Illustration Graduate Emma Margaret

Emma Margaret is an illustrator who recently completed a Degree in Illustration at Southampton Solent University.

Page 8 of the book

‘My work is generally hand drawn with pens or a brush and ink, and then edited and coloured digitally. My biggest influences are nature, animals and fairy-tales and I love to use typography and patterns in my work. I also run a small blog and an online shop selling cards and prints featuring some of my illustrations (the shop is currently closed whilst I work on some new products).’

Page 1 of the book

‘My final major project at University was based on six of the most well known fairy-tales by the Grimms brothers. I wanted a project that would combine my interests in animals and fairy-tales and also allow me to illustrate a children’s book. I achieved this by illustrating the fairy-tale characters with the faces of animals that represented a part of their personality, for example Hansel and Gretel were monkeys to signify their playfulness and mischievousness. For the final book, ‘Once Upon a Time’, I wanted to create something a little different to a traditional storybook, and instead wanted something a little more playful and interactive. Other than a brief introduction, there is no text throughout the book and instead the reader is encouraged to use their imagination and find characters and objects in the imagery to tell the story. All six stories happen simultaneously throughout the book, overlapping in places, and all of the characters appear on every page. The reader is intended to choose one of the characters and find them on each page to follow their story, and then begin again with another character, continuing until all of the characters’ stories have been discovered. The introduction provides “instructions” for the reader as well as a few questions for them to answer as they read through the book, such as “Can you find the three butterflies on every page?”.

I really enjoyed working on this project and it has been very helpful in developing my own style. One of the biggest changes to my work was the materials I use to draw, I was originally using a very thin fine-liner for my drawings, but was encouraged to try using a brush and ink or brush-pen to get more variety in the weight of my lines. I now rarely use a fine-liner and I really like the effect that the brush gives to my drawings and the pattern details I use.’

Map of the fairytale world

‘I am currently working on a few small projects, but am looking to continue on with the fairy-tale theme, creating a series of illustrations for some of the Hans Christian Andersen stories. I am also working on adding new products to my shop, including colouring books using illustrations from my projects, and paper dolls of the characters from the book.

Myself and two other graduates form my course have also started up a little Illustration collective, Pastiche, and we’re currently working on a fun (but currently secret) group project.’


Cover of the book

Hansel & Gretel

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