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.
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
- Illustration and design for the London via Lagos Theatre Festival
- Female Relations – a series of painted portraits of some of my favourite women
- Inspired by Shine Shine – the illustrative work of South African designer Heidi Chisholm
- Inspired: Robert Pruitt's Women at Studio Museum Harlem
- Inspired by Dimitra Tzanos: For the Love of Africa