Tales of Unity

Earlier this year I entered some illustrations into the Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2019. The theme was ‘Tales of Unity’, which is a lovely concept to work on in contrast to the news these days. I hadn’t entered the awards in a few years but it felt right this time, I have developed my illustration style since last entry I made and I wanted to show this with my submissions.

After creating various spider diagrams around unity, the first piece I worked on was inspired by the quote “You never know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes” as well as the line in To Kill a Mockingbird; “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” I wanted to show the unity of family, the generation gap between grandparent and grandchild and yet they can both teach each other something in their time together. The illustration takes the quote literally, but without context you should see it as a joyful moment between family as the girl has fun with her granddad.

I lost both my grandfathers very early on in my childhood, the memories I have of them are precious and full of kindness. In some ways this illustration has some of that feeling within it. And the background elements of the piece are also inspired by my memories of the houses my grandparents lived in when I was a child.

The next illustration I worked on was in a completely new direction with not a human character in sight. This time I took a quote (I love a good quote!) from The Jungle Book – “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” I also brought in a line from Where the Wild Things Are (the film) “We’ll take care of each other, and we’ll all sleep together in a real pile!”

These two lines combined to create the image for this illustration. With the wolves all sleeping in a pile, the youngest wolf is on lookout, are they howling to the pack nearby, howling joyfully or warning the sleeping pack? The first quote also comes into this when you consider them all resting on each other, the bottom wolf is the strongest and can support the others, the top wolf is the youngest and the weakest but the others hold them high.


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© 2020 Sami Jean Illustration