Prolific illustrator and museum enthusiast Darel Seow talks bringing design into children’s lives, reinventing the museum space, and new curatorial projects.
Mr Mouse’s Marvellous Maze, 2016 - Bringing ‘The Missing Mouse’ to life, children embarked on their own adventure to find Mr Mouse and the various characters around the museum.
Darel Seow always held a deep love for nature and narratives, unearthing the potential for natural landscape and fauna to be settings for a story. Spending his younger days sketching animals and complex rainforest landscapes in great detail, Darel initially aspired towards wildlife photography as a profession. After exploring several options, Darel received advice from established photographer Robert Zhao that he could illustrate for a living as well, as a more financially viable option. Keen to pursue a profession he enjoyed, Darel took these words to heart. He picked up digital art by himself over the weekends while serving in the army. There he entered his first illustration competition, where he submitted a winning design to street-famous T-shirt company Threadless, who had his design printed and sold on their T-shirts. Since then he’s earned our 2010 DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) Scholarship and pursued his Bachelors in Graphic Design (with Honours) at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the UK. Today, he’s grown a distinct illustration style emphasizing simplicity that highlights the ingenuity of ideas. Concurrently, he’s expanded his design practice to include designing picture books for children, curating museum exhibitions and designing activity booklets, and conducting illustration workshops.
Teaching History with 100 Objects, British Museum, 2015 - Featuring artefacts from museums around the UK, this map serves as a teaching aid to introduce children to world history to primary school children.
Darel’s first project out of graduation was an informatics brochure commissioned by The British Museum. It was during his time studying in Central Saint Martins with the Dsg Scholarship that Darel first discovered his love for museums. The sheer scale of the exhibits fascinated him, alongside the diversity of artefacts, that were once objects he only saw through television screens. Of course, he was also drawn as a college student on a stipend to its free entry policy. Entitled Teaching History With 100 Objects, Darel designed and illustrated an infographic brochure accompanying the popular BBC Radio 4 Series, A History of the World in 100 Objects. It was an inspiring and fulfilling project for Darel, working with his favourite institution in London, and appreciating how his work was also distributed to classrooms around the UK as an educational resource.