José Antonio Roda creates paper cutouts that look like line drawings. Inspired by the Cubist style, his hand cut portraits have a Picasso-esque feel—like one of his famous sketches. Produced from a single sheet of paper, his careful incisions have this effortless look about them. Shape design is a huge part of cut paper illustration, and a big appeal of José’s work is their obvious dedication to detail and craft.
Out of all the approaches to image making, cut paper illustration is my favorite. The process is often a tedious one, but the results are awe-inspiring. Paper can quickly transform from a 2D composition into 3D, and these types of illustrations have the look of sculptures with elements that cast shadows. This visual depth is the best part of about paper illustration. In addition, it gives you a distinct feeling that the piece is made by hand, and that the meticulous snips of the scissors or the slice of an X-Acto knife were all part of the journey into creating the final result.
Some people lack the green thumb necessary to take care of plants. If you’re one of them, here’s a solution for you—no watering necessary! Tania of Lissova Craft creates tiny paper craft cacti that you can hold in the palm of your hand. Each potted plant is individually cut and intricately detailed with things like decorative planters and tiny flowers. Lissova will use a different types of papers to create a variety of texture, as well as cutting fringe into the paper itself.
These paper cacti are available on greeting cards and as original art in the Lissa Craft Etsy shop. And if you want to see works in progress, follow Tania on Instagram.
The inspiration for Chao Zou’s paper craft project Forest Smell is aroma. “My wife sprayed herself with my perfume,” he explains, “who [wore] the [smell] of the forest for all day…” Motif of leaves were his starting point, and Chao layered a variety of plants within the silhouette of a woman. Alone, it’s a compelling image that has an exquisite shadow box effect. Once you know the short backstory, however, it’s a unique love letter.
I think we can all agree… it’s time for 2016 to get outta here! But first, let’s take a look back on 15 of the most popular posts on Brown Paper Bag this year. Simply, it was two categories: embroidery and illustration—two things I love and will continue to share into 2017.
If you’re still feeling down about recent events (I know I am), Grace Chin offers a beautiful pick-me-up with her empowering floral wreaths. Combining paper craft with text, she creates delicate faux flowers and arranges them onto a circular form. In the middle of it, she places cut-paper letters phrases like “All bodies are good bodies” and “Be brave.”
My work is inextricably tied to my passion for intersectional feminism and fighting negative forces— both political and personal—with words. I sincerely believe in the power of internalizing and imbibing positive messages. In particular, I’m in search of pithy, compelling statements that are meant to occupy primarily domestic spaces and serve as daily reminders.
Compositionally, I take influence from the Dutch tradition of pronkstilleven (decadent still life painting), as well as outsider and American folk art. In positioning myself firmly between craft and art traditions, I hope to do what many women artists and artisans did before me: create beautiful everyday objects that also serve some usefulness beyond their aesthetic value.
Grace sells her work (including these wreaths!) through her online shop.
Cameron Garland crafts tiny terrariums you can hold in the palm of your hand. The intricately detailed cut-paper creations showcase minuscule succulents thriving in golden geometric planters that I wish I owned. A combination of collage and drawing, they resemble the real thing—a big trend in decor—sans the mess. Sounds good to me!
Creating typography, in general, is challenging, but it’s even more so when done by hand. Lavanya Naidoo has excelled at producing clean, bold text, and she did it entirely out of paper. Her beautiful piece A Thorn in My Side features black block type paired with sculpted and quilled florals. The visual heaviness of the white petals—that look incredibly realistic—offsets the pink lines to create balance that excites the eye. This piece is even better when viewed from the side because you see all of the great three dimensional details.
Lavanya sells this image as a print through her online shop.
This past spring, I marveled over illustrator Kim Sielbeck’s tiny paper cacti with their bold colors and charming patterned pots. So, when I was in the midst of planning Inside / Outside at Flower Pepper Gallery, I knew her work would be perfect for it. I was so happy that Kim agreed and created a host of new plants—some large and some small—just for the show.
The pieces seen here are now available through Flower Pepper Gallery’s website. If you’ve been thinking about buying her work—do it! The cacti are even more delightful in person. And if you’re someone with a brown thumb, you still reap the benefits of some green without the fear of them wilting.
I’ve never been to It’s a Small World in Disneyland, but I’ve always admired Mary Blair’s version that features stylized buildings constructed out of simple, colorful shapes. It’s this aesthetic that instantly drew me to the cut-paper works of Ultralazer, a collaborative project from two France-based makers named Maxence and Pauline.
Together, Maxence and Pauline create playful scenes that you can hold in the palm of your hand. I’m partial to their castles, but nature scenes are common, too. Regardless of the landscape, each is crafted with a stunning attention to detail.