How I Got Here: Illustrator Noma Bar

The Israeli illustrator’s work is instantly recognisable for his masterful use of negative space and clever take on current affairs. He discusses how it all began in the forests of Galilee, and why creatives shouldn’t be afraid of bringing about political change through their work

Noma Bar’s al fresco office in Highgate Wood is a far cry from his early days in the Israeli navy, where he spent two years doing compulsory military service. The 70-acre stretch of green space near the illustrator’s home in North London has served as his main source of inspiration over the past decade.

Since moving to London, Bar’s pieces have spanned everything from an early campaign for IBM to book covers for authors including Haruki Murakami and Margaret Atwood. But some of his most memorable illustrations are those that have taken more of a political stance. A recent poster campaign for Amnesty International came at a time of intense media coverage of President Trump’s child separation policy on the Mexican border, while his famous Wolf and Sheep illustration was a powerful comment on the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

We talk to Bar about the influence of growing up in the midst of Arab-Israeli tensions, his ongoing love affair with negative space, and why budding illustrators needn’t obsess over getting their first big break.