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From draft sketches to seeking inspiration: inside the beguiling world of illustrators at work

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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We've long been fans of illustrators on Instagram. There's something infinitely soothing about scrolling through an endless stream of hand drawn images, and we particularly love those that provoke, amuse or captivate us.

And one of the best things about following illustrators on Instagram is the behind-the-scenes peeks they sometimes offer into their working days. From beautifully decorated studios to artful arrays of watercolour paint pots, these images are sometimes just as fascinating as the illustrations themselves.

Click below to explore the world of our favourite Insta-illustrators, from draft sketches to inspirations and, of course, the final etchings.

  • Mekel

    Who: Australian fashion illustrator Kelly Coates, aka Mekel

    Follow for: colourful fashion sketches, straight off the runway

    @mekel_illustration

  • Mekel

    "Tuesday morning sleepy feels. Part of my new print series coming very soon"

  • Mekel

    "Getting excited over new techniques #paintporn"

  • Mekel

    "Rihanna steals the show at @dior #ss16 in front of the 300000 #delphiniums"

  • Mekel

    "Watermelon day. #needsmorewatermelon"

  • Paper Fashion

    Who: Katie Rodgers is a New York-based artist who found fame with her website of watercolour designs, Paper Fashion, founded in 2009

    Follow for: Beautiful watercolour illustrations and plenty of "shadow dancers"

    @paperfashion

  • Paper Fashion

    Stepping into my canvas today! 

  • Paper Fashion

    "Photo by Hiroko Masuike for the @nytimes."

  • Paper Fashion

    "Creating an ice skater's wonderland to print custom gift wrap"

  • Paper Fashion

    "It's incredibly freeing to paint in nature... Just the wind through the trees, chirping birds, and my imagination. Alone with the world. #papertravels"

  • Paper Fashion

    "A painters dozen."

  • Paper Fashion

    "my palettes and a #Matisse print."

  • Nina Cosford

    Who: Hastings and London-based freelance illustrator 

    Follow for: A fun and whimsical take on everyday life

    @ninacosford

  • Nina Cosford

    "Buried in roughs..."

  • Nina Cosford

    "Mini mock-up for something coming out at the end of the year..."

  • Nina Cosford

    "Man it's been a long day..."

  • Nina Cosford

    "New book on the way!"

  • Johanna Basford

    Who: Scottish illustrator and author of three adult colouring in books, Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean, which have sold over 10 million copies worldwide

    Follow for: A behind-the-scenes peek at the life of a colouring-in book artist

    @johannabasford

     

  • Johanna Basford

    "New colouring tutorial on my YouTube channel! How to colour a #LostOcean octopus in coloured pencil"

  • Johanna Basford

    "Do more of what makes you happy. Happy Friday folks"

  • Johanna Basford

    "Harvest view from the studio this evening."

  • Johanna Basford

    "Inky logo for @stylistmagazine"

  • Oh No Rachio

    Who: UK based designer-maker Rachel Basinger

    Follow for: Interior illustration inspiration and succulents

    @ohnorachio

  • Oh No Rachio

    "Spent most of today drawing this for a new product - do we like? #yayornay"

  • Oh No Rachio

    "The studio is all tidy now!"

  • Oh No Rachio

    "#succulentsunday"

  • Oh No Rachio

    "What the reality of shooting products looks like... + desk top on coffee table on dining table!
    + props everyyyywhere
    + retrieving cats from table top...multiple times!
    + creating the most uncomfortable shapes trying to get the perfect shot!" 

  • Gretchen Röehrs

    Who: San Francisco-based fashion designer Gretchen Röehrs

    Follow for: Incredible food-meets-fashion illustrations

    @groehrs

  • Gretchen Röehrs

    "the anti-manicure manicure"

  • Gretchen Röehrs

    "Peaches x Jason Wu Resort 2016 ..."

  • Gretchen Röehrs

    "Who Wore It Better: Missoni S/S '15 or the stock market? You decide! #VolatilityIsIN"

  • Gretchen Röehrs

    "gettin figgy with it#nanananananana"

  • Gretchen Röehrs

    No caption

  • Holly Exley

    Who: London-based watercolour illustrator

    Follow for: Intricately detailed drawings of everything from food to portraits

    @hollyexley_illustration

  • Holly Exley

    "Roughs & finals #wildlifeillustration"

  • Holly Exley

    "Manateeeeeeeeee"

  • Holly Exley

    "I'm always filming bits & bobs I have yet another video idea, just wish I had more time to edit & upload! #watercolours"

  • Holly Exley

    "Another Exley illustrator in the making. #netherlanddwarf"

  • Eleni Kalorkoti

    Who: London-based, Scottish illustrator Eleni Kalorkoti creates all manner of art, from zines to posters

    Follow for: Thoughtful illustrations (particularly the Held zines)

    @elenikalorkoti

  • Eleni Kalorkoti

    "Thank you@winsornewton_usa for the fancy new pens, I'm using them to draw pretty pretty ladies #wnpigmentmarker"

  • Eleni Kalorkoti

    "First ever day at my first ever studio that is not my bedroom. Proper."

  • Eleni Kalorkoti

    "Back to work."

  • Eleni Kalorkoti

    "Window painting at Gosh, ft @lizzlizz drawing dawgs."

  • Maja Säfström

    Who: Stockholm-based architect and illustrator

    Follow for: Simple but beautiful black line sketches

    @majasbok

  • Maja Säfström

    "from the studio!"

  • Maja Säfström

    No caption

  • Fall into London

    Who: Illustrator and website designer

    Follow for: Beautiful London and fashion illustrations

    @fallintolondon

  • Fall into London

    "Illustrating @Margoandmeon this lovely Saturday afternoon and listening to @Indila #paris #blossomtree #illustration"

  • Fall into London

    "Working on my clients website and brochure design today! #exciting!"

  • Fall into London

    "I'm illustrating live at @caratlondon today in @Harrods on the lower ground floor."

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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