Helen Alexander Bristow
Specialising in unique and quirky animal illustration, I base my images on steampunk, fairy tale or children's book themes.
When I create, I hand draw all my images from my head and from inspiration from images and life. I use Windsor and Newton Pro Markers and gouache to colour all my images and only then transfer to my IPAD to edit on Procreate. This is my process for now but open to learning other skills on my illustration journey.
Bauer puss. Gouache and mica
Waterlily kitty progress from sketch to finished piece. Gouache.
I have been interested in illustration from a young age, children's picture books have been my favourite form of illustration. I attended an exhibition at Dulwich gallery that showed Arthur Rackham's life of illustration, so inspiring and has stayed with me. Arthur Rackham illustration books like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows. If you have not heard of him, i recommend google him now! My definition to illustration is 'a visual aid to a narrative, message or idea'. I love design, colour going through a teaching qualification have realised I am a visual learner.
Pro-marker (Windsor and Newton) videos part 1 and 2 and how I go about using them in my illustration
Why does steampunk inspire my work?
Before i answer this you need to know a little about steampunk. Mainly based in the 19th Century (Victorian era), it is a genre inspired by science fiction and fantasy incorporating industrial steam machinery. Think of the literature of author Jules Verne and Hayao Miyazaki's animation 'Howls Moving Castle' (written by Diane Wynne Jones) and you kinda get the idea. For me, I love the victorian/industrial era and like to incorporate this in my work. Living in Kent (UK), there is a big steampunk following and i cannot help but be inspired.
Waterlily kitty. Gouache and pen
Do I have an illustration degree or background?
The answer to that is no. Although I have been to art school (originally in textiles) and hold a creative degree, this is not in illustration. I am completely self taught in this disipline and have only recently started my journey. After starting to create my portfolio I now realised that illustration is my thing and my calling in life.
Are my illustrations for sale?
My illustrations are available on request as art prints, on greeting cards and on homeware. I have decide against using Etsy and instead sell from my website and at events. Please check back to see what I have available on my shop page. If you want me to do a commission or any other request please email me so we can discuss further.