“I liked the idea of subverting genre stereotypes”: Elena Blanco and the Making Uncovered artwork

The artist - Elena Blanco
The artist – Elena Blanco

Our recent Making Uncovered event saw 700 people coming together to celebrate art and craft in Brixton. We think that one of the reasons for its success was the lovely artwork on flyers – it got praise from almost everyone we handed them to!

We asked Elena Blanco, the artist who created the artwork, about how she came up with it. Here’s the secret…



The Making Uncovered artwork
The Making Uncovered artwork

I worked on the illustrations for the Making Uncovered flyers and posters very differently from my usual way. Especially with my first two picture books, “When nothing happens” and “Petina goes travelling”, I have normally used a very controlled illustration technique; a very clear ink line that I plan carefully. I can be very fastidious about a drawing and repeat it several times before I like the result.

Illustration from 'When nothing happens'
Illustration from ‘When nothing happens’

For the Making Uncovered piece I worked very loosely, playing by ear quite a lot. The story of this illustration started at a Stephen Chambers’ exhibition at the RA. I was very interested in his prints at that exhibition.

His prints are amazing at many different levels but I was particularly fascinated by the way he draws people’s faces. He does quite a simple line drawing that conveys lots of expression. Then I did what I do when I admire a drawing; I draw it. The process of copying something you like is such a great learning experience, I highly recommend it! The drawings looked like this:


When Makerhood offered me the job of designing the Making Uncovered poster, they had a few ideas for the illustrations. They talked about something with a vintage feel; people making; tools indicating different crafts and also the idea of subverting genre stereotypes.

When I started to try and draw people I realised I didn’t know how to draw adults and remembering Stephen Chambers’ drawings I tried to make up my own people using what I had learned from his style. Here are the drawings :


I did some sketches I liked and then scanned them and cut and pasted with Photoshop. I thought the images of people floating around on the sheet worked well and I added drawings of tools to make it feel buzzing with activity. To unify bits I added monochrome shades. The monochrome also gives the vintage feeling.

I liked the idea of subverting genre stereotypes and drew knitting and crochet tools around the bearded man and woodcraft tools around a woman. The final illustration was done in Photoshp in less than two hours. I have never worked so quickly!


Check out Elena’s work on Etsy where it’s available to buy: www.DreamyMeisme.etsy.com


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