International Women’s Day portraits and colouring sheets

Happy International Women’s Day!

I’ve created a new series of illustrated portraits for the occasion, inspired by vintage photographs of women around the world.

The women featured include:

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Portraits of 2014

Last year, I started taking commissions for the style of portrait illustrations that I’d previously made for my design business and a few of our clients. The response was really exciting! People ordered illustrations for themselves and their loved ones, coming up with reasons and occasions that I hadn’t even thought of.
This is what they’ve been used for, to date:
  • Present for a wife, just because
  • Birthday presents (especially for ‘big’ birthdays, e.g. 50, 60)
  • Wedding presents
  • Christmas presents
  • Website banners
  • Social media avatars
  • Editor’s portrait in a magazine
  • Illustration of interview subjects for a magazine
The image above is a round up of commissions from 2014. I really love making these.
2015 commissions
To help me manage my time, I’ve decided that I will only take 12 of these portrait commissions this year. I’ve already got a few in the works so, get in touch ASAP if you’re interested in one: lulu [at] weareasilia [dot] com. You can also find more details on ordering here.
See larger versions of the portraits above, on my Pinterest page.
All illustrations copyright yours truly, Lulu Kitololo 




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Buy African: Last-minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas Buy African Afri-love


It’s less than a week to go until Christmas so, ordering your gifts online is now pretty much a gamble. If the thought of braving the madness shops this weekend makes you want to crawl into a dark hole, fear not – I’ve got some ideas that will hopefully keep you in the festive spirit.

The gifts here are all things that you can buy, right up until Christmas Day. They are organised by interest so, hopefully you’ll be able to find something appropriate for all the people on your list – whatever they fancy!

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Illustrated Portraits

Photo 1


Over the past month or so, I’ve been doing lots of self-directed making. From creating fun photo ‘collages’ for Instagram to getting into a regular drawing rhythm. Funnily enough, a lot of this has then been co-opted for business purposes. For example said collages for the Creativity and Noise designs I made came out really well and had such a great response that they had to be used for promotional purposes!



It’s a somewhat similar story with the hand-drawn illustrated portraits that I make. I started making them a few years ago when Asilia needed team photos. Our team was spread across London and Nairobi and we wanted a solution that would be scalable. It was clear that photography was going to be challenging. Furthermore, we wanted the portraits to be quirky – reflecting who we are as individuals and as a company. Illustration was definitely the answer, not least because it gave me an excuse to do some more drawing and indulge in some colour, texture and pattern fun.


Photo 2

The great response we’ve had to our team illustrations, as well as to those I’ve created for others (e.g. Mandela, my Dad, Maya Angelou and Asilia client KP Fox), prompted us to make it easy for anybody to commission one for themselves or their loved ones. Introducing – Illustrate Me: hand-drawn custom portraits.

As time goes on, new use-case scenarios emerge. Here’s a running list of uses:

  • Team bio/profile pictures
  • Social media profile pictures
  • Magazine articles – look out for the upcoming issue of New Internationalist Magazine where I illustrated an article about a conversation between 2 feminists. 
  • Illustrations in books – we illustrated 30+ interviewees in the book Passion Pays by Genevieve de Lacaze
  • Gifts for loved ones (e.g. a portrait of your kids for their grandmother)
  • Album covers
  • Event flyers + gig posters
  • Business cards


How would you use an illustrated portrait?


All illustrations by Lulu Kitololo



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Inspired: Robert Pruitt’s Women at Studio Museum Harlem


While in New York earlier this month, I made sure to pay a visit to Studio Museum Harlem, an institution dedicated to showing the work of artists of African descent and work inspired and influenced by black culture. So, if Afri-love were a brick-and-mortar space …

Dreams aside (for now), the feature exhibition was Robert Pruitt: Women – a series of larger-than-life conté drawings of black women. As the official description goes: 

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