“I honestly just love drawing for money,” writes Sonny Ross in his short, candid bio. Luckily for us, there are people willing to pay for his delightful creations. Based in the UK, his selected clients include publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Telegraph, amongst many others.
But initially, Ross admits he actually contemplated a very different career. “I wanted to be a history teacher,” he shared with Lecture in Progress. “But when the time came to choose what to do at university, I chose illustration. I had always drawn and I’m going to be honest and put it down to ego. As a kid I would get compliments on my sketches and that felt good. Nobody ever really raved about an essay about post-reformation parliament in the same way so I chose illustration.”
According to Ross, he went into university with a very narrow view of what illustration was. “That was corrected pretty quickly,” he notes, adding that “being surrounded by incredible people with amazing skills beyond my own really opened my eyes.” Graduating from Birmingham City University in 2014 with a first-class degree in Illustration, his visual language now revolves around playful characters and bright color palettes.
“I’m a freelance illustrator, which affords me the opportunity to work for whomever I like,” says Ross, “from editorial work to food, children’s books, corporate and independent. One day, I could be working on a really serious news piece and the next could be some light-hearted design work, I like that part of my work.”
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