New illustration: Eleanor Taylor, Karrie Fransman, Jessica May Underwood, Daniel Frost & more

Our latest pick of new illustration includes the winning work from this year’s Prize for Illustration, awarded by the AOI and London Transport Museum, a vibrant installation for Southbank Centre’s Alchemy festival, floral displays at Harrods and a charming book of untranslatable words from around the world.

Our latest pick of new illustration includes the winning work from this year’s Prize for Illustration, awarded by the AOI and London Transport Museum, a vibrant installation for Southbank Centre’s Alchemy festival, floral displays at Harrods and a charming book of untranslatable words from around the world.

London Transport Museum: London Places and Spaces

The Association of Illustrators and London Transport Museum’s annual Prize for Illustration invites artists to submit a piece of work which reflects life in the capital. This year’s theme was places and spaces, with a brief to portray “London’s distinct personality and characteristics.”

CR’s Mark Sinclair was on this year’s judging panel, which selected three winners were selected from over 1000 entries. Gold was awarded to Eleanor Taylor for her image depicting the Royal Observatory in Greenwich (shown top), silver to Carly Allen Fletcher for her richly coloured Compound City print, and bronze to Eliza Southwood for Parkour at the South Bank. Taylor will receive £2000 and see her image displayed on the London Underground, while Fletcher and Southwood receive £1000 and £750.

Silver prize winner Carly Allen-Fletcher’s Compound City (left) and bronze winner Eliza Southwood’s Parkour at the South Bank

Prints on display at LTM

Commenting on Taylor’s print, judges praised its composition and clever response to the brief (presenting a ‘place’ to look at ‘space’). Fletcher’s was selected for its dynamic representation of London landmarks and intriguing use of shapes, and Southwood for its urban realism and brilliantly rendered buildings.

One hundred shortlisted entries are also on display in an exhibition at London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB until September 6. See for opening hours and visiting info.

V&A Illustration Awards 2015

The winner of the V&A Illustration Awards were also announced this week, with Sterling Hundley winning the overall prize and best book illustration for his artwork in the Folio Society’s edition of Treasure Island, pictured above. Described by judges as “richly coloured, atmospheric and stylistically consistent,” his work was praised for its ability to capture the violent and menacing undertones of Robert Louis Stevenson’s text.

Yehrin Tong won the book design award for her outstanding work on Michel Faber novel, The Book of Strange New Things (you can read our article on the making of the cover here):

Simon Pemberton received the editorial illustration award for an oil sketch accompanying an article by crime writer Ann Cleves about research trips to the Shetland Isles, which judges praised for its “great painterly technique and wonderful colour”, and which perfectly captures the isolation of the northern isles:

And RCA’s Daphne Christoforou won the student illustration award for No Island, a wall hanging inspired by Tibetan imagery, Indian Chintz textiles and science documentaries. The print “echoes a narrative of perfection as understood in Buddhist philosophy” explains Christoforou on her website. “A focused and uncluttered mind is represented here by the Elephant and the Mahout (Elephant Rider). Surrounding the protagonists are the mental states that obscure and congest the mind’s clarity (attachment, boredom, fear and pain). The story concludes in both psychological and material attachments vanishing into a black hole,” she says. There’s plenty more great work on Christoforou’s site, too, including illustrations for The Telegraph and Management Today, and another prize-winning one based on Roland Barthes’ essay, Leaving the Movie Theatre.

It’s an inspiring collection of work, and you can see all of this year’s shortlisted entries on display at the V&A’s National Art Library until August 2, or view the gallery online.

Jessica May Underwood – Harrods Pop-Up Flowers

Fashion and editorial illustrator Jessica May Underwood (represented by Breed) has collaborated with Harrods on an elegant series of botanical installations to coincide with this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. 3D window displays represent the floral notes in different luxury scents stocked at the store, and feature some beautifully crafted irises, peonies, lilies and roses.

Underwood regularly collaborates with Harrods – she drew the mouse which featured in its latest Christmas ad and window displays, as well as a detailed scaled-down drawing of the store for its official Christmas card – and produces illustrations for its customer magazine and in-store displays. Asked by director of creative marketing Deborah Bee to create “a floral world for the beginning of Spring”, she spent four months working with art directors at each perfume brand, studying 35 flowers plus bees and insects to produce the final artwork.

“First references were drawn from William Morris, the work of Arthur Rackham and my archive portfolios of botanical drawings,” explains Underwood.

“I worked on each element by hand, in pencil and then watercolor…When each illustration was complete, it would be formatted and sent to the artwork team at Harrods. The production house Millington Associates were then enlisted to fabricate each hand drawn element into large scale three dimensions against large scale books as ‘ Pop Up ‘ installations, some standing at over two meters tall,” she adds.

“It was imperative throughout to maintain a strong bold line for large scale production, [and] also clarity for distinguishing each element,” Underwood adds. “To see the finished pieces unveiled was extremely rewarding – the line quality of every piece has been maintained throughout the project,” she says.

Daniel Frost – Haircuts of Hackney

Independent publisher Hoxton Mini Press has produced some great titles documenting East London life of late, from Ian McDonnell and Harry Ades’ Field Guide to East London Wildlife to Chris Dorley Brown’s Drivers in the 1980s.

Its latest release, Hackney Haircuts, is a visual encyclopedia of the many styles sported by residents in the borough, from quiffs and combovers to moptops, buns and even the pretzel. The fold out book contains 35 colourful paintings by illustrator Daniel Frost, who is based in the area, though hails from Staffordshire. It’s priced at £12.95 or £20 for a special edition, and you can order copies at

Ella Frances Sanders – Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation is a charming compendium of 50 untranslatable words from around the world, written and illustrated by Ella Frances Sanders. Each word is accompanied by a description and original artwork, and the book features words in German, Yiddish, Swedish, Arabic, Japanese, Hindi, Icelandic, Inuit, Korean and even Wagiman.

Entries range from words describing emotions and sensations, from the Gaelic Sgriob (“the itchiness that settles on your upper lip before drinking a whisky”) and the German Waldeinsamkeit (a feeling of being alone with nature), to measurements, actions and even adjectives for men who like to leave their shirt untucked. It’s a fascinating look at the nuances of language and Sanders’ illustrations help bring each obscure word to life.

The book is published by Vintage imprint Square Peg on June 4 and costs £10. Sanders has also set up a website,, to promote it.

Hartlepool Festival of Illustration

Poster designed by Ralph Steadman

Hartlepool Festival of Illustration is a new event co-hosted by Cleveland College of Art and Design and Hartlepool Art Gallery. The programme includes a two-day symposium with talks from the AOI, Owen Davey, Chris Riddell and Sara Ogilvie; a marketplace where artists from around the country will be selling prints, books and posters, and a month-long exhibition featuring work by 30 illustrators and comic artists from Ralph Steadman to Will Simpson. There will also be free arts workshops for children and young people.

The festival is part of an initiative to increase participation in arts in the northeast – Cleveland has recently received funding to expand its campus and build new studio spaces, as well as adding a new gallery, café and shop its existing grounds, and says it will be working with the local council to host a year-round programme of creative events.

Karrie Fransman – Alchemy at Southbank Centre

Alchemy is an annual festival at London’s Southbank Centre showcasing art, literature, theatre, music and dance from the UK and South Asia. Artist and graphic novelist Karrie Fransman was asked to create an installation for the event, and worked with comic artists Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy and Asifur Rahman to craft a vast Bangladeshi street scene. The artwork features some lovely hand drawn patterns and lettering and is on display at Royal Festival Hall until May 25.

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