My name is Andrea Innocent. I think in pictures, so drawing is a way of communicating for me. Metaphor, abstraction, symbology, pattern and wordplay are how I navigate the world in my mind. I think of myself as someone with a head full of ideas who was put on this planet to become a powerful witch concocting visual magic.

What interests me most about character design is that infinitesimal changes in mark-making on a face or in posture can tell a myriad of emotions.

I often get asked what the meaning is behind some of the symbology or concepts in my work. The answer is … ‘I’m glad you asked’, followed by ‘because (insert quirky/funny/horrifying story here)'.

I make pictures full of characters with attitude, whose backstories will make you laugh, cry and everything in between.

My work is all about the five ‘C’s: composition, colour, cucumbers, character and conveying a feeling or message. Actually it’s not all about cucumbers, I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. I am partial to pickles however.

I originally studied fashion design at RMIT, which taught me a lot about colour, shape, pattern and deadlines. It also inspired a love of costume and textile design. I later went on to study my Master's of Multimedia at Monash University as I was eager to learn animation and digital image-making and interactivity. I once spent an entire three months, including weekends, making a 30-second-long 3D animation. I was convinced I wanted to be an animator for film or TV however it wasn’t until I went to Japan and got to meet some anime artists that I decided it wasn’t for me.

I then discovered that illustration could also be an excellent way of telling stories and haven’t looked back.

I grew up in East Doncaster, but I now live up in the Dandenong ranges and I love the way the trees frame my view of the world beyond. My studio is currently in Selby and I am lucky enough to have an amazing community of creatives whose company inspires me daily. My office is always protected by a corgi.

I spend a lot of time sorting through sketch books and scraps of paper, because ideas always seem to come when I am in the car, walking the dog or trying to avoid talking to people at a party. When I’m not doing client work, you can probably find me drawing on my iPad Pro in the garden whilst ‘parenting’ my four year old.

Here are some pages from my sketchbook. I love playing with abstract concepts and combining words that seemingly don’t belong together to create interesting characters and ideas. Oh and annotating, annotating EVERYTHING! I sketch on paper and/or my iPad - whichever is closer.

Most of my work starts with sketches in Procreate on my iPad these days. Then I use these as a template in Illustrator and/or Photoshop. There’s often a lot of moving and adjusting compositions and shapes. I will often use Kuler or a limited colour palette of usually no more than five colours within a piece or a character. I use a Wacom, as the linework requires precision - it’s 12 years old and still going strong!

In the past I’ve lived in Chiba, Japan. Chiba is famous for its peanuts, however while I was there I found it to be famous for pollution and extremely friendly locals. I was, as are most foreigners in Japan, teaching English. My favourite thing to do there was to get on my bike and ‘get lost’. One of the most formative experiences of my career was living in Japan. It is where I found inspiration to draw every single day (which I maintain to this day). To be in a place so foreign and yet so fascinating compelled me to document it and, as a result, it is where I found my ‘voice’ in the form of a new illustration style. Chiba is now the namesake of my clothing brand ‘Chiba Ghosts’.

I’m a strong advocate for many issues but most of all I stand for combating climate change, promoting women’s rights, and endorsing animal welfare. It’s important to me that the voices of those with less power are heard, and that facts and science trump fear and greed.

I was lucky enough to create work for Headspace. The idea for this book is that it brings together tips collected at Headspace Day. It involved creating an image to be included in a book Tips for a Healthy Headspace. Many illustrators were involved and each were given a quote which became the jumping-off point for the image. Headspace do a lot of amazing work for youth mental health so I was honoured to be included.

Volunteering and donating my skills is something I feel very lucky to be able to do. Every year I donate to the RSPCA and take part in the Million Paws walk. My dog, Pickles McGerkin, is a Delta Therapy dog and we used to visit local aged care facilities and chat to the residents ... more importantly, Pickles would get pats and biscuits.

The best thing about working on commercial projects is the variety of work; I love researching and learning something new. I get a real kick out of collaborating with others and deciphering the brief into pictures and characters to be honed for a specific purpose. Limitations make for great creativity.

I’m most known for ‘my Japanese stuff’ and quirky characters.

Here’s a recent series of characters I created for the University of South Australia’s magazine. I loved that I could play with concepts and add my own sense of humour into the mix.

Not long ago I worked on a mural called ‘Surrealesville’, as a part of temporary public artworks on display between March and June 2019 in Healesville. The artwork was co-created with local young people to amplify and celebrate the voices and creative vision of young people in Healesville. This artwork has been made possible with the support of the Yarra Ranges Council as part of the youth and community development project It Takes a Town.

One of my all-time favourite projects was created for Fantasia Film Festival in 2007. I look back now and realise I was just a tiny baby in the illustration game but it was truly a ‘dream’ job. I created images for signage, t-shirts, programs and CDs all based on movies being that were shown at the festival - which meant my ‘research’ was watching movies!

I really loved working on the Carnival of the Animals for the MSO with Dom from 21-19. I’ll always remember sitting in the audience and seeing all the kids laughing at the elephant I created that had a very saggy bum. Achievement unlocked.

Here’s another piece I’m really proud of. It was created for ACMI’s Screen It! promotional material. Screen It! is run by ACMI and is used to promote and facilitate filmmaking and screenwriting in Australian primary schools and secondary schools. The theme I illustrated was ‘change’; I also updated the logotype.

One of the most fun jobs I’ve ever done was a set of character designs for Malvern Star. I was able to relive my childhood days, in particular riding and crashing my first bike.

Professional recognition is important to me even though I am a completely awkward dork when it comes to accepting praise. Some awards currently lining my trophy room include Communication Arts 2019 Award of Excellence. I also was overjoyed when the AOI chose an image in 2018 and subsequently interviewed me for their Illustrator of the Month section of their website.

It’s really important to dedicate time to personal work because my mind would explode if I didn’t get some of these concepts out of it. Lately in my personal work I’ve been experimenting with blending analogue and digital mediums a little more and seeing if I can create a more authentic image, something closer to the sensitivity of line found in my sketches. It’s not easy to find the balance.

I’ve always wanted to work with a publisher to author and illustrate my own children’s picture book. I think something like this would be incredibly fulfilling. Reading to my son is one of my all-time favourite things to do and seeing how much his world is formed by stories and imagination has shown me the power of books for young children.

When I was six, my uncle gave me a bound book with plain pages. I asked him what it was for and he said we were going to write a book together; he would be the author and I would be the illustrator. The story was about a mouse called Pontikki. My uncle lived overseas so the writing was sporadic, every year or so there would be new pages filled with words and I would draw the pictures. My uncle passed away when I was in my early 30s and the book was never completed. I hope to complete it in the near future and dedicate it to him.

I’m really excited to experiment more with augmented reality because it reminds me of Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, and of blurring the line between real life and imagination.

Recently I’ve been playing around with animation again in my digital work to see if I get more emotion and personality into the character.

In recent years I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to speak at some amazing events and conferences, such as Ideas on Design

If you want to find out even more about me, here are some recent articles about my practice at The AOI

That’s me! If you want more, check out my full folio and Instagram. Got a brief? Contact me and the good folks at Jacky Winter.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.