Nicola Robinson




2012 - IMAGES 36

Nicola graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Cardiff School of Art in 2005 and since then has worked professionally as an illustrator, currently specialising in children's books for a range of clients illustrating cover art, picture books, popup books and pen and ink work. She is also the author and illustrator of The Monster Machine.

“Downtown is an illustration from a dark picture book concept, set in a somewhat sinister and complex city, which is also alive, hence it's tagline – ‘There's always something watching you here...’ It has become a portfolio favourite.”

“I was stunned when I learned I had won, it really was unexpected, particularly given the incredible standard of work in the running across so many disciplines of illustration, it is a real honour to be recognised.  Winning has been a huge confidence boost for my work and myself, and a fantastic addition to my list of professional achievements so far.”

Nicola is based in Nottingham in the UK.

BRIEF: This was a self initiated project based on an idea I had for a dark picture book set in a living breathing city, I really wanted to evoke the sense of space but also the claustrophobic elements of being totally immersed by the city. It is a dark and threatening environment, and is somewhat comic book in execution, but hopefully makes the viewer curious to explore and wonder what goes on inside it.

MATERIALS: Pencil, paper, pen, ink, coloured inks, and Adobe Photoshop.

RESEARCH: I love architecture, particularly the rickety looking kind and have always taken reference from buildings on my travels particularly when I visit big cities like London, Chicago and Manchester and my hometown Nottingham. I like to blend machinery into them too, and have a host of mechanical elements in mind, which I integrate into my work. Downtown was created from my own mental bank of references.

PROCESS: Loosely sketch to carve out the space and main composition, sketch in elements of buildings, repeat and add more details, refine and add more windows, ink, paint, add more ink, then paint again, finally scan and transfer to Adobe Photoshop to fine tune and light up the city.

RESISTANCES: Drawing so many tiny little windows can test your patience somewhat.

INSIGHT: There's always someone watching you here...

DISTRACTIONS: As this was a personal project it had to compete for my time with other projects for clients, emails, phone calls, sleep, family and a thirst for coffee.

NUMBERS: Many, many windows, three small characters on the bottom right and an unknown number of cups of coffee.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I still love getting lost in architecture, and collecting ideas from visiting new places, you never know when they might come in useful. Stay curious...

Robinson Robinson