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Azoe Illustrator Portfolio


I’m a professional; I draw, paint, write and keep bees.

Some years ago, I found myself upriver amidst a tribal people in the wilds of the Borneo jungle.

Sitting cross-legged ringed in by staring people, I was sketching a fierce, dark and wizened old man I took to be their leader. He was tattooed in intricate indigo spirals, swooshes and swirls from nose to navel. I was illustrating an illustrated man.

The heat was oppressive. He was silent. No one spoke. The soundtrack was the screeching of jungle birds, the grunting of pigs and the beating of my heart.

Drawing completed to my satisfaction and relief, I presented it to my subject with as much solemnity as I could muster wearing frayed army surplus shorts and sweat-drenched t-shirt. He accepted the drawing without a smile and examined it closely. After some time, he turned the portrait sideways, perusing it again, at length. He did the same on turning it upside down. Time crawled by.

Finally with a nod, a toothless, almost smile caressed his thin lips. He liked my portrait of him. He like it any which way. 

It dawned on me as suddenly as the slash of a machete; the man was visually illiterate; printed words and images were utterly alien to him. He saw my drawing of him not as a likeness, but simply as a pleasing arrangement of sinuous lines, much like those comprising his lavish pelt of tattoos.

Ever since that day, when drawing to capture a likeness and personality, I’ve also tried to render the lines of a drawing themselves pleasing to the eye and spirit.

I hope that shows. I hope that the joy of creation and collaboration speaks through those lines.

The Big Red Illustration Agency is always looking for the next great client and commission. If you'd like to work with us on a project, please get in touch