Why do we love illustration so? It’s a tough nut to crack really, especially when your days are spent hunting for brand new picture-making talent to show off to the world. Sometimes it’s the polished vectors of expertly layered digital work, at other times we get all hot under the collar for immaculate screen printed fades. But more often than not we get excited by drawings that look like things in the real world, because the primitive part of our brains simply cannot handle the idea that something flat on a page looks like you can reach out and touch it. It’s flipping magic.
Zoe Barker is an illustrator gifted with these powers of visual trickery, using watercolour washes and intricately textured graphite to create portraits, still-lifes and character designs that convey impressive visual depth. Her mastery of contour and shadow transfers across all of her chosen media and from monochrome to colour – in fact her tonal washes are up there with the best we’ve seen. Tasty business indeed.