Golly Bard, aka Holly Ward Bimba, has long been one of my favorite nature illustrators. Her exquisite works capture the tiny details of winged creatures, with an approach that’s simultaneously realistic and stylized. Each piece is produced with watercolor paints, and she combines light washes with tiny, meticulous lines—they really bring out the feathers, don’t you think? (If you’re interested in her technique, she offers insight in her Watercolor 101 blog series)
Golly sells prints of her work on Etsy. I like the idea of creating your own custom “flock”—collecting several of her pieces and displaying them together.
Anshuman Ghosh, aka @moography, creates a quirky, imaginative world using his iPhone. With seamless illusions, he transforms his device from a phone into a toaster, vase, window, and much more. This effect requires a steady hand and acute attention to detail—Anshuman first sketches a drawing on paper, cuts it out, and aligns everything together. Coupled with vibrant colors, this playful trick produces engaging illustrations that blur the line between what’s real and fake.
India-based illustrator Svabhu Kohli celebrates the splendor of the natural world with her intricately crafted works of art. The colorful, multi-layered images depict the oceans and cosmos, specifically focusing on creatures like whales, seals, and turtles. Each illustration utilizes many digital textures in order to create visual depth and excitement, but they still feel very painterly with evidence of the human hand.
With so many tiny details, I’m glad that Svabhu has produced vignettes to accompany her larger pieces. Think of them like a microscope into her work!
New beginnings happen everyday. Sometimes, they’re momentous occasions, like starting your dream job or moving to a new city for a fresh start. But often, they’re much less grand. Whatever your beginning may be, it’s important to face it, accept it, and enjoy the process of starting anew.
Illustrator Jen Collins reminds us to embrace this attitude with her new bold and colorful print. Created in collaboration with Worker Bee Supply Co., this two-color silk screen is hand printed on 11″ x 14″ natural colored card stock paper. It’s inspired by her willingness to welcome beginnings—specifically, her move from Scotland to Canada, and the new opportunities that came from it. Here’s Jen talking about it:
Embrace Beginnings is now available for purchase through the Worker Bee shop! And for Brown Paper Bag readers, the company is offering a promo code to get $5 (CAD) off your first order. Just use BROWNPAPERBAG at the checkout. Free shipping to Canada and the USA!
In addition to Jen’s work, Worker Bee Supply Co. has many other pieces available to purchase. They make inspirational prints that don’t suck and are designed in collaboration with independent creators. Artists get a cut of every print sale—it’s Worker Bee’s goal to create meaningful passive income for independent artists.
Illustrator and graphic designer Erin Jang (aka @theindigobunting) plays with her food to form whimsical works of art. Appropriately dubbed “food faces” she arranges edibles on a plate that resemble facial features of various sizes and shapes. Erin has impressively fashioned hair from octopi, eyes from fried eggs, eyebrows out of sesame pork, and so much more. It’s a lot of fun to see what comprises each face!
Manon Bijkerk (aka Lanonette) paints portraits in a colorful, mostly-graphic style that features sections of selective realism. Visually flattened elements are paired with minimal areas of shading, giving parts of her images a three-dimensional feel. When coupled with Manon’s thin and decorative lines, it looks exquisite—a perfect complement to the ladies in her work.
These illustrations are available for purchase in Manon’s Etsy shop.
These are two more of Manon’s paintings… they aren’t portraits, but are beautiful all the same:
I’m a long time fan of Kate Pugsley’s paintings and illustrations. They feature a fantastic mix of styles, riding a fine line between realism, fantasy, and abstraction—it’s what makes her compositions so memorable. My favorite pieces involve figures in flattened landscapes where the trees and plants are stylized versions of palms and cacti. I find them both aesthetically pleasing and conceptually interesting—what will happen to these heroines?!
Kate sells prints and originals in her online shop. And fans of Instagram—don’t forget to give her IG a follow! It’s a favorite of mine.
Collage artists—need some inspiration? Here are some of Kate’s scraps:
In October of this year, illustrator Olaf Hajek created 13 original paintings for the food company Vom Fass. These stunning works appear in their 2016 Art Calendar, as well as 12 different recipes for you to try. Conceptually, Olaf’s images are inspired by those dishes, but like many of his illustrations, they can stand alone as singular, vibrant pieces. They’re full of rich colors, imagery, and patterns—a feast for the eyes—fitting, no?
Brazil-based illustrator Willian Santiago has a gorgeous way of using texture in his enigmatic works. They have the look of a print, with their rough, distorted edges and visible color overlay. These techniques break up the bold, solid pigments and give our eye a little excitement. This is perfect for giving Willian’s illustrations a little edge—taking the romantic feel of the compositions and bringing it down a notch.
I’ve spoke of daily, short-term projects before—like #100daysofpapercutz by Melissa McFeeters. You can learn a lot from exploring a single topic for a set number of days. In this same vein, illustrator Victoria Fernandez successfully completed #30daysofcats. Each day, she would create a cat-themed artwork and post it on her Instagram. Some are cute, others are sad, but all are done in Victoria’s bold, vintage-inspired style.
“The result was a beautiful and interesting experience,” she writes on her website, “not only due to the illustrations I produced, but also due to the unexpected participation and support of so many people reinforcing the project.” She ended up completing #30daysofdogs afterwards—this one a commissioned gig by La Guia del Perro, a Spanish guide for dog owners.
Here are some of my favorite cats. You can buy Victoria’s book of them in her Etsy shop. Meow!