27 Jan 2011

Illustration Exhibition: Stars in Stripes - Rotherham Scope

This is the latest info for the wonderful The Stars in Stripes exhibition which is on right now this second! So if you are in the area, it would be a great opportunity to catch these talented illustrators and artists' work. Featured here before on the rally, we can guarantee their live art prowess so this is one you shouldn't miss!

The Stars in Stripes are artists and illustrators all based in Sheffield, who formed the group in 2009 and have produced ‘Live Art’ in spots all over Sheffield ever since. They are having their the first of a series of exhibitions as part of Rotherham Scope. Rotherham Scope was established in 2010 to provide a platform for emerging artists' groups to exhibit their work on a much larger scale in Rotherham's Old Market Building. The artists were set the challenge of working beyond their regular scale and creating an exhibition that will stretch them to their full potential. They aim to help them achieve this by extending the installation of the show over a period of weeks to allow the group to have a more time to let their ideas develop and assist them in gaining funding.The Stars in Stripes were selected after consideration for their impressive work ethic and their passion for illustration and this will be demonstrated in this exhibition!

The gallery space will be open to the public:
Monday - Friday 11am - 4pm between untill 12 February

Take a look at their blog to find out more about the artists!

24 Jan 2011

European countries: Liechtenstein


Artist 63: Meeralee

From America with love its the fantastic Meeralee. Illustrator, artist, photographer and full time worker Meeralee still finds the time to give us a haunting combination of fine line and satisfying textures. She uses a soft yet enlightening palette that permeates through her work, with subtle pastels backed up with flashes of vibrancy. She weaves her imagery in an almost lyrical fashion which lifts the viewer and carries them with her, this allows her to gently convey complex series of images with conflicting ideas without divorcing the viewer from the work. As you can see with her photography Meeralee has an observers eye that not only picks up those little hints of magic when translated to fine liner, but also has an innate curiosity that makes you feel you are exploring the world with her. Her work is viewed almost collaboratively and this is her unique strength, as she explores new media we hope she brings us along for the ride. Read about the sublime Meeralee here!

Who are you:
I'm Meeralee, an illustrator from the east side of the States. I work in publishing but devote the fuller (and purer) part of my heart to thin lines and India ink. I like bare feet and words. 

What do you do:
I do design work and draw illustrations for various publications and private clients. I have a personal affinity for watercolors and ink, but am gradually heading towards canvas and acrylics.

How did you start:
I've been writing and illustrating my own stories since I was little, and so it was natural that I developed two passions: writing and drawing. I'm a self-taught artist- I went to college for English and Journalism (I now work in the publishing industry) so I am constantly learning. Being a freelance illustrator with a full-time job is quite trying at times, but I learn as I create, am continually touched by the kindness of other artists, and am happy to be doing both of the things I adore! 

A Personal statement about you or your work:
My work is largely tinged by magic and mythology, so I spent a lot of time drawing amalgamations that I wish existed. I'm influenced by words, feeling, possibility or the possibility of possibilities- there are so many images raging inside my head that I'd like to shape into ink and paper. My greatest desire is transform the impossible and invisible inside me, reconstructing each one into a tangible form that others can see and touch. 

20 Jan 2011

Artist 62: TJ Lubrano

A warm welcome to the lovely work of TJ Lubrano. TJ states she lives partly in her own little world which if her work is anything to go by is a truly wonderful place full of life and colour. She creates incredibly warm and friendly illustrations that bring you straight into a beautiful watercolour fantasy of bright and inviting characters and happy carefree scenes. Her work is both cute and instantly likeable. She has that skill in creating a really good distillation of an image to isolate and capture cuteness and beauty in her characters. Her style is a fusion that really gives the viewer something to savour with rich deep colour that gives a translucent quality to the background that helps to create that warm glow which characterises her work. She gives you an illustrative hug with work that instantly transports you into smiles as you cant help but go with the flow with TJ Lubrano. Find out more about this talented illustrator here!

Who are you:
Greetings readers! My name is TJ Lubrano and I live in the Netherlands and also in my own little world where lots of my characters run and play around.

What do you do:
I am capturing all the little characters that are running through my mind. They are captured on paper, so in that way I am an illustrator. I love to create stories and to bring the characters to live. In that way, I am also a storyteller. I work with washes of watercolor to bring the illustrations to life and create a fun and whimsical illustration for others to enjoy. I love the flow of watercolors and the many structures you can create with it, so I use this for all my illustrations so far. However, lots of other mediums are on my study list as well. I get commissioned to create e.g. paintings that people either give as present or keep for themselves. Also personalized mugs are popular.

How did you start:
Even though creating art has been in my life since I was very young. I didn’t take it serious enough to pursue an Art study or do more with it. Or should I say lack of confidence? Therefore, I pursued a more secure path and studied Human Resources & Sociology. I kept on drawing on the side and also picked up writing along the way. At first I drew little things for friends and family and it wasn’t until I started my blog in 2009, that I realized that people really liked what I was creating and wanted to see more. Next to that, it also was a wake-up call for me that I really had to pursue what I wanted to do the most and that is illustrating. It’s not easy and seeing all the other talented designers & illustrators can be a bit daunting, but in the end it me pushes me to become better and better. I love every second of it!!

A Personal statement about you or your work: 
Happiness, playfulness & just fun! I love to create images that make people smile and recognize themselves in. With commissions it’s always a challenge to create the perfect image from the text people provide to me. But that’s what keeps it fun in the end and why I love to do what I’m doing ^_^.

19 Jan 2011

Artist 61: Stacie Swift

We have another exciting illustrator now in Stacie Swift, who is carving her way into the industry with sheer determination and a bag full of bright colours and gentle happiness. Stacie has a great sense of fun and this is really evident in her light-hearted  treatment of her subjects, with which she translates a loose style into something to treasure. She uses a combination of intricate pattern and sharp clear backgrounds to frame her animals and bring the attention to the comic quality of the illustration and she has a great way of setting a tone that really captures the eye and draws it straight onto her fine-liner work, which is the softer part of the image. Its great to see her constantly evolving style and we are sure that she has more than enough wit and willpower to grab all the opportunities such an approachable and universal style will bring her. With the best wishes for the coming year, it's Stacie Swift!

Who are you:
Stacie Swift an illustrator from London. I like cooking programmes, new books and lots of pattern.

What do you do:
With the end of my degree in BA Illustration around the corner I am currently working hard at self promotion and creating a portfolio I can be proud of! 
I love to draw animals and pattern and tend to use a lot of bright colour in my images. 
I enjoy drawing the different components of my images by hand, I use colouring pencils and colourful fineliner pens then scan these bits and pieces in and to create a final digital illustration.

How did you start:
I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, my Nan coaxed me into drawing 'a little man' on the back of her placemats from the minute I could hold a pen though none of my family are particularly artistic I have always been happiest with a box of colouring pens and some paper.
For much of my teenage years I was set on being a lingerie designer and as such my education followed this path. After an art foundation at London College of Fashion I applied to study Contour Fashion in Leicester.  This application wasn't successful and so I ended up working for three years with jobs in retail and also as a Recruitment Consultant for Design, Technical and Wholesale roles. All the while I maintained my interest in drawing and design and it soon became clear that illustration was the right path for me to follow...after building up a portfolio I applied to Middlesex University and the rest is history!

A Personal statement about you or your work: 
I love creating images with a sense of fun and an intricacy that may not be immediately apparent. Bright colours, playful characters and lots of pattern are running themes.
I feel that I am constantly developing my style and ability to produce images I am happy with. I take every opportunity that I can and feel that success in this industry rides high on my own determination and will to succeed. At the moment I am focussing on selling my work, my etsy shop has helped with this, and will hopefully have an exhibition and other exciting projects coming up in 2011.


17 Jan 2011

Book Feature: Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration

It's our great pleasure now to feature this amazing book from Amelia of Amelia's magazine which many of you not only know as the place to find the latest in ethical fashion design but also as many of our readers and contributors have also been featured in her magazine. The book binds together thirty illustrators under the banner of fashion illustration and showcases not only their talent but the talent of a gamut of wonderful fashion designers.

Amelia herself says of the book that it is "A clarion call to listen to and to support all those who inspire change in this world"

And with her beautifully bound book featuring nearly fifty of the best in ethical fashion she can really be comfortable that her showcase is as excellently populated as it is designed. Many of the illustrators featured in the compendium are also regulars here on the rally and its a really positive community that she has given a great deal of support to.

The book itself is beautifully laid out from it's stunning pearlised front cover all the way through to its boxout features laid against vibrant patterns, its as tactile as it is visual. It's great to be able to bring you this feature shortly before her official launch and we will be the first to wish her the best of luck and get behind this driven exciting project.

So a big thanks to Amelia for this fresh and vibrant book, and a big nod to everybody out there that made it happen. With pleasure, it's Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Katherine Tromans

Aniela Murphy

Natsuki Otani

Yelena Bryksenkova

Krister Selin

16 Jan 2011

Artist 60: Jessica Stokes

Another special artist for you guys now. It's Jess Stokes, recently graduated and finding her feet with a fresh detailed style that relies on sheer hard work and determination, and a lot of pens! There is more to this talented illustrator than her distinctive style, she has a superb level of observational skill that allows her to play with the dynamics of her piece as she constructs it. With work like hers that has such a level of effort to create she still manages to inject a sense of life and potential. There is a tension present in her images as if something is about to happen. There is a sense of unnatural calm with her cityscapes of long shadow and deep perspective. Her work is like a visual interview, finding out all the information an eye needs and presenting it in the most open and honest way possible. Heavily constructed work can sometimes lose its suspense or lightness but Jessica strikes a clever balance that I'm sure will deliver for her time and again. Please read about her here!

Who are you:
I am Jessica Stokes, a Batchelors of Illustration graduate fresh out of Camberwell College Of Arts, London. Having studied in the colourful South East London town of Camberwell, I continue to live and work there, currently undertaking a Membership and Publication internship at the Association Of Illustrators.

What do you do:
Since graduation and being launched into the big wide world, I like to keep my creative rhythm flowing by involving myself in several areas of interest. In the last few months I have produced illustrations for fashion articles on Amelia's Magazine blog, as christening gifts and as wares at Christmas markets. My other passion lies in arts journalism, having written art related articles for Amelias Magazine as acting Art Editor for a work placement. More recently I have had the opportunity to write exhibition reviews, book reviews and interviews for the Association of Illustrators and Varoom magazine.

How did you start:
Drawing has always been at the heart of what I do. Whether that be my inaugural steps into art at nursery with a clammy fistful of felt-tips and paper, creating illustrated wall hangings and handmade books with freehand machine embroidery for my textiles course at college, to studying for an Illustration degree and finally finding my feet and my illustrative signature that I hope will serve me well as a freelance illustrator. 

A Personal statement about you or your work: 
My most recent illustrations tell a story of the world around me, the idiosyncrasies and energy of the capital city. My work falls into several main themes – pen and ink, intricate detail and architecture, flatness and pattern. I love to take time over my art, with only my black Mitsubishi Uni-Pin pen in one hand and a pad of paper in the other, I work in as much detail until I am satisfied. There is no telling from one illustration to another when this will be.

13 Jan 2011

Happy new year

Illustration by Natsuki Otani

Happy new year everyone, I was meaning to post this on the 1st January but totally failed at it as you know! 

It has been over one year since we started this blog and we are so happy with how it turned out. It was great that we started doing seasonal event rallies so we can share an even wider variety of work and it's easier for people to submit their work too. We are planning to do another one for Valentine's day so if anyone's got some loving (or even cynical) illustration inspired by Valentine's day, please feel free to send it in! On the other hand, the European country rally is taking a very long time as it's so hard to keep everyone in schedule, maybe I will do shorter rallies in the future but I still love all the work submitted for this rally, I hope it's something inspirational for you guys too. Our artist features are probably the most poplar post on the blog now, big thanks for my co-editor 300dpi for making it so attractive, I couldn't do it without him! Many people are interested in being featured on the blog and we are most likely getting back to you if you requested to be featured, but we are experiencing a lot of requests at the moment so your feature will take a while to post, but don't worry and we will let you know when it's posted!

We are hoping to spread the love around more this year so if you guys have any ideas or suggestions on how to promote Illustration Rally or things you'd like to see from us, please feel free to shoot us an email.We would love to hear from you as this was all started for illustrators so you guys are critically important us!

Anyways, hope you all have a great 2011!

Natsuki x

Artist 59: Emma Block

'catherine feeney gardening' created for Amelia's Magazine

It's Emma Block, a little ray of sunshine for us at the very start of the year. Emma is a third year student already establishing herself on the wider stage with an impressive range of clients. She has an instantly likeable style which really draws you into her world of soft pastels and clever use of texture collage. Her work has a real delicate flourish which whilst seeking to endear has a touch of class that is really important when creating semi naive work. Her images both convey a sense of summer and of happiness with a simple elegance that allows her to use her figures sparingly whilst getting her point across with an eloquence that belies some acute observational skill. It's very pleasant to see the poses and sense of movement based on looking and recording that allows her an element of deconstruction and style that gives the viewer great design without losing the connection to the subject. Great style, infinitely marketable designs backed up with a heavy dose of graft and skill. definitely a rising star this year!

Who are you:
My name’s Emma Block and I’m a third year illustration student and illustrator living in London.

What do you do:
I am currently in my last year at Middlesex University, and whilst working hard there I have been lucky enough to do some freelance work for clients such as Time Out, Woodmansterne, Moo, Amelia’s Magazine, Cellardoor Magazine and Ballad Of Magazine.

How did you start:
I have always loved art, and always known that it was all I wanted to do. I’ve always been a drawer. I did a National Diploma in Art and Design in 6th form, and whilst I was there I was lucky enough to be taught by fantastic illustrator Simon Wild, who really encouraged me and my love of illustration.

I’ve also had a blog since I was 16, which I have found wonderful way of receiving feedback and encouragement and meeting other illustrators.

A Personal statement about you or your work: 
I like to collect beautiful paper from charity shops and carboot sales; I look for old sheetmusic, discarded books as well as any curious objects with an interesting history, and then I piece them together like a patchwork and turn them into something completely new.

My work always starts with drawing; I carry a small sketchbook with me wherever I go so that I can jot down ideas and inspirations as well as being able to draw some of the more interesting characters I see. Then I develop my drawing with some collage, some painting and finish it off with some more drawing on top. Sometimes I feel like my room is miniature prop department when I’m making all my tiny little plant pots, books, ducks, pencils, Jack Russells, hats and shoes out of coloured paper.

6 Jan 2011

Artist 58: Sheena Dempsey

We have a brilliant New Years treat for everybody here on Rally, its the gorgeous considered work of Sheena Dempsey. Her exquisite style has a heavy dose of influence from the guru of children's illustration Quentin Blake but she has a more delicate touch, which steers away from the raw mania of Blake. She leads you down a softer path with her gentle imagery complemented by an expertly chosen palette of subtle hues that tie her work together into a cosy blanket with all the skill and tenderness that make for truly memorable books. Its great to see someone who has already gained the skills that will bring joy and mystery to a very lucky generation of children. Its a saturated market and to stand out you have to have something that adds that little special touch and Sheena has this in abundance. Her work has a very authentic quality and has a certain soft charm in the use of colour that brings us a real Irish beauty. This is complemented by a deeply thought through expressiveness that is a real challenge when presenting images to children. Well thought through work and a deliciously cohesive style, Sheena is one to remember!

Who are you?
I'm Sheena Dempsey, I'm an illustrator from Ireland and I've been living in London since September 2009, when I started studying for my MA in Illustration at Kingston University.

What do you do?
My work is primarily focused on children's illustration and I draw everything by hand using waterproof pen and watercolour on Hot Pressed paper. I spend most of my time at my desk because I work at such a snail's pace and I need to draw everything about three (or sometimes ten) times until I'm happy with it.

How did you start?
I arrived at illustration in a roundabout way - it took me quite a long time to figure out that it was what I was good at and genuinely passionate about. Because there aren't any BA courses in illustration in Ireland, it didn't occur to me when I was eighteen that it was even an option, so I studied Fine Art even though I wasn't very suited to it and didn't really enjoy it. After graduating in 2006 I was floating around for a couple of years, still undecided about what to do, when I began to develop an interest in illustration, specifically children's books. This gradually developed into an obsession and I decided to do the MA in order to bring my work to the next level. I was incredibly lucky that one of my shorter MA college projects, a picture book idea about a jealous sister and baby brother was taken up by Walker Books and I've since been offered a two-book deal which should keep me busy for the next couple of years.

Personal Statement
My work is very linear, it's all about trying to strike a balance so that the line is fresh and lively and not static or dull. The colour is also a huge part of it, it's how I give the drawing depth and it brings the whole thing to life - one can't exist without the other. I always try to inject humour and expressiveness into my characters which is why it sometimes takes me a long time. Getting the character's expression right is something I find difficult but it's very important to me.
I'm influenced by many brilliant illustrators such as Quentin Blake, Oliver Jeffers, David Roberts, Mini Grey, Edward Gorey etc.
Like every illustrator, I am always striving to improve my work and hope to be an excellent illustrator one day!

5 Jan 2011

Christmas No. 27

Artist 57: Dee Andrews

A warm Rally welcome to the budding talent of Dee Andrews! Dee is a fashion illustration student who is already paving the way for her career with some fine illustrations for Amelia's Magazine, and there is a certain spark about her observational work that makes her more than worth a second look. She has a way of gathering what animates a face and gives it life, serving it up with smouldering eyes and pouting lips. This is her flash of light in the sometimes clinical discipline of fashion illustration. Its nice to see her go for intensity of expression as well improving her skills at capturing that simple essential line that with one unbroken sweep renders an image instantly recognisable. She has that line already for legs and this deft touch and lightness of line will contain her inks and set her up as one to watch in the coming year.

Who are you: I am Dee Andrews, I am a student at LCF studying Fashion Illustration, a little known and fairly young course.

What do you do: In short, I like to draw people. I realised this when doing Life Drawing in my Fine Art BTEC. I then decided that Fashion Illustration would be a way to put both my loves together, Fashion and People.

How did you start: I left half way through my A-Levels, I rebelled against doing four subjects I didn't want to do, and instead went to college for a two year Fine Art BTEC National Diploma, it was the best decision I ever made. From this course, I got into LCF (which was totally unexpected, so much so that I went to the interview with a nonchalant attitude - which now I realise is probably why I got in?) and started my Fashion Illustration course, and here I am now!

A Personal Statement about you or your work: I use a lot of ink. I carry my black ink bottle (with it's bobble hat on!) around with me. I love drawing women in particular, and apparently I am excellent at drawing legs. (I put this down to a longing for them!) So I often feature women with long legs in my illustrations. I love to experiment, and am always up for a challenge.