Danielle Rhoda’s works pack a punch of personality despite their minimalistic style
With a heartwarmingly delicate hand, the Manchester-based illustrator has a knack for noticing tiny details in everyday life and placing them deservedly centre stage.
- Lucy Bourton
- 15 June 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
For Danielle Rhoda, an illustration-focused creative based in Manchester but originally from Poland, it’s the flexible nature of illustration that she loves most about the medium. Her portfolio to date reflects this, jumping seamlessly between 2D illustration and animation, ceramics, 3D work and more. It’s even led Danielle to adopt her own title of “a maker of things” – a way to embrace the endless possibilities, and simply a “great way of quickly describing the role of an illustrator,” she tells It’s Nice That. “There is no need for boxing ourselves in when illustration can be translated into a range of different media… There are so many ways of telling a story and I love to experiment with various means.”
Danielle’s love for making things began, like many, at a young age. Explaining an interest in art and drawing, working with shapes, paper or clay “for as long as I can remember,” it wasn’t until she studied an art foundation that she settled fully on illustration, opting to pursue it further at Manchester School of Art. There her work developed into what is now her recognisable style, filled with thoughtful characters which each portray her love for “work that is quite minimal but also rich in texture,” as she puts it. “I love seeing almost impressionist-like depictions of people and places and try to emulate that in my own work.”
This approach can be seen in the tiniest of details in Danielle’s pieces, through minimal line work so thin you can picture her drawing out a quick figure. Personality is then added due to the illustrator’s able eye, mixing and matching outfits or expressions, sometimes hinting at a wider backstory too. “I’ve always been taken with the idea of portraying things that at first glance might not seem special or out of the ordinary, and found that with it comes a lovely way of telling a story,” she says. “Just walking through town I’ll notice an older lady walking with a cane, or a man in a hat waiting for his bus, and I become fixated on the shape. I try to always have a notebook on me so I can quickly note that figure and use it for the base of my drawing later, or when being cheeky I’ll snap a quick picture.”
Describing her style perfectly as “naive but carefully observed and sensitive,” Danielle continues explain that drawing from life is at the heart of her creative output. “My work focuses on capturing people in moments and showing the mundane in a tactile quality,” she says. “My favourite past-time outside of lockdown is wandering around different cities, getting lost in unfamiliar places and noting all the things around me.”
Still working from home, Danielle has managed to find alternate ways to keep creatively motivated. Most recently, she took part in Studio Desk’s collaborative animation piece, Flatten the Curve. This led her to meet Lilian Mehrel, a writer and director in New York, and the pair are now working on an animation together. In Danielle’s thoughtful style, the short will “capture a bright moment during this difficult time,” she tells us. Other than this, “I took the lockdown as an opportunity to create links with other creatives and I am working on various collaborations that include picture books and ceramics,” she says. “But also tugging away at some editorial commissions and working on a little range of greetings cards!”
So even though she's currently cut away from the small moments of everyday life that usually inform her work so much, Danielle’s eye and enthusiasm for the medium is leading her to new ways of creating boundary pushing illustrations. We look forward to seeing what catches her gaze next!
GalleryAll illustrations by Danielle Rhoda
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.