Artist Profile: Lisa Maltby – Colouring Cocktails


We love the occasional drink nearly as much as we love great design. It is the combination of these two things that drew us to the work of artist, Lisa Maltby.

Lisa’s illustrations not only grab your eye straight away, they also have a playful nostalgia about them. They remind us of the beautiful and colourful artist books we would read as children whilst also managing to include a modern flair through their individuality.

Lisa’s latest project, a book titled The Glorious Book of Curious Cocktails, is an activity and recipe book for children. Lisa’s illustrations provide activities, education and above all fun with the kind of design aesthetic that parents won’t mind leaving out on the coffee table when guests pop round. We got to know Lisa a little better and delved into some of the background behind the book and her design style as a whole.


Tell us a little bit about your background and style.

I’ve always been passionate about creativity and I knew I wanted a creative artist career from a young age. I studied illustration at university and then worked in various creative jobs. My last one being a senior designer at a design agency. I enjoyed it but craved a bit more experimentation so I went solo to focus on more illustrative work two years ago.

Speak a little about your latest project, a cocktail book for children?

I do a lot of food and drink illustration and I once had to work on a lot of cocktail illustrations for a menu. My little boy saw them and found it hilarious that I put limes and lemons in them. I asked him what he would put in them? The following hour was just no holds barred ideas: slugs, slime and orangutan poo! We used a lot of literary devices to invent our crazy recipes so I thought it would make a great book that was both funny and educational. There’s a lot of research about the influence humour has on memory. It can help to retain information better. The book has had a great response so far.

You say you have an obsession with Typography, what attracts you to it?

As I kid I remember my mum and dad had loads of old-school 70s books and records in the house with really cool typography. I remember being fascinated with the letterforms. I always asked for a pen set every Christmas so I’ve always loved playing around with words and formations. I’ve always been interested in writing too and I love the way words and pictures complement one another.

From an artist perspective, what was one of your more challenging clients/projects and why?

I’ve had lots of challenging projects for good and bad reasons! A good one was a project I did last year which was commissioned by The Children’s Hospital Charity in Sheffield. They would ask the artist to paint huge elephant sculptures that were to be displayed around the city as a sculpture trail and then auctioned off at the end. As the surface is curved it was really challenging to deal with the distortion. Especially as I incorporated lettering. The scale of it was also quite a challenge. I had limited time to work on it, but it was so rewarding to complete the project. My elephant design was auctioned off and raised £7600 for the charity.


How do you approach a new project to ensure it will be unique (for the client and from your other work) and personal?

Understanding what is unique about your client is the most important thing – listening and gaining insight into how you can convey messages in the most effective way to them. Finding out about who people are selling to and why they are doing so changes the way I approach an illustration – whether it is beautiful, funny or leaves something to the imagination, for example. There’s a story behind every brand and marketing strategy and I try to connect in with that.

What is the key to a great mojito?

Brown sugar! (And no slugs).

Lisa’s book The Glorious Book of Curious Cocktails is currently on Kickstarter until October 26th. You can read more about it and help bring the project to life here. You can also view some of Lisa’s other works at her website

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