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Review of the Year 2016: Top 25 Illustration

Here we celebrate the top 25 illustration articles from this year, all of whom have a knack for communicating stories in a visually engaging way. From the established names to new faces, the cheeky to the political and the computer created to the handmade – there’s a style and approach for everyone.

  • Tom-haugomat-int-list Work / Illustration Tom Haugomat’s cinematic posters for luxury apartments in a Southbank high-rise

    The narrative surrounding property in London constantly comes back to luxury developments like South Bank Tower. The promotional campaigns for these are usually relentlessly aspirational, and lack personal touch to say the least. It comes as a surprise then, to see Paris-based illustrator Tom Haugomat raise the bar with a series of striking, cinematic posters for the Southbank high-rise. No stranger to commercial projects, we last featured a Volkswagen campaign Tom illustrated in 2015, which demonstrate the same flair for shadow work and two-tone colour palettes. His illustrations for South Bank Tower cleverly use perspective and even more dramatic lighting, and show views of London landmarks from stylish interiors, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and the Oxo Tower.

    Alexander Hawkins
  • Jade_schulz_int_list Work / Illustration Jade Schulz’s sultry drop cap series using fierce babes

    Jade Schulz’s project Video Vixen Drop Cap is an ongoing series which sees the illustrator creating a typeface using video vixens as her inspiration. A video vixen is typically a female model who appears in hip-hop music videos as straight-up eye candy – they ooze sex appeal yet remain unattainable to us normal folk.

    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Marianopascualroalddahl Features / Illustration Roald Dahl's Gobblefunk interpreted by five designers

    Over the course of his life, Roald Dahl created a range of captivating novels that have not only resonated, but stayed with his audience. A career spanning 48 books of literature and poetry along with 12 film adaptations have contributed to Roald’s legacy which has greatly influenced the creative industries, from the illustrations of Quentin Blake to directorial interpretations by Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg and Danny DeVito.

    Lucy Bourton
  • Josh_mckenna_int_list Work / Illustration Cheeky and voluptuous editorial illustrations from Josh McKenna 

    London-based illustrator Josh McKenna’s vibrant editorial work with pastel-hued tropical vibes has us dreaming of warmer days. It’s only been two years since Josh graduated from Falmouth, which is when we last featured him on the site, but already it feels as though the illustrator has hit his stride creating work for GQ, Wired, Refinery29 and The Observer as well as big brands like Converse and MTV.

    Rebecca Fulleylove
  • Magoz-list Work / Illustration Challenging sexism, workplace stress and mindfulness through illustration

    Barcelona-born illustrator Magoz’s work distils often complex ideas into their simplest forms, using bright colours and bold shapes to convey information in a single image. Now based in Madrid, his client list includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and AdWeek among many others, and the updates to his site since our last visit shows his practise going from strength to strength. While his still images are superb in their minimalism, it’s great to see them animated, such as in a spot illustrating “helping others to reach their goals.” The protagonist reminds us of David Byrne in Stop Making Sense, which is only ever a very good thing indeed.

    Emily Gosling
  • Owen-gent-its-nice-that-list Work / Illustration Bristol-based illustrator Owen Gent explores the resurrection

    Owen Gent has produced a series of illustrations for Christian publication Modern Reformation. Before the chocolate and festive egg hunts, Easter celebrations told the story of the resurrection of Jesus. Owen’s latest series is for an article on “the resurrection in a secular world” and explores stages of the resurrection through narratively literal images. An oversized central figure is presented to the reader in a range of poses and contexts, reflecting the emotional isolation synonymous with the stories of Jesus’ life told throughout the Bible. Presenting spiritual concepts both metaphorical and literal, Owen’s use of silhouette landscapes and an almost expressionless face provides contextual ambiguity, leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions on the subjects discussed in the editorial work.

    Milly Burroughs
  • Google_allo_its_nice_that_list_image News / Illustration Google and Anyways commission 19 illustrators to create over 500 works for Allo app launch

    An international roster of illustrators has been commissioned to create unique stickers to be used on Google’s Allo messaging app that launched in the US yesterday and in the UK today. Illustrators and designers from across the world including Jean-Michel Tixier, Rob Flowers, Marylou Faure, Ding Ding and Jean Jullien have created concise and vibrant works that can be used to quickly convey sentiment in a succinct, and often humorous way. Developed in sets of 24 the images, three of which are animated, relate to topics such as travel, nights out, relationships and dating, and much more.

    Owen Pritchard
  • List News / Publication Jean Jullien publishes This is Not a Book, aimed at toddlers

    French illustrator Jean Jullien is to publish a new book for kids aged two to four years old, entitled This Is Not A Book. The volume aims to encourage its young readers to “think creatively about objects in their daily lives,” according to publisher Phaidon. The spreads use full-bleed illustrations showing objects such as a fridge, piano keys and a monster to show more unusual ways of approaching things we see every day.

    Emily Gosling

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