Northern Ireland's top illustration firm celebrates third year in business

Belfast-based agency UsFolk is showcasing new work by its staff in a week-long exhibition – view a selection and see what's in store

Having first launched in 2016, Belfast-based agency UsFolk has evolved from a small collective of illustrators and designers to an eclectic roster of local and international talent. Its work can be seen regularly gracing the marketing materials of Northern Ireland's leading arts organisations including the Lyric Theatre and the MAC, as well as for staple events such as Culture Night and the Belfast Book Festival.

To mark the beginning of its third year in business, UsFolk has opened its annual exhibition, which runs for just one week at its studio space on 37 Queen Street. The exhibition sees the agency's members respond to the theme of '3' through a variety of contemporary illustration styles, some of which have kindly been sent to Culture NI to offer readers a taste of what they can expect. Scroll below to sample eight works and learn about the artists behind them. Be sure to catch the show before it ends on Wednesday, June 6.


Fiona McDonnell

Fiona McDonnell is a Belfast-based freelance illustrator who studied Illustration at Norwich University of the Arts. After moving back to Belfast in 2014, she began making work inspired by the people, places, events, and causes she cares about. Fiona’s involvement in a number of creative groups and project’s has given her a understanding and enthusiasm for contemporary cultural trends.


Cathal Duane

Cathal Duane’s work is inspired by strange thoughts, weird connections and cosmic oddities. His work tends to focus on digital techniques but has been known to dabble in more traditional processes. Cathal’s style is simple, colourful and textured and he is also a member of Illustrators Ireland and Cork Printmakers.


Holly Pierra

After receiving a B.A. Honours in Fine Art from the National College of Art & Design in 2004, Holly Pierra spent seven years practicing as a painter, with exhibitions and residencies in Dublin, London, Berlin and Singapore. Hungry after years as a starving artist, she moved into illustration in 2011, where she discovered the exciting world of illustrated type and brought her work to a larger scale with murals and wall drawings.


Aoife Dooley

Aoife Dooley is a freelance illustrator, author and comedian based in Dublin, hailing from the Northside. She studied in Colaiste Dhulaigh for three years before going on to achieve a first-class honours degree in Visual Communication – in her words 'basically just a fancy way of saying Graphic Design' - where she studied at Dublin Institute of Technology. Her sweet and innocent illustrations are captioned and brought to life by the type of humour one can only accumulate from years of living on the Northside of Dublin.


Jack Oliver Coles

Jack Oliver Coles is a Welsh illustrator whose work with coloured pencil employs colour and composition to create sensitive imagery that strives to educate and entertain.


Jayde Perkin

Jayde Perkin is a freelance illustrator, painter and comic artist. She grew up by the seaside in the South West of England, lived and studied in Bristol, before moving to Berlin, and is currently based back in Bristol. Creating painterly narratives using just gouache and ink, she has worked for a wide range of clients such as Anorak, Das Magazin, Penguin Books, and The Pool.


Cécile Gariépy

Cécile Gariépy is an illustrator and director based in Montreal. She loves stories, but she loves images that tell stories even more. Cécile conceives illustrations for various mediums and clients, ranging from American newspapers to Quebec food products packaging, including the annual birthday card for her mother. Her work is playful and put emphasis on colour, composition and character design.


Tara O’Brien

Tara O’Brien is an illustrator based in Dublin. She graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology in 2013 with an honours degree in Visual Communications. Her personal work has a focus on diverse representations of people, body politics and mental health.

Learn more about UsFolk and its services by visiting