Illustrating a ball: Lilly Panholzer

Lilly Panholzer is a digital illustrator. She describes her style as contemporary and nostalgic, influenced by vintage mid-century art using minimal, curvy shapes and a limited colour palette. Her vibrant and lively editorial illustration has caught international attention and is sought by diverse newspapers, magazines, and industry globally. Her portfolio ranges from collaborations with editorial companies to visual artwork design for articles and reports to packaging illustrations for consumer brands, as well as the art direction of personal projects.

All of her work is influenced by a background living in three contrasting cities and cultures: she was born and raised in Toronto, where nature and art had a deep impact on her upbringing. She studied and lived in Barcelona for a decade, where the vibrant colours and lifestyle influenced her creative approach; and she has lived in Vienna since 2008, where the city’s art history and sophistication have shaped her technique. 

Lilly Panholzer spends her days brainstorming, sketching, drawing, analyzing, testing, and preparing illustrations in a digital format. Although she loved illustrating from early on, her path to becoming an illustrator was not a straight-forward journey. It took quite a few years of studying and working in various fields such as architecture, product design, editorial design, graphic design – until she finally came back to her roots. 

„My affinity for illustrating started with my parents and their busy social life“, she tells us. „Back in the 1980s, they often took my brother and I to their social outings at restaurants and events. We were bored sitting at a table surrounded by adults, so my parents would find a pen and some paper for us to draw while they chatted with friends“, Panholzer says. She never got tired of drawing and is still passionate about her work: „Everyday is a creative and challenging adventure as an illustrator.“

Lilly at Hotel am Brilliantengrund / Photos: Aslan Kudrnofsky