Hello there. My name is Oda Sonju, I'm a uk based artist and illustrator. Below you'll find examples of my latest work as well as little things in life that inspire me. Enjoy! And if you have any questions, or if you like what you see and would like to commission me for any creative purpose at all, don't hesitate to email me at:


All illustrations copyright C 2014 - Oda Sonju
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Deep Night

After I got my hard drive back I've been able to return to working on the stuff that I thought I had lost forever! Here is one that I spent quite a bit of time on during easter - an illustration promoting Ghost Deep Night perfume. It's is a project I've kept coming back to during the year - it started as a drawing in september, of a girl sitting on a moon, but the imagery wasn't really strong enough. It then developed into a digital drawing, with the model's dress turning into the night sky, but the imagery still wasn't quite there yet and the concept wasn't really working. Then I randomly came across some underwater photography while surfing the web, and it was exactly the kind of eerie, dark, beautiful and delicate look I wanted. And this is the result

Cooking monsters return

Line art for a children's book illustration I'm working on at the moment. I always find that sometimes things are better left as black and white...but maybe that's because I know colouring takes careful consideration and time, which I'm lacking in these final days before the course deadline. I'll pop up the coloured version as soon as it's finished x

Friday, 27 May 2011

red is the new black

I've been working on the H&M project that I first started in September again...and this time it seems as if I'm producing some imagery that I'm actually happy with! I think all the experimentation and the constant going back to old projects to improve them this year has been a slight pain in the bum, but it's also really been worth it. I don't want to submit anything that I'm not happy with!


A while since I posted last! It's really been a hectic past few weeks! I've been to New York with the University for a week to show my portfolio around. We had to make appointments in advance, phoning around to ask if anyone would care to see us and give us feedback on our portfolios. I had a few great appointments with Debut Art agency, Studio NYC, Hush and Nickelodeon. They all gave great constructive feedback! Before I left, I very much felt like my portfolio was a little bit all over the place because I have so many different styles, but I've returned with a feeling of confidence in my ability as an artist and I now know what to focus on! I love drawing characters and designing for animation, because it's so much fun! Since the trip to the Big Granny Smith I've figured that's a path that I want to venture down! I love it when things come to life! So watch this space - I might soon have things dancing all over the shop! ....we'll see.

Since coming back I've just been trying to finish things up before the final final FINAL EVER deadline! STRESS! But things are looking up! I got my hard drive back today AND i finished my website - it's now LIVE!

Check it out:                                      

 www.odasonjuillustration.com !!

Saturday, 14 May 2011


My housemates x

I've been working with an independent filmmaker/animator on a short film, doing character and set design as well as story boarding. It's about an old fisherman and his chase of a legendary fish! The tale that has been handed down through generations, but as he tries to pass it on to his grandson and notices his disinterest he acknowledges that times have moved on and contemplates the end of his search. The film jumps between live action and stop motion animation and is beautifully scripted and shot by Joseph Holohan. That description probably did the film no justice at all, suffice to say I am very proud :) It's going to be uploaded to Vimeo shortly, and I will post a link when it's up x

Catfish :)

I'm so glad I was able to rescue the illustrations for Catfish so that I could print them for my portfolio. The rest of the illustrations are a bit further down in this blog.
A couple of editorial illustrations - one for New Scientist, a magazine I love to dabble in now and again for all the weird and wonderful knowledge contained within its pages! The other is one in a series, inspired by an article about urban wildlife, and how cities are taking over the natural habitats of the animals that used to roam free in the area.

Illustration for University College Falmouth's annual Illustrated Quotes and Sayings book. This is inspired by what Walt Disney said once upon a time: "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on treasure island". I wanted to do something about pirates to honour the time that I've spent in the pirate land of Cornwall and at first I didn't actually realise who had come up with such a fitting sentence until I had pretty much finished the artwork. When I did I actually wooped, because I'm a true Disney girl at heart. They are the films I grew up with, I know pretty much all the songs (in both norwegian and english!) and I'm pretty close to completing my collection of dvd's! No matter what the critics say I will always stand by Disney for creating fantastic animations with characters, songs and stories that warm my heart every time!  x

a few more examples of what I have been working on recently.
My style can be applied to both adult and young audiences and I hopefully this is evident in the work I have posted above x


Finished colouring these a few days ago. I LOVE colouring on photoshop, it's so much fun. I learn more with every piece I do, but I still  feel like I have a long way to go and I keep myself stocked up of magazines like Imagine FX and Digital Artist for inspiration!!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Got some character...

Been drawing some characters today! First set of drawings is for an editorial about three types of gamers, so in the foreground of the composition I'm going to add the gaming characters they turn into. The old man is a COD shooter type, the geeky guy on the end is a wizard with staff and a glowing book and the little girl turns into a proper evil fighting sexy extravaganza of a lady character (with her bangs turning into dragons and all sorts)...I like juxtapsosing things :) The second is a development to some characters I drew when representatives from Catapillar children's books popped around to the uni last week and set us a character drawing excercise. I came up with the concept of monsters that can cook. May develop into a story. Anywho, going to try and have them finished and coloured by the end of the night so bring on the coffee! x

Monday, 9 May 2011

Jane Eyre book cover. Almost finished! I have the lovely Libby to thank for posing for this image! She's a fellow Falmouth illustrator, check her work out on www.libbycoutts.tumblr.com!!
Almost finished the book-cover for Uglies....I keep thinking there's something more that needs doing to the face. Perhaps make the lips a little fuller...and the hair needs a little bit more attention. Also going to add some more lines and equations and science-y stuff into the background to complete the design.

Fal personalities

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Thank Moo!!

Thank God for Moo.com! When you order business cards from them the site automatically saves your designs! Which means I didn't entirely lose the little hummingbird logo that I've fashioned for myself :)
I love Moo, go check them out for business cards, post cards and lots of other printing related stuff!

Today's bookcover

I'm trying to bang out the illustrations at the moment, as time is of the essence. I suppose this is giving me a real chance to properly experience the pressure of deadlines as a freelance illustrator. I've decided I'm going to attempt to create one full colour illustration per day. Yesterday it was a book cover for the sci-fi teen novel Uglies by Scott Westerfield and today it's another book cover for Going For The Record by Julie A. Swanson. This powerful novel is told from the point of view of Leah Weiczynkowski, who's in senior year of high-school and who's main ambition in life is to play football (or soccer...) in the olympics. However, after her father is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with only a few months to live her whole world grinds to a stand still and she learns the importance of love and relationships. The book deals with the all the emotions associated with the tragedy of losing a close family member - denial, anger, grief, acceptance, love and strength - and is beautifully and authentically told through the eyes of a teenage girl. My beautiful sister posed for this, and I hope that it captures the mood of the book (although it's not quite finished yet...). Tomorrow I might have to do something light-hearted and fun, like some monster character designs or something :)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

It is a real shame that some of my better work has very probably been lost forver (I don't know if I can ever truly trust technology ever again!). I shall be doing some scanning on Monday, as before the hard-drive disaster happened I had printed off quite a few pieces of work (unfortunately not very high quality prints, but physical evidence of my work none the less!) Tomorrow I will also take some photographs of the oil paintings I've been working on, and pop them on here. Not all is lost!

Discovering the graphics tablet!

This is the first illustration I produced with a graphics tablet, back in November 2010! An editorial illustration for a Scientific American article about parents who are so desperate to cure their children's autism that they are prepared to pay extortionate amounts of money for potentially lethal experimental drugs.
I feel like my digital painting skills have progressed quite a bit since this little discovery....how did I ever cope without a graphics tablet??

Today's project

Detail from work in progress...

...whilst we're on the subject of cats

These are really quite old now, but still fun. Another book about the world from a cat's point of view, dedicated to my lovely cat Beany who sadly died recently due to skin cancer. He was a funny old thing - used to hide in dark and impossibly tiny spaces and wait for people to walk by so he could unexpectedly administer a cheeky scratch to their legs (or heads...whichever was closest), and he also used to dribble a tiny bit when you stroked him. And he LOVED cheese.  Disclaimer: I am not a crazy cat lady, and I can draw other things than kitties! More to come soon!


Right, so here are the cover and page illustrations for a children's book I've been working on recently, called Catfish. It's about a cat called Finn who is really, really bored and decides to ask his fellow pet, Cathy the Catfish, about the sea because it looks far more exciting to live underwater than being a cat! After Cathy tells him how wonderful her world is, he digs out his owner's diving mask and after trying it on, decides to use it as a basket to carry Cathy down to the seafront. They jump into the water together, but the sea is no place for a cat like Finn, as he is thrown hither and thither by the waves and emerges absolutely soaking wet and shivering (and there is nothing more tragic that a wet cat is there?...). But he has helped his friend back to her home, and after waving goodbye as she happily swims away he returns to his own home and realises that a cat's life really isn't so bad after all - He can eat as much as he wants, scratch the curtains, play with his toys and climb the highest trees in the garden! That was a very brief explanation of the book - it's a 'come full circle' kind of a tale, which plays on words and images. It shows that being brave and trying something new and helping out your friends are important things to do, because as well as learning about new things you might just find that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, and that staying true to who you are and where you come from are also important aspects in life. Something like that anyway, hehe :)

First post!

Right, so first ever post...Feels abit strange, and can't help feeling a little bit shy at this stage. Hopefully I will get used to it very soon! Unfortunately, a terrible thing happened yesterday - My external hard-drive broke, and a huge quantity of my work disappeared because I was silly enough not to have backed it up on my computer! I have also all of my website design, so it might take a little while longer before that is up and running (hopefully not very long though!!). So now I'm having a bit of a hunt for anything that I might have saved elsewhere and trying not to panic. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to happen a week before you're meant to have a full portfolio to show around in New York (a study trip with the University College Falmouth BA(hons) Illustration course). As I dig these artworks out, I will make sure I post them on here, for safekeeping :)