Best in Book

The Best in Book selection from this year’s Illustration Annual contains work from Daniel Mackie, Si Scott, Sarah Beetson and more

Welcome to the 2011 Creative Review Illustration Annual. Over the following pages you will find our judges’ selection of the best of the entered work in Advertising, Design, Editorial and our Personal/ Non-Published categories. From page 4 you will also find our Best in Book section featuring those projects that, in the opinion of our judges, represent the pick of this year’s work. As always, just one judge selects the work in each cate­gory, our only stipulation being that they must not pick projects commissioned by themselves or their own organisation. In addition, this year, for the first time, we will be featuring all the entered work online, see for details. My thanks go to our three judges, whose details are below, and to every­one who entered. We very much appreciate your continued support of the Illustration Annual. Congratulations to everyone whose work was selected this year.

Patrick Burgoyne, editor

Best in Book

Illustrator: Daniel Mackie
Title of work: Deep Water
Entry no. 93

This pencil and watercolour illustration was created by Daniel Mackie in response to a commission by Marco Crisari, art director of Triathlete’s World magazine. It was used to illustrate a story about triathlete Jacqueline Wood’s experience of panicking whilst swimming in deep water.

“The piece was one woman’s account of her fear of the swimming part of the triathlon,” explains Mackie, “and in particular the fear she felt as the water got colder and therefore deeper. The illustration is about that fear of what’s lurking beneath the surface.”

Mackie says the piece was influenced both by Matisse and by Japanese prints. Having worked as an illustrator since 1995, last year London-based Mackie decided to abandon using Photoshop and work entirely in watercolour, a decision that paid off handsomely with this piece.

“I was really impressed by the level of detail and attention to the figure and its distortions of scale as if immersed in water,” says Illustration Annual judge Kuchar Swara. “The shading and use of tone gives the illustration a great sense of movement, particularly in the hands and feet, you almost feel like you’re in the water as well. It’s a great idea, wonderfully executed.”

Illustrator: Si Scott
Title of work: Matthew Williamson Spring/Summer 2011 and Airborne series
Entry nos. 27/81

Our judges couldn’t separate these two related Si Scott projects and so both are featured here in our Best in Book section.

The Airborne Series (shown above) is a personal project that renders flying insects in Scott’s trademark intricate style. The images were seen by fashion designer Matthew Williamson who then invited Scott to develop the idea in order to promote his Spring/Summer 2011 collection.

“I had just started the Airborne Series when Mr Williamson saw them,” recalls Scott. “He really liked the insects and wanted me to come up with a way of using them to promote his collection but with a hard, mechanical twist,” he says.

“During the briefing meeting we came up with the idea of mixing insects with scissors to represent fashion design. It was a great project to work on as they gave me a lot of freedom and wanted the concept, and how to implement it, to come from me.”

This has been a good year for Scott with two other projects, both charity commissions, featured in the Illustration Annual. Agent: Breed,

Illustrator: Sarah Beetson
Title of work: I Dream In Celluloid (Festival One)
Entry no 26

Sarah Beetson created the illustrations for her I Dream In Celluloid exhibition by watching a series of films and recording the dreams she had each evening in her ‘dream sketch­book’. In the resulting show (her fourth solo exhibition) each dream was framed as an individual piece. To create each illus­tration, Beetson decided to explore the link between her obsession with film and how it affected her dreams and memories. “By recording the content of my recent dreams, backed by extensive research into dream theory,” she wrote in the text accompanying the exhibition, “I am archiving and rediscovering memories from my childhood, exploring my displaced identity and nationality, and relaying interactions with friends, colleagues, relations and pets; both dead and alive, past and present.” While working on the project, Beetson watched a range of films and her visual records of the resulting dreams include interpret­ations of: The Seventh Seal; SFW, The Legend of Billie Jean and Pump Up The Volume; and The Elephant Man. The complete set of dream-inspired works was displayed in the show as a giant quilt (shown above). Agent: Illustration,

Illustrator: Russell Cobb
Title of work: Drawn Ideas
Entry no. 138

“The idea behind the Drawn Idea room was to promote the launch of a new body of work and my website,,” says Russell Cobb of the wall-to-wall display of illustration work that he showed at his old studio space in Hertfordshire. “Tired of my painted illustration work I found myself more excited by the brainstorming process,” he says, “and attempted to escape the trappings of style and technique that I’d fallen into, driving the work towards ideas and personal vision.” Cobb says he hoped to construct a kind of ‘ideas wallpaper’ that replicated the energy and random nature of the sketchbook experience. “I decided to use an interior as a vehicle that stepped beyond the parameters of flat printed artwork,” he continues. “It’s a nod towards commissioners to think in the same way too.” Cobb refers to his sketchbooks as the place where he can house a “chain reaction of ideas, observations, inventions, self-initiated stories and memories – the world in my head”. For the Drawn Ideas room he selected various sketches, made large ink drawings of them and pasted the work up on the wall. “As is the case with my personal and commercial work,” says Cobb, “I throw everything into the mix then harvest and cherry pick what draws my attention most. My main hope is to bring the richness of ideas into new commercial areas.” Agent: Debut Art,

Illustrator: Vic Lee
Title of work: London Area Series
Entry no. 107

Vic Lee’s London series began with a drawing of Lordship Lane in East Dulwich, completed on a sunny day from the vantage point of a street-side café. “I had the idea to illustrate the street in all its glory,” he says, “to capture both a moment in time and the place where I lived, the street I loved hanging out in.” As his first run of 100 prints sold out within two weeks, he decided to start drawing other people’s favourite places in the capital. “The thing I look for in the areas I illustrate is the culture,” Lee says, “the fact that 80-90% of the shops and businesses are independently owned. It’s how they were originally; just villages in London. It’s the ambience and reputation that keeps these areas buzzing and the love for them that attracts locals and visitors alike day after day.” To date, Lee has covered all compass points in the city – from Columbia Road in the east to Portobello Road in the west – and hopes to focus next on Upper Street, Highgate and St John’s Wood. He is clearly enjoying the experience of “meeting people with some strange and bizarre stories of their London. It’s an amazing place when you see it from how each area began.”

Illustrator: Jason Holroyd
Title of work: Class Dismissed
Entry no. 389

Here at CR we first came across Jason Holroyd’s work at D&AD’s New Blood exhibition back in 2008. Since leaving Nottinghamshire Trent University, Holroyd has continued to develop the project that we first saw at New Blood, now making it into a book of paper cut and engraved illustrations of contemporary logos and objects.

“Class Dismissed is about change and what has replaced various industries and the way of life that went with them,” he explains of his work. “Being from Nottingham, I was particularly inspired by the loss of the lace industry, a way of life that communities of people shared and had in common. Also the phenomenal skill of the work that was produced. The simple idea for the project was to have imagery set within lace, all handdrawn, using contrasting visual languages, both nostalgic and traditional but also contemporary.

“For example, Argos is the one-stop shop where you can buy pretty much anything. The work is asking ‘do we now just buy instead of create?’ The variations in the work are also important, the fragmented imagery symbolises the fragmentation of these industries and the effect on the workers and communities that worked within them. The paper cut pieces boost the message of loss, and the engraved pieces have that lovely feeling of skill to them, finished and aged, which again reflects the skills these workers had.”

Illustrator: Yuko Michishita
Title of work: Overgrown
Entry no. 88

Yuko Michishita chose to illustrate the word ‘overgrown’ simply because she liked the sound of it. Her personal project is based solely, she says, “on the aesthetics of the word. It’s
a beautiful sounding word and I liked the sort of images that I get in my mind from it.” Michishita’s illustration was originally done in pencil on A2 fine art paper and then, as with her regular working process, scanned and coloured in Photoshop. While trained as an illus­trator (she has a degree in illustration from the University of Brighton) she has sought to introduce more typographic elements into her work and further explore her interest in the natural world. “I really like looking at amazing graphic design work and enjoy trying to learn the balance that exists in those pieces,” she says, “even though my own ability in constructing the balance is on a laughable level! For this piece, I tried to create some­thing that is typographically balanced and also maintains the aesthetics of my illustration work.”

What's the story?

The Storytelling issue, Oct/Nov 2017, is out now.
We invited writers to respond to our cover image
this month: read their stories inside.
PLUS: Tom Gauld, Oliver Jeffers, Giphy & S-Town

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