Naomi Wilkinson

Naomi Wilkinson is an illustrator based in Bristol, UK, and her beautiful illustration of a Mexican woman is featured on the front cover of our new issue of Flow Magazine (see below). Here, Naomi tells us about the piece, her work, what inspires her and what she’s up to right now.

The cover for Flow Magazine issue 17 depicts a Mexican woman holding up a “skirt” decorated with native characteristics. How did you come up with the idea?
I really love folk art and it definitely informs my work. I created this illustration while at university and I wanted to actually illustrate folk tales rather than just drawing pretty pictures in the style of folk art. This image was based on a Mexican folk story about a woman who is forced to leave home because her husband is embarrassed by the attention she gets from other men, so she travels all over Mexico trying to find somewhere new to live.

You feature a bullfighting scene in the skirt. Why did you choose to do so?
It was inspired by the folk tale. I’m completely against bull fighting, but I took it from the story; just because something is illustrated, doesn’t mean you yourself agree with it!

What are you up to at the moment?
Well, I’ve been illustrating professionally for about five years and doing it fulltime for two years. In that time, I’ve done a bit of everything, but mainly for magazines. Now, however, I seem to be moving slightly more into publishing and I’ve been doing some really cool publishing projects this year. I have a children’s book, One Hundred Things To Spot (Learn with Little Mouse), coming out in September and I’ve been working on a couple of story games with small toy companies as well as a few editorial projects. It’s definitely been a fun year so far!

Can you tell us about your work?
I would say I usually try to make my illustrations joyful and “active”, with lots of movements and little details. And I love drawing people moving; there’s something really satisfying about it. I’m very much inspired by the graphics and illustrations used in packaging and advertising from the 1950s to the 1970s. I think they’re great. And illustrators such as like Alain Grée, Mary Blair and Fredun Shapur are also wonderful sources of inspiration for me.

How does an average working day look like for you?
My partner and I share care of our two-year-old daughter, so my week is split between work and childcare. I work from home, so on a “work day”, I try to be at my desk at 8.30ish a.m. to answer any e-mails and make a to-do list. Once that’s done I work all day while listening to podcasts. I do like to get out for some fresh air and do errands or go for a walk with the family and dog in the afternoon, but most days I need to stay welded to my desk to get everything done!

Do you have a fun tidbit to share about yourself?
My mum claims that I drew a stick person when I was just eighteen-months old, but I’m pretty sure she’s exaggerating!

  • You can see Naomi’s work on her website and Instagram.
  • You can order Issue 17 from our web shop. Or you can find your copy in bookstores all around the world. Check our store locator for more information about where you can find Flow.