Kelly Louise Judd is an artist living in Kansas City, Missouri (my hometown!), creating the curious paintings you see here. They’re often surreal compositions devoid of a background, which beg us to ponder these symbols’ greater meanings, like how human figures and animals are combined with flowers—a poetic reminder that we’re all one with this Earth.
Kelly has an Etsy shop! There, you can purchase prints, pillows, and original paintings.
Isn’t it incredible the effect that a simple brush stroke can have? Illustrator Marion Barraud creates an entire world with just some watercolor pigment and cleverly drawn lines. There isn’t a lot of details—there doesn’t need to be—but it’s just enough to give us an idea of who a character is and what their personality is like.
Marion sells her work on Etsy. Check it out for prints, badges, and postcards.
Are you superstitious? As a kid, I was, but as an adult—not so much. Russian illustrator Natalia Yamshchikova created a series of beautiful plywood paintings that pay homage to these unjustified beliefs. They sound silly now, but just think back to your childhood. Would you have believed any of these? I probably would have! Maybe that just makes me gullible…
If you throw your cut hair away birds will pick up it, build a nest, and give you a headache.
One hundred mosquito bites will lead to your death.
If you swallow a whole sunflower seed it will sprout in your belly.
If you yawn at your reflection in the mirror you will ruin your beauty.
If you look at the moon long enough you’ll become a lunatic.
Japanese illustrator Ryo Takemasa is a pro at creating tranquil landscapes that depict the beauty of grandiose settings. Mountains, lakes, and fields are often featured, but he’ll occasionally paint urban settings, too. No matter the scene, they’re done with flattened perspective and lovely shape design, with texture that resembles screen printing.
Ryo sells pillows, mugs, prints, and more through his Society6 shop.
Kate O’Hara writes that, “She enjoys creating illustrations that draw people in through their nostalgic mood and intricate detail. ”
I started with the above quote because I couldn’t have said it better myself—Kate’s meticulous, realistic style composes these strange and alluring scenes, which feel oddly familiar by combining common imagery of birds, flowers, insects, and more.
Although Kate’s illustrations are client-specific, the general subject matter and beautiful style allows you to enjoy them anytime. Purchase her work as prints, totes, mugs, and more via Society6. (Via Pixel Loft)
What a colorful cast of characters! Illustrator Marion Arbona created these fun figures that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I’m fascinated by how unique each of them appears, with varied styles of clothing, facial features, and bodies that are both long and short. It’s no wonder that she works in animation and children’s books fields, in addition to producing vibrant matryoshka dolls.
French illustrator Julia Spiers has created Saisons, a 3D installation that depicts a sprawling, dream-like scene. To create it, she first painted the watercolor figures on paper, cut each piece out, and then arranged them in the formation you see here.
Looking at the style of these characters, with their soft colors and diffused details, I’m reminded of Harry Darger’s work. Like him, Julia infuses surreal elements into her pop-up composition, and there are a lot of things going on everywhere you look. It conjures the same types of curiosities I have when looking at Dargers work, and I would love to spend some in-person time with Saisons. I’m sure there’s a lot more to see!
Ever thought about adding florals to your daily stretches? Illustrator and textile designer Caitlin Shearer has, as evidenced in her series Reproduction. The soft, airy images feature a woman as she poses with uncolored blooms. Simultaneously surreal, beautiful, and strange, the series highlights the tranquility we can feel when we just sit and chill. Take some time for yourself. You’ve earned it!
Be sure to check out Caitlin’s blog and follow her on Facebook—she updates both regularly.
Here’s a look at Caitlin’s clothing. (Available in her shop.)
Normally, I gravitate towards illustrations that are full of color. But today, I find myself attracted to the line drawings of Ryn Frank. They’re beautiful in their simplicity, consisting of mostly thin outlines with a few filled areas. This style lends itself well to details, and Ryn doesn’t shy away from depicting textured surfaces with tiny, meticulously-sketched lines and dot after dot after dot.
Many of Ryn’s illustrations are used in pattern design. These would make wonderful wallpaper, wouldn’t they? (h/t Perrin)
These colorful illustrations by Luisa Rivera are poetic and beautiful. In them, disparate elements create surreal compositions that are undoubtedly influenced by the wonders within the natural world. Often, realistic subjects are combined with patterning and stylized landscapes. It’s a nice mixture, perfect for conceptual, editorial work, so it’s no surprise that Luisa has created illustrations for clients like Variety Magazine and The New York Times.