Exercise 1: The history of illustration

Brief #1

In this exercise you will explore how illustration has evolved over the past 50 years. Start by choosing one from this list of illustrators:

  • Edward Bawden
  • Edward Ardizzone
  • Kathleen Hale
  • John Minton
  • Eric Ravilious
  • E H Shephard

Then using books and the internet, find out about these artist’s work and the cultural context in which they created their most significant works”.

Ernest Howard Shepard – my chosen illustrator

He was born in London the 10th of December of 1879 and died on the 24th of March of 1976. He illustrated 35 works during his lifetime, including The Wind in the Willows and Winnie-the-Poo. His more known works were illustrations of soft animal characters and anthropomorphic animals.

Although, 10 years before his first publication Ernest Howard experienced the start of World War I as a second lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was an active soldier until the end of the War in 1918. 

I enjoy Ernest Howard’s work because when I was a kid I adored Winnie-the-Poo. But now I can realize how hard it should have been for Shepard to come up with such a sweet and funny character having in mind the previous war context that he lived in. 

Shepard’s work was quite minimalistic and simple due that he would usually use some type of ink pen to draw his characters. As you can appreciate in the following images.

Page of his sketchbook
One of his first short stories
Another of his sketches

Jimena Reno – my second chosen illustrator

Jimena is an artist that I have admired for a very long time, I love her work. Additionally, she is also from Spain which makes me enjoy her work, even more, I aspire to achieve a technique as much as her.

She was born in Madrid, Spain the year 1994. She proceeded to study fine arts there but when she finished that course she moved to the U.S.A. to pursue her dream job of being an artist and influencer. She has a youtube channel with an impressive fanbase, this lets me get to know her on a more personal level.

Her artworks tend to be parts of the human body (face, hand, back) and she usually uses monochromatic oil-based colors like pink, red, yellow, or brown. Jimena’s style gives me a very calm and relaxed feeling without losing its beautifulness. As you can appreciate in some of her following works.

Jimena’s self-portrait
Oil-based eye painting
Oil-based torso painting

Brief #2

Now draw an illustration in the style of each artist, selecting similar subject matter and using similar media”.

Illustration #1 – Inspired by E H Shepard

When I was trying to mimic the same style and technique that Shepard uses in his sketches, it surprisingly didn’t seem old-fashioned, instead, it felt very simple and minimalistic.

But, I purposely choose him for this specific reason, because I have never done anything like this. And I have chosen to focus on his monochromatic sketches because I like experimenting with new styles or techniques.

Furthermore, I decided to add a little cat because in Shepard’s illustrations there always is some type of animal.

Consecutively you can find the sketch i created following Shepard’s style and materials.

First pencil sketch
Final illustration #1

Illustration #2 – Inspired by Jimena Reno

I found Jimena on social media around 2015 and I have loved her work ever since. And as I have mentioned I also follow her on her YouTube channel, she inspires me and always shows new perspectives or techniques to use. She motivates me to follow my dream career and work hard as she does.

Additionally, I decided to add an element from one of Jimena’s paintings to represent her style a bit more. In her painting of the torso there was a cigarette and I decided to add it in my illustration.

Regarding her artwork, I choose to paint the face of a girl using her color scheme. But instead of using oil-based paint I used watercolors because I thought it could give the same effect but without being the exact same type of paintings. I also tried to use a similar colored palate to Jimena’s paintings.

First pencil sketch
Final illustration #2


After creating these two illustrations I have been able to experiment with two different techniques that have don, not usually use. Furthermore, I can say that I have enjoyed one more than the other. During the process of painting the second illustration (the one inspired by Jimena), I found myself being more creative.

This is probably due to the fact that the first illustration (the one by EH Shepard) is very simple and minimalistic so there wasn’t a big creative exploration to do. Even though I enjoyed creating and designing a minimalistic sketch I preferred the bigger creative outlet that the second sketch allowed me to do.

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