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Meet the Contrado Artists #14: Intricate Illustrations

intricate illustrations

It’s time for the 14th edition of Meet the Contrado Artists: Intricate Illustrations.

In the last meet-the-artists post, we took a look at the use of colour, specifically the bold and beautiful. This time we thought we would bring it back to the basics, and take a closer look at some intricate illustrations.

Meet the Illustrators

All of our artists this month use illustration in their work, and it creates an amazing, dramatic effect. Join us as we speak to them about where it all started, what sparks their imagination and where they find their inspirations.

illustration drawing

The Contrado Creatives – Illustrations Edition

Seraphim Soul

Kim from Seraphim Soul has more than six years of designing under her belt, inheriting her artistic streak from her mum’s side of the family. Kim finds herself highly inspired by history, myths and fairy tales. She uses a style that strongly features illustration, detailed with a gothic twist. The Seraphim Soul designs are aimed at anyone and everyone. She loves the diversity she sees in her customers, telling us that imagination has a universal appeal that everyone likes to tap into. She says:

“At fairs my customers can range from little girls, to middle aged ‘proper’ blokes, to ladies who are young at heart; and I LOVE that.”

Kim’s creative process sparks when she watches or reads something that she can mull over and obsess about. She researches this, reads more into it, starts to make plans and then begins to collect reference photos. From there she gets straight into it. Her illustrations can take up to four months to create, depending on the level of detail that she puts into each one. She works first and foremost in pen and sometimes will add colour to her work digitally. Kim, however, favours tonal pieces, occasionally adding texture overlays.

illustrations seraphim soul
Seraphim Soul uses gothic and fantasy art by award-winning illustrator Kim Fowler to create unique clothing & homeware products with an unusual twist.


Swade has always enjoyed drawing, and since a young age has been a creative soul. Growing up with severe Dyspraxia, he often used his drawings to portray how he was feeling and what he was thinking. Becoming more and more engrossed in the world of art as he grew up, and having an artistic family set him on the designer path. Designing as Swade since leaving college three years or so ago, he’s had a distinct style from very early on. Swade finds himself drawn to bright colours that are strong and bold. Consisting mainly of abstract shapes and rich colour schemes, Swade’s work also includes lots of textures from close up photography and mark making with various objects.

Swade is inspired hugely by Van Gogh. From the moment he first looked at his work, he was sparked to create work which similarly used abstract shapes, lines and colours. Swade also finds inspiration in so many things in his everyday life. From the shapes of shadows to landscape photography and images of mountains. He says:

“I surround myself with inspiration.”

Swade then uses this inspiration and starts with quick sketches of his ideas. He uses either pen or paints to add more detailing, building up his illustrations. Once that is done, Swade digitally experiments with numerous colour schemes before settling on one that feels right. Swade finds texture to be very important to him, and he uses this at the end of his process to bring everything together.

illustrations swade
Swade is a young illustrator and graphic designer. He loves to play around with different colours, textures and shapes inspired by nature in his work.

Edge of The Meadow

Anjali from Edge of The Meadow has always had a passion for drawing patterns and colour. This led her to do an Art Foundation course, which guided her into a Textile Design degree. All of this was over 20 years ago. Since then, she has worked at an independent store in London – in the buying department – and as a freelance textile designer. With a family history of talent in both music and art, it’s no surprise that she has such an affection for creativity. Her style is elegant in appearance, vibrant, but with an edge. Anjali’s source of inspiration hasn’t changed much at all over the years, but she has begun to use photography as her medium and has noticed that this makes her style more colourful, dynamic and eclectic.

Having lived in the city, the country, the Far East and in Europe, Anjali uses her life of contrasts to inspire her work. She takes differences in cultures and concepts and explores merging them to create something unique. Using this throughout her design process, Anjali tells us that it could translate in her work as taking city-inspired geometrics and mixing them with countryside leaves and florals. She says:

“I love it when two polar ideas meet and set each other off. There is so much magic in exploring this concept and it helps to make sense of an increasingly fast changing world.”

Anjali finds her inspiration in David Hockney’s pragmatic approach to his artwork. His sketches are beautifully detailed and his colour use is bold and innovative. She loves how creative he is with technology.

illustrations edge of the meadow
Edge of the Meadow is a surface pattern brand specialising in vibrantly printed products for the home.

Bloom and Gloom

Amy from Bloom and Gloom has always been a creative person. Around 10 years ago, she got into Fashion Design at college and tells us that it was an invaluable experience. Amy has always found herself drawn towards art, and so she decided to combine the two. She went to University with a focus on Textile Design. Amy comes from a very creative family. Her mum is fantastic with drawing still life, her brother and sister are great artists and she told us that her sister is also an amazingly creative writer. Amy considers her style very distinct. This can be seen in the Bloom and Gloom designs. She uses dark colour palettes or a dark context and then adds softness or light to it. She says:

“My designs sometimes have imperfections that I like to keep. I work on creating imagery and effects that are unusual for the pattern or motifs.”

Amy uses a lot of research in her design process so that she can understand her chosen subject the best she possibly can. She uses books, museums and even the internet to do this. Her research ends up as drawing and mark-making using a variety of mediums and working out print backgrounds. She also uses this research to come up with her layout ideas. Amy then draws motifs and chooses from those illustrations. She decides which ones she wants to use in the digital part of her process.

From that point, she will colour test with a basic design and then once she has that, she begins creating collages to use as patterns. A lot of Amy’s inspiration comes from her favourite designer, Haider Ackerman, often looking at his collection archive for textile inspiration. She says she always finds inspiration in Lord Frederick Leighton’s artwork. How he would be able to produce realistic paintings and capture a mood forever amazes her.

illustrations bloom and gloom
Bloom and Gloom collections have a melancholic demeanour. Inspiration is drawn from symbolism, art and historical contexts whilst incorporating nature to bring beauty, artisanal charm and originality to each piece.

Contrado Creatives

We have a number of incredible illustrators within our #ContradoCreatives community. They bring their illustrations to life in our curated marketplace. Browse through these designs, among many others and let us know what you think. We are always looking out for new talent. If you want to partner with us, sign up and sell your own designs on Contrado – we’d love to talk to you.

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