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!
At its core, illustration is visual problem solving. When working with a client, for instance, you have to learn how to adapt your artistic language and style to the brief or article. Likewise, when you’re producing surface patterns for a product, you have to take into account the object on which it will appear.
With these challenges come a myriad of ways to tackle or “solve” them, and nothing demonstrates this idea better than highlighting one subject and many illustrators. Here are 5 of ’em (and certainly not all) making illustrations that focus on fashionable ladies.
Perrin (one of my best pals!) created a series of works that “explore the relationship between garment and environment.” Her figures accompany all sorts of lovely details like intricate lace patterns, blooming florals, and the macabre.
Oslo-based illustrator Natalie Foss combines a candy-colored palette with a style that’s simultaneously graphic and realistic. Body parts—primarily the face—are handled with a delicate realism, while clothing looks incredibly flat and two dimensional.
I’ve written before about Kelly Beeman and her elongated figures reminiscent of the artist Modigliani. They’re elegant and represent high-fashion looks—I want to wear them all!
Kathleen Marcotte recently illustrated fabulous ladies inspired by the fashions of Anna Sui. The images are busy, lush scenes where patterns collide.
Madalina Andronic focuses her illustration style on Slavic folk art with a touch of fairy tale. Despite these historic roots, her work is contemporary—I could see these as editorial fashion spreads. Madalina’s figures don gorgeous hairstyling and makeup and prove that clothes aren’t always necessary.
Last February, I marveled over Sonia Alins Miguel’s surreal illustrations featuring women floating in the water (or some mysterious blue-gray void). These similar full-bodied figures make an appearance in her newest series called En Femení (translation: In the Forest). Here, the paper characters navigate through the thick brush. It’s definitely reminiscent of the tale of Adam and Eve—given the nudity and fruit—but it’s a contemporary twist on a common theme, and it still makes us question who these people are and their motivations for being in the woods.
Formally, I like how Sonia has integrated real objects into the composition, creating a diorama of sorts—it’s as if she’s set the stage for dramatic tales.
Esmé Shapiro (@esmeshapiro) is an illustrator I’ve kept my eye on since discovering her work in 2014. I love following her Instagram, which is a mixture of illustrative experiments, works in progress, and finished pieces. She also, occasionally, posts snapshots of her life that mimic the types of pictures she makes—it’s no surprise where her aesthetic comes from!
Follow Esmé’s feed as she works on her first book OOKO that’ll be released this summer from Tundra Books.
I’ve featured a lot of brightly-colored artwork this week (did you see the paper cacti?), so let’s continue the trend! Illustrator Lucie Brunellière produced this series of playful images for The Very Jungly Jungle Book. In it, she uses beautiful jewel tones to create a world that’s both familiar and fantastical.
Lucie’s stylized landscape is inhabited by a vibrant cast of animal characters. Pandas, leopards, toucans, and many more creatures are seen throughout the spreads—there are 55 in all. Some are hidden and encourage you to pour over each page to spot each one.
If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ve probably noticed that I pin a lot of paper flower DIYs. I’m attracted to their bright colors and the sheer novelty of recreating living things out of inanimate objects. Illustrator Kim Sielbeck does just this with her charming series of tiny cacti. Using papier-mache, cardboard, polymer clay, paper, styrofoam, and clay pots, she’s constructed living-ish sculptures you can hold in the palm of your hand. All I can say is: do want!
Kim will be selling these small plants at the NYC MoCCA festival on April 2 and April 3.
Kim’s tiny plants are inspired by a spectacular window display she created at Desert Island in Brooklyn: