Peter Mitchell: The Illustrator’s Touch

Peter Mitchell is back at Ingram Gallery in Toronto with a new set of exceptional illustrations in a group show, Works on Paper, through June 23.  (Above: Dora’s (2012) 24 x 24 mixed media)

-Revengers (2012) 32 x 32 mixed media

As a journalist, I have deep respect for illustrators, especially those – like Mitchell – whose stunning interpretations land so deftly on newspaper and magazine pages.  I have never understood how these artists manage to interpret the barked-out, imprecise and sometimes inarticulate briefings of many of the editors who assign them.  Often, the art is described so many weeks or even months before the story is written, it’s a mystery how illustrators ever get it right.  But they always do, at least in all the newsrooms where I’ve worked.

Peter Mitchell’s award-winning illustrations regularly appear in publications around the world.  His work has been widely recognized and hangs in the collections of Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. (Above: Ugly Building (2011) 27 x 30.5 mixed media)

Lou’s Diner (2012) 6.5 x 6.5 mixed media

-From the book “I.D. Stuff that Happens to Define Us

This collection of 12 first-person true stories about experiences that define us marked the beginning of Mitchell’s work in books.  He illustrated 140 full-color pages and hand-rendered the text with author Kate Scowen, leading to a gritty and powerful identity-builder for adolescents.


Peter spent his childhood tromping around in forests, gravel pits, and marshes, thinking about everything other than what he would do when he grew up. Drawing was in fact of no particular interest for him as a boy; however, stories for children—the complete works of Roald Dahl were never far from reach—and illustrator Quentin Blake clearly left their mark.  To this day, Peter will take any excuse to escape to the wilds. Many spreads for the book i.d. (2010) were drawn in a little cabin near Algonquin. -From Annick Press biography

-For Toronto Globe & Mail, from the Peter Mitchell blog

Peter Mitchell graduated from the Sheridan College Illustration program in 2002 and is now based in Toronto.

Ingram Gallery, Toronto, here.


  • Sara Sniderhan

    Great artist and very interesting take on the difficulties of illustrating for magazines and newspapers!

    • boomerontario

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Sara. And yes, while I’m sure many illustrators have wonderful relationships with many editors, I’ve seen so many situations like this that I had to mention it!

  • michellecfecit

    visually they’re so inviting.
    the thin illustrator’s nib lines defining chunks of colour, almost silk-screen like.
    but the stories or messages within them creating a darker mood.

    & details like the light standards (in Dora’s & Revenger #1) add
    a whimsy to the harsh lines. in ‘Dora’s’, the light standard could
    double as a shower head to wash Dora’s dirty poster girl down!

    his lines are so effective that images like ‘lou’s diner’ could be
    pared down to only the evergreens & it could still stand as a
    balanced drawing.

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