• Emily Osborne

04_Who Inspires Me?

I tend to look to the works of illustrators and visual communicators for inspiration and honestly for a bit of a laugh. Two namely figures being the work of Jean Jullian and David Shrigley.


Jean Jullian is a French graphic artist living and working in Paris. He completed a graphic design degree and has since graduated from Central Saint Martins London and the Royal College of Art. His work ranges from illustration to photography, video, book posters, and everything in-between.

I first found his comical illustrations featured on Instagram. They completely interrupted my feed. So simple, and yet comical genius. They were the work of someone that paid close unwavering attention to the world around him and discovered the delights that lie within the habitual.

It’s Nice That magazine “Printed Pages” 2021

His ability to translate complex concepts into beautiful simple illustrations constantly reminds me of the beauty in simplicity and the effect keeping things simple can have.

Jullian’s style interrupts every day and delights viewers. It has a powerful graphic presence in all spaces it occupies, and the visual language translates beautifully across mediums and products. His use of negative space and silhouettes reflects a carefully refined skill set in understanding graphic design, colour theory, and the power of editing.

Happy New Year - 2020

I look to my own practice when considering his work and remind myself to try and use these approaches in my own work. Understanding the power of having a confident visual style, tone of voice, and opinions.



In the same vein, but to a whole new extreme, the work of David Shrigley is so brutally honest and raw, it compels and excited me when he releases new art. It seems like a massive “F-you” to the entire foundations of what should be considered illustration. A true Duchamp of his generation.

From studying at Glasgow school of art and now working in Brighton England, Shrigley has a wide history of exhibitions, installations, and group exhibitions. His resume is widely travelled and well versed in many walks of art and design all over the world. Having released several publications and myself owning a few of his books, which are a wild and unnerving exploration into complete randomness and hardcore resonating reflection. It is the absurd and emotive mixed together to confuse and astound audiences alike.

His visual language is instantly recognisable and thus a perfect practice in the act of self-branding. When reflecting on what aspect of David’s work intrigues me the most, I guess I can admit it not for any aesthetical value -at least for me - no, the inspiration is drawn from the sheer confidence it takes to make work clearly for himself and serve it to the world unfazed whether anyone wants it. Clearly, people resonate with this work in one way or another. Or else he wouldn’t need to keep making books. But his work also pushes and breaks the boundaries of what is appropriate visual communication. Are his works any less comprehensible because of their form? Although abstract, some may be more direct in their message whilst others are open to a lovely form of introspective consideration.

Really Good, 4th Plinth Commission 2016

Dear Mother. Neon 2018

David’s work reminds me that we don’t all like the same thing, that trends come and go, and pretty art is not always the only art. That communication does not finish at glossy presentations and shiny graphics but instead can be instilled in honest and dynamic conversation pieces.

Recent Posts

See All