Searching for new creative inspiration? Here you’ll find twenty unique and innovative illustrators that you need to follow in 2021.
Shutterstock and Offset are bursting with creative talent waiting to be discovered. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the top illustrators we think you should know (and follow) in 2021. Whether you’re looking to commission some custom work, or searching for stock profiles to bookmark, this is the resource to discover your favorite illustrator of the year.
Illustration is a creative art form that helps us connect with the world through innovative, thought-provoking art. In a world that’s swiftly changing, illustrators have the power to deliver quick and powerful visuals to help brands communicate to their audience. We’ve picked twenty of our favorite illustrators that we think you’ll be inspired by in 2021. Read on for some fresh inspiration from these incredible artists.
#1: Iveta Angelova
Spain-based graphic designer and vector illustrator Iveta Angelova’s style is one of our favorite’s on our network. Featuring hand-drawn elements and textures, Iveta uses a neutral color palette with carefully selected pops of color in most of her work. On Instagram, you’ll see her abstract designs in stationary and other surface patterns pop through. Get inspired by her clean aesthetic and minimal branding.
#2: Ben O’Brien
Ben O’Brien, perhaps better known as Ben the Illustrator, is a creative at his core. On Instagram, you’ll be inspired by his moving animations and use of color that influences his illustrations. His arrangements and compositions feature a combination of shapes, forms, movement, and color, providing him with a solid foundation for both his client and stock work.
#3: Ellen Wagner
A graduate of the University of Art and Design in Offenbach, Germany, Ellen Wagner creates beautiful illustrations of playful scenes and creative narratives. Her illustrations have a unique storytelling aspect to them, pairing almost fairytale-like characters with conceptual art that tackles modern topics. At first glance, you assume Ellen’s work means one thing, but as you continue to look at it, you discover so much more that lies beneath the surface. She’s also an accomplished screen printer, which you can discover more of on her Instagram.
#4: Lena Nikolaeva
While Lena Nikolaeva keeps her profile pretty much under wraps on Shutterstock, her work speaks for itself. Often featuring colorful, repeating patterns, her illustrations are modern and approachable for a wide range of creative uses. On Instagram, you get a glimpse into her life behind the art where she shares some personal snaps of herself, as well as more samples of her work.
#5: Anastasia Beltyukova
Russian-born, London-based illustrator Anastasia Beltyukova, who goes by the name Tribambuka for her art, is a showstopper. The award-winning illustrator’s whimsical, yet soulful, visuals embody an almost fairytale-like feel. Our personal favorite work of Anastasia’s are her illustrative portraits available on Offset that showcase a diverse perspective of humanity. She describes her work as being inspired by myths and archetypes, with some Russian avant-garde flavor. Follow Anastasia on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look into her creative process, and the client work she features outside of her work in stock illustration.
#6: Donghyun Lim
Graphic artist and illustrator Donghyun Lim is a freelance illustrator whose concepts focus on capturing editorial environments of the world around him. Based in Seoul, South Korea, Donghyun uses a soft, clean color palette in the majority of his visual work on Offset, letting the scenes speak for themselves. Clean and minimal, his work can be applied to a variety of different projects and scenarios. Follow him on Instagram.
Operating by the name sini4ka, the Russian-based artist’s work focuses on illustrations featuring hand-drawn elements paired with minimal and clean pattern work. We love the illustrator’s use of facial line work in their portrait illustrations, and their Instagram is no different. Clean and minimal, sini4ka’s online presence is a perfect example of what having a cohesive visual aesthetic looks like.
#8: Helena Perez Garcia
One of my personal favorites on this list, Helena Perez Garcia is a Spanish illustrator and graphic designer based in London, whose mysterious and conceptual illustrations are breathtaking, to say the least. She often uses her art to depict her subjects in surreal situations, with exquisite detail and careful attention to what she includes in her frame. For illustrators looking for a business to be inspired by, look no further than Garcia. Her work has been published in magazines, books, newspapers, packaging, and more, showing that diversification is possible in your field of art. Discover more on her Instagram.
#9: David van der Veen
Spain-based illustrator David van der Veen‘s illustrations tackle concerns of human nature, as well as the landscapes and architecture of the places he lives and travels to. He uses a combination of artistic skills to craft his illustrations, including digital work and scanned textures mixed with acrylic paint and aquarelles to create his unique art. Get inspired by his portrayal of people and the lives they lead, and check out his Instagram.
#10: Jason O’Malley
A multidisciplinary artist, we love Jason’s vibrant, colorful illustrations of modern people, places, and pets that are featured in his Offset portfolio. He’s been published by brands from across the world, including Gap, IKEA, Coca Cola, and The New York Times. And, while he’s an accomplished illustrator we’re excited to have on Offset, in his spare time Jason is also a talented ceramicist. Follow Jason on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes into the truly artistic life of a full-fledge creative.
#11: Katya Havok
Katya is a contemporary artist whose work is characterized by bright, bold colors, creative concepts, and a sense of minimalism and surrealism in the work she creates. She’s a pop art photographer as well as a digital artist. On her Shutterstock profile, you’ll see a combination of these specialties, including some 3D renderings by the artist. Follow her on Instagram for a more personal look into the artist and learn a bit of the behind-the-scenes on why she creates what she does.
#12: Judy Kaufmann
Chilean-born, Barcelona-based illustrator Judy Kaufmann has a unique and whimsical style that we can’t help but love. Her work on Offset often features repeating patterns and concepts that can be easily applied to a variety of situations in today’s modern world. We love her simple and effective way of getting a concept across through her art. On Instagram, Judy often animates her illustration in cute, bite-sized videos that we love to watch on repeat.
#13: Joey Chou
Let’s just say Joey has an artistic mind. An accomplished animation artist whose clients include Disney, Sony, and Nickelodeon, he’s also an Art Director at Netflix. Do we need to continue? As an illustrator, he’s illustrated children’s books with famous titles such as The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as It’s a Small World. On his Offset portfolio, discover a selection of the talented illustrator’s works that feature concepts and characters ready to inspire any storytelling for children. And, make sure to follow him on Instagram.
#14: Anastasiia Garbar
Ukrainian artist Anastasiia Garbar is one of our favorite creatives to follow on Instagram. We love the behind-the-scenes videos of her creating her painting. Each video really connects you to the art she creates, making you feel like you’re almost part of the process. She often draws using photos as a reference, paying attention to the details of real subjects when capturing her art.
#15: Iker Spozio
A wunderkind of various genres of art, Iker is an illustrator, engraver, and painter who describes his work as being inspired by music. The majority of his published work has been in musical fields, including artwork for The Ptolemaic Terrascope (an English psychedelic music magazine), record labels including Deutsche Grammophon, as well as clubs and venues across Europe, and has collaborated with many global artists. We love following Iker on Instagram for his behind-the-scenes look into his art.
#16: Nadia Grapes
St. Petersburg-based artist Nadia Grapes is a long-time Shutterstock illustrator we’ve loved to follow over the years. She’s a pro at creating concepts that perfectly fit our client’s needs, whether it’s for an upcoming holiday, world crisis, or everyday lifestyle situation. On Instagram, Nadia shares some of her work with her audience, as well as some of the products she has for sale through her Creative Market.
#17: Michele Rosenthal
Specializing in communicating complex ideas through her colorful vector illustrations, Michele Rosenthal is a talented freelance illustrator living in New York. Beyond her illustrations, she has a lot on her plate. She currently runs two blogs, records lo-fi electronic music, and recently released her first children’s book. She also runs the @queerportraits Instagram, where she researches and draws portraits of queer people in the 19th and 20th centuries. Also, check out her own Instagram, as well.
#18: Julia Henze
An illustrator, lettering artist, and artistic educator, Julia Henze does it all. The talented artist is based in the Netherlands and specializes in hand-drawn lettering and other illustrative designs. On Shutterstock, Julia shares her lettering skills in unique and beautiful signage that can be perfectly applied to various projects. We love discovering the other side of her work on her Instagram, where she shares even more projects she’s working on.
#19: Jens Magnusson
Shuffling between Stockholm and New York City, Jens is an illustrator and graphic artist who uses his creative talents to create positive and inspiring visual imagery. Jens isn’t afraid of color, employing a bold color palette in his designs for clients, ranging from children’s books to magazine covers. On Offset, we love Jens’ playful ability to capture real concepts with a fun, almost casual, attitude. Now, take a dive into his Instagram.
#20: Olga Aksenova
Olga’s work focuses on illustrations and watercolor designs, using a combination of both in her art. On Shutterstock, Olga selects a concept and runs with it, whether it’s a combination of a specific type of bird or animal, or a plant or food item she’s inspired by. Her illustrations are highly usable and applicable to a variety of marketing needs. And, don’t forget to sneak a peek at her Instagram for a look into her creative process.
We hope these talented illustrators from across the globe help inspire your creativity in 2021.
Top illustration by Helena Perez Garcia.
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