This month we are beyond thrilled to welcome amazing new illustrative talent Matthew Land to the Arena family.
Matthew has an exquisite skill for creating characters so full of life that almost appear to move on the page. His use of perspective adds a flourish of cinematic flair and his subtle carefully selected colour palettes emphasise the great skill and craftsmanship in his work, we are delighted to be representing Matthew and look forward to sharing his illustrations with you over the coming years.
“Matthew’s illustrations have a classic feel of the Golden Age, but he gives a fresh twist which immediately attracted us to his work. His obvious love and vast knowledge of children’s fiction reflects in his visual storytelling beautifully. His soft watercolour and detailed line work gives a timeless and magical quality to the worlds he creates and the characters which inhabit them. We think his work will appeal to a broad range of publishing clients, from picture books to older fiction. Matthew’s aesthetic and love of pattern and design would also lend itself to a broader range of work. We’re excited about the prospect of exploring many different projects with him in the future.” – Caroline Thomson – Arena Illustration
Matthew on joining Arena:
“I am humbled, excited and chase-my-own-tail-in-circles happy to be represented by Arena. I have been aware of the tip-top quality of their illustrators since university and through into my career as a Bookseller, my bookshelves are full of many of the projects/work I’ve admired that have come about from the partnerships between Artist, Arena and Publishers.
A number of my all time hero illustrators are represented by Arena, so when I was asked if I’d maybe like to drop by for a meeting with them it meant a great deal to me.
It only all became real to me last week when my portfolio went live and I saw my name on the list of their illustrators (I was all of a sudden bathed in light and surrounded by hallowed music), I am looking forward and grateful for whatever happens, and I hope to do them proud.”
Here for your delectation and delight are a few carefully selected pieces but you view Matthews full portfolio HERE
Matthew grew up on a dairy farm somewhere in the Welsh hills and in spite of his great love and appreciation of the outdoors he steered clear of a career in the family business (mostly but not completely because he doesn’t digest dairy well). Instead he read and drew almost compulsively and has continued to do so because he never especially wanted a proper job.
He graduated from University College Falmouth in 2012.
Wanting a change of scene Matthew moved to Edinburgh and worked as a children’s bookseller in Blackwell’s Bookshop, which then took him to Oxford and rekindled his passion for fiction and storytelling. Matthew has picked up his pencils again and for the time being is back in Wales, currently skulking in the studio he’s rigged together in his grandmother’s attic.
Matthew is influenced by heroes from the golden age of British book illustration, including Arthur Rackham, Beatrix Potter and William Heath Robinson. He utilizes ink linework and watercolour and a touch of digital tweaking to breathe life into his unusual characters.
In his spare time Matthew is ticking National Trust properties off his ‘to visit’ list from which he draws a lot of inspiration and detail, and because of the gift shops.
6 Fascinating (Lesser Known) Facts about Matthew Land:
My Great Grandmother, illustrated children’s books in the time when typewriters, the postal service and Tipp-Ex were the norm, so I feel way less bad about not taking on the family farm.
I broke my arm at my brother’s christening because I wanted to monopolise some of his attention.
All the picture books from my childhood have my five-year-old scribbles in the margins, because I loved repeatedly drawing the elephant pyramid scene from Dumbo just everywhere.
When I am illustrating I am absolutely also snacking with my other hand, mostly because my metabolism will be representing team GB at the Olympics.
My aesthetic swings on a scale somewhere between wartime evacuee and librarian chic.
I am approachable in an ‘excuse me do you know where the train station is?’ way, and a ‘here’s my deepest darkest secret’ way, when really I am especially good for neither.
If you are interested in finding out more about Matthew’s work we would be delighted to hear from you, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org