakazam with Ayako Terashima. For more information or to see more of Sweeney’s portfolio, check out his biography on Big Active.

Sylvia Moritz

Sylvia Moritz has never strayed from artistic disciplines, having studied Graphic Communication from an early age at Die Graphische in Vienna. Encouraged by her college tutors to cross borders, the multi-media artist and designer flew the nest at 19 en route to America. Here she discovered a lot about herself and her discipline, studying Illustration in Boston, and partaking in a six-month printmaking course in San Francisco.

On the back of a range of practical and industrial skills acquired from her travels, Sylvia enrolled at the University of the Arts London. In 2012, she found herself back in America on an erasmus exchange programme, this time showing The Big Apple what she was made of, in a six-month intensive at The Parsons New School for Design. She made the most of state of the art facilities, gaining advanced knowledge in branding and packaging design from peers such as Lance Wyman (Mexico ’68) as well as honing her illustrative expertise, mentored by reportage fanatic Veronica Lawlor.

The Austrian is an advocate of both the use of traditional and digital techniques that work hand-in-hand with one another, and such an ideal is conveyed in a lot of her work. Observations of Moritz’s surroundings play a vital role in shaping the direction of her practice. Usually with underlying environmentalist attitudes, her stunning mark-making qualities display a meticulous attention to detail and an enviable dedication to the creative arts. She continues to develop her style and relentlessly pushes herself to improve with every project she participates in. And the hard work has paid off, recently winning a Best of Year award with the D&AD for a project with the V&A.

Sylvia must be congratulated on her immaculate level of craft, her delicately balanced tone and liberating colour combinations. In the main image we capture an insight into her exotic amalgamation of geometric elements that satisfy the eye hypnotically – a feat of technical excellence comparable to that of the late and respected Escher. One can only hope that Sylvia continues to lead us on inspiring journeys through her labyrinthian creations. I have full confidence that she will.




Janet Gourlay – Fresh talent from Fife

Janet can usually be found surrounded by research images, photos of sea birds, inspiring colours and beautiful prints. She has amazing drawing skills, is a Photoshop pro and can put nearly absolutely anything into repeat! As a freelance Textile Designer currently starting her own business ‘Ardgour’ (nicely named after her father’s fishing boat in Fife) Janet has a personal, feminine style and her work continues to evolve following on from a MFA in Textile Design at Edinburgh College of Art. With a wealth of experience including designing for Bebaroque and Alex Begg Cashmere, her business is one to watch and her designs, inspired by local wildlife and countryside in Fife have already attracted a local audience.

From fashion Collaborations to producing upholstery fabric and metres of hand printed wallpaper Janet has it covered. A skilled designer she has now turned her eye to sea birds and she spends hours drawing the birds to the finest detail before translating these on to fabric. Her company ‘Ardgour’ is in the starter stages and each item will be proudly made in Scotland. Janet’s designs are a modern twist on the traditional and she is definitely making Fife proud!

Join the Ardgour clan by following on twitter @ArdgourStudio

Follow Janet’s work see the development of her own business and to bag yourself a beaut when they go on sale!

Kirsty Baynham’s colourful illustrations

Strolling around the art boutique shops of Edinburgh I came across Kirsty’s bright, colourful illustrations and, as a massive fan of everything geometric, I loved them. Kirsty graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 with a degree in Illustration and has certainly put her skills to good use producing allsorts of goods from gift wrap and cards to Giclee prints and screenprinted bags.  She has an individual style teaming animals with intricate geometrics, detailed patterning, colour blocking and a playful manner with shapes. Her strong individual aesthetic has a definite identity yet is commercially successful and has been key to her success as a freelance illustrator.

I contacted Kirsty and she kindly answered some questions about her design work, her experience so far and gives her invaluable advice to freelance designers.

Since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 I have been working as a freelance illustrator. My business ‘Prism of Starlings’ is a range of design-led paper goods, prints, textile and stationery items. My current focus is on designing a small collection of hand-made artist’s books and limited edition zines.


How have you found working as a freelance illustrator?

While it’s hard to get started as a freelancer, it’s a nice feeling to move forward in this discipline. Looking back on the past year, I found it much more of a struggle to get work at first, but once you develop a portfolio and contacts, opportunities do arise. I think most illustrators would agree that their artistic style stays fluid, to a certain degree, long-term, so even though I have developed a more definitive style over the past year or so, there is still a degree of flexibility which enables me to still think of this job as a novelty.

How do you start an idea? What is your inspiration?

I find myself making lots of lists, to make sure every idea I think of is documented in case it develops into something. I always have an aesthetic in mind which I want to convey before I start drawing, and it generally comes from something abstract: either a combination of colours I’ve observed, a shape I want to experiment with, or a visual hybridisation I’ve been able to photograph. I’m constantly looking for random juxtaposition of styles to take inspiration from. I believe all design work needs a level of ambiguity, and I like to create this by giving each design a backstory, which is vaguely reminiscent in the design. Concepts don’t always need to be loud, but I think they inspire a more enthusiastic approach to each piece of work.

Are there any times that you have been stuck in a design rut… do you have any advice?

It’s easy to fall into a design rut, and it’s easy to take the wrong route when trying to escape from it. I think the secret is actually to avoid changing your style/routine sporadically or for the sake of necessity, and instead to be as objective as possible and make changes in a methodical manner. Different approaches suit different people, but from my experience – go back to the basics, do your research, familiarise yourself with the progress of your work over the past few months by literally laying it out and re-evaluate the main priorities of your design work. Ask yourself, has your work become too heavily commercial and you no longer identify with the aesthetic? Are the restraints of your print method or colour scheme restricting your creativity? Are you thinking too much about how your work fits into current trends and have lost an identifiable element that makes it your own? Good design is fuelled by enthusiasm, simplicity and direction, so it’s important that you’re not putting so many restraints on your work that it becomes laborious.


I am completely in love with Kirsty’s notebooks – why buy a normal boring run of the mill notebook when you can have one of these beauties?!! Her Etsy shop is definitely the place to visit if your looking for any quirky stationery, presents for friends and fab unique prints. I’m already imagining my future house glittered with her beautiful prints. Her portfolio is on her website along with her contact details. Have a look and nap yourself a unique notebook or one off print!



David Galletly

Trying to think of a way to ‘sum up’ David Galletly and his work in a pithy little intro sentence, ideally with some kind of witty remark or pun involved somehow, is almost impossible – and believe me, I tried.

For as much as you could try his portfolio is just far too varied, with his style and approach altering to fit whatever brief he was working to at the time. 

As he says himself he doesn’t “necessarily have a favourite way of working” rather preferring to “bounce around as much as I can”. But there definitely are two main styles there: an intricate line-based patterned approach, and a more quick and fun cartoony one. And in an illustration world where it’s very easy for designers to become obsessed with this notion of a utterly-set-this-is-my-style-and-I’m-stuck-with-it-for-the-next-forty-years, in a really lovely refreshing way Galletely doesn’t seem to mind his more relaxed experimental approach. Rather he focuses more on just “consciously trying to make things that I don’t immediately hate”, which in my opinion gives his work a great sense of enjoyment and vibrancy to it. Plus it’s a good maxim for life in general I feel.

And if these various talents weren’t enough Galletly has forayed into the world of film and animation as well; alongside his illustrations for Scotland-based beer brand Innis & Gunn he produced a flip book and hand drawn animation of the evolution of an oak tree. Using stop motion animation he has also made a ridiculously fun and adorable music video for Kid Carnival’s You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night- you can watchg it here on the left hand side.






He was also kind enough to answer some questions for me, so here’s a charming wee interview:

What or who would you say are you biggest inspirations?

Looking at work by other illustrators often makes me jealous so I’m often better motivated by people in totally different fields. For years, people like Adam and Joe, Michel Gondry and Vic Reeves have been filling my head with ideas.

More directly, I guess, comics have always been pretty important to me. I remember pouring over Calvin and Hobbes collections in the local library when I was young – Bill Watterson’s attitude to his work and refusal to sell out in any way whatsoever taught me that, y’know, funny pictures are valuable things and you don’t necessarily need to be a tortured artist to be credible. The Moomins, Peanuts, Krazy Kat and Little Nemo are all fantastic.

Recently I’ve been psyched to hear that Chris Onstad’s amazing Achewood is set to return and I’ve also rediscovered my love of Disney through theme-park focused blogs like Marc Davis’s work as an Imagineer in particular has been a joy to pour over. He’s unmatched when it comes to telling a story in half a second flat 


As a Scottish and Scotland-based designer, have you ever felt at a disadvantage (or even like you’ve benefited) for not living in London like many designers?

I think I’d get eaten alive in London. It’s not for me. My workload divides up fairly evenly between Scotland, the rest of Britain and overseas and almost every project across the board comes through email. It’s very rare that I’ll talk on the phone with a client, let alone meet them in person. As a fairly mumbly, shy fellow, this suits me pretty well. Without the internet, I wouldn’t have a job.

Saying that, Glasgow is a really great place to live and work. I’m from Stirling originally so the city still feels big to me and there’s always loads of stuff going on. Through places like Recoat in the West End, I’ve met people and worked on things that would have never come my way if I was locked in my studio all day.  

Being a one-man-band means it doesn’t take much more than a computer, some paper and a desk to doeverything I need to on any given day. When facing the reality of going 100% freelance after years of part-timing, I’d settle my nerves by adding up my  modest outgoings and telling myself stuff like ‘right, if I can find 20 people in the whole world to pay me 1/20th of this number, I can survive’. It’s going ok! I’d have lasted a month in London.

Rather than complicate things (the death of print! etc), I really feel like technology will allow more artists, designers and illustrators the opportunity to support themselves through their work. Do some sums! Make a plan!


What has been your proudest moment of your career so far? 

Without wanting to sound like a stuck record, supporting myself through my artwork for my first full year felt like a massive achievement. It’s a position I’d hoped to reach for a long time and, after a few false starts, I finally got there. I’ve no idea how long this ‘career’ will continue but, for now at least, it’s exactly where I want to be.


What does the immediate future hold for you and your work?

I’m working on a few really exciting things – some secret animation stuff which is kinda new territory for me, a lot of illustrations for the awesome Edinburgh-based beer company Innis and Gunn and some odds and ends for my long-time favourites, Fence Records. I hope to work on more large-scale projects with Team Recoat as soon as we find the right project and my website is feeling a little neglected so it’ll be getting a wee overhaul too.

A new set of problems have also been presenting themselves recently and I’m trying to fight through them as best I can. These are the fairly unromantic, shouldn’t-really-complain-about, things that nobody really prepares you for: Time management!  Lack of drawing practice! Writers (drawers?) block! Working out how the hell to get on the property ladder as a freelancer! Weight gain!




David Litchfield

Coming a long way from drawing star wars and Indiana jones comics for his brother and sister (although arguably there is no improving on that really), Bedford based illustrator David Litchfield’s list of clients is impressively broad, from The Anorak Magazine to The Telegraph. He’s also a regular contributor to the Bedford Clanger and Creaturemag, a zine definitely suited to his tastes.

For as an illustrator his work possesses possibly the most envied aspect any artist searches for: a unique and exciting style. His textured sketches of bowlegged men and monsters suited up in tweed are fascinating in their originality, and just generally very cool. Subtle washes of watercolour and texture keep a sketchy varied feel to every piece, and his use of patternwork definitely deserves a mention for it’s intricacy.

Such techniques were really pushed in his A Drawing a Day project of July 1st 2010 to June 31st 2011; in which, as much as I’m sure you won’t see this coming, he drew a drawing a day for a year, posting each one on facebook for people to comment/criticise/critique. Shown in various exhibitions from Augst 2011 it’s a really insightful look into his experimentation with style. (Although warning: this will make any aspiring artist feel guilty for never being able to be even half as dedicated as managing to stick with anything so consistently).

When asked if anything in particular helped develop the way he works he replied: “In terms of illustrators I love people like Ryan Andrews and Andy Kehoe. But I’m inspired by loads of things really, such as Tim Burton and Stanely Kubric films and Tom Waits’ music which have as much impact on my drawing as artist and illustrators do. If not more”.

In terms of current projects the future looks busy to say the least- not only is David working on a graphic novel, two children’s books, a film, and furthering his animation work, but he also has a 10 month son to look after.

That’s why it’s pretty surprising to learn David is not yet a full-time illustrator, but works part time at his local art college as well. However in a rather “scary but exciting” move he told me, he is at last “thinking about taking that leap into being a full time illustrator”.  Despite the intense schedule he’s pretty self-deprecating, maintaining, “I try not to get too stressed about it, after all I’m working away at something I love, so I can’t really complain”.

In the short term he is currently finishing up designs for the new Rue Royale album: an Anglo-American duo with a lovely tranquil Fleetwood Mac-esque sound, who are deserving of their own article on here to be honest.

So if you’re interested in something a bit more interesting and a tad more exciting than just another pastel drawing of a cat, or a twee watercolour of a landscape go see his website, tumblr, or facebook.

His animations are also pretty awesome and carry on with his distinct approach to drawing, so here’s a fast-deadline advert about Galicia in Spain done for the Telegraph. And if you’re just plain sick of looking at drawings and links I’ll leave you with a Lucha Libre game designed for the School of Craft– you can change their boots and masks and make them fight! Groovy.

And lastly make sure to watch the documentary on Litchfield made by Will Meighan of ONE99TWO as embedded above- it shows his working progress much better than I could ever poorly explain it, and it’s a very lovely insight into a really genuine guy doing what he loves.










Anna Gibb

Anna Gibb is interested in cities and their development; she looks at walls, towers, cityscapes and skylines, exploring layout, structure and geometry of cities in detail. Her inspiration lays in history, old maps and city panoramas, creating complex artworks, she combines architectural experience and passion for hand drawing. She reconstructs past urban environments, as if they were never destroyed or altered over the course of time.

Anna is an architectural assistant and illustrator, based in Scotland. After graduating in 2009 from the Robert Gordon University, she was awarded the John Kinross Scholarship to study in Florence for three month. Anna also spent seven month in Australia, undertook an artist – in- residency at the Wasps studios in Glasgow and this year she was chosen to take part in the Venice Takeaway project.

She transfers her travel and cultural experiences into architectural drawings, being enthusiastic about history and context, she creates her visions of the past, bringing old towns and cities back to life. Her portfolio of elaborately executed drawings shows vast selection of numerous cities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moscow, Melbourne, Florence and Venice. The featured video represents the development of her drawing of Paris urban scenery from day 1 until finish.

To find out more about her works and to check out her latest artwork for “365 drawings” that stands for her personal challenge of making a drawing every day for a year, visit this website:

Lorenzo Belenguer: Drawings

Lorenzo Belenguer’s work straddles the realms of sculpture, painting and drawing. In one area of his practice, he transforms metal objects into sculptures that evolve from the visual rhetoric of Minimalism and double as ‘canvases’.

Belenguer is like a hunter who trawls the city for found objects, sometimes sourced as locally as the back garden of the studios’ church. The work is then dictated by his discoveries, which include steel grids, a mattress reduced to its mesh of springs, and blacksmiths’ tools. These he reads as masculine objects. He intervenes with these structures by oxidising the metal elements in salt water or acids and dabbing them with paint of primary colours. This transforms how the objects are read, emphasising the points at which layers of meaning converge. For example, the artist paints the cone of an old anvil a vivid yellow, thereby morphing it into phallic form. In “Homage to Pollock” a spring mattress becomes a three-dimensional, and strangely fluid, abstract canvas.

Belenguer’s work also encompasses drawing, which he interprets as the more “feminine” side of his practice. For an installation he made at the Florence Trust, he drew repeated simple portraits of a female face, which he distressed by placing the sheets of paper into water contaminated with rusted iron. These drawings fill the walls of a niche space he has built, no bigger than a telephone kiosk, from floor to ceiling. A layer of chicken wire covers them, so the niche resembles a cage, perhaps a prison cell. Alongside the niche, a metal basket holds a stack of additional, still-to-be-used, drawings.

The artist describes his female figure as a generic everywoman wearing a head covering. She might be read as being Muslim or the Virgin Mary, as a woman of the Renaissance, the Victorian age or of post-war Britain. Belenguer says she is emblematic of society’s increasingly conservative, and coercive, policies toward women.

These drawings were selected for a group show at the Tate Modern in May 2010.