“I really like drawing dead things,” says Kid Squid, the illustrator of this month’s cover. “Natural history, bones and animals and stuff like that. Scientific illustrations and Victorian botanical drawings are my favourite. Most of my work has a bit of a dark side to it, but it’s not macabre; it can be a little bit gothic, in a kind of delicate way. But then I like doing things which are a little bit weird and quirky as well...” Her sketchbooks demonstrate exactly what she means. On one page lies a dead sparrow, intricately drawn in black ink with only its red breast highlighted in watercolour; on the next, an elegant swan, equally intricate, but it’s puking. The swan is puking a rainbow.
“It’s a niche style that I’m trying out,” she explains. “Every October I do this thing called Inktober, which is where you do an ink drawing every single day for the whole month and post each one on Instagram. It’s really good for developing a style and there are prompts for every day. For some of the prompts, I had no idea what to draw and a friend said, ‘you know what you should do? A puking animal.’ So I decided that for every day I didn’t know what to draw I would draw a puking animal. It either makes people really uncomfortable or they love it.” The full set of puking animals (including a puking Godzilla and a puking Alien) are being exhibited in all their rainbow-coloured glory at Brighton’s new Conclave Gallery on Queens Road until October 2nd.
This design for our ‘Footprint’ cover is a stride away from her normal style. It’s far more colourful, for a start. “I used to be terrified of using colour,” she says. “It felt like such a commitment, which is why I often just work with little pops of colour. But recently someone introduced me to watercolour and showed me the basics, and since then I’ve been playing around with it. It’s a weird medium to work with – it can be quite unpredictable at times – but I’m a lot more confident with it now!” The vibrant oranges and yellows are meant to show the seasonal transition, from summer’s gladioli to the autumnal leaves, but the fiery colours have a deeper message as well.
“I’ve been really noticing the Extinction Rebellion artwork that’s appearing all over the town at the moment,” she says, “and what I wanted to create was not only the idea of summer turning into autumn, but the vibrant flowers and nature heading towards the dark autumn of the climate crisis that we’re in.” The heavy, punchy footprints represent her more rebellious side. “It’s really incredible what ER are doing. I think they get a bit of a bad rep for being quite ‘extreme’ – but it isn’t that they are extreme, it’s that the situation is extreme. It’s a really difficult thing for everyone to come to terms with, but someone needs to say ‘hey everyone, we need to wake up now’.”
See more of Kid Squid’s work on her website kidsquidillustration.com or on Instagram:
She also creates fabulous pet portraits; see more examples on her website or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a commission.