Illustrator David McMillan's busy but balanced editorial work

19 May 2017

“My work was once described as organised chaos, which I think sums it up quite nicely,” says Northern Irish illustrator David McMillan, and we couldn’t agree more. David’s work shows illustration at its busiest, but remains balanced with his use of shape and composition.

Currently based in Bristol after studying illustration at University of the West of England, the majority of David’s work can be seen across publications such as The Guardian, Wired UK, Anorak and Beer Advocate. Working editorially is an ideal fit for David’s style of illustration, opening the pages of a magazine evokes a similar feeling as peeping into his sketchbook. “I love to keep the loose and messy quality of my sketchbook drawings, but when it comes to making any final pieces I think a lot about how the characters are going to interact and fit together to make an interesting or humorous composition.”

For illustrated content David looks to the familiar. “I’ve always enjoyed people watching and observational drawings. With the cities I’ve visited there has always been great characters to take inspiration from,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Then I try to combine that with simplifying them all down into basic or exaggerated shapes to get movement or personality across.” The result is illustration that bursts off the screen or printed page, with layer upon layer of colour and surprising structures.


David McMillan: Beer Advocate


David McMillan: EAT Magazine


David McMillan: Hot Rum Cow


David McMillan: Johns Hopkins Magazine


David McMillan: Plan Advisor


David McMillan: Portland Mercury


David McMillan: Traveller Magazine

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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