Erin Ruane explores the characters of the Zodiac in her beautifully designed illustrations

Illustrator and designer Erin Ruane presents the familiar characters of the Zodiac in a new light in her latest project, which transforms them into a gorgeous set of cohesive images.

The 12 astrological signs of the Zodiac are some of the world's most recognisable and well-known characters. Each has its distinctive design and personality, making them a popular subject for artists as well as people devoted to the readings of their star sign.

Yet despite this familiarity, there's still plenty of room for interpretation. Just take this series of images created by London-based illustrator and designer Erin Ruane, which presents Aries, Pisces, and everyone in between in a fresh new way.

Picked out in the bold and expressive mark-making techniques which have become something of a signature style for Erin, this set of stunningly designed illustrations explores the beauty and character playfully found in astrology. Created as a personal project, these illustrations were made with the intention of seeing if Erin could depict different subjects that still felt recognisable as a set.

"Star signs have always been something I've been interested in, and they're often a fun discussion amongst friends," Erin tells Creative Boom. And this obvious enthusiasm carries over into her art.

Besides the joy of settling on a colour palette, which Erin says is always her favourite part of the creative process, her enjoyment can also be seen in the finishing touches and details with which she embellished these pieces. "After all the textures are together, I overlay light, expressive marks and grain which bring movement back into the works after mapping out lots of vector lines," she adds.

As well as trying to find a sense of cohesion, the project was also a way for Erin to experiment with a different, slower workflow. "Speed is something that really drives my energy when it comes to making work, as a lot of the textural process is quite instinctual," she explains.

"This is the first personal project where I encouraged myself to take more than a few days to finish and instead spread it out over several weeks. I actually found leaving a piece still for a few days made me feel better about the work in the long term.

"Some signs were more immediate than others, the quickest being the crab for Cancer. With some of the signs, I chose to draw them more conceptually than their known symbols. Leo, Taurus and Aries are all recognised for their animal representations, but it was fun to interpret these traits into playful characters instead."

The slower pace also gave Erin's style and approach a chance to change. It meant that she would often have to go back and tweak other parts of existing drawings in order to keep the overall set cohesive, but the amazing results reveal that all this extra effort was worthwhile.

"I think the way I overcame this was with gentle persistence; sometimes things can take many iterations, and it's part of the process," she adds. "It's also nice to be excited by something mid-way through a project, you open up a new path, and it could really change the course of the overall work."

Perhaps Erin's star sign also affects how she works. After all, she's a Virgo, the star sign notorious for perfectionism. "I think my sign often influences my workflow as I can often be particular when it comes to detail, and I'm likely to keep pushing work to the point of confident resolution," she agrees.

"Although I'm trying to remind myself not to get caught up so much in outcomes and see it more as a bonus for the creative journey itself."


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