Becoming a Successful Illustrator – new edition

Get ready to enter the working world of illustration with this freshly updated second edition of Derek Brazell and Jo Davies’s Becoming a Successful Illustrator.

With cover art from cool illustration duo, Cachetejack, this edition features even more ‘Spotlight on…’ sections, with advice from practicing illustrators as well as the people that commission them. You can enjoy added coverage in fields such as moving image, character illustration and social media. There are also new exercises to get you started planning and building your business, and over 200 inspirational examples of artwork, most of which are new to this edition.

You can expect practical tips on how to seek work, how to market yourself and how to run your illustration business in an enterprising way, with advice that will prove useful long after your first commission. Building on the resources of the first edition, this continues to be the must-have guide to practicing professionally as an illustrator

See a sample of the book!

“I think it’s a great book, exactly the kind of thing that you need when you are starting out in illustration, really informative and helpful.” –  David Roberts, illustrator

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Making Great Illustration new review

Great review for Making Great Illustration from Debra Hall at TSSREVIEWSDOTCOM following publication of digital pdf version.

“‘An inspiring book’ better describes it, especially for people already working on commissions for clients, or who work in commercial areas that require some sort of illustrative practice i.e. advertising, graphic design, book publishing. Suitable too, for a wider reading audience interested in art and design and who enjoy ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ accounts from those making a successful living from their artistic talents across the globe.”

A sample of the book is here!

See more

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Making Great Illustration e-book

With the Quentin Blake gallery just opened at the House of Illustration, Oliver Jeffers‘ recent book with Eoin Colfer, Imaginary Fred and his highly anticpated collaboration with Sam Winston due soon, Tanya Ling painting live at Art16, Olympia, London in May 2016, these subjects of Making Great Illustration confirm the relevance of this fascinating publication on the amazing diversity of illustration and how it is created.

Now available as a digital book, Making Great Illustration features a host of well-known illustrators and revealing the diversity of their working methods, and giving a rare insight into the unique perspective, approach and artwork of each artist.

Yuko Shimizu, Dave McKean, Javier Mariscal, Laura Carlin, Pete Fowler, David Downton, Kitty Crowther and Ronald Searle are just some more of the illustrators featured. Chapters are introduced by agents and clients within each field to give a broad industry viewpoint.

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Great Understanding Illustration reviews

Illustration Cloud:

“Full and informed commentary on each project is interspersed with quotes and background detail by the illustrator concerned. Many insights are revealed by the artists when talking about their work. The text is completed with a reprinting of the published work together with additional examples from the artists’ portfolio”

Association of Illustrators:

“The book effectively showcases the diversity of illustration, the different formats and endless variation of style whilst revealing the extent of illustration as means of visual communication in the 21st century.”


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Understanding Illustration panel event

The publication of Understanding Illustration in UK and USA is celebrated with a panel event at London’s prestigious bookstore, Foyles. Renowned illustrators, Sara Fanelli, and George Butler, who both feature in the book will be in discussion with authors Jo Davies and Derek Brazell. Sara and George are both recipients of the V&A Illustration Awards.

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Jo Davies and Derek Brazell have authored three books on illustration. Understanding Illustration is now available

Derek Brazell & Jo Davies Published by A&C Black/Bloomsbury 16 January 2014 UK, 13 March USA

Featuring an international range of top-of-their-game illustrators, Understanding Illustration examines an eclectic and carefully selected set of fascinating images and projects that look at the function of illustrative imagery and the context in which it is created.

From an illustrated lighthouse in northern Norway to an Australian beer bottle label, Understanding Illustration takes in the huge sweep that illustration covers. See more here

To purchase in the UK go here ISBN: 9781408171790 Available in the USA through Bloomsbury Academic Visual Art

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Becoming A Successful Illustrator

Published by Fairchild Books/Bloomsbury 2013 UK and USA

An essential guide for new illustrators and graduates covering areas to work in; the professional world of the illustrator; self promotion; getting your work seen; finance and running a business, skills audits and practical activites and more. With newly commissioned artworks and insightful comments from international illustrators accompanied by examples of their work supporting the text. More here

Eye magazine: “As the discipline of illustration is continuously expanding to include much more than the traditional areas of book publishing and editorial work, Becoming A Successful Illustrator is likely to become a staple on every aspiring illustrator’s bookshelf.”


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Making Great Illustration Exhibition

Making Great Illustration
Monday 10 September – Saturday 20 October
The Peninsula Arts Gallery
Plymouth University
, Roland Levinsky Building
, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA

The Making Great Illustration
exhibition, based on the book of the same name, was a unique opportunity to see an amazingly high caliber of illustrators’ work all in one show. Featuring artwork by some of the world’s best illustrators, including; Quentin Blake, Kitty Crowther, Marian Bantjes, Ralph Steadman, Rob Ryan, Laura Carlin and Ronald Searle, it covered both superior young talent and the influential older generation.

Catalina Estrada - scarf for solidarity

The whole range of illustration was represented from typographic work, reportage, editorial to children’s books. Including Oliver Jeffers’ picture book sketchbook, Catalina Estrada’s jewel-like scarves, vinyl toys from Pete Fowler, an Afghanistan sketchbook drawn by Matthew Cook whilst on a tour of duty and images for Waitrose packaging from Emma Dibben. Photographic portraits and studio shots provided unique insights into the illustrators’ environment featured alongside the artwork.

Oliver Jeffers sketchbook is on display


Ralph Steadman - original artwork for Will Self's Psychogeography column



Pete Fowler - TRWG, vinyl figure

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‘Ambitious’ MGI

‘Making Great Illustration is an ambitious bid to give more substance to the literature, and it presents a convincing list, almost a canon, of 30 illustrators from several generations.’

Great review in Eye – the international review of graphic design

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