A hint of nostalgia

Illustrator Alice Stevenson (alicestevenson.com) combines intricate detail with large flat areas of colour to create her slightly nostalgic yet contemporary works.


For her personal project Woods at Big Sur, Alice wanted a hyper-real, limited palette in the style of graphic artist Brian Cook, without losing the tones and light and general atmosphere of the photo that inspired it.

“The purple started off being green, but as I worked on it the colours became increasingly unrealistic,” says Alice. “Somehow, the more unrealistic they became, the more I felt that they captured the feel of the place.”

For the jacket of the Dejan Enev’s novel Circus Bulgaria, Alice had to find five bold colours that were upbeat without clashing. Alice used a very graphic/screenprint-like colour scheme, referencing Eastern European posters from the 1960s.

Collaborating with Mandy Norman on another jacket design, for Carol Ann Duffy’s New and Collected Poems for Children (below left), led Alice to make some brave decisions.

“Because this cover was aimed at children, I found it difficult to get the colour scheme right,” says Alice. “I was quite cautious at first and it started off being quite muted. Mandy pushed me to go really bold.”

A packaging project for Vodafone also forced Alice to venture beyond her colour comfort zone – she had to work with the brand’s red, pink and purple, a scheme she would never normally use. She gradually adjusted the colours to make them work together.

“This was quite a revelatory experience and made me rethink my preconceptions about colour,” says Alice.