Alexandra Francis creates bright and observational digital illustrations inspired by her fine art charcoal drawings

Ghibli Redraw Poppy Hill © Alexandra Francis

Manchester-based graphic designer and illustrator Alexandra Francis creates bright, observational artworks mixed with bold hand-lettering.

While studying Fine Art at Lancaster University, her specialism was hyper-realistic charcoal drawing, so she tries to feed that skill through her digital work wherever possible, "whether that be through tone, texture or just drawing what I can see".

Alex graduated in 2017, realising that she didn't want to be a traditional artist: "But I liked creating things. I had heard about a graphic design course called Shillington from a family friend and I was privileged enough to have saved up enough to do the course. I have loads of good memories from doing the course and made some really great friends along the way," she says.

Today, Alex is part of the team at Flow Creative, a creative studio in Manchester's Northern Quarter. "I am the designer there so I do everything from designing brands, websites and drawing frames for animation which the animators then put their magic on. I really love wearing both hats of illustrator and graphic designer, switching up from problem-solving to technical drawing. I'm lucky to get to see my drawings move every day – it always makes them look 10 times better."

Outside of work, Alex does a little freelancing and a lot of personal projects – she is one of the co-founders of Make Room, a zine focused on creative women and she supports Manchester's Ladies Wine Design.

Over the past year, she has challenged herself to draw posters from any movies or TV shows that she likes: "This gave me an opportunity to combine my illustration and design skills while practising some hand-lettering. It's a way to remember the movie as a little memento, so I can look back and remember where and when I watched it and with who, what was happening in my life at that time and why I liked it so much. It becomes a little project for me to chip away at which means I don't spend half my evening thinking about what to draw which is definitely half the battle for me."

Follow more of her work on Instagram.

Blackpool Lettering © Alexandra Francis

Blackpool Lettering © Alexandra Francis

Tracee Ellis Ross © Alexandra Francis

Tracee Ellis Ross © Alexandra Francis

Covid-19 Crisis Migrant Camps © Alexandra Francis

Covid-19 Crisis Migrant Camps © Alexandra Francis

Burn © Alexandra Francis

Burn © Alexandra Francis

Film Posters © Alexandra Francis

Film Posters © Alexandra Francis

Film Posters © Alexandra Francis

Film Posters © Alexandra Francis

Manchester Culture Trip © Alexandra Francis

Manchester Culture Trip © Alexandra Francis