When we last wrote about illustrator Arabella Simpson last year, we took you dear readers on a tour of her jigsaw-like colourful drawings. She’s still interested in themes of copyright and recycling amongst other things, but her style has evidently progressed. It’s more sophisticated with a deeper sense of character that is distinctly Arabella, touching on her new ideas and interests surrounding globalism.
One new element of Arabella’s work is the introduction of colour into the background of her kooky illustrations, swapping out an intense monochrome with lighthearted bright colours. She’s scaled up her characters and started to make more prints of her work, but at the heart of her work, Arabella’s illustrations are still full of charm and smiley-faced friends.
“My ideas come from mixing imagery with cultural associations,” she tells It’s Nice That. She playfully curates different objects together which resemble different cultures in order to get a hybrid mix of images. “I find this fascinating,” explains Arabella on the semiotics of her culturally mixed imagery. Most recently delving into the depictions of packaging (particularly food packaging), Arabella’s recent work explores the reasons why people buy or collect certain commodities.
“My favourite piece of packaging is the Japanese Dream Animal, seaweed flavoured zoo animal shaped biscuits,” says the illustrator. Favouring this colourful kids packaging for its artwork and typography, Arabella’s illustrations combine uniquely Japanese aestheticisms with other global objects such as Dutch Tony’s Chocolonely or Czech sausages and a lot of other sweet things. “I guess I like creating characters that make me smile, and hopefully they bring some fun into other people’s souls too!”
Describing her creative process in bringing together several disparate elements, Arabella goes on to explain: “My brain sits in a pan and catches strange butterflies for me work. Then voila! I make illustrated spaghetti.”
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.