Emma Russell

Emma Russell's illustration blog

Tag: editorial

“Why I bought my daughter heroin” for BBC magazine

Some editorial illustrations for the BBC, illustrating a sad and amazing story of a family struggling to help their daughter cope with a drug addiction. You can read it here.

I made one lead illustration:

And six smaller illustrations to be spread throughout the story:



The initial brief for the main image was to illustrate the scene when the mother, in desperation, drives her daughter to buy drugs, but the focus changed slightly and it became the daughter suffering in withdrawal and the mother trying to soothe her. It made for a more simple image. It also needed to be clear enough to be easily understood when reduced down as a promotion on the main BBC News page. I wanted to make the best use of the “widescreen” landscape canvas, so standing figures or figures seated upright on a chair or bed wouldn’t work. The most effective option seemed to be for them to be seated on the ground. I made a pieta-like composition to both utilise the width of the layout and because the reflection of mother grieving over a child that it carries fitted well.

Bespoke paper headpieces, lips & sign artworks

My paper artwork featured in the Monochrome with a Dash of Colour. I was commissioned to make paper headpieces based on willow pattern dishes, a pair of huge juicy paper lips and a big pop art flash sign saying “TAT”. Here it is in print:

IMG_3096 IMG_3094 IMG_3091 IMG_3089 IMG_3088

When I’d just completed the headpieces:

hat IMG_1539 IMG_2709

The making of the lips and TAT sign:

IMG_2745 IMG_2748 IMG_2749 IMG_2756 IMG_2758 IMG_2762

Initial sketches:


Construction Manager – cultural intelligence

Commissioned piece on cultural intelligence in Construction Manager magazine which was published this month. I really enjoyed making this piece.

construction manager

The Art Editor had quite a clear idea of the concept for this image, of people dropping their cultural baggage, and that she wanted part of the image to break out and have the text wrapped around. It was fun bringing it to life.

She also pointed out several pieces of mine were the right sort of style for the piece they wanted. I LOVE it when clients do that!

A little bit of the starting sketch. I liked this little gaggle of people for some reason.


Here was the sketch for the final piece

for social hand luggage sketch

And the (not actually that rough at all!) rough. The placement of the image within the article was moved at this stage so the gutter would fall in a different place. You can see the amendments to the layout between the rough and final with the arch, the man with his hand luggage and the crowd to the left so they would not be lost in the fold.


The final piece:

for social cultural intelligence construction manager

Make your own cheese for The Guardian and Symonds Cider

snap of newspaper

Here’s my series of drawings in The Guardian’s Do Something magazine, 7th November. Make your own cheese for The Guardian and Symonds Cider.

A lovely job for a lovely picture editor and designer team. I’d happily do a set of drawings every week for these guys!

1 2 3 4 5

Observer Food Monthly Magazine – Building a BBQ Smoker


smoker 2 smoker 3 smoker 4 smoker 5smoker 1

Advertorial for The Observer and Symonds Cider on how to build your own meat (or fish or veg) smoker in your BBQ.

Shared Ownership Londoner portraits for Time Out magazine


Portraits of five types of Londoners who might be eligible for shared ownership for the 6th October issue of Time Out Magazine. This was such a nice job!

Shared ownership tear cropjpg


family funky older lady young professional wheelchair user  youngish coupleyoung professional



Chic Bad Taste issue of Old Tat Magazine

Here’s my work in the Autumn/Winer edition of Old Tat. It’s a brash, garish overlaying of three repeat patterns.

old tat burger pattern

for website bad taste tastes good old tat emma russell

David Cameron is an unconvincing oil rig worker

mr benn shopkeeper

I totally forgot to put this up at the time, so here it is now.   David Cameron visited a Scottish oil rig in February.  I’m always amused by politicians dressing up as normal people.  It makes me think of classic kids’ TV show Mr Benn.  In case you don’t remember this 80s stalwart here’s an outline… Mr Benn would visit the be-fezzed shopkeeper who would dress him up.  Mr Benn would have a brief moment in an environment that fitted his costume, then he’d put his bowler hat back on and return to his life.  I like to imagine the shopkeeper is now employed somewhere in the civil service dressing them up.  I drew the shopkeeper watching his handiwork in a TV report.


One Thing I Know – Brand

balloon flight 300dpi

I’m really happy to see my work illustrating an article in the journal One Thing I Know.

It’s an interesting article by Rebecca Valentine of Vaarta  about self branding.  Why not have a look

magazine article mock up

another brief from the course. I’m reworking this, so it’s unfinished:

lower quarter of page in progress

The first version didn’t feel quite right.  I liked the perspective of having the character on the roller coaster, but in wanting them to look terrified on their glycaemic roller coaster, I accidentally created a monster!

first version