June Tate is an endearing illustrator. Her work is cute, in the most refined sense of the word, and is balanced with a comical twist. As a result her works are guaranteed to make you smile, whether you’re chuckling from the humour of one of her animations, or smiling at the sweet characters in her illustrations.
June’s two main influences, William Steig and Maira Kalman, have an illustrated disposition which echoes in her work. “They both have a sense of wonder for the world that comes through in their art,” the illustrator explains. “I love lines that are scratchy and a little rough, but still have an elegance to them. I like to see humanness in a drawing.” Humanness, or relatability, is certainly evident within June’s work. It is displayed in the minor details of her illustrations, the cheeky smile on a gymnast’s face as she poses, or the slight worry in another character’s face asking ‘okay to pet this thing?’ with their hand on a little animal. The mix of narrative content in June’s work also allows for her illustrations to be appreciated by all ages. A fan of illustrations from children’s books, her drawings capture nostalgia too. One book from her childhood, Eloise, is a particular influence. “The illustrations have splashes of colour and quick lines that look like they were made with effortless brilliance”.
Within June’s animation work, which she creates with collaborator Zach Johnston, is a blend of humour and philosophy, inspired by Cartoon Network show Adventure Time. "It’s that sweet spot of cute and profound that really blows me away. In my own animations I often have an earnest, slightly dopey creature who turns out to be the most enlightened.” However the biggest influence on June, and aptly the most adorable, is her grandmother whose career involved designing wallpaper and neckties in Brooklyn. “Her hand-painted patterns remain my favourite things to look at. She had a reverence for tiny things that made every thing she touched beautiful.”
Each piece of June’s work is a wholesome insight to her mind. “Illustration and animation are a way for me to connect to other people. Both mediums value individuality, it’s often my weirdest drawings that come from deep in my imagination that people tend to enjoy the most”.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019, was made deputy editor and in November 2021, she became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.