Freelance Illustrator Joe Cox

Joe Cox is a freelance illustrator and designer originally from Bristol, England.


‘I now live in the seaside town of Falmouth, having recently graduated with a first-class BA (Hons) in Illustration at Falmouth University. At the end of the course I was pleased to receive the award for outstanding achievement in BA (Hons) Illustration. The course was brilliant and really helped me get to where I am now. Cornwall is truly a stunning and inspirational location to study.

My main focus is children’s book narratives. I love to come up with strange, humorous characters and creatures aimed at a younger audience. I enjoy painting environments with atmosphere and dramatic, cinematic compositions. I also like to explore darker narratives and themes for a slightly older audience. Other themes and areas I love to illustrate include – Animals, monsters, myths, legends, folklore, fantasy, sci-fi, nautical subjects, the sea, non-fiction, history, humour, book covers and hand-rendered typography. My process normally starts with using pencil and a combination of different sized waterproof fine liners for the cross-hatching and line work. This is followed by applying colour using either watercolours/inks or digital colour in Photoshop. I often like to experiment with combining the traditional and digital processes, finding new ways of adding interesting effects, colours and textures.’


‘I think choosing to study in the seaside town of Falmouth and living around the picturesque coast of Cornwall has inevitably encouraged my influence of nautical themes and the sea. Cornwall is also renowned for its folklore tales of giants, mermaids and various legends, which inspire countless ideas for fictional narratives. Other inspirations come from practitioners such as Chris Riddell, Moebius, William Stout, Nico Marlet, Justin Gerard, Ralph Steadman, Mervyn Peake, James Jean, Teryl Whitlatch and Robert Crumb.

Whilst studying I had worked on various small commissions such as designing a leaving card for the director of the library in The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. They had some kind of ‘in-joke’ that the director Jonathan Griffin was always called ‘The Griffin’ and the other workers were ‘The Dragons,’ sad to see him leave (it’s a long story…) I currently have a client who is writing a children’s fiction book, an adventure aimed at 8-10 year old boys featuring dragons and wild boys. It’s all very early stages, but I have met with the author and we are planning for me to fully illustrate her story.’


‘I now hope to continue pursuing a freelance career in children’s books aimed at middle grade to teenage audiences across the globe. Although my main focus is children’s narrative, I also plan to continue developing work in other areas such as branding, adult narratives and editorials.’




Website | @joke_ox