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Another dimension: inspiring isometric art created in Affinity Designer

Once you begin to explore the art of isometric design, you soon realise the possibilities are truly endless. Almost any type of project can look great in this style—from logos and game assets to illustrations and infographics—which could be why it has become so popular in recent years.

In fact, we’ve seen so many incredible isometric illustrations created in Affinity Designer that we thought it was about time we inspired you with some of our favourites.

Whether you’ve been creating isometric art for quite some time or just fancy giving it a try, these stunning examples are sure to get your creative ideas flowing.

Labland by Willem Pirquin

Labland isometric illustration by Willem Pirquin

We love the modular nature of these isometric illustrations created by Willem Pirquin for Labland, a Belgian non-profit organisation dedicated to helping people who would like to try modern ways of urban living.

Labland is all about modular houses that can be easily expanded, but also shrunk down or rearranged when housing needs shift, and Willem’s carefully constructed illustrations convey this perfectly.

“Isometric illustrations are a great way to put a lot of information in one drawing. Another advantage is that the illustration can be broken apart into smaller spot illustrations and parts can be added later or rearranged to show different configurations or situations.”

Willem Pirquin

Power and Precision by Mario De Meyer

Power and Precision by Mario De Meyer

Mario De Meyer is a freelance graphic designer based in Ghent, Belgium, with a strong passion for typography.

We are huge fans of Mario’s work, and when we commissioned him to create a typographic piece using Affinity Designer’s isometric tools, we were blown away by the result.

“My isometric love comes from playing isometric based games at an early age. I’ve been intrigued by it ever since. When doing isometric work, you have to abide by certain rules, but for me personally, these rules feel very comfortable because I can approach them in a geometric and modular way,” Mario explains.

“If you look at the Power and Precision piece and deconstruct it, you’ll see it’s all made up of semicircles, quarter circles and straight lines connected to each other. It’s a very geometric based approach that’s also modular, and while it might seem very technical, for me, it feels very natural, almost like playing with Lego.”

Isometric Castle by Jeremy Child

Isometric Castle by Jeremy Child

This stylish, stipple effect castle was created by Jeremy Child from The Artifex Forge using Affinity Designer’s isometric grids and his Tattoo Art Brush Pack, which is currently available to purchase on the Affinity Store. Jeremy kindly recorded an Affinity Creative Session about his process, so you can learn how it was done and pick up some valuable tips for using his Tattoo Art brushes in Affinity Designer along the way.

Head over to our YouTube channel to check it out.

CMD, C V by Ian White

CMD, C V by Ian White

This surreal, cleverly constructed isometric design was created by Ian White, a talented graphic design student from Washington, D.C, who uses Affinity Designer to create vibrant, relatable worlds, designs and narratives that address contemporary issues.

“The inspiration for this piece, CMD, C V, came from noticing a change in and around my neighbourhood in DC. Washington is rapidly changing, and with that change comes these new modern apartments that take up a lot of visual space due to how drastically different they are from the beautiful architecture they are surrounded by.

The name is a joke on how some of those blocky modern buildings popping up kind of look like they’re just being digitally copied and pasted around the city—it’s the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste on a Mac,” Ian explains.

“CMD, C V and two other pieces were selected by Radical Empathy and the Logan Circle Community Association to be featured in their, “Let’s Paint The Streets” Initiative.”

Isometric City by David Wildish

Isometric City by David Wildish

Every time we look at this isometric cityscape by David Wildish, we discover something new!

“Isometric work has always fascinated me. I’ve bought many books and magazines featuring pixel art and isometric works and loved the worlds that people create. Once I found the isometric grid feature in Affinity Designer, that was it. I was lost down the rabbit hole—once you have the power to create worlds, it’s hard to stop.”

“Once I found the isometric grid feature in Affinity Designer, that was it. I was lost down the rabbit hole—once you have the power to create worlds, it’s hard to stop.”

David Wildish

Bordeaux by Boris Cargo

Bordeaux by Boris Cargo

Boris Cargo is a freelancer designer based in Bordeaux, France, who specialises in creating 3D visuals, mainly for communication agencies. He also enjoys making pixel art, voxel and vector images when the opportunity arises.

“This illustration is a personal project. The goal was to make an isometric view image with a lot of detail, all in pixel art. The inspiration came from Eboy and others. I chose to represent places in Bordeaux that are recognisable, add cars and many people—and also identical Martians which I was really happy with, as they make the scene rather turbulent. It reminds me of a novel I like a lot. Martian Go Home by Fredric Brown,” Boris explains.

Antialiasing turned on
Antialiasing turned off

“A feature in Designer that helped me create this illustration was the ability to turn off antialiasing. I was able to draw the buildings in isometric vector, thanks to the specific tools in the isometric panel, and keep the pixel art line. The characters were drawn in the Pixel Persona. The vehicles were calculated in 3D and then redrawn.”

Pattern close up

“Another feature which helped, this time in Affinity Photo, was pattern layers. If you look closely, the floors, roofs and water are in fact 32x32 pixel patterns, drawn in Affinity Photo.”

George and the Dragon by Kevin House

George and the Dragon by Kevin House

Kevin House is an early adopter of Affinity, and you may already recognise his work from our Affinity Designer Workbook. Among other styles, he loves to draw isometrically.

“Working in the isometric style started many years ago, and I’m not really sure what drew me to it in the beginning. I did, however, find sticking to a structured grid format to be sort of creatively freeing. By having to adhere, more or less to a grid, you are challenging yourself to come up with new ways of depicting the elements and shapes you need for a successful composition within an isometric structure. This self-imposed or limited framework makes it actually easier not to stray off into unnecessary or timewasting creative side trips,” Kevin explains.

“And, as a bonus, the grid dictating the placement and positioning really gives the work an internal compositional consistency, while at the same time allowing for a different sort of exploration and expression I probably wouldn’t attempt or discover in a non-isometric piece.”

You can check out more of Kevin’s isometric work here.

Skull Island by Frankentoon

Skull Island by Frankentoon

Isometric drawing doesn’t have to mean straight lines, as you can see from this awesome illustration by Affinity Designer guru, Frankentoon.

He created it as part of a tutorial to show you how to use Affinity Designer’s isometric drawing tools. So, if you’d like to learn more about the Isometric Panel and setting up isometric grids in Affinity Designer, be sure to check it out.

Ramen shop by Isabel Sousa

Ramen shop by Isabel Sousa

“What I love about illustration in general but isometric in particular is that it allows me to create these worlds where I can immerse myself.”

Isabel Sousa

This moody isometric illustration was created by design director and illustrator Isabel Sousa for our Lockdown 2020: Affinity Creative Sessions. We love the limited colour palette and how the pink pops against the darker shades of blue.

If you’d like to find out how it was created, check out Isabel’s creative session on our official YouTube channel where she talks us through her process, from initial sketch to finished artwork, in Affinity Designer for iPad.

Tale of Two Cities by Peter Greenwood

Tale of Two Cities by Peter Greenwood

We’ve long admired the sleek vector artworks of Peter Greenwood, and we were delighted when he agreed to give the Isometric Studio in Affinity Designer a whirl to create a commissioned illustration for our 1.8 update.

“I wanted to create an image that was a fantastical illustration that would be a challenge to create as an isometric. I love architecture and flying cars, so it felt like a great fit as an idea to show off the isometric route for this piece. The drawing up took a while to get right as I had to search out the various buildings etc. Using the grid made it an easy approach as opposed to having perspective, but it was still a bit tricky getting the lighting etc., correct,” Peter explains.

“This took about three days to create as it’s a complex image. I do get carried away with detail and have to be careful to rein that in sometimes as I could quite happily sit there all day adding details etc., that no one will see!”

Bubble Juice by Greg Gwynne

Bubble Juice by Greg Gwynne

Greg Gwynne is a retired creative director who freelances as an illustrator from his home studio and sells his artwork online.

“I love trying new techniques,” Greg explains. “I hadn’t worked on creating isometric art prior to using Affinity Designer. This feature in the program intrigued me, so I thought I’d give it a try.” We think you’ll agree, for his first foray into isometric work, this illustration is pretty impressive!

Process and Extract by Farrúh Tillaev

Process and Extract by Farrúh Tillaev

Continuing with the machine theme, this isometric piece, ‘Process and Extract,’ was created by UX/UI designer and illustrator Farrúh Tillaev for a data processing product website. The goal was to show how machines and AI process and extract data from various forms, and his cleverly constructed illustration certainly does the job.

Those examples were pretty cool, right? If you’re feeling the urge to give isometric illustration a try, we couldn’t blame you!

Don’t forget to check out the isometric tutorials by Jeremy Child, Isabel Sousa and Frankentoon, and the learning resources at the beginning of this article if you need some help getting started.

Spotlight editor

As editor of Affinity Spotlight Melanie oversees the stories, interviews and tutorials published on the site. Outside of work she enjoys travelling, reading crime thrillers, Pilates and dabbling in a spot of oil painting. Get in touch with Melanie if you would like to contribute or be featured on Affinity Spotlight.

Credits & Footnotes

All artwork is copyright of its creators and used here with permission.