Review of the Year 2021: Top 25 Illustration

Our list of this year’s top illustration articles will lead you through hyperrealist ballpoint portraits, anime-inspired narratives and colourful crayon drawings – what’s not to love!


This year, in our most-read illustration stories, queerness reigned. Thanks to the electrifying work of Juanjo Cristiani, two of 2021’s biggest obsessions – Drag Race and Tarot cards – collided spectacularly, and Jenifer Prince gave us vintage pulp comics lovingly adorned with sapphic love stories. After such a tumultuous few years, illustration also proved a vital political tool and in April, in response to the Covid-related surge in anti-Asian hate, It’s Nice That’s own Jyni Ong worked with illustrator Vanilla Chi to create a powerful, free-to-download poster to raise awareness.

Whilst the luminescent colours and otherworldly themes of Jordan Moss, Jiayi Li and Dani Choi transported us all elsewhere and the unsettling work of Sawako Kabuki, María Jesús Contreras and Flore Chemin left a slightly uncanny feeling, the work of Laura Burke, Luis Mendo, Maisy Summer and Line Hachem reminded us that we’re still pretty comforted by pleasing depictions of the everyday. Finally, of course, we can’t forget Dominic Myatt’s publication Penile Papers, where he asked 52 people to, quite simply, draw a dick pic.

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To read more Illustration stories, head over to our dedicated Illustration page.

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