Sarah Coleman

Illustrator, Inkymole


Known for her early pioneering hand-lettering and hand-drawn type, developing styles and approaches now ubiquitous in the creative industries, Sarah’s two-decade career in commercial illustration has encompassed live-filmed murals for TV advertising, outdoor walls and giant breeze block murals to the minutiae of cross-hatching, embroidery, sculpture, built objects, wearable pieces and pixel-only creations.

Sarah was the first person in 25 years to illustrate the cover of American Playboy, and created the 50th Anniversary cover of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and its prequel, Go Set A Watchman.

After graduating from Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, Sarah had a brief stint making props for the Royal Shakespeare Company, juggling night-time shifts making illustrations for editorial and theatrical clients by hand, photographing them for publication. Pre-internet, these lively hand-assembled images had to be delivered in person, and after leaving the RSC due to a distinct lack of vertical opportunities, she taught HND Visual Communication students as the country’s then-youngest course director on part-time hours aged 25.

Her working background is as eclectic as it is fascinating: with partner Leigh she ran a pirate radio station; set up and sold a nationally-renowned wedding stationery company with a shop at Virgin Bride in Trafalgar Square, (complete with celebrity-laced client list); typeset obituaries; did record distribution, runs a record distribution label, runs a record label, made 45rpm record adapters – a business only recently sold – held shows and club events and ran creative workshops as well as teaching and youth work. All this while still illustrating.

Inkymole Limited has been operating continuously since 1993 and has grown a client list that reads like an A-Z illustrators’ dream Roladex, including Coca Cola, New York Times, Tiffany Jewellers, Toyota, Disney & Saatchi & Saatchi. Sarah has over 400 book covers to her name and with creative partner Leigh divides her time between illustration, public speaking and a ceaseless series of side-ventures.

In collaboration with her partner Leigh Adams, Inkymole launched a live education project, ‘Stupid Enough’, which premiered in Austria in the autumn of 2015 and is currently touring creative institutions.