Jill Robb Imagery. Editorial illustrator, Artist and Designer
Quirky, fun imagery inspired by nature, imagination and play

An illustrated look at my pursuit of illustration...

My 10,000-hour journey of illustration began in photography, pixels were morphed into digital art, expanded via pigments in traditional Arts and Graphic design to build and hone the skills required for my imagery creation and layout design. 

Crystals and Fairies; an illustrator study and catch up

These patient little fairies have been waiting in my sketchbook for around 3 months until I could do more illustrator studies to add to as illustrator diary posts.

Alas, I have been busy with a lot of projects and my other sketchbooks have jumped the cue.
One project was to photograph these gorgeous crystals for a fun a new book ‘My Crystal Chronicle’ by Olive Moss, being released in few weeks…

So it’s definitely time these Fairies get out for a bit of a play! and you know they like crystals right? We hope you do too.

There is a little room coming up in my schedule so I will add more illustrator diary posts soon, I hope to study Lizbeth Zwerger, thankyou to Manelle @ Tales fantastic for the recommendation in her great Fairytale video, Many thanks.

Have fun ;)

Illustrator studies

Here are the latest spreads from my Illustrator diary, these are two of my favourite author illustrators.

I had alot of fun studying Beatrix Potters illustration style, her clever use of colour and fun delicate drawings are enchanting, and was definitely my favourite in this series so far.

Of course Dr Seuss was alot of fun, the amount of fun Thoedor Seuss Geisel could get into his lines and on the page is amazing.

Most of my time at the moment is going into books that won’t be published for a while, when I can I will try to get a few sneak peaks in.

Now I am studying Cicely Mary Barker, drawing fairies is new to me, so I will do my best, then I think perhaps some Gumnut babies might come to play!

Illustrator diaries...

Today is the day I start to share my illustrator diary.

It’s no secret,
that to become skilled in art many artists recommend to copy other artists work,
FOR LEARNING PURPOSES only of course. This is where you try to work out ‘how did they do that’ and then you ‘go do that’.

I found a great looking sketchbook at a cheap shop and thought it would be interesting to fill.
In December, I decided to use it as a diary of my illustrator studies, where I would do a layout of an illustrator I had been researching or had been reading…

(YES, I read kids picture books! it’s research, and I love them…)

The goal is to achieve a likeness or similar effect by deciphering and replicating the techniques. Keeping in mind to make the spread of images fun.

As a lover of ink and watercolour, I started trying Maurice Sendaks’ work and drew Max and some of the Creatures from ‘Where the Wild things are’ - I really love this style and will definitely use it for a book or two somewhere along the line.

I found ‘Tico’ in the library and just loved the story, I thought I would try to replicate Leo Lionni’s illustrations with Gouache. Some parts showed they could achieve a similar look, other areas need more, but I did not want to invest the time for a cheap sketchbook study where the paper may not hold up.

I won’t show you the next page*

(*it was what didn’t work, where I tried a very different style of a pair of illustrators. I was only happy with one of the 16 spot illustrations I did, - and it didn’t look anything like the style I was meant to be doing! Initially I thought maybe it was gouache with this paper- but later studies proved it works ok.)

Someone recommended to look up Emily Gravett, and thank you I am so glad I did, her work (both stories and illustrations) are awesome! Her Mice and Rabbit illustrations are adorable.

There was something magickal in the Book ‘Two Troll Tales from Norway’, retold by Margrete Lamond and illustrated by Ingrid Kallick.
The flourishes were a little tricky and I intend to practice that style more as I love the Fairytale embellishments. The paper handled the use of gouache here quite well.

The last study is of Renata Liwska’s adorable animals. I tried a few ways but could not really imitate her loose hatching style perhaps it was done digitally, it's hard to tell sometimes but I think it’s still possible to replicate most digital effects traditionally.
One of my pencils was close but very wrong in colour, so I have ordered a few more colours to try out, as I did like the effect. Perhaps my hand will loose-hatch better on a larger scale, I am looking forward to trying coloured pencil hatching in my illustrations.

So far I’m enjoying this illustrator diary very much, and hope to show your more soon.
It’s proving valuable and satisfying, it reminds me of areas I need to strengthen and is also a bit reassuring when something kind of works.

**Disclaimer, I do share bits of these on Instagram so if you want to see my next illustrator study sooner…

Let me know of an illustrator to research!

Swatching the long way, the turtle can win.

My traditional illustration tools


Some people would say I am a little traditional- especially with my love of traditional Art media, and holding a good old fashioned Book or shiny magazine in your hands and turning the pages.

However, I do also love the Digital world- carrying a treasure trove in a pocket- is amazing.

But when it comes to creating- being a visual person I am hugely inspired by what I see. I am one of those messy creators with all my tools in front of me where I can see them and know instantly that I need to use that one for doing that little thing -and for that line use that colour -and that brush in that way.

Working with many different traditional media- like ink, watercolour, pastel, gouache, pencil.
Over the years I have discovered that using swatches in my work process is invaluable and instantly inspires the best tool, saving a huge amount of time trying to think! -, I can just get on with creating imagery instead of choices like ‘that Phthalo blue is too cool I should use a flat brush and add a little … and then with a pen, but which nib? …. pfft I’m exhausted just writing about thinking about that.

These are my most used swatches for my favourite art materials, and a few more I am making to use to help design my books.
Swatching out takes time and can feel monotonous, however, it really is an investment in my imagery process, it helps maintain flow, streamlines the process and saves time spent unnecessarily thinking (bonus), which when creating can result in analysis paralysis.

Whenever I look at an image and get that familiar feeling of - ‘it needs…something..’ this can be answered by flipping through my swatches. I’m not sure if it is the colours, the line- the energy of the strokes, the page layout - a memory thought while I was doing them- but a sweet angel of an idea often bursts out indicating ‘this one- this way’ and if it doesn’t,
that moment is meant for other inspirations (cuppa / nature/ walk).