2022 is almost over. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and I’m looking forward to a break over Christmas. But just before I down tools, I’ve decided to look back on my top five projects from the past year.
In no particular order:
I absolutely adored this brief. I provided a whole load of nature illustrations for TV-presenter-extraordinaire Steve Backshall and Olympian Helen Glover’s new book; Wildlings. I had maybe a month to deliver a hundred or so black and white spot illustrations, but had a lot of support and free reign from the fab team at Two Roads / Hodder & Stoughton. I popped along to a signing that Steve and Helen did in Truro and was flabbergasted by the queue, which went all the way out the door and snaked for over one hundred meters down the road. I snuck to the front (with the aid of the shop staff; VIP treatment) and said hi. I’d love more work like this next year. See more from the project here.
University of Exeter
I worked with a team of researchers at the University of Exeter and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health to provide illustrations for several projects they were running. My favourite was Reprofutures which was examining reproductive support offered to people with differences in sexual development. See more about the work here.
I absolutely loved producing this illustration for Careful Industries for a website about community driven tech. Aurelie Coulibaly provided some great art direction. I love projects that involve diverse crowds of people – I’ve just finished another illustration for them which I can’t yet share. But you can see this illustration on the Community Tech website here.
2023 Nature Month by Month
October saw the release of the fifth and final nature almanac from Nosy Crow and the National Trust. These almanacs have been a blast, each one has involved hundreds of illustrations, tight deadlines and a lot of effort but oh wow, it’s been worth it. Not only have I gotten to work closely with the wonderful Anna Wilson (she wrote it, and is brilliant) for five good years, I’ve drawn oodles and oodles of plants and nature bits. I’ve really enjoyed the non-fiction illustration I’ve done this year. I like the challenge of depicting something creatively and also accurately. The book also got some great press as well, with The Scotsman calling my illustrations "heart-warming". You can buy a copy here.
Maps, maps, maps. I continued my ongoing map making for Discover Britain magazine. Again, another long running commission – actually maybe my longest running illustration job to date. Every two months I get to draw fantastic places and add loads of destinations to my travel bucket list. This one below is one of my favourite ones. See more of my maps here.
It was hard to choose my favourite projects this year as I’ve worked on quite a lot of things. In addition to drawing, I’ve also been doing some illustration mentoring for Falmouth University’s Launchpad programme which has been really interesting and also started helping out with Owen Davey's portfolio chat initiative to encourage diversity in the illustration agency.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone I've worked with and who has commissioned me this year. Your support and trust are humbling. It’s been a great year of illustration and I’m excited to come back fresh and enthusiastic after the break.