Famous Celebrities Who Were Also Illustrators

It’s no surprise that many celebrities have other talents and hobbies than what we know them for. Their passion for their calling motivated them to pursue other elements of the art in order to gain all-around skills and knowledge that will help them enhance their craft and further their careers. There are actors who are also directors and producers, singers who are also writers and composers, among other common versatilities.


There are also those who started out with a way different career from being performers. The late Alan Rickman who we knew best as Severus Snape and Hans Gruber was once a graphic designer, and so were David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.


Now here are five creative celebrities who worked once as professional illustrators; some even continue to apply the skill to synergize with their current work, as well as to make it more personalized.


Thom Yorke

The band Radiohead has been known for being hands-on when it comes to the production of their music as well as other aspects of the band’s entire career. They run their own website and decide on their records’ packaging and appearance.


Their lead singer Thom Yorke has been in charge of the band’s album sleeve design, alongside long-term collaborator Stanley Donwood. Yorke was a Fine Art and English student at the University of Exeter, and he excelled in computer-based design. They both worked on every Radiohead album art since The Bends (Radiohead’s second studio album).


Radiohead's The Bends


Pierce Brosnan

Before being the fourth James Bond, Pierce Brosnan was a freelance illustrator. He learned to draw at St. Martin’s but eventually dropped out and realized he’s more into performing when he attended a circus workshop. He did come back to St. Martin’s as a drama student after three years.


Now that his James Bond stint has come to an end, Pierce Brosnan has more time now in his hands to go back to illustrating. He has a website where you purchase some of his abstract illustrations and proceeds will go to charities.



Terry Gilliam

Film director Terry Gilliam’s unique visual style is evident in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-directed with Terry Jones. Gilliam was also known for directing cult films such as 12 Monkeys and Time Bandits. Did you know that he found his path to becoming an iconic film director by producing his own satirical student publication in college?


Gilliam was such a big fan of Mad magazine by Harvey Kurtzman that he produced his own version while at college. The publication was called Fang which contained comic strips and illustrations done by Gilliam himself. Upon graduating, he got accepted at Kurtzman’s Help! magazine in New York where he would produce photo stories and comic strips. Talk about living the dream, right?


During a photo shoot for the magazine, Gilliam had worked with British actor John Cleese. And when Help! closed, he once again met up with Cleese and from there he became part of the British comedy group Monty Python and was in charge of the animations in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.


Monty Python's Flying Circus

via IMDB


Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Known for writing satirical novels, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was one of the most prominent authors of the 20th century. Other than producing dark, whimsical, and insightful literary fiction, he also used to illustrate artworks, mostly doodles, for his own novels. He mostly used felt tip pens and markers for his illustrations. Even his signature included a curly-haired self-portrait.


Beyond creating illustrations for his novels, he also used to regularly paint, draw abstract faces, as well as create sculptures. See and purchase more of his work on his website.



John Lennon

More than being a peace activist and musician that changed the world, The Beatles’ John Lennon was also a visual artist. Before becoming a Beatle, Lennon studied at Liverpool College of Art. He was still studying when The Beatles became huge so he was not able to graduate. However, during his time with The Beatles, his illustrator skills did not go to waste. He was able to publish two books that contain collections of his poems, cartoons, illustrations, and story drafts.


His solo album Walls and Bridges also featured his own illustration on the cover, as well as some drawings he did when he was 11 years old. Even after his death, his illustrations were published for a posthumous release – John Lennon: The Collected Artwork. Visit the website of the Artworks of John Lennon to find exhibit schedules.



Our team at MicroCreatives are made up of diverse and well-rounded creative individuals. We are designers, web developers, animators, and writers who are not confined in our respective roles but also experienced and knowledgeable in a lot of other areas that complement our work. Being multi-talented and knowledgeable not just in the different areas of the art but also in a lot of other skills bring enormous convenience to the expert as well as the audience or consumer, employer, and client.