The Illustrator's Process

Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee, Bringing Sea Sirens to Life

Last year, graphic novel sales drastically outpaced the growth rate of other print publishing. More and more readers are drawn to the marriage of art and storytelling that goes into books like Sea Sirens, a new middle-grade novel about a Vietnamese-American surfer and her water-loving cat. Spine sat down with Eisner Award-winning illustrator Janet K. Lee as well as writer and co-founder of Alpha Girl Comics Amy Chu to talk about bringing their graphic novel to life.

Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee, Bringing Sea Sirens to Life

The Illustrator's Practice: Samantha Hahn

Samantha Hahn is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and creative director with an astounding body of work. She has hand-lettered magazine covers for Vogue and Marie Claire, done illustrative reportage for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Simkhai, and produced beautiful book covers for Penguin Random House and St Martins Press. They are just a few of her illustrious clients. Others include New York Magazine, Tiffany's, Conde Nast and Saatchi & Saatchi.

The Illustrator's Practice: Samantha Hahn

The Illustrator’s Practice: Amber Vittoria

When artist and illustrator Amber Vittoria confronted portrayals of women in the art she saw in museums, she was discouraged. Frustrated. Disenfranchised. Vittoria simply did not see herself in the frame, so she decided to create images of women that speak to who she is and what inspires her. To few’s surprise, Vittoria’s authenticity, in conjunction with her talent and skill, paid off. Vittoria’s playful, colorful, jubilant designs have been picked up by brands like NBC, Gucci, New York Times, and Instagram, just to name a few. As a freelance artist and New York Resident, Vittoria spends her days investing in her own creative practice and bringing whatever inspires her to her client work.

The Illustrator’s Practice: Amber Vittoria

A Conversation with Artists of The Believer Magazine

“The aesthetic sensibility of The Believer is pretty legendary,” Kristen Radtke, fresh from her honeymoon, tells me of the bimonthly, five-time National Magazine Award finalist, literature, arts, and culture mag. “It’s always had such a cool, crisp, throwback look, thanks largely to Dave Eggers and Charles Burns, the design and illustration gurus behind the original magazine.” 

A Conversation with Artists of The Believer Magazine

The Illustrator's Practice: Lynn Scurfield

An illustrator’s workspace is both modern and anachronistic: it welcomes the design world’s most innovative trends, all the while honoring the human hand and the old-fashioned, often messy tools at its disposal. Such is the studio of Toronto-based illustrator Lynn Scurfield, whose life-affirming creations make use of both Macintosh and gouache, Adobe and acrylic. In a quiet corner of a quiet suburb, Scurfield illustrates for clients like Macmillan, The New York Times,  and The Atlantic, just to name a few. Scurfield calls her workspace a “nice corner of shared living space where outside the window a squirrel comes by to visit often.”

The Illustrator's Practice: Lynn Scurfield

The Illustrator's Practice: M. S. Corley

M.S. Corley designs, illustrates, and dabbles in all stories dark. Along with his friends Nashotobi and Alejandro Mirabal, Corley recently founded Hollow Owl, a small press comic book company with a penchant for the creepy. We recently squared up with Corley to learn more about his life as an illustrator, graphic designer, comic book purveyor, and patron of pancake art.

The Illustrator's Practice: M. S. Corley

The Illustrator's Practice: Jennifer Heuer

For the past 7 years I’ve been working out of the Pencil Factory in Greenpoint Brooklyn. It’s been such an inspiring space to work out of. Having a crew of creative and talented friends up and down the halls has helped shape how I work over the years. Before I moved in here I wasn’t quite as confident in my illustration chops, but when you’re surrounded by some of the best in the biz, you get to have fresh eyes and opinions on projects.

The Illustrator's Practice: Jennifer Heuer

The Illustrator's Practice: Jeff Östberg

I was born in 1988 in a town called Kramfors in the northern parts of Sweden. It's a very small town so I spent a lot of my time drawing from a young age and I think growing up in a town like that has been important for my process. After college I moved to Stockholm to keep studying art and started with two preparing art schools followed by three years at Konstfack University of Art, Crafts & Design where I did a BA in Graphic Design & Illustration and graduated in 2013. Thereafter I had a year where I did a lot of music which I also love, went broke and started working in a store I hated so I kept building up my portfolio and webpage and some time after launching my page and posting stuff on Behance things started to move. Since then I've been working full-time illustrating.

The Illustrator's Practice: Jeff Östberg

Joe Wilson, Using Illustration to Bring The Sealwoman's Gift to Life

The Sealwoman’s Gift is the debut novel by Sally Magnusson and I had the great pleasure of bringing the cover to life. The book is a story about loss and love, set during a true incident in Icelandic history in 1627, when Barbary pirates raided an Icelandic island and abducted the 400 inhabitants into slavery in Algiers. Working alongside Art Director Sara Marafini at John Murray publishers, we decided the contrast of these two settings was something we could use to create a beautiful cover to wrap this book in. I was provided with a package of reference material, including my own work, extracts from the novel and some ideas Sara had about the direction. From here I started to develop some very rough thumbnails to try and plot out a rough composition and idea for the piece.

Joe Wilson, Using Illustration to Bring The Sealwoman's Gift to Life

The Illustrator's Practice: Kate Forrester

Kate Forrester is a freelance illustrator specialising in hand-drawn lettering and illustrated designs for packaging, publishing, advertising and other commercial applications. Selected clients include Diet Coke, Hachette, Victoria's Secret, John Lewis, Faber, Barnes and Noble and Penguin Books. When she’s not in her studio, Kate can be found pottering round Brighton with her naughty twins (usually to be found running in opposite directions), drinking too much coffee and attempting to master Muay Thai. Here she talks us through her process.

The Illustrator's Practice: Kate Forrester

The Illustrator's Practice: David Foldvari

David Foldvari has been working as an illustrator since the late 90's. His client list includes Nike, Penguin, The New York Times, Random House, The Museum of London, The Guardian, Newsweek, Le Monde, Historic Royal Palaces and countless others. His work has been exhibited globally, and it appears in print weekly in The Observer, where he illustrates columns by David Mitchell, Stewart Lee, and Charlie Brooker amongst others. David currently lives and works in London, and is represented by the Big Active agency. Here he talks us through his process.

The Illustrator's Practice: David Foldvari

The Illustrator's Practice: Shawn Harris

Shawn Harris is an artist and musician who lives and works in Morongo Valley, California. He began doing record and poster art for his own band the Matches in 2003, moving on to illustrate for bigger musicians such as Adele, Snoop Dogg, and 311. His first picture book "Her Right Foot", written by Dave Eggers, was the recipient of six starred reviews. Shawn and Eggers have a follow-up picture book slated for Fall 2018, entitled "What Can a Citizen Do?" 

Here he talks us through his illustration process.

The Illustrator's Practice: Shawn Harris

Sarah J. Coleman, Making the Dreadful Young Ladies

Illustrator / Designer Sarah J. Coleman has developed a remarkable portfolio of book cover designs over her career. Here she shares a time-lapse video for her drawing of the cover of the recently released Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories. 

Sarah J. Coleman, Making the Dreadful Young Ladies

Q & A with Illustrator Sara Mulvanny

Sara Mulvanny is a freelance illustrator based in North Hampshire, England. Her illustrations and hand-drawn typographic elements are reminiscent of the beautiful Art Deco style. Mulvanny has worked with Random House, Harper Collins and Sinsbury’s Magazine since 2010. We caught up with her to find out how she came into the industry, her typical creative process, and her creative contributions for Summer at Hope Meadows and Chasing the Dram: Finding the Spirit of Whisky.

Q & A with Illustrator Sara Mulvanny

Illustrator Chris Mould Riffs on Christmas

In the US and the UK, Christmas might be the strongest holiday brand of all. Illustrating a Christmas book, an artist faces two questions: How to visually interpret the author's story, and how to riff on a brand that's been in play since the Victorians elevated the holiday to its current carnival status. Artist Chris Mould took on these challenges when illustrating Matt Haig's "A Boy Called Christmas." 

Illustrator Chris Mould Riffs on Christmas