A long weekend is quickly approaching us here in the US, so if you find you’ve got some extra time, why not try this fun exercise: Use watercolors to dab or brush a spot of paint on the paper and then create a character from it (in pen or pencil). Illustrator Marion Barraud regularly does this to great effect—her doodles are imaginative and delightful. With just a few different flicks of the brush, she’s able to produce diverse monsters with a ton of personality.
For the past few weeks, Vikki Chu has posted a series of delightful illustrations detailing a young boy’s adventures in the jungle. The intricate compositions feature a myriad of beautiful plant life, but more importantly, they tell colorful stories. Clad in a bright orange shirt, the main character wanders the landscape while observing and snapping photos of all he sees. This curiosity is translated into books and pictures, acting as a reminder to get off your phone and see what the real world has to offer.
If you enjoy Vikki’s exquisite landscapes, check out her Etsy shop for original watercolor paintings!
For the past week, I’ve been entranced by the above illustration by Kim Salt. It’s beautiful in its thriving vegetation while being an alluring depiction of space. Splendor is a common component to many of Kim’s works, commonly seen in oversized plants that welcome her characters and keep them company.
Kim sells a selection of her work on Etsy.
Kim also creates animated GIFs! She describes it as, “A personal project inspired by the Alabama Shakes album, Sound and Color.”
If you can’t tell by my posts over the past few weeks, I’m excited for the summer time. After a whole bunch of snow, the thought of warm weather has me over the moon! One thing I love about summer is the pool. Sadly, I don’t make it there as much as I used to, but I still fantasize about riding a waterslide. Joanne Ho’s illustrations depict these sorts of fun times with whole lotta tiny figures enjoying the water. Each painting is from a bird’s eye view, dwarfing the bodies so that they look like ants poking out of fantastic fields of blue.
Joanne sells prints of her work on Etsy.
A couple of weeks ago, I introduced a series called 1 Theme, 5 Ways. The premise was (and is) simple—to show how one idea interpreted can look very different. It all depends on the illustrator.
My first installment focused on fashionable ladies, and now I’ve moved from portraits to places. Specifically, the jungle! What a wild and wonderful place it is; just look at how different these worlds are, depending on the visual lens of which they’re imagined.
Tierra Connor calls this subtle illustration Lurk, which is exactly what it conveys. You never know what or who is behind the shadows of giant leaves and curling vines. Here, the animation makes all the difference—the blinking eyes create an ominous presence throughout the piece.
Who traipses through the jungle? Maxime Sabourin gives us an idea with his mustachioed explorer. From the looks of it, theres a lot to see (and fear). Check out more of this series on Maxime’s blog.
Sure, the jungle can represent something unknown and scary, but it can also be full of friendly creatures. So welcoming, in fact, that skinny-dipping with tigers is totally a thing. Monica Ramos imagined this state of utter bliss.
Like Monica’s work, Mouni Feddag also finds a tranquil place to take a dip. In an unrelated illustrations, however, she highlights the jungle’s fierce beauty with a loud-mouthed lion and bevy of long-beaked birds.
We started with a GIF and we’ll end with two more. Tristan Gion engineered these animations, and I love how their splendorous colors are framed by black shapes. We’re literally seeing them through our eyes—blinking and all.
Collage will always be a technique that’s near and dear to my heart, because it’s my chosen way of (art) working. Creating in the same vein is Chia-Chi Yu, a Taipei-based illustrator who uses a myriad of textured papers to create stunning landscapes and feathery friends. I love how the papers are paired, which gives the compositions a sense of structure while also distorting them. The slightly-abstract results are curious and marvelous places—just like the real world.
You’ve got mail! And no, not those pesky spam emails, but beautiful, hand-painted envelopes by Lucy Halcomb. The Brooklyn-based illustrator uses gouache to adorn brightly-hued paper products which she then sends to lucky recipients. Lucy chronicles her delightful creations on her Instagram called @lucy_mail. Some of my favorites are below.
Geraldine Sy creates colorful compositions inspired by the screen printing technique. Fields of flat, distress-textured hues overlap one another and produce an off-registered effect. It gives her work a handcrafted feel—even though she works in Photoshop. This, I find, is something we crave when staring at a screen—to know that there’s still the human touch beneath all those pixels.
Geraldine sells her work through Society6. Pick up a new cellphone case!
Alice Lindstrom creates cut-paper collages that are packed with luscious colors and textures. (I can’t help but be reminded of Eric Carle’s work.) One of my favorite of her series is The Pushpin Ladies, which is inspired by her love for “Modern art movements and vintage fabric and fashion design.”
The project started when I was browsing in a local vintage boutique named Pushpin Boutique and was struck by the overlap between the dresses displayed in the store and modern art movements. I decided to take the design of an existing dress from the boutique and match the design to a world inspired by a famous painting. The finished collages were then displayed at the boutique, beside the dresses that had originally inspired them.
I’m a big fan of her sketchbook, too:
Paper engineering fascinates me. I’ve tried it before, and my brain… it just doesn’t design/illustrate in three dimensions. Instead, I’ll just admire the work of others—like illustrator Simon Arizpe! He used paper folding to create THE WILD, a “pop-up object that reveals a story as you play with it.” As you interact with the piece, its illustrations change and tell fantastical tale.
Simon is currently raising funds for THE WILD via Kickstarter, which will help him bring his unique form of storytelling to a wide audience. Watch the video below to see the book in action!