Anna Broadhurst uses strong graphic shapes and retro colours to create stunning illustrations

The work of London-based illustrator and animator Anna Broadhurst is instantly recognisable thanks to its distinctive colours and use of dynamic geometric shapes. In fact, you've probably already seen her images adorn the likes of Facebook, Adidas and Creators Club.

Having studied an MA in graphic design at London Met University and a BA in design practice at York St Johns, a future in illustration and design always seemed on the horizon for Anna. She even admits that for as long as she can remember, she has always loved being creative.

"I've never been great with words, so to be able to communicate ideas through drawing and making things has always been my go-to," Anna tells Creative Boom. "Drawing and being creative is like therapy for me, so to be able to do it for a living is a dream come true!"

Inspired by the strong shapes and bold colours of Petra Eriksson, Anna has channelled this influence into her work to create in-your-face yet visually pleasing images. The animation and illustration work of Yukai Du is also an important influence. "To see how another illustrator has seamlessly integrated a unique animation style into her brand is hugely aspirational to me."

As well as relying on strong graphic shapes with high contrast retro colour schemes, Anna also loves to play with texture. She finds it a useful way to subtly layer up colours to achieve her desired effect. And speaking of colours, Anna has an innovative way of settling on her palettes.

"I draw inspiration from my surroundings, taking photos of colours in the environment that I then try to simplify and create a palette," she explains. "I absolutely love playing with colour. The way it can affect emotions and bring out new feelings within the viewer is fascinating to me."

Another signature element of Anna's illustrations is scale, which is put to striking effect as people are reduced to minuscule size. "I've always had a strange fascination with tiny things, and I think it started from that," she reveals.

"I put a tiny person into a picture and realised it could change the meaning of the objects around them. It's a fun way to play with surrealism and create new meanings in my work."

Unsurprisingly, Anna is in demand. Currently, she is finishing up a commission for Selfridges Group for a new sustainability section on their website. "I had the chance to work on both illustration and animation for it, so it's been great to work on," she adds. "My current personal project is a range of animated dog-themed greetings cards using augmented reality!"


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