Lily Orset’s illustrated stories explore the natural world through a queer lens

The illustrator’s delicate drawings turned screen prints explore intimacy and connection in dream-like landscapes.

4 June 2024

With a love of Risograph and screen printing, Leeds-based illustrator Lily Orset has found a true home for their work in the small press community. Using illustrated stories as a way “to explore queerness in a way where my pictures become both a diary and a dream”, they say, they create small print runs and editions, turning their intricate visual worlds into multi-layered prints, to “preserve tender, silly or mundane moments”.

Often starting off as light pencil drawings and handmade works that Lily “scans and tidies up”, their illustrated natural scenes and peaceful figures are turned into positives for Riso and screen print, adding in areas of bitmap. For the illustrator, Risograph always feels like a continuation of their analogue approach when translating their drawings into print as it offers “new textures and colours, and most of all a process that still feels handmade as a result of its trial and error nature”, they explain.

Lily initially became interested in printmaking during their time studying at Leeds Arts university, but really honed in on their skills as a technician during their internship last year at Colorama: a Risograph print studio and publisher in Berlin and one of their “big time inspirations”. Here, Lily gained a lot of “Riso wizardry” as they call it, and connected with others over their interest in print ephemera. Still inspired by print and fanzine culture, they have continued their self-published projects, now working as one third of Louise Press, a Leeds-based trio of illustrators making work with “sentimentality and silliness at its core”. The press formed from a close working relationship amongst fellow illustrators with Lily being accompanied by their two closest friends, collaborators and housemates in their joint practice. Creating small print communities like this, as well as “thinking about who can picture themselves through my drawings” is always “at the heart of what I do” they tell us.


Lily Orset: Vineyard (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2023)


Lily Orset: On the Vine (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2023)


Lily Orset: Valentine (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2024)


Lily Orset: Grapes (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2023)


Lily Orset: Colorama Coloursheet (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2023)


Lily Orset: Kiss (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2024)


Lily Orset: Tidal Pool (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2024)


Lily Orset: Fantasy (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2024)


Lily Orset: Drawings from the sea (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2023)


Lily Orset: Stickers and Matchboxes (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2024)

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Lily Orset: Float (Copyright © Lily Orset, 2022)

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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