Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021

Discover the upcoming talents who are inspiring our top illustrators

When 2020 came to an end, we wanted to evaluate this most atypical year and compile a list of its most salient moments. We asked some of Domestika’s illustrators if they‘d made some discoveries in 2020 and to tell us who, in their view, were the illustration talents who had made a significant mark and that we should not lose sight of in the new year. Germán González, Paula Bossio, Carlos Rodríguez Casado, Ana Santos, Diego Catalán, Emma Hanquist, Adolfo Serra, and Ana Victoria Calderón tell us about their illustration favorites.

1. Germán González recommends Florian Schommer

Digital illustrator Germán González (@germangonzalez) teaches the Domestika course 'Digital Techniques for Illustrated Portraits’ and admits it was not easy to choose only one person, as he discovered many talented illustrators last year. However, he was particularly impressed by German illustrator Florian Schommer's work.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 1
Illustration by Florian Schommer for Penguin Classics

"I believe that the versatility found in the style of Florian Schommer’s work is something many of us should aspire to. His work does not lose its essence, but adapts to different styles," Germán González explains. One of the qualities of this German artist, who collaborated with clients such as Bobbi Brown and The Guardian newspaper, is his attention to detail. Some of his projects are: 'Worlds Unkown,' and a compilation of covers of Vladimir Sorokin’s books for Penguin Classics.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 3
Detail of Florian Schommer’s 'Worlds Unknown' project

2. Paula Bossio recommends Leonardo Palencia

Paula Bossio (@paulabossio), the Colombian children's book author and illustrator who teaches the course ‘Narrative Techniques for Illustrated Stories', has selected Colombian illustrator Leonardo Palencia (@astronauta_dibujante on Instagram) as the artist to follow during 2021.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 5
One of Leonardo Palencia (Astronauta Dibujante)’s fantastic binomials

"I recommend anyone who values technical artistry to enjoy the images produced by this illustrator. They are rich in texture and tonal values and are completed meticulously," Bossio affirms. She adds that "One of the most beautiful projects I have seen by Astronauta Dibujante is one of his ‘fantastic binomials.’ In these images, he creates visually connective points between very disparate elements and links animals with objects using metaphor and hybridization. The ensuing result is a set of absurd, dreamlike shapes ready to challenge the viewer."

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 7
Another illustration by Astronauta Dibujante

3. Carlos Rodríguez Casado recommends Little Thunder

Hong Kong-based cartoonist Little Thunder is the 2020 discovery of Carlos Rodríguez Casado (@carlosrodriguezcasado), teacher of the course 'Caricature in Watercolor'. "What attracts me the most about her drawing style are her clean lines and how she handles watercolor and gouache to achieve highly complex scenes using a palette of vibrant colors," the illustrator explains.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 9
Illustration by Little Thunder

Rodríguez tells us that she got to know her illustrations through the 'Sisterhood' artbook. However, if he had to choose a specific favorite, it would have to be her latest book, Scent of Hong Kong. "She creates beautiful scenes in which she depicts female characters with elements typical of a city as a backdrop. In her work, Little Thunder transmits her fascination with Hong Kong with a set of images that evoke emotions, memories, and scents", Carlos adds.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 11
Illustration from Little Thunder’s 'Scent of Hong Kong'

4. Ana Santos recommends Loré Pemberton

Painter and illustrator Ana Santos (@anasantos), who teaches the Domestika course 'Experimental Watercolor Techniques for Beginners', was captivated by the work of Loré Pemberton, an illustrator who lives in the woods of northern Vermont.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 13
Illustration by Loré Pemberton

"I like the nostalgic flavor of her scenes. She combines traditional illustration with personal photography depicting everyday rural activity, occasionally introducing fantasy elements. Nature is predominant, and the details are exquisite," explains Ana. "In all of her work, in the textures, the compositions, and the autumnal color palettes, we can see tenderness, care, and intention. Furthermore, her work reminds me of old books’ illustrations and of childhood days," she adds.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 15
Illustration by Loré Pemberton

5. Diego Catalán recommends Diego Blanco

"My recommendation is Diego Blanco, an experienced illustrator who deserves some attention," says Diego Catalán (@diego_catalan), the illustrator teaching the Domestika course 'Realistic Portrait with Graphite Pencil.’

"He is known for his illustrations of a dark-humored, flash-fiction book called 'Chronicles of Kumei’s War' and the peculiar children’s book saga 'Pilgrís'," Catalán explains.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 17
Detail from 'Pilgrís', by Diego Catalán

"Of all his work, I’ve been especially attracted to the drawings of the 'Pilgrís,’ where he uses a style more suitable to a young adult reader than to young children. The illustrations are filled with obscure details and references to science fiction and horror, which, as you may know, are the pillars of my illustration work," he adds. The illustrator also champions Diego Blanco’s efforts in documenting and researching reference material.

"This fellow has a field day of researching images (and texts) before making any decision. His style draws on many sources, but the whole is always fitting. Humor, anguish, and absurdity live together magically in the scenes he draws," he explains.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 19
Detail from 'Chronicles of Kumei’s War', by Diego Catalán

6. Emma Hanquist recommends Erik Svetoft

Emma Hanquist (@emmahan) is a Swedish illustrator who teaches the Domestika course 'Editorial Illustration for Magazines'. She recommends not to miss Swedish illustrator Erik Svetoft. "I came across a children’s book he’d illustrated, and I was attracted by the beautiful characters depicted in it. I was immediately intrigued," says Emma Hanquist.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 21
Illustration by Erik Svetoft

"I think his style is exciting, and his images talk to us through the expressivity of the characters and the high level of detail. I want to see how he develops and what direction his illustrations will take," Emma adds.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 23
Illustration by Erik Svetoft

7. Adolfo Serra recommends Luna Pan

Illustrator Adolfo Serra (@adolfoserra), who teaches the Domestika course 'Illustration Techniques to Unblock your Creativity', recommends Luna Pan, who lives in Valencia (Spain) and whose work is characterized by a fresh and personal style that plays with textures and vibrant colors.

"I met Luna Pan at Bosquexo, an international illustration festival, taking place in the Galician countryside. It is a leisurely and creative environment where like-minded artists hang out with their sketchbooks always at the ready. It is always impressive to observe such young talents doing their work live, as they sketch away and interpret their surroundings," Serra explains.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 25
Illustration by Luna Pan

"I like her slanted lines and the color combinations she uses, and the energy of her characters. She can change style and technique, but there is something personal and honest in her pieces which makes her work very recognizable", the illustrator adds. He believes Luna Pan will soon impact the illustration panorama, both at home and internationally. "I would not be surprised to see one of her drawings on the cover of The New Yorker in the near future. Her style is versatile and attractive. I’ll be looking out for a graphic novel with her characters. I am sure it will happen sooner or later. Her creations are really exciting."

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 27
Illustration by Luna Pan

8. Ana Victoria Calderón recommends Lynnette Coraje

"I came across Lynnette Coraje’s work when she applied for our 'Magic Jungle' competition for creatives at the start of 2020. When we evaluated her portfolio, all of us teachers fell in love with her work," Ana Victoria Calderón (@anavictoriana), the illustrator teaching the Domestika course 'Modern Watercolor Techniques,' explains.
Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 29
Illustration by Lynette Coraje

"The stories she tells, the mood of her pieces, her color palette, and the photographs that accompany her illustrations went straight to our hearts," she explains. What most amazed Ana was how she played with illustration and photography. "What I most admire in an artist is to have a recognizable style. Lynette has it. She is not trying to be someone else, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her", she adds.

Top 8 Illustrators Not to Miss in 2021 31
Watercolor Illustration by Lynnette Coraje

Have you come across illustrators you’d like to share with us? Make sure to leave a post in the comments below.

English version by @acesarato

You may also like:

- 7 Live Art Sessions to Spark Your Creativity
- Design Tutorial: 5 Ways to Be a Better Illustrator
- 10 Illustrators to Discover in 2021


Log in or sign up to comment

Get Domestika's news delivered to your inbox