The Directory of Illustration is excited to release this year’s  “Heads Above the Rest” campaign! After inviting artists to create a silhouetted head graphic showcasing their own creative style, 20 illustrations were selected to appear in our outreach campaign designed by Art Director at SPUR, Dave Plunkert – which was also featured in the May/June 2020 Communication Arts Illustration Annual!

We were truly impressed by the unique variety in submissions that followed – where the works of art created for the project covered all stylistic mediums, ranged from realistic to abstract, and really demonstrated just how many different ways the same topic can be interpreted! In the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing the participating artists while highlighting their backgrounds in the illustration industry.

This week we’ll be starting with Aart-Jan Venema, Ben Douglass, Kiki-Ljung, and Brian Bowens!

1. Aart-Jan Venema – Represented by JSR Agency

Aart-Jan Venema lives and works in The Hague, where he uses digital and traditional painting techniques to create multi-layered and fantastically coloured illustrations, anchored with a strong compositional eye. Aart likes to fill his illustrations with stories, surprises and details for the viewer to find, reminiscent of one of his favourite painters, Hieronymous Bosch.  The winner of both the Overall Professional and Design awards at the World Illustration Awards 2017, Aart’s diverse portfolio has led him to work with clients such as Google, the New Yorker, ZEIT magazine, Douwe Egberts, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Green Man Festival, and the Guardian. Aart recently completed his first picture book ‘Night Windows’ with Cicada Books, too. When he’s not illustrating – which is quite rare – you’ll find Aart surfing, playing board games, watching Twin Peaks or reading Murakami.

View More: Portfolio // Website

2. Ben Douglass

I am a designer and illustrator from Red Bank, New Jersey. I have been self-employed since June of 2016, during which time I have loved the experience of acquiring my own clients and collaborating with businesses both large and small. Some of my current clients include the New Jersey Devils, Washington Redskins, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, Prudential Center, The Roosevelts, Fitness By The Sea, Success Academy Charter Schools, Flounder Brewing Co. and the Asbury Park Summer Games. Prior to venturing off on my own, I spent almost ten years as a graphic designer and then art director for various creative agencies. My time spent in advertising provided crucial experience and the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and clients.

View More: Portfolio // Website

3. Kiki-Ljung – Represented by Folio Art

Kiki Ljung’s colourful and engaging vector illustrations convey narratives with wit and energy. She is a truly international talent, being Swedish-Italian but born in Brussels, having studied in London and currently working in Paris. Some of her stylistic techniques include Conceptual, Digital, Line with Color, Texture, Decorative, Pattern, Installations, Vector.

View More: Portfolio // Website

4. Brian Bowens

Brian Bowens aka bbsketch, posses the passion, self-motivation, and creative gifting to translate desired emotion, messaging and concepts into visual imagery. He has the experience of working alongside and contributing in creative environments alongside designers, producers, content strategists, journalists and developers. He’s had the great opportunity to partner with pro athletes, agents, leagues, teams, sports media brands and major sporting events. His work has been featured for media outlets such as ESPN, Bleacher Report, Uninterrupted, The Player’s Tribune, Complex and many others. With over 10 years of experience in various aspects of Creative Direction, he’s always willing and able to take on any challenge clients need.

View More: Portfolio // Website