Otto illustration

Image/text combinations are powerful tools of communication. The image instantly attracts the reader's attention to the text. The advantage of illustration over photography is its capacity to visualise complex concepts. In my illustrations I endeavour to not literally repeat verbal messages, but to present a surreal, magical equivalent.

The Film-maker Godart said complex messages should be accompanied by clear images.

Short history

I began freelance illustration in 1991 after graduating at Bristol Polytechnic. Since an MA at Kingston University in 1996 I have worked extensively for international newspapers and magazines, with literally hundreds if not thousands of contributions to publications such as The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, Times Educational, The New York Times, Fortune, Le Monde, Libération, Courrier International, Der Freitag, Cicero, and many more. I also work for clients in Design, Advertising and Book publishing.

In the late 90s and eary 2000s I was one of the first Illustrators pioneering a conceptual graphic style based on screen print and collage. I think it is fair to say that I was very much an illustrator about the internet revolution, but working in print. With that in mind it is no coincidence that my illustration method is derived directly from the Russian Constructivists who were providing the visual backdrop to the political revolution in Russia 100 years earlier.

My illustrations were featured in many publications including:

'Hand to  Eye' by Angus Hyland and Roanne Bell, Laurence King Publishing, 2003

'Fifty Years of Illustration' by Laurence Zeegen, Laurence King Publishing, 2014

Throughout my career I have developed and evolved my style, which is particularly affected by Polish poster art and Russian Constructivist designs, known for their montage of photos, type and bold, printed design elements. Baroque painting and sculpture has to a large degree informed my treatment of the human figure.

Now I am using a technique based on stencilling which is a development from the pre-constructivist Russian designers of the early 1900s.

My image-making is derived from screen-printing, which I now practice routinely at my printmaking workshop near Bath. For digital illustrations the principle is the same, working in layers of colour, usually between two and five layers.

Much of my illustration is informed by and feeds back into my work with screen printed artists' books.


Occasionally I give talks and workshops at schools and universities. Please contact me regarding fees and availability.

Enquiries regarding illustration work are welcome.

Illustrator's fees are made up of two components: the make-fee and the license. If you would like to know more about this please get in touch.