Illustrator: Bartosz Kosowski

This website shows details about the creation process of many pieces of illustration through photographs of the work at various stages and descriptions by the artist of the tools used at various stages.

Bartosz Kosowski’s main approach to illustration is to use sketching, then inking (Copic Multiliner SP), then colouring in PhotoShop using a graphics tablet.

Noticeable is the ‘realism’ of the sketched and inked artwork – human forms are undistorted from photo-realistic scale and shape. The inked artwork is not shaded in the way that pop-art or graphic novels might be before colouring – it is at the colouring stage that tones are used to add 3d shape and shadow. The inked artwork has definite outlines around the elements. Hair is often drawn as two lines enclosing a space to be coloured – this is a single hair so you can make out each individually drawn hair.

At the colouring stage texture is introduced. This is often a fine ‘grain’ or paper-like texture – sometimes selectively applied (or removed) to show highlights and specular reflections.


The subjects for these illustrations can be quite specific. For example an article about jealousy shows a young woman holding a cage containing a heart. There are many thoughts that have gone into this composition:

  • Background  – wallpaper of scallops, perhaps rainbows (although the artwork is only blue and pink) – evokes a sense of ‘domestic’ or ‘home’ and further might suggest a nursery. The rainbows only being ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ are perhaps only ‘half the story’ – the rest of the colours are missing. A sense of jealousy through only seeing one side of the story; paranoia. Pink and blue are also traditional boy/girl baby colours, another nursery indicator.
  • Angle – the perspective is from a low angle which creates a touch of drama. The wall begins to tower above the woman and is more solidly drawn higher up. There’s a parallel between the cage and wall as ‘confinement’.
  • Cage  – the cage she holds is for a bird, about right for a dove or parrot (quite wide bars – although quite confined for a bird that big). It has a domed top making it a little ornate rather than a modern, practical to manufacture square cage. This suggests a romanticized view of a bird in a cage – a treasure rather than a pet. It has a ring to hang by but she is holding it against her with both arms. Inside the cage is a heart. It is the same apparent size as the woman’s head but is the only element of the illustration that is non-naturalistic.  The cage is over-strong for its size and shows no door.
  • Face – the woman looks young but not juvenile. 20 to 25 years old perhaps. Her hair is neat – straight combed fringe, the rest in a short pony tail. It’s practical and perfect – not a hair out of place. Perhaps another fairy-tale…? She gazes to her right in a very specific direction, towards the light, expression is neutral. You could imagine that she watches her partner for signs of betrayal!

The overall impression of this image is that she keeps her own heart in a cage – unable to be free and to trust. This is reinforced by the position of the cage which lines-up with the woman’s torso overlaying the caged heart on her own. The dome-shaped top now frames her décolletage and mirrors the round neck of her top.

So this image has been constructed from a carefully thought out process… many components coming together to form an image that can be looked at lightly or more deeply as the reader [of the article] wishes. At each depth of examination it hold up against the subject being discussed in the article.



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