Find Your Illustration Style

Find Your Illustration Style - student project



Find Your Illustration Style - image 1 - student project 

  • Materials - Heavy sketching paper, HB pencil, black ballpoint pen, black Arteza brush pen, green coloured pencil. red Sharpie, green and pink Arteza brush pens
  • Likes
    • HB pencil: Drawing and the line shading, easy to control and not too heavy. Not very good for contrast.
    • Black ballpoint pen: Easy to control and gives fine, crisp lines. Good for crosshatching and patterns but don't like for shading lines - too hard to control pressure.
    • Black brush pen: a little heavy for the size of drawing but quite like the clunky, graphic effect. Bold.
    • Green and pink brush pens - Kept it lighter this time and like the difference from the black. Don't much like the colour combination but quite like the possibilities.
    • The slightly less realistic designs - prefer combination of realism and graphic design. Like detail but it need not be completely accurate.
    • Patterns - crosshatch, stripes, dots
    • Shapes - rounded shapes that fill the space nicely
  • Don't like
    • Coloured pencil for drawing - even very sharp, the lines become soft and mushy. might work in multiple colours but not monochrome.
    • Sharpie for drawing - bled into the paper and the nib was too hard
    • Angled more realistic view - didn't work and turned out badly
    • Soft outlines - they feel wishy-washy and dull - prefer bold contrast.
    • Brush pens on such small pieces - would work far better on a larger scale


Find Your Illustration Style - image 2 - student project

  •  Materials: Heavy sketching paper, HB pencil, black fine liner, black biro, various Arteza watercolour brush pens, watercolour colouring pencils
  • Likes:
    • I actually like the colouring pencil in the first drawing. Unlike the coloured pencil beetle drawing, I used more than one colour and gave it a background. I like the fact I was able to give the impression of a 'shine' on the ladybird's shell and the texture coming through from the paper.
    • I love the second ladybird. This one I did in yellow like a European ladybird and although I'm not usually a lover of yellow, this one in watercolour brush pen is really warm. I prefer the ladybird with legs and like the whimsy of the curly antennae. The contrast between the yellow and black is really nice too, as well as the sense of depth.
    • The aim of the third ladybird was simplicity and I like the minimalism. I like the red of the shell in brush pen too; especially where it is surrounded by black ink and then white paper. 
    • The fourth ladybird was based on stained glass and I like the combination of round central shapes and straight lines. (I also love stained glass!) The photo is actually a little duller than the real thing and I love the blues I used ( my go-to colours are often blues and turquoises).
    • I absolutely love the fifth experiment. What makes ladybirds so iconic is their spots, so I decided to make the whole thing out of small circles. I love the way it is both simple and complex and again I used the rounded central shapes with straight lines moving outwards for the legs and antennae. I think the lines work really well as very delicate because they contrast with the roundness elsewhere. Most of all, I love that this approach has created something that looks almost like a piece of jewellery. I kept picturing it as a brooch in ruby and onyx!
    • In the sixth ladybird, I like that I took a risk. I was working with the idea of 'love bug' in my head so went for something really cheesy with the love hearts. I think the overall shape has possibilities - the heart isn't so far from a round shell that it doesn't work at all.
  • Dislikes:
    •  The first picture is missing a bit of contrast. The background could have done with being a little darker I think? Or perhaps I should have used brush pens with coloured pencil over the top to add depth to the ladybird's colours.
    • The second ladybird is really nice but the crosshatching on the spots didn't quite work - I think a finer brush would have fixed it.
    • I used brown watercolour brush pen instead of black in the third ladybird and I don't really think it worked with the red of the shell. I kind of like the shell on it's own as a shape - it reminds me of ladybird's but also of a piece of fruit - maybe watermelon? But the body part doesn't work for me.
    • The colours in the stained glass ladybird were just far too heavy and dark so they missed that sense of translucency you get with glass. I think they could have worked in a different medium - maybe watered down watercolours. 
    • The only things I don't like about the fifth ladybird is that the antennae turned out a tiny bit too heavy (because I wasn't as careful as I should have been) and the use of space. I got so wrapped up in the circles that I forgot to factor in the head and so the whole thing was too far up in the space. Had it been properly centred, I would have been happy.
    • I hate almost everything about the sixth ladybird! The pink and purple might be attractive to some but to me it conjured up pictures of barbie dream houses or something and just felt tacky. The hearts on the shell were also supposed to be a bit twee or cute but again, to me just seemed tacky. Maybe it would have turned out better in pale pastel colours, but I'm not convinced.


Find Your Illustration Style - image 3 - student project

Find Your Illustration Style - image 4 - student project

Find Your Illustration Style - image 5 - student project

  • Materials
    • Heavy sketching paper, (1) Black fine-liner, coloured brush pens, turquoise watercolour pencil [dry], (2) Blue ballpoint pen, blue gel pen, yellow brush pen, (3) Gouache wash, white gel pen, (4) Gouache with watercolour pencil and white watercolour pencil [both dry] over the top, (5) Black fine-liner, digital colour fill, (6) Black Pigma brush pen, 0.5mm fine-liner, 0.1mm fine-liner
  • Likes
    • 1 - I like the blocks of textured colour and balance of white space on the wings. I quite like the way the coloured pencil worked over the watercolour brush pen and the smaller areas of white space on the body and the head.
    • 2 - I really liked filling the empty space with such a vibrant colour and having the subject just depicted in line with lots of white space. Inverting the subject and space makes it feel really light and fun somehow.
    • 3 - I liked the idea of white on a coloured background and like the way the gouache wash turned out. I like that it almost looks like a lino print.
    • 4 - I quite like the earthy and natural muddiness of this experiment and found working in so much gouache an interesting challenge.
    • 5 - I love the minimalism of this fly and that you can still see what it is. I really like the shapes (filled digitally for really smooth colour) and the combination of white space, black lines, and pastel shades. I like that there is white space between almost every feature and yet they still come together to make a recognisable subject.
    • 6 - I like the boldness and texture of the last fly and decided to use different width of black pen for different 'levels' of detail. I wasn't sure at first but I'm actually really pleased with how it turned out and that it's so textural. The fact that it is stark black ink with little areas of white space (and then surrounded by white space) is definitely what makes the texture work. I'm also pleased that I was able to give a bit of a sense of layers and semi-transparent wings with just different sizes of pen, while preserving the white spaces.
  • Dislikes
    • 2 - The blue gel pen wasn't very clear which is why I also used blue ballpoint. If I did it again, I'd leave the blue gel pen altogether
    • 3 - The white gel pen wasn't very clear over the gouache. Another medium might have made for clearer white lines, increasing the contrast between colour and white space.
    • 4 - I don't like the overall heaviness of the 'no white space' fly - there's no focus on the subject and not enough variation in tone or contrast. I think it needed more shadow and sense of depth.


Find Your Illustration Style - image 6 - student project

Find Your Illustration Style - image 7 - student project

Find Your Illustration Style - image 8 - student project

Find Your Illustration Style - image 9 - student project


Jessica Campbell

ME Warrior With A Big Dash of Nerd