Work / Illustration

“It feels a bit like knowing languages”: Oscar Mitchell on his varied illustration practice

Illustrator Oscar Mitchell has been very busy with his multitude of drawing tools. Moving back to Glasgow, “for what seems like a few weeks but is coming on eight months,” and working from his home studio, the 2016 It’s Nice That graduate has been “bashing out lots of different work exploring themes as varied as acne and Bloody Marys,” he tells us.

What’s been taking up most of Oscar’s time is creating illustrations for S K Manor Hill, “a really lovely clothing brand in New York,” the illustrator explains. Working on its SS18 campaign, the process was a lengthy one, liaising with the client often to make sure he got it just right. Alongside this Oscar’s work can be seen in a bunch of the best independent mags including DOG, Shelf Heroes, & Publication, Season Annual and Kanpai, not that you’d be able to tell they were all by him though as the “work all looks completely different,” he says. Still trying to work out “whether that’s a good thing or not!” we definitely think it is, as Oscar’s work is definitely varied but consistently great.

Despite the differing styles and illustration tools used to make each piece, Oscar admits the process for each drawing is more or less the same: “Every project has a similar process, yet the outcomes can change pretty drastically and often come as somewhat of a surprise,” he says. “All the ‘styles’ I’ve used before, whether it was back at university or just in sketchbooks, so I’m pretty comfortable working in each way. It feels a bit like knowing languages.”

Alongside these bits and bobs, Oscar’s been productive in his spare time too. His flurry of personal work began with a birthday card for a friend, “which was a painting of an old fight between Didier Drogba of Chelsea and Esteban Cambiasso of Inter Milan and I really enjoyed making it,” he says. The following evening Everton vs Lyon in the Europa League was on telly, and another classic football bust up followed. “I paused the game and painted the fight on the screen.”

Since then Oscar’s been lucky with the amount of sport on at the moment, and what’s to come with the world cup around the corner. From other football matches, the winter Olympics and the Commonwealth games, Oscar’s been in front of the screen and live pausing any moments he wants to capture. “It’s great because you come across some really serendipitous compositions and moments.”

The result is a collection of small illustrations in a rectangular format that any football fanatic will be familiar with: “When I was wee I always collected the World Cup sticker packs and I was remembering the players I would get excited about,” Oscar explains. “I realised how many cool players there were back in 2002, and how few there are now (maybe even zero). I decided that I owed it to these guys to get their legacy down in felt tip pens, just like I used to draw them. I have no clue where the project is going, but I’m enjoying remembering the Massimo Maccarones that we don’t get any more, and having mountains of Rustu Recber portraits.”


Oscar Mitchell: Joseph Job


Oscar Mitchell


Oscar Mitchell: Landon Donovan


Oscar Mitchell: World Cup


Oscar Mitchell: Dog


Oscar Mitchell: Dog


Oscar Mitchell


Oscar Mitchell: Season


Oscar Mitchell: Shelf Heroes


Oscar Mitchell: S K Manor Hill


Oscar Mitchell: S K Manor Hill


Oscar Mitchell: S K Manor Hill


Oscar Mitchell: S K Manor Hill