Paper Illustrations by Helen Musselwhite

All works below are reproduced by kind permission of the artist. For projects commissioned for commercial projects I’m not clear where copyright permission lies, so please be sure to check out all her work on her website to see the wide range of beautiful and varied projects she has undertaken! http://helenmusselwhite.com

Ghost Fox

Ghost Fox © Helen Musselwhite

I love this talented and original artist’s work, which you will often come across on magazine covers, editorial illustrations, books, shop windows and theatre posters. I first saw a magical cover she created for the Evening Standard’s Stylist magazine on fairy tales. Musselwhite started off her career working for a graphic design industry but began creating her own self-directed work in papier mache to sell and craft stores and shops. Eventually she discovered paper sculpture, which has now become her main medium. In 2014 she won the prestigious V&A Illustration Awards: Published Category – Editorial Illustration.

Musselwhite has done some wonderfully intricate fairy tale-like wintery scenes for various magazine covers, giving a whole new lease of  life to the genre. There’s something quite Victorian about her work – she’s rather rediscovered the lost art of 19th paper-cuts used in scrapbooking, making toy paper proscenium arch theatres, and many other items. Below is a modern twist on the Victorian bell-jar. It’s nineteenth century antecedents would have been full of taxidermied animals or dried foliage.

Island Cottage Glass Dome

Island Cottage Glass Dome © Helen Musselwhite

I like her focus on the natural worldand I’ve loved making things with paper ever since I was a child, so her work really is designed to appeal to me.  Musselwhite says “I think I got into working with paper because I thought it would be quicker than painting (not true) and I also love the rich, flat and continuous colours of paper. I’m also very keen on watercolour paper, I like the different textures and brown paper and card for its utilitarianism. I really like that you can score, fold, curl and photocopy onto paper. I use a lot of pattern that I get from my collection of 60s and 70s pillowcase and duvet covers. Japanese patterned fabric is good to use too. I like the idea of building layers, to create a scene that the viewer could jump into, another world that’s a bit like a fairytale or a children’s story “

Ghost butterflies

Ghost Butterflies © Helen Musselwhite

Autumn wood

Autumn Wood © Helen Musselwhite

As well as being an excellent illustrator I love Musselwhite’s sense of colour, whether a ghostly and subtle monochrome work, a scene like the autumnal setting above or the bright coloured work she did for Cadbury’s (see her website)

Mother and Child

Mother and Child  © Helen Musselwhite

Musselwhite’s constructions are very stage-set like and having once worked in theatre a long time ago, I think she’d be a very good theatre set designer. She has designed some shop windows for Stella McCartney in London, Paris, New York, LA and Milan, which are very theatrical in nature.

The look of love

The look of love  © Helen Musselwhite


 Owls  © Helen Musselwhite

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