Celia Jacobs is the kind of illustrator your favorite illustrators love. Born in Portland and currently living and working in Los Angeles, she works for various brands and publications, once from an oceanographic research vessel and once from a lab in Bermuda, but mostly from the home studio, she shares with a black and white dog named Archie.
Growing up in Portland with a mom who painted and a dad who played jazz piano, Jacobs’ artistic path was paved early on. “I knew I wanted to be an illustrator when I was a kid,” she shared with Catapult. “I kind of forgot about it, but when I got older and started needing to make decisions about my life, I realized that drawing had always been all I ever wanted to do and that illustration would be a good way to keep doing it.”
Jacobs’ interests include nature, music, and social issues, all of which she illustrates with sensitivity and California technicolor. Working with acrylic paint on colored paper, her favorite tools include cheap synthetic brushes. “My favorite part is definitely the act of painting,” she notes. “I put on music or a podcast and then space out and get to work. It’s very physical, and it feels very familiar and right to me.”
“I think it’s important to not just focus on the aesthetic of your illustration work, but consider what kind of content really interests you and how you can bring in your other interests and hobbies,” reflected Jacobs. “It leads to more honest and personal work and I think that’s how you get people on your side.”
With selected clients that include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Google, The Wall Street Journal, Snapchat, and TED, she’s definitely got a lot of people on her side.