New Designers 2012: illustration

The visual communications part of New Designers 2012 presents a vast haul of graduate illustration, graphics and multimedia work. For this year’s post on some of CR’s illustration favourites, I’ve included images of work exhibited by 11 students, plus some further highlights from each of their online portfolios

The visual communications part of New Designers 2012 presents a vast haul of graduate illustration, graphics and multimedia work. For this post on some of CR’s illustration favourites, I’ve included images of work exhibited by 11 students, plus some further highlights from each of their online portfolios…

From the University of Hertfordshire, Sigrid Rødli’s Encyclopedia of Legendary Monsters is a lovely ABC book of mythical beasts from different cultures, including the yeti (show above), the ‘finman’ and ‘leviathan’, below.

Rødli’s fascination with myths and legends also extends making illustrations for the Grimm fairytales. Here are two images from his web portfolio: Cat-skin and Briar Rose. Rødli’s work can be seen at and

Already clearly a talented comic book artist, Issac Lenkiewicz’s work takes a refreshing trip into the strange and wonderful. A graduate of Plymouth College of Art’s illustration course, his Night of the Giants strip about fighting behemoths (below, in black and white) shows some great penmanship and humour; while another printed comic on display depicts the adventures of a series of root vegetables (below in blue).

Lenkiewicz has some earlier images from his fighting giants comic up on Here are two colour pages:

He also worked with Nobrow and Luke Pearson on this great poster for last year’s Comica Festival (detail below the poster). More giants, gremlins, fighting and madness etc at

A slight change of tack with the work of fellow Plymouth College of Art graduate, Kelly Walton. I really liked her watercolour illustrations which feature three mischievous girls on the hunt for strawberries (they use bows and arrows to get the fruit).

If there is one thing that New Designers does suffer from this year, it’s a glut of rather similar folksy illustration, but what I liked about Walton’s style was the discernible glint in the eyes of the characters. Cute they may be, but there’s something a little disconcerting about them, too, which made me want to look through the great wordless comic, The Straubs, that Walton has on display (spread below, followed by the single giclée print, Victory).

Here’s another page from the comic, from her portfolio up at, and a picture from her Wicked Annabella series. Walton also shows work at

To Cambridge School of Art now (which overall has an excellent stand this year) and here’s one of Tim Parker’s prints from his Wolf God series up on display, followed by a detail.

Parker seems to like referencing four legged friends in his work (lupine or canine). Here’s a nice series from his site,, which brilliantly puts dogs in various office party situations. Down boy! (See also

Also graduating Cambridge School of Art is Ines Vilares who displayed a series of atmospheric prints based on German author Judith Hermann’s 2011 novel, Alice.

Vilares’ website is at and she also blogs at From there, here’s an intriguing single print entitled Carrying the Body, one of a series of 12 linocuts inspired by the Gabriel Garcia Marquez story, The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World, which is told from the viewpoint of the drowned man.

Illustrator and printmaker Andrew Berwick of Glyndwr University showed how important it is to realise and produce a project well. His illustrated story, The Bear and The Salmon, is beautifully printed in this unusually wide format, which gives the work inside (four pages shown in the frame) a real sense of dynamism and movement.


And from his site at here’s Berwick’s poster for Noah & The Whale’s album, Last Night on Earth, which makes use of an interesting crop of said marine mammal. The image is completed when the vinyl record is pulled half-way out of the sleeve of the album itself, see below. Nice).

From University College Falmouth, Josh Hurley’s spiralling screenprints which he solds at gigs by Touché Amoré (below left) and MewithoutYou (right) certainly caught the eye. Details taken from

And like an analogue Olafur Eliasson, Hurley’s print for a screening of Danny Boyle’s film, Sunshine, worked a treat, with the mess and blotches of the print production really adding something to the finished work. Shown below that pieces are some self-promotional prints. Hurley also blogs at

The range of styles coming out of University College Falmouth is really impressive – and the work of two other students stood out for me: the bizarre, highly detailed drawings of Sam Brookes, and the more expressive, visceral imagery that Sam Kerwin has on show. Brookes’ drawings really are something to behold – a kind of Pieter Brueghel the Elder meets psychedelia, with extra nightmares. Here are two:

On Brookes’ site,, some sketchbook work offers clues to the gestation of some of these images, and there are also some examples of perhaps a more straight forward approach to portraiture (though these are strange enough).

As a contrast, Sam Kerwin’s work is bold, aggressive and painterly – but nonetheless has a real sense of mystery, too. These schoolboys, if that’s what they are, look like exam season may have just got the better of them.

The above image, taken from Brookes’ portfolio on features in a large collection of work by the illustrator as part of the Falmouth stand (see below).

Here’s another shot of Brookes’ wall.

And here’s an illustration inspired by Sedna, the Inuit creation myth, and (below that) a lovely image from Kerwin’s sketchbook.

From Teeside University, a series of illustrations by Selma Roberts for Angela Carter’s short story collection, The Bloody Chamber, made good use or tracing paper to convey the notion of a ‘secret’ contained within each story, and each image. Here are two from the collection.

And the other…

Roberts also details her cover design for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on her website, which was created for the Penguin Design Award (lots of students have work from this brief on show at New Designers). Her idea depicts main character McMurphy’s eye after his lobotomy at the end of the novel, while other illustrations represent found objects, each relevant to the story and character.

Finally, I was really impressed by Matt Clixby’s work, which ably covers a real range of disciplines, styles, and techniques. He has this portrait hanging as part of the Nottingham Trent University stand, and some other examples from the series in his portfolio (show below, grabbed from his website).

Clixby’s poster work is also very strong. As well as concert posters (one for a Music Exchange Live event with a “Northern Soul coat of arms”, and one for a White Hills gig, shown below); he is also showing a series of self-promotional pieces that apply the tone of mid-century government public information posters to modern day internet security issues.

His poster documenting all the chemicals put into and onto his body over a given morning was also really interesting, and well conceived.

Clixby also has a video on display, a piece made for XL Records using the track, Home, by Gil Scott Heron and Jamie XX. On his site at, Clixby explains that the brief was to create a visual holding page for XL Records’ YouTube channel, which would allow high quality music videos to be uploaded by the record company. The video, made with Dan Burns, was created using a high powered microscope and traditional stop motion techniques. Apparently they completed it in two days.

New Designers is a huge show, so the above – while it represents my own favourite pieces of work from this year’s exhibitors – is only a fraction of the amount of work on display. New Designers is open to the public until Saturday July 7 at the Business Design Centre in Islington in London. More details at

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