The SAA are very pleased to be supporting the World Illustration Awards by sponsoring The SAA Agents Award for New Talent.

A Career in Art: Jane Newland Shows You How . . .

Jane Newland has a distinctive and extremely eye-catching style. Her illustrations are green and luscious — the fronds of every fern, every leaf are detailed with soft looking textures, like a springy moss or camomile lawn.

If you’re an artist and you’re wondering how to make a business out of your talent, Jane is a great example of an illustrator with an extremely transferable style. It’s a good idea not to pigeon-hole your work — don’t put all your eggs into one basket, because as an artist, there are many opportunities for you and Art Licensing leads the way.

Jane’s artwork has been made into umbrellas, beauty bags, magazine covers, greetings cards, prints, bedding and more. And just one image can be licensed many times, meaning that just one piece of your artwork can give you a steady income ad infinitum. And if you have 100 pieces of artwork doing the same thing, you’re really onto something. And the best bit? The work still belongs to you.

Here are some examples of Jane’s work, and a little more from Jane on her artistic technique, and future plans

There is something magical about Jane’s compositions; they make me want to jump into them, just as Mary Poppins and the children jumped into Bert’s pavement art. It’s a style perfect for all forms of art licensing, from greetings cards, to make-up bags, to umbrellas and more. Those landscapes, with an almost 3D feel to them, could work so well in a children’s picture book too. A book you’d always remember, and pass down through the generations.

I am full of questions for Jane — how did she develop that style? How does she create those soft looking layers and textures? Jane makes me want to be an artist. So here she is, talking about all these things and a little bit more . . . LM

JN: Hello! I’m Jane, a freelance illustrator, represented by the awesome Bright Group since June last year.

I live on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Norwich with my partner, daughter and whippet.

I’m a child of the 70s, very short sighted, and deaf in one ear. I think it made me quite self-contained, and it’s probably where my obsession with detail began. I was naughty and didn’t wear my glasses, so the only things I could see properly were the things right in front of my nose! My family is definitely on the creative side – both grandparents, my parents, an uncle, a cousin and my brother and sister all studied various subjects at art school, so there was no escape from it! I was surrounded by loads of amazing artistic influence. So I studied illustration at art school, got a degree, worked a variety of awful jobs while also freelancing, mainly for my brother’s design company. This gave me a really brilliant grounding in working as an illustrator, and I’ve worked with some amazing clients. Wanting more from my career, I started to show more personal work online, which eventually led to me joining Bright.

I was inspired to become an illustrator by my dad and grandfather. My dad is an amazing landscape painter of moody, glorious-skied Norfolk landscapes, and my grandfather, who was an architect by trade, also painted illustratively, particularly once he had retired. His work was reminiscent of Arthur Rackham, and as a child I loved sitting beside him watching him work

Did you know, Arthur Rackham’s artwork influenced the design of The Faun in the extraordinary film, Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro?

Now, I am still inspired by dad & granddad mostly and I like to think I’ve kind of merged the two into my own style.

I love looking at other artist’s work on social media, and I’m sure I’m influenced by what I see. Favourites at the moment are Yasmeen Ismail, Marc Martin, Karl James Mountford, and too many more to mention. I’m also inspired by the photos I see of people’s lives, and I love seeing young up and coming illustrator’s work. But Bright are keeping me busy — so much so that I don’t actually have a lot of time to spend on social media these days!


Artwork by fellow Bright artist, Karl James Mountford — @karljmountford

My current style began to emerge over the last couple of years. I was actually on the verge of giving up illustration, and decided just to forget about my style, instead simply doing what came naturally, and drawing what pleased me — not what I thought anyone else wanted to see.
And out it popped!

Then later, these pieces of work from November 2016 were the big changers for me.

Finding inspiration: 

I’d had an email from the Bright Art Licensing team (emails detailing trends, inspiration and ideas) and one of the current trends was “adventure”. It sparked something in me, and I decided that for my personal pieces of work I would take myself on an adventure. So I began by imagining where I would like to go, and, much to my genuine amazement and delight, it seems lots of people would like to go to the places I imagine too!

Jane’s artwork is on the cover of our 2018 calendar. Read more about it here.

On future projects: 

In ten years time I hope things are much the same really! Since joining Bright last year I have been blessed with the most fantastic opportunities. I’ve had lots of licensing contracts, and I’ve illustrated some children’s books – both of which were long-time goals for me. The only other thing I would love to achieve would be to write and illustrate my own children’s book, but I’m not the best at the written word, so it may be one dream too far!

How much time do you spend on an illustration?

The detailed pieces take me between three and five hours. It’s my treat late on a Friday afternoon to do a personal piece of work. I take part in #colour_collective on Twitter, where a huge bunch of lovely illustrators post their artwork using a designated colour every Friday at 7.30pm (UK time) So that’s my deadline. I start with a potential colour palette in mind which includes the colour of the week, and sometimes I will have an idea of what I’m going to draw, sometimes not. I begin regardless, with a general background layer, and just keep adding more and more layers, building up details and intensity of colour. All the details, the billions of little leaves and grass etc, it’s just doodling on a large scale really!

Your preferred media?

I mainly work digitally these days using Photoshop on a PC, a Wacom pen tablet, and Photoshop’s standard brushes. It’s a bit old school now, but I don’t think it matters what you use, if you can make it do what you want.

I’m currently working on a children’s book where I’m combining traditional watercolour painting with a bit of digital. I’ve been lucky to have had a good grounding in most mediums, both at home and also at school/college.

If you’d like to work with Jane, you can get in touch via The Bright Art Licensing here.

Follow Jane on Instagram and Twitter

If you’re an artist looking for representation, we’d love to hear from you.
You can submit your artwork here.


Matt Hunt’s Message in a Bottle: Inspiration to Follow Your Dreams in 2018

Last year, Matt Hunt published his first picture book with Scholastic. Almost a year on and he’s a nominee for a Kate Greenaway Medal. What a way to begin the new year!

The story itself is a perfect antidote to New Year blues . . .

With it being a grey and rainy January, it’s very easy to see how Lion feels as he waits for his bus in the rain, somewhere in the city. Just like any of us can feel in all the hustle and bustle, it all gets too much for Lion. So he acts upon his discontent, knowing exactly what is needed, and moves to a desert island — of course! That would be the perfect solution, wouldn’t it? But whilst Lion yearns for quiet solitude, he forgets how important friends are. There is a wonderful message in this picture book: Lion has a vision of exactly what he needs/wants and exactly how it will be, right down to the friends he is looking for.

But it doesn’t go to plan.

When Lion gets past the cool stage (eventually), he realises that his new found friends are brilliant (musicians), and accepts them with all their quirks and differences. So the message is clear — that life is for living, there’s no time for procrastination, or for being stuck somewhere you’re not happy, and even if things don’t go quite as you planned, it doesn’t equate to failure.

Matt’s style is bursting with colour and texture — there is something very reminiscent to me of books I read as a child — I think it might be those wide trousers and the pointy brogues!

This book really does carry a message, and in fact it’s right on trend. In every health and lifestyle magazine going, you’ll find articles on breaking free from your current life/work constraints, taking that leap and following your heart. It truly works out for some, and even for Lion — in the end, despite his original mis-givings. It’s a lovely way of helping children realise that trying new things is okay — in fact it can be fun — a true adventure. You might move house, you may move abroad, and the idea of change can be daunting, but you’ll be okay and make new friends. is usually used only in severe cases of acne or the ineffectiveness of other means.

My only question is how does Lion fund his island paradise lifestyle?!

But that’s the wonder of children’s books — where anything is possible.

You can find out more about Matt and the making of Message in a Bottle here.

Follow Matt on Twitter and Instagram

Featured Artist: Kate Costigan



M-C “Tell me a bit about you and your background: where are you from, where did you study? Are you still Kate from the Block?”

I grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, drew constantly, and always wanted to be an artist of some kind. My grannies were always asking for new paintings to stick up on the fridge.

After high school I I took a portfolio course and that helped me to get into the Glasgow School of Art, where I specialised in Illustration.
I’m definitely still Kate from the Block, my heart will always belong to the city and people of Glasgow. I’m trying to get as many Scottish words into my English friends’ vocabulary as I can

M-C “What do you feel was the best lesson you learnt while studying? Is there anything that still sticks with you or do you feel you’ve thrown out a lot of advice of tutors as your practice has developed?”

One of my tutors always spoke about the power of taking breaks and that’s something I do believe works for me, because when you work constantly you can experience burn out which is definitely not healthy or conducive to illustration. But I really wish I could remember more of what they said

M-C “Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?”

Pretty much. But after four years of art school I got a bit fed up and decided I’d had enough of illustrating, so I entertained some other careers like graphic designer and weirdly, teaching English abroad, and becoming a pastry chef. But when I actually moved to London to work in graphic design I missed drawing, and after I started doing a bit in my spare time, my love for illustration grew again.

M-C “When you started working ‘professionally’ how did you develop your distinctive visual language which we see in your work today?”
I’m not sure my visual language is something I’ve ever consciously thought about... it’s the same way I have drawn since I was a little girl - but definitely improved since then. But over time, because I have developed a passion for vintage fashion and design, a retro influence has definitely crept in to my work.

“What is a day in the life of Kate Costigan like? Tell me about your daily routine...”
I get up, make a coffee and start work around 8am. If I don’t have anything too urgent to work on I like to pick one of the ideas I have written down in my notebook to draw. I do try to get out of the house at some point because I can get a bit bogged down working non stop, so even if I walk round the park for half and hour and come back I feel refreshed. If I’m feeling up to it I force myself to do a workout or yoga video - hard work but I always feel better afterwards.

The temptation is there to keep working till 10/11pm at night but I do like to give myself a night off binge watching something on Netflix

“Do you have any rituals or daily routines to help get you into the right mindset?”
Coffee helps!  And I find listening to music can spark ideas, sometimes I hear lyrics that paint a really visual picture in my head that I have to quickly scribble something down to draw later.

One of my favourite podcasts is called You Must Remember This, which tells of forgotten stories and scandals in old Hollywood - it’s brilliant and if I’m drawing any femme fatales it’s compulsory listening

“How do you spend your downtime?”
To unwind I read, or I’ll find a scandi-noir series to watch on Netflix, or walk along the canal where I live. At the weekend I’ll usually meet up with some friends to try a new cocktail bar or go out for dinner.

Have you experienced any major significant moments in your career to date?
When I worked for HemingwayDesign I was involved in the branding and identity design for the amusement park Dreamland in Margate. At times it was very difficult, mentally and emotionally exhausting - the team even moved to Margate for the two weeks before the park re- opened. For our work on Dreamland we went on to win an award and be nominated for another, and it’s something I’m immensely proud to have worked on.

“Talk us through your studio / work set up – what are the most important items in your creative toolkit?”
My dining room table is my work set up - thankfully my housemates don’t mind, but I should probably hoover the pencil shavings up more

often. The tools I definitely couldn’t live without are: pencil, black ink, and Photoshop! My notebook is pretty crucial too - it’s where I write all my ideas, and if I’m having a creative block I just need to revisit the notebook and I have a long list of new drawings I could pick from.

“Where do you live and how does the city / location / your surroundings inspire your practice?”
I live in London and I’m definitely inspired by all the super stylish and confident girls and women I see. They provide me with a lot of outfit ideas for my characters (and me).

“If you could trade professions for a day, what would you do instead?”

Some dream careers would be: puppy handler, a window dresser in Liberty’s, or a travel writer who gets to visit lots of exotic locations

“Do you have any secret passions?”
I do love a good murder mystery on tv

“What social media platforms do you use, and do you feel social media is very important to your practice?”
I share my work on Instagram mostly, it’s such a great (and free) way to get instant feedback on my artwork and definitely helps as an ego boost for me when my inner critic is telling me I’m rubbish

Malika Favre…A Little Film About

Malika Favre is an artist who needs little introduction. Her instantly recognisable style sees her create beautifully bold vector illustrations which simplify down her subjects their bear essentials. Her work has adorned billboards, magazines and book covers the world over and her recent collaborations with the New Yorker magazine have raised her profile yet further and seen a whole new audience discover her incredible work.

In this short film directed by Jérôme de Gerlache, we learn about her work process, influences and get a behind the scenes glimpse of her home studio in East London.

View the video HERE

Malika Favre is represented  by Handsome Frank

Josie Shenoy’s beautiful new Illustrated Book ‘The Buildings that made London’ from The National Archives

Josie was commissioned by Bloomsbury publishers to bring original architectural drawings from the National Archives to life with her beautiful unique art style.


Bill Sanderson’s Skybound Cover

Phosphor Art's Bill Sanderson recently worked on a lovely book cover for Picador/Pan Macmillan. Skybound by Rebecca Loncraine focusing on subjects of gliders and learning to fly, but is also about a woman trying to reacquaint herself with her body and the world after the terrible trauma of breast cancer treatment. It's a deeply personal narrative that follows Rebecca as her new passion for gliding takes her from her home in Wales all the way to New Zealand and the Nepalese Himalayas. Sadly in 2015, as she was finishing the book, Rebecca became ill again and died at home in Wales in September 2016.


Food illustration by Mister Paul

Mister Paul is usually known for his wide angle interiors and classic building illustrations but he has a nice selection of food and packaging based illustration. Mister Paul creates his work by drawing his subjects initially with black ink and a dry nib pen.


Join the Society of Artist’s agents

but before you do, please read our criteria for joining here