Monday, 26 November 2012

Observer Review: Books of the Year 2012 illustration

So, as many of you may have seen on twitter, last week I was commissioned by The Observer to create an illustration that would accompany a round up of the best books of 2012. You can read the article online here. When my agent, Kelly (who I cannot thank enough for making my dreams come true) rang me to tell me about the commission, I was in complete shock. Doing an illustration for a big national newspaper like this has been a dream for a while. The deadline was incredibly tight, but I proved to myself that i can do it. I love illustrating so much!

I loved the brief as well - they asked for a young woman reading in a winter scene. When they suggested she should be wearing a hat, scarf and winter coat I was even more excited. They also said they wanted it to be cold and not too girly. I loved the opportunity to experiment a bit with background elements, something I usually steer clear of, and really challenge myself. I hope you like the final piece. I don't think I've ever been more proud of an illustration. I also want to say a massive thank you to everyone for all your lovely comments, it means so much to me. So here it is!

Just thought I would share a couple of the roughs with you. After sending the first rough, the art director asked that I added some books amongst the trees on the left, just to add a little more interest in the corner. I really love how this addition worked out!

I sometimes worry that I sound like I'm showing off, but honestly, I never thought I would work on anything as wonderful as this, I feel so humbled by the whole thing and am so thankful for everybody who supported me through my career so far, you're incredible. It was an incredibly special moment when I opened the paper and saw my work.

Loved seeing my illustration as a thumbnail on the front page of The Observer Online too! Something I never thought I would see.

And finally, I wanted to share some more detialed pictures of the illustration. Thank you again to Kelly and those at the The Observer for commissioning me!

Monday, 19 November 2012

New Baby Illustration

Good morning! Just wanted to share an illustration with you this morning!
This adorable baby has been printed and is on it's on the way to Holland this morning. How exciting! I've just finished the draft illustration for my biggest client yet. I've loved it and can't wait to work on the final illustration! Will of course share it with you when it's live (which won't be long!) Have a lovely week and I'll be back with more soon :)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Drawing Mr Nicolini!

Hello! I'm here to share an idea for a new
blog with you all and hope some of you will be able to help me make this little dream a reality!

Mr Nicolini, or Nick as he's known to most, came to live with my parents more than thirty years ago. He's been a lodger with my family since then and is still living with my mum and feeding the cats to this day. He soon become another Grandad, and an extremely important member of our immediate family. Whenever I go home he spoils me as much as ever and proudly tells those we meet I'm his granddaughter. Hearing him speak so fondly of me, my sisters and brother fills me with happiness. He's a giant part of our lives and I love him dearly.

When I return home, I always take photographs of him (he's quite the character!). After posting an image on Instagram and saying how much I'd love to illustrate him, it was suggested that I start a blog, sharing illustrations of him by myself and lots of other wonderful illustrators. I think it's a great idea! Of course, if you're not an illustrator but a creative who would still like to join in, I would love to hear your ideas! He's battling illness at the moment and getting frail, and, as you can imagine, this terrifies me. I think this is a great way to not only honour his fantastic nature, but to make sure he is always remembered and never forgotten. Who knows, maybe we can make him a little bit famous.

It would be great to have a mix of different styles! I think he'd love it! I know illustrating the elderly has always been a favourite of mine and if you'd like to get involved in this little venture please get in contact! I'm not sure of the exact details, but I think 'Drawing Mr Nicolini' (the name may change, suggestions are welcome!) could be a fun way of getting lots of fantastic illustrators together, both new and more established illustrators in the same place. I love seeing participation blogs! You can leave a message here, tweet me, facebook me or send me an email to

And here are a few photos!!

And don't worry, if I struggle to find participants, I'll do an illustration a week myself! To honour him and have something to keep, if nothing else :) I would also like to thank Scarlett Tierney for suggesting this! I look forward to seeing her contribution once it's up and running!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Keeping Busy...

Hello everybody! I'm really busy at the moment - mostly with some lovely custom portrait illustrations. I can't wait to share them once I've finished. In case you are curious about commissioning your own custom illustration, you can purchase one here! As well as the illustrating, I've been attending interviews (I will soon be starting a part time job at Paperchase - perfect!) and have started working for Megan Claire. You can see my previous post about their wonderful work here. I'll be helping out in the busy run up to Christmas. Things are going very well work wise! I feel very lucky.

 As well as this, I've always got time for a little photography! And Instagram is making me want to take more and more. I've been taking pictures of things that inspire me and make me happy. Quite simple really.

As you can see, this week, I've been posting a lot of books. Books I love, covers that I love and pictures of my shelves. I'm enjoying myself if nothing else! And to finish, a picture of me & Mat. Because, well, he makes everyday brilliant.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A little inspiration - Vogue Covers

Hello everybody! I just wanted to drop in with a quick post on what has been inspiring me today. Before that, I just wanted to let you know that I have just completed a new magazine illustration commission. I can't wait to post and share the piece, not only did I absolutely love working on it but I'm really proud of how it turned out. It's my favourite in some while!

I've been looking through my Vogue Covers book this morning. I came away feeling really inspired and wanted to share that with you!

I love illustrated covers. That would probably be the dream. Maybe one day we'll see them again, I think they add something truly unique and beautiful to the magazine. Here's hoping!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

I love Instagram!

So, whilst I was away with my mum last week, I decided to install Instagram on my phone. I absolutely love photography, so I decided it was about time! I wasn't sure how I'd take to it but it's safe to say I'm addicted! It's making me appreciate those especially beautiful everyday things even more. Here are some of my photos from the last week or so...

I'd love to follow some more people, so let me know if you're there! You can find me under my twitter name - abbyillustrator. Let me know what you think! You can expect beautiful & inspiration bits & bobs, and of course many animals!!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Portrait Illustration

Hello! I just wanted to come and show you the illustration I'm working on at the moment. I've been wanting to do some self-initiated portrait work for some time and so have finally began!

One thing I really love is jewellery and intricately detailed illustration, so this piece has been an absolute dream, combining my love of fashion and portrait illustration. It's taking some time but I'm enjoying it.

Below is some of the detail when the line work is taken away. I actually really like how this looks; I may remove the lines when I'm done! I'll keep you updated. You can follow me on twitter, I'll be posting work in progress pictures on there! Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

An Illustrated Gift

Hello everybody! Sorry it's been a bit slow here recently!

I've just finished my latest custom portrait illustration. I was commissioned by the lovely Emma for a second time, this time to illustrate her best friends to give as a wedding present.

 What an amazing task and responsibility! I loved illustrating this piece, especially that dress! There's a close up of some of the detail below. I actually really love more intricate work like this. As always, I think I prefer this piece in print form. I'll try to update this with a printed picture soon! I'll be back with more work very soon! Have a lovely week in the meantime!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Rare Bird Interning

 Well my time at Rare Bird has come to an end. It's been such a wonderful experience, seeing behind the scenes and learning what goes on day to day in an illustration agency. The second week consisted of blogging, organising and uploading images, making homepage amendments, portfolio building and creating PDF pages.

I loved my time here and would return in an instance. I think working part time in an agency would be the perfect sideline as an illustrator. Not only was I surrounded by incredible illustration that has inspired me to produce some self initiated portraits, but interning here has given me real insight into how an agency works. Maybe I will be back soon... Here is some of my work from the week (including front page editing and blogging)

I really enjoyed (yes, I'm sad...) cropping and organising images to go on the front page and be used as thumbnails throughout the illustrators' pages. I guess attention to detail is an important part of life as an illustrator!

I absolutely love the above image from illustrator Paul X. Johnson. Working at Rare Bird has allowed me to familiarise myself with the other illustrators' work and Paul is a definite favourite. His work is both striking and inspiring. I especially love this cover for Little White Lies.

Blogging about my own new work was a little bizarre, but it was great to get my hands on a copy of the recently published magazine. Below is a post about the promotional work we undertook in the previous week.

What do you think of my illustration in context? (Below) It's one of the most exciting parts of a commission, seeing the work published and owning a copy!

Well, as I quickly mentioned earlier, next week I will be working on a new project. It will be portraits based on some familiar faces. I'm excited & can't wait to share them with you! Have a lovely weekend, we're hoping to make a spontaneous camping trip. Yay!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Midwives Magazine Cover

I'm really excited to be able to share my latest piece of work, a commercial commission brought to me by my agent, Rare Bird. I was asked to illustrate the front cover (yes, front cover!) of the latest issue of Midwives Magazine, the magazine for The Royal College of Midwives. The illustration was based on an article looking at the issue of women not being able to give birth in the way they chose and feeling "locked out" of natural home births. I loved the brief, creating a beautiful home birth scene of a new family. It was a little scary, but perfect for my style. I was helped greatly and given great freedom with the piece. I hope you like my illustration!

I started with the central illustration but loved bringing it all together with the door and detailed features, such as the screws. I wanted to add colour to the illustration, so decided to do this using the baby's blanket. I found the most perfect blanket on Little Woollie's blog. This beautifully crocheted blanket was the inspiration for my illustrated version. I love the colour and patterns and really enjoyed reading about the process and seeing the initial sketches too. Thank you Julie for allowing me to use your blanket in my work!

And below is how the piece looks in context. I should be receiving my own copy soon, so I'll take some pictures when that arrives. I still can't quite believe that my illustration is on the cover of a magazine for all to see. I love that it's being used for such an important topic too. Midwives do such an amazing job, I'm so proud to be in this magazine!

I'll be back with more work soon. Enjoy the rest of your week in the meantime! :)