12 amazing new illustrators you need to know about

Discover the freshest, most in-demand talent, nominated by our favourite illustration agencies. Here is a showcase of their work, whether digital or hand-rendered.

From the Central Illustration Agency (CIA) to JSR, emerging university graduates to hardened illustrators trying something new, and flashy GIFs to timeless sketches, we’ve rounded up the most promising potential of 2016.

Sadly, we haven’t yet managed to balance the lopsided male-to-female ratio that plagued our 2016 design trends feature. Nor have we seen many breakthroughs from women producing ‘girly’ work and men sticking to ‘boyish’ designs.

But we learnt a lot chatting to agencies about their favourite artists for this varied and inspiring collection: we see how the work of Jonny Wan has exploded with new vividness, how new-to-the-scene Chervelle Fryer’s delicate works are blossoming, and what keeps artists like them creating.

Here, we’ve picked our favourites from those nominated. 

Image: by Nicolas Dehghani

Heliana Adalgiza (aka Aitch) 

Nominated by: Tess Redburn at Central Illustration Agency (CIA)

Aitch studied at the University of Art and Design in Timisoara where she developed her dreamy, brilliant style – a reaction, she says, to others’ academic approach to human anatomy.

Mimi Launder: What drew you to Aitch’s work?

Tess Redburn: “Her work is simultaneously wistful and folky (drawing influences from her Romanian heritage), but also really rich and powerful. It's also been a surprisingly adaptable style.

“Aitch joined us just over a year ago and really hit the ground running. She’s worked for independent publishers and interesting start-ups as well as big companies like Starbucks.”

Image: Romanian Tales That Never Die

ML: What do you think 2016 will bring for Aitch? 

TR: “Keep an eye out for some lovely packaging jobs in 2016 as well a mural project in Thailand, a fashion collaboration… the list goes on!”

Image: Coffins 

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Karol Banach

Nominated by: Nicki Field at Jelly London

Poland-based Karol Banach's energetic works drew him plenty of attention as a student - and, since graduating, his illustration has become tighter and more balanced.

ML: What do you think 2016 will bring for Karol?

Nicki Field: "Karol Banach is someone who I think will be making his name known in 2016. The figures he uses within his compositions that brim with colour and pattern, are really unique and I really rate it. He's building a steady client base and I think there'll be some big hitting projects this year for him."

Image: part of a mural project for Samsung. 

Thomas Danthony

Nominated by: Jon Cockley at Handsome Frank

Handsome Frank signed Thomas Danthony when he won their Handsome Future Award, where the agency annually helps a promising young artist develop. Thomas’ striking use of light, shadow and bold colour creates an inviting calm and refreshing stillness in his work.

ML: What do you think 2016 will bring for Thomas?  

Jon Cockley: "Thomas' work has evolved steadily over the past years and his work for Liberty London and Road Safety Scotland last year really seemed to strike a chord with people. He's currently working on two big advertising campaigns which will be launching in the Spring. We can't wait to share the work." 

Image: Road Safety Scotland campaign 

Image: Liberty London campaign

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Nicolas Dehghani 

Nominated by: Vincent Sillard at Colagene 

Paris-based illustrator Nicolas Dehghani uses a restrictive colour palette to enrich his jam-packed illustrations, showing off their seemingly endless detail. We heard from Nicolas himself about his work, the inspiration for which can still be placed in his nerdy teenage bedroom.

“My secret dream since being a teenager is to draw an illustration for Magic: The Gathering trading card game. Can you imagine? Your own magic card!”

For now, Nicolas will have to settle for an exhibition in Paris this January and four animated adverts for Portland City, Oregon with his collective CRCR. Though maybe he “will try to knock on the door of the Wizards of the Coast – just for fun.”

Image: a personal illustration 

Image: for The Atlantic 

Ewelina Dymek 

Nominated by: James Yeo at JSR 

Ewelina says she’s an art nerd - something Digital Arts always likes to hear. Simple, effective use of black ink and grey pencil means her work radiates elegance. 

ML: What drew you to Ewelina’s work? 

James Yeo: "We were drawn to Ewelina's timeless, iconic fashion illustration. We had been looking for a fashion illustration artist to complete our roster as we knew we had huge opportunity within the fashion, editorial and fragrance brands world and her stunning illustrations really stood out for us.

"She has worked with Nylon, Samsung and Wacom in past. We signed her and just before 2016 she gave up her graphic design job to become a full time illustrator."

Image: Haute Couture 

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ML: What do you think 2016 will bring for Ewelina? 

JY: "For 2016 we see Ewelina's work expanding even more into high-end fashion brands and the beauty industry where it belongs, but also working well across packaging, editorial, and advertising. Last year she completed a live drawing event."

Image: Aromatherapy 

Jacob Eisinger (Yippiehey)

Nominated by: James Yeo at JSR

The cheery-sounding alias Yippiehey belongs to German illustrator Jacob Eisinger, whose talents include 3D illustration and typography - but don’t stop there.

ML: Why drew you to Jacob’s work? 

James Yeo: “Jacob manages to put smiles on the faces of everyone who sees his work. His love for typography and CGI expertise have resulted in him winning the 2016 Communication Arts award of excellence for his 'Kunterbunt' identity and signage. His portfolio can speak for itself but it never gets old telling clients how insanely quick he is at turning these stunning visuals around."

Image: Smile High 

ML: What do you think 2016 will bring for Jacob? 

JY: "We're buzzing to see his work in motion and open up multiple avenues and result in even more happy clients. There are some very impressive ad campaigns ready to launch early this year that Jacob has developed new techniques to create and will be worth the wait. There is never a quiet day for Mr Eisinger."


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Chervelle Fryer

Nominated by: Nicki Field at Jelly London 

A 2015 Coventry University graduate, you can't get much fresher than Chervelle - or her warm, organic illustrations. She is represented by Jelly London's Futures, which nurtures the best new talent. 

ML: What drew you to Chervelle's work?

Nicki Field: "Chervelle Fryer is set for big things. She joined Futures only last summer and her portfolio is going down a storm. Sometimes an artist just 'gets it'. It's a sum of the right attitude and an insurmountable talent. Her digital brush stroke work and the texture she works into her illustrations is beautiful."

 Image: Forest Clutter 

ML: What do you think 2016 will bring for Chervelle?

NF: "Agencies are eyeing her book but she's yet to have that big campaign behind her - but that's what's exciting, knowing it’s around the corner." 

Image: a personal illustration 

Image: Pack of Dogs 

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Guillaume Kurkdijan

Nominated by: Jon Cockley at Handsome Frank

French illustrator Guillaume Kurkdijan has experimented with software since secondary school. Years of dedication have led to a distinctive, geometric stylea cult following on Tumblr and Behance, and an impressive array of freelance projects – plus, of course, Handsome Frank signing him late last year.

ML: Why drew you to Guillaume’s work? 

Jon Cockley: "I think it's the sense of humour, the fun. CGI led work can sometimes be a little cold and, dare I say it, soulless. Guillaume breathes life into his little characters, you find your self really caring about their fate."

Image: Bisous Les Copain series

ML: What do you think 2016 will bring for Guillaume? 

JC: "Motion is a big part of what Guillaume does and we're seeing increasing demand for it within digital advertising campaigns, interactive publications and from app developers. We hope to find him some really interesting projects." 

Image: Bisous Les Copain series

Giardano Poloni 

Nominated by: Vincent Sillard at Colagene 

In the same year Giardano that graduated with a degree in cinema, he started illustrating for top clients such as The GuardianThe New Scientist and Scientific American. His work is not only evocative of Italy, but also his fascination with comics, music videos, films and photography.

ML: What drew you to Giardano's work? 

Vincent Sillard: "Giordano just joined the rank of Colagene and has already obtained many contracts. His style is more for the editorial but can be easily changed for the world of advertising. It's a retro style and very architecture-orientated (due to his school), which allows him to create scenes filled with many elements and characters."

Image: for The Clerkenwell Post

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Image: Dearkids shop 

Image: for Capital magazine 

Jonny Wan 

Nominated by: Tess Redburn at Central Illustration Agency (CIA) 

Since graduating from Manchester School of Art in 2008 - and writing for Digital Arts, not that we’re boasting - Jonny’s evolving style is grabbing people’s attention. 

ML: What drew you to Jonny's work? 

Tess Redburn: "Jonny has actually been with us for a little while but 2015 saw him really develop his style with a much greater level of depth and texture and things are really taking off. Jonny plays with his heritage and uses a lot of oriental motifs but injected with a modern, graphic punch."

Image: Warriors

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What do you think 2016 will bring for Jonny? 

TR: "He's had a string of really interesting editorial commissions from the likes of The Guardian, ES magazine and British Airways. I’m sure 2016 will bring more challenging conceptual work, but I'd love to see his work out in the wider world. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a big billboard campaign!"

Image: for British Airways

Yuschav Arly

Nominated by: James Yeo at JSR 

Yuschav is a self-taught illustrator based in Indonsesia who, as his Behance profile modestly put it, creates "simply for learning and killing my time so someday I hope I can live as a professional illustrator" - well, Lucy thinks he's well on his way.

ML: What drew you to Yuschav's work?

James Yeo: "Based in exotic Bali, self-taught and consistently looking to experiment and develop his style, Yuschav passionately follows international fashion and trends, which he then pairs with his hauntingly realistic digital portraits. Yuschav's style is a familiar yet unique approach to portraiture that embraces new technologies."

Image: a personal illustration 

ML: What do you thing 2016 will bring for Yuschav?

JY: "Having only recently signed this fresh young talent we're very excited to nurture him and introduce his work across many avenues but have no doubt that advertisers and publishers alike will be forming an orderly queue to collaborate with him this year.

"There are some stunning book covers due to be published to kick start the year off but just as Yuschav embraces new technologies we feel he'll be a great fit with the thousands of exciting new start-ups requiring fresh visual identities."

Image: a personal illustration 

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