Jessica

Meyrick

My name is Jessica Meyrick.

My work is all about challenging the way society is reflected and represented within illustration. I love illustration because illustration transcends language; it can universally communicate thoughts and ideas. I’m most known for using bright and bold colours to explore diversity in character design, and capturing intricate detail.

What interests me most about art is its ability to communicate instantly. I remember crying in front of Monet’s Nympheas, just at the sight of a particular blue. Art doesn’t need to use words to hit us emotionally.

I’m a strong believer in my personal responsibility as an illustrator to make work that is inclusive and relatable. It’s important to me that viewers are able to identify themselves in artwork, and feel that they are given a voice. I spend a lot of time reading poetry, fictional stories and non-fiction. I mainly read essays on feminism and racism, because stories work to create understanding and empathy; I never want to become complacent or ignorant to the struggles of others.

As such, I make colourful, hand-painted illustrations and explore themes of diversity and female representation within my work. One of my all-time favourite projects was an editorial for INTHEBLACK magazine on diversity in the workplace. I loved making work for a topic I was so personally invested in.

In the past I’ve lived in Falmouth, right on the Coast in Cornwall, on the tail end of the UK. I grew up in Bristol, a beautiful and creative city in the UK, but I now live in Sydney, where it’s MUCH warmer. I originally studied fine art alongside psychology, history, English literature and photography, but I was always doodling. I then studied an Illustration BA (Hons) at Falmouth University. It gave me space to experiment and develop my practice.

My desk is always crowded with watercolour palettes and plants that need repotting. Right now, it looks like this:

Not long ago I worked with Okay Lady on a 400-piece illustrated puzzle. It was amazing to work on a project that sought to encourage mindfulness from simply taking a break—and doing a puzzle!

One of my favourite projects recently was for the Calile Hotel in Brisbane. The aesthetics and design of the hotel were incredibly inspiring, and I was overwhelmed to see some of my favourite work I’ve made to date in situ.

Here’s another piece I’m really proud of. It was created for Masini & Chern, as part of a tropical fruit pyjama print.

Most of my work starts with roughly sketching out ideas and refining the composition. Then I lightly sketch onto watercolour paper, mix the palette and start painting. Once it’s finished, I’ll scan it in and edit on photoshop. People are often surprised to learn all my work starts off being hand-painted with watercolours.

It’s really important to dedicate time to personal work because it keeps me inspired and informs my professional work. Recently I’ve been playing around with gouache to see if it suits my work better than watercolour paints.

Lately in my personal work I’ve been using more digital editing techniques and looking for ways to speed up my process. I’m really excited to experiment more with digital techniques because it allows me to spend more time adding in pattern and detail to the painting process.

When I was six, I illustrated my first book—Sleeping Beauty. She had no neck and a huge head, with arms and legs emerging out of it. I often get asked if I can make female characters look ‘slimmer’ or a bit sexier. The answer is with all due respect, no no no.

I’ve always wanted to work with The New Yorker. I think something like this would work great for an editorial.

If you'd like to know even more about me, here are some articles about my practice by Ball Pit Mag and The Calile Hotel.

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.