To coincide with Offset, we’re celebrating illustrators in and from Ireland who can cheer up dull and dreary social media with their bright sparks of colour and creativity.
Offset 2016 kicks off in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre today, 8 April, bringing a wave of creative professionals to the heart of Dublin’s ‘Silicon Docks’ for the weekend.
The multidisciplinary conference will feature keynotes, presentations and panels from the design and creative industries, as well as workshops and offshoot events through Offsite, the mini-festival taking over the city.
Offsite is bringing design out of the studio and onto the streets in window installations, exhibitions and bus shelters. Just as good design is everywhere and great design is invisible, you may well have spotted some of these works popping up on buses and bus stops, adorning pub and café walls, or decorating packaging and advertising hoardings – having never acknowledged the talented illustrator behind it.
It’s time to give these creators spicing up our visual environment their due – and we’ve also let you know where to find them online so you can spice up your social networks, too.
Stacks of cards ready to be shipped! Check out my #BLACKFRIDAY #ChristmasCard offer on chelseabonus.bigcartel.com !*link in bio ♥ #christmas #offer #sale #shop #shoponline #specialoffer #illustration #fashionillustration #sketch #watercolour #pencilsketch #fashionsketch #art #instaart #illustrator #fashionillustrator #style #christmasstyle
A relative newcomer on the scene, Chelsea Bonus has been working as a freelance illustrator since 2013 with clients including a number of Ireland’s largest fashion titles such as Image, Tatler, Xposé and Bash. Having once considered becoming a graphic designer, the influence of fashion illustrators like David Downton encouraged her to pursue a similar career.
@rosiehw wearing @gucci ! The perfect dress to test out my brand new @pigmentmarker by @winsorandnewton ♥ #pink #WinsorNewton #pigmentmarker #WNPigmentMarker #NoOrdinaryMarker #ColouryourCity #RosieHuntingtonWhiteley #gucci #illustration #fashion #fashionillustration #sketch #marker #art #fashionart #illustrator
Maria Boyle (Twisted Doodles)
U ok Hun? pic.twitter.com/QaYHWRSATa
— TwistedDoodles (@twisteddoodles) April 5, 2016
Maria Boyle is an Irish scientist who’s a bit of a jack of all trades, taking in whimsical illustration, stand-up comedy and a suite of cards and doodles to boot. Boyle’s Twisted Doodles are simple and playful, often delightfully poking fun at Irish customs and culture.
— TwistedDoodles (@twisteddoodles) April 2, 2016
— TwistedDoodles (@twisteddoodles) March 31, 2016
Fatti (or, as her friends call her, Kathi) Burke is a Waterford-born, Dublin-based illustrator specialising in hand-type illustrations. Her work features mainly in maps, food and book illustrations. She recently achieved book-publishing success with the stunning Irelandopedia, which she created with her father, John Burke.
The Irelandopedia Activity Book has arrived!! Can't wait to get my paints out this weekend ? pic.twitter.com/kDlrFxl1Vz
— Fatti Burke (@FattiBurke) March 23, 2016
— Nicola Colton (@NicolaColton1) March 8, 2016
Irish illustrator and “prolific tea drinker” Nicola Colton has based herself in Bristol. She describes her style as “whimsical with an emphasis on colour”, and likes to create warm and playful characters. Colton’s work has been featured in print, online and in exhibitions. In book publishing, she has worked with O’Brien Press, Little Island Books and Otter Barry Books, and her first picture book, A Dublin Fairytale, was shortlisted for the 2015 Irish Children’s Book of the Year (Junior) Award.
A fun personal commission I worked on before Christmas pic.twitter.com/oVDxKEX9s9
— Nicola Colton (@NicolaColton1) January 22, 2016
— Gillian Corcoran (@lostforestgems) April 4, 2016
Rachel Corcoran operates out of Dublin, claiming her work is a mixture of both traditional and digital mediums, “with a pinch of daydream”. Covering hand lettering, branding, book illustrations and stationery, the UCD graduate has been a professional illustrator for three years now.
— Rachel Corcoran (@artbyrach) January 12, 2016
— Eoin Coveney (@ecoveney1) March 17, 2016
Shaped by a lifelong love of comics, horror movies and science-fiction, Eoin Coveney is a freelance illustrator who is best known for pencilling graphic novels and illustrating magazines from FHM to Judge Dredd Megazine to Germany’s BILD. Coveney has also worked with The Irish Times and Gill & Macmillan.
— Eoin Coveney (@ecoveney1) October 9, 2015
A graduate of Ireland’s National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Jen Darcy is head of creative at digital marketing agency Wolfgang Digital. Her illustrations and doodles tend to be both whimsical and humourous and her most up-to-date work can be found on her personal blog.
Aoife Dooley (Dublin Hun, Your One Nikita)
People ye see in town on paddy's day, stop! Wrecks me head, ye luv, just stroll around town with your camera swinging round your neck and takin pics on your iPad, be grand, Defo won't get robbed pal ?? #paddysday #tourist #dublinhun #stunhun #stunnin #massive #stpatricksday #itspaddysdaynotpattysdayyetick
Aoife Dooley is likely one of the best-known artists on this list as she has enjoyed huge popularity online with her creation, Dublin Hun (now going by Your One Nikita), who has inspired a line of merchandise, as well as a devoted social media following. Dooley will be speaking at Offset as part of a panel on the subject of going viral, and is currently working on her first book.
Tellin ye, ye wouldn't catch me wearin me stayin in purjammers going to the shop, thats rotten! dya member in school years ago and everyone wearing the purjammers underneath their skirts tucked into their socks ?hack of us, thought we were massive! #penneysbest #penneysfinest #pajammers #purjammers #stunnin #stunhun #masso
Naomi Fein (Think Visual)
If life gives you lemons, make a lemonade! pic.twitter.com/EONXDbrgWx
— Think Visual (@wethinkvisual) February 9, 2016
Born in Israel, Naomi Fein has based herself in Cork as founder, CEO and chief doodler of Think Visual, which gives storytelling an illustrated touch. Fein and her Think Visual team have provided graphic harvesting for Silicon Republic events and content, among many others, distilling complex thoughts and ideas into striking illustrations and animations.
James and Michael Fitzgerald (The Project Twins)
— The Project Twins (@theprojecttwins) January 21, 2016
Working out of Cork, The Project Twins are the graphic duo of James and Michael Fitzgerald. They work together in a range of disciplines including art, design and illustration on both personal and commercial projects.
— Hens Teeth Prints (@Hensteethprints) October 21, 2015
Stacey Fox is a 22-year-old illustrator who has a self-confessed fondness for actor Keira Knightley, who features in many of her designs. Much of Fox’s work revolves around fashion and celebrities and, judging by her Instagram account alone, she’s quite prolific.
Chris Judge is a Dublin-based artist, illustrator and children’s picture book author. His first children’s book, The Lonely Beast, won Irish Children’s Book of the Year (Junior) in 2011. Judge has collaborated with Roddy Doyle and was part of last year’s City of Physics campaign. His work has appeared in advertising, magazines, exhibitions and newspapers.
— Fuchsia MacAree (@fuchsiamacaree) March 31, 2016
Fuschia Macaree is a freelance illustrator based in Dublin and she is best known for her colourful poster art, cover designs, maps and more. Clients include Coca-Cola, Guinness, Amnesty, Airbnb, Image magazine and Totally Dublin.
An NCAD graduate with a degree in printed textile design, Dublin-based illustrator Carol Mahon is heavily influenced by fashion and textiles. Her fine, detailed pencil work has appeared in Image, Bash, The Sunday Times Style magazine, The Irish Times, Tatler, House and Home and Confetti, and she has also worked with designer brands Chupi and April & the Bear.
Steve McCarthy is a bearded gentleman from Dublin who is also a talented illustrator known for his bold, colourful style. McCarthy has produced illustrations across a range of projects, including children’s picture books.
— Paula McGloin (@PaulaMcGloin) January 11, 2016
Paula McGloin is an illustrator and pattern designer living and working in Dublin. With a degree in visual communications, a master’s in digital media technology, and a number of years’ experience in print and web under her belt, she is currently exploring her lifelong passion for textiles and fashion. McGloin creates retro-inspired, intricate and colourful patterns and designs, delving into themes such as literature, imagined characters, nature and the animal kingdom.
— Paula McGloin (@PaulaMcGloin) June 27, 2014
20-year-old NCAD student Conor Merriman is already finding his feet as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, particularly in the fashion world. Merriman has worked with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Oasis, Kildare Village and Opsh, and his fashion-focused illustrations have featured in the pages of The Irish Times, Tatler, Ireland’s Sunday Times Style magazine and Xposé magazine.
Dubliner Kitty Moss is an award-winning illustrator and designer who spends her time working between Ireland and LA. Once working for legendary Irish designer John Rocha, Moss describes her work as being influenced by “nature, folklore, ghost stories and the moon” and has been commissioned to work for the likes of The Irish Times, Brown Thomas and Atterley Road.
Isabel Reyes Feeney (Pái and Péar)
— Pái & Péar (@paiandpear) January 29, 2015
Isabel Reyes Feeney is based in Madrid, with her illustrations on Etsy just one string to her bow. Performing with Republic of Loose in previous years as a singer too, Feeney’s illustrations adorn everything from fabrics to notebooks.
— Twin Peaks Calls (@TwinPeaksCalls) June 27, 2015
— Holly x (@HollyShortall) April 16, 2014
Fashion illustrator Holly Shortall’s graphics have gone mainstream in recent years, with her depiction of the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West Vogue cover, in particular, helping make her name. That led to contributions with Cosmopolitan and work with the likes of River Island and Warehouse.
— Holly x (@HollyShortall) February 15, 2016
Steve Simpson is a Dublin-based illustrator and graphic designer, specialising in packaging design. He is renowned for his hand-lettered packaging design, whimsical characters and illustrated barcodes that appear on everything from a one-inch postage stamp, to whiskey bottles, to a 200ft screen on Times Square.
— Steve Simpson (@SteveSimpson) February 29, 2016
— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) March 30, 2016
— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) March 17, 2016
When it comes to being a comic illustrator, there’s probably no higher praise than being selected to work for Marvel, the comic-book giant behind the money-spinning Avengers franchise. For Cork native Will Sliney, this dream did indeed come true, with him having worked on Spider-Man 2099, and he also received critical acclaim for his graphic novel Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn, published by The O’Brien Press in 2013.
My Astonishing Ant-man, Horseman of Apocalypse cover. Colours by Frankie D'Armata pic.twitter.com/OGOg8ZP14d
— Will Sliney (@WillSliney) February 10, 2016
You can follow updates from Will Sliney on Twitter.
Rob Torrans is a Dublin-based graphic designer and illustrator who was involved in last year’s City of Physics campaign. Subjects covered by his illustrations range from social issues to the people he encounters on Dublin Bus.
— Annie West (@anniewestdotcom) May 22, 2015
Another well-known name on this list, Annie West has been one of Ireland’s cherished illustrators since 1979, beginning her craft working for RTÉ’s design department, as well as a number of other independent TV productions. Working as an illustrator full-time since 1991, West has won numerous awards for her work, which typically features history, literature and science with “mischief in mind”. Most recently, she received praise for her incredible piece celebrating those who made the journey home to vote in the 2015 Marriage Equality referendum.
— Annie West (@anniewestdotcom) March 11, 2016
— Annie West (@anniewestdotcom) March 5, 2016
Best Friends! My postcard on the way to New York#twitterartexhibit pic.twitter.com/ePkA8W4wES
— Una Woods (@UnawoodsUna) February 9, 2016
Freelance illustrator and animator Una Woods has been doing this work for 16 years, collecting a high-profile list of clients including Walt Disney, Warner Bros., BBC and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. As well as traditional animation, Woods has worked on digital projects and chiefly focuses on work for young audiences (and the young at heart).
— Una Woods (@UnawoodsUna) June 24, 2015
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Main image of pencils via Shutterstock