Noteworthy: 8 New Incredible Illustrators of the Future

September 18th, 2014

Whether you are an admirer and lover of illustration or in need of a fantastic illustrator who has a fresh look, you may find exactly what you need in one of the following eight illustrators of the future. All are fairly new to the online scene, and most of them are still students. A few have already built up somewhat of a following, even on the small portfolio they currently have. Some even have a couple of mentions on inspirational blogs.

However, all are brilliant, no matter their level of “new-ness” and following. They all use both traditional pencil/ graphite and paper as well as digital tools to create their masterpieces, and some even a bit of animation. Be sure to check out their full portfolios, since not all of the pieces could be included in this article. Plus, many of them offer for sale their prints, t-shirts, and other gifts printed with their artwork.

Each artist is definitely new yet amazing enough to take notice now, so be sure to follow them on their various social media or portfolio pages. And if you are impressed with their work, definitely say so. It’s cold out there for new illustrators, so they could probably use some love from the community now and then.

Sevilya Ibrahim

As a young student and graphic designer from the Ukraine, Ibrahim still has a limited portfolio. However, the work she does have displayed on her Behance profile is quite incredible. Her illustrations are beautifully shaded with intricate details that add character to her drawings. Her painting skills add even more to the delicate animals, insects, characters, and scenes that she creates with traditional tools as well as digital tools.

Ibrahim created this Book About Tomorrow as a story, a game of sorts, illustrating the uncertainty of the future. Visually stunning images and fantastic scenes line the pages of this 77+ page book. She also designed alphabet postcards to accompany the story.

This collection of etchings resemble illustrations found in antique books. A mixture of fantasy and realism is found in her drawings, and more can be seen on her Behance page.

Ignacio Valicenti

Known as I.D.V. on Behance, Ignacio Valicenti has had just a few recognitions online and is starting to gain some traction with clients like URKIN Skateboards, event posters, and magazine covers. Even so, he is still a new yet highly talented illustrator and graphic designer from Buenos Aires, Argentina that is sure to make waves as he gains more views online.

URKIN Skateboards commissioned Valicenti to create this “Pool Croc” for a skateboard design. A retro design and funky details alongside of a beautiful crocodile illustration make this design quite stunning.

This ink on paper design includes Valicenti’s trademark details of X’s and brain matter. The details in the hands of this character are incredibly life-like.

All of Valicenti’s characters seem to have an amazingly life-like aspect but limited to a certain feature, like the hands or eyes, while the rest of the design remains cartoonish. This interesting combination gives his creations a look almost akin to mounted animals, frozen in life-like action yet still not alive at all.

Danielle Pioli

This Brazilian artist has slowing been building up her portfolio for a few years now on both her Behance profile and Facebook. Her illustration speciality lies in character design, and most of her characters are cartoon-like with cute faces, big eyes, and vivid colors often found in children’s movies.

Pioli’s “Ants” illustration she created during an Imaginism In-House Workshop. The expression on the little girl character is hilarious and adorable at the same time.

In “Kiss the boy,” Pioli shows her watercolor version as well as the final digital version in this personal project.

“Firefly woods” was a character design project in which Pioli designed a character for a storyline. From personal sketches to projects for class, Pioli’s characters always exude strong personalities.

Andreea Niculae

In her interview on GetInspiredMagazine, Andreea Niculae explains that her work is “either very detailed or very minimalist,” and this is exactly what shows in her portfolio. Beginning with pencil and paper, this illustrator and graphic designer from Worcester, UK finishes illustrations with Adobe Illustrator and sometimes Photoshop. Her work mostly involves people (either photographed or sketched) and tattoos sketched onto every inch of their visible bodies or typography overlaid onto images. Her eye for beautifully arranging lots into a certain amount of space is impressive.

The above piece Niculae created for the Penguin Awards book cover design. The brief was for One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Niculae chose lots of symbolism in her illustration, using a skull to represent the seven generations and the bullet and military jacket for war. The watch around his neck represents the 100 years.

Niculae created her version of The Last Supper, as she sees it should be represented in the 21st Century.

Her latest work in her portfolio is titled “Late Night Egyptian Tales.” The collection includes depictions of Bast (shown above), Thoth, and Anubis. More of her works can be found on her Behance profile, which is definitely one worth checking out!

Matt Rockefeller

Recently graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art, Matt Rockefeller has an incredible portfolio already. Most of his illustrations look like they belong inside of children’s or young adult books – the kind of books that take you away into far away lands of fantastical adventures, for this is what Rockefeller’s art does.

Rockefeller’s concept art is incredible and gives a glimpse into a whole new world of imagination. Gorgeous scenes full of details that can easily go unseen without a long glance fill his portfolio.

Make sure to check out his portfolio or follow him on Behance or Tumblr to keep up with this incredible illustrators timeless works of art.

Varya Kolesnikova

Another illustrator that creates works of art perfect for children’s books, Varya Kolesnikova has a bright future ahead of her in illustration. Her images draw viewers into imaginative and memorable worlds. Poignant faces, beautiful colors, delicate lines all are a part of her style. Although this Russian illustrator is new to the online world, her portfolio is already incredible impressive and definitely worth checking out.

The children’s story below that Kolesnikova illustrated was written by Anna Glyanchenko and is currently in need of a publisher. It tells the story of an old coat that came to life and played with the little boy once the parents were away.

Many of Kolesnikova’s illustrations are of popular children’s stories and fairy tales, like Thumbelina, Rikki Tikki Tavi, and Alice in Wonderland.

Gustavo Pergoli

A graphic design and illustration student from Brazil, Gustavo Pergoli goes by the alias “Perg” or “Hey Perg” in many of his online communities. His illustrations and paintings are incredibly vivid, comic book-like, but in a retro style. Often, the eyes of his characters are either blank or almost glowing in a similar style of many depictions of enlightened souls.

His cinematography series on his Behance profile follows this style with the glowing/ blank eyes. The faces of main characters of each of the films – including Fight Club, Donnie Darko, and A Clockwork Orange – are framed in similar, floral frames and painted in a retro style of comic books. Make sure to check out the entire series as all of the illustrations are quite stunning.

Many of his illustrations, in fact, are depictions of popular films and TV shows, such as the ones above. Breaking Bad is obviously the first image, while Mordecai and Rigby from the Regular Show is the second image.

Pergoli also illustrates people often broken but surrounded by soft details, such as flowers. Other works include half-skeleton characters or even just retro patterns. Be sure to follow HeyPerg on Facebook, on Flickr, or on Pinterest.

Yukai Du

Also known as “Doralice” on many of her online profiles, Yukai Du is an illustrator and animator from China, currently residing in London, and working on her MA in Animation. Her animated illustrations are stunning, to say the least, with a very abstract style. Although she does have a design and animation job with M-I-E Studio, her personal work, revolving mainly around illustrated stories, many of which are animated, is just now starting to surface on the web, and more than likely is just the beginning of a bright career as an illustrator/ animator.

The above is an incredible depiction of how technology has taken over our lives.

Be sure to check out all of the screen shots from Yukai Du’s final project for her undergraduate degree, Musical Chairs. The story is based on the game musical chairs and portrays the main character, a human, who takes more for himself than needed and has to bear the consequences.

The World’s New Clothes is a four page illustrated comic book that Yukai Du created to show a modern day parallel to the famous story, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Screenshots of more of her stories and animated illustrations are above, including Way Out, Metamorphose, and The Collector & The Monster, her very first book and completely handmade. The final piece above, “Dinner Time,” she created for Nobrow 9 – “It’s Oh So Quiet.” Check out more of Doralice’s growing portfolio of illustrated stories and follow her on Tumblr or Behance.


Tara Hornor loves writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and photography. She is a Senior Editor for Creative Content Experts, a copywriting company that she owns with her husband. Connect with @TaraHornor for more design inspiration and marketing help.

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