Who Needs Humans in Illustrations, Anyways? Yeji Yun Makes You Wonder…

Yeji Yun

If you enjoy the imagery in folk tales, then you’re going to love the work of Yeji Yun. The Korean illus­tra­tor has cre­ated many com­po­si­tions that revolve around the beloved genre, and they’re these col­or­ful, tex­tural pieces with a whole bunch of imag­i­na­tive ani­mal char­ac­ters. It makes me won­der: who needs humans in an illus­tra­tion? Yeji’s crea­tures do a fine job of telling engag­ing and strange stories.

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PS — Yes­ter­day, I announced an excit­ing project that I want you to par­tic­i­pate in. Check it out!

Speckled Canary

Introducing Speckled Canary: Creative Art Projects for Everyone!


Today, I’m really excited to announce a new endeavor I’ve started: Speck­led Canary! It’s focused on cre­at­ing art projects for every­one to enjoy. They’re fun and sometimes-collaborative, launched on a global scale. Par­tic­i­pants sign up for dif­fer­ent cre­ative explo­rations that will push them to make new and excit­ing work in ways that they never expected.

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll prob­a­bly remem­ber the Col­lage Scrap Exchange. Plan­ning that project, with its nearly 1,000 par­tic­i­pants, was so reward­ing. I loved see­ing what dif­fer­ent artists came up, all united under one theme.

I decided that I wanted to make this a reg­u­lar thing. I have a lot of ideas for projects that include a wide range of media, so I’m excited to see how they take off!

Intro­duc­ing Speck­led Canary’s first project: Map­ping Mem­o­ries (in washi tape)!

Mapping Memories

may11-finalMem­o­ries are a pow­er­ful thing. Some­times, they’re so clear that we can recall how some­thing looked, smelled, or even tasted. Speck­led Canary’s inau­gural project cel­e­brates this phe­nom­ena and invites you to rec­ol­lect mem­o­ries with washi tape!

How it works: Using washi tape, you’ll recre­ate a mem­ory — it can be any­thing — using washi tape. It should be nearly (if not all) made with washi tape. If you want to draw accents on top of the tape, that’s okay – but remem­ber the point is to build a com­po­si­tion with it.

Washi tape comes in all sorts of col­ors and pat­terns. For this endeavor, Speck­led Canary has teamed up with a great shop called Omiyage who hand-selected beau­ti­ful, high qual­ity tapes. Be sure to check out this online store. Marisa stocks it with so many won­der­ful things (washi and beyond)!

My exam­ple: While I love using washi tape in my day-to-day life, I had never tried mak­ing art­work out of it. One after­noon I sat down to give it a try and had a lot of fun! You can layer and com­bine col­ors and pat­terns to cre­ate multi-layered, com­plex com­po­si­tions. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. Here’s what I made:

Mapping Memories

This project has two parts: your mem­ory (made with washi tape), and your mem­ory that appears on a cus­tomized world map (see what that looks like). Once your art­work is done, sub­mit it to Speck­led Canary with a short descrip­tion. The more peo­ple that par­tic­i­pate, the more we’ll see spe­cial mem­o­ries from around the world! Read more about the project here. 


So, what are you wait­ing for? Sign ups begin now! And don’t worry if you don’t have any washi tape. I’m sell­ing spe­cial washi tape starter kits that’ll have what you need. All par­tic­i­pants will also have access to a spe­cial Omyi­age promo code and other fun extras.

Illustrated products

My Weekly 7 Illustrated Product Obsessions

IO-1 IO-2 IO-3 IO-4 IO-5 IO-6 IO-7

1  // Pink Glit­ter Fly­ing Pig Clutch Hand­bag by Luna on the Moon (via Lustik)
2 // Snak Paks — PFF Friend­ship Pins by Zoo Loo Co.
3 // Erase You Patch by Tues­day Bassen
4 // Pen­cil Vil­lage by minkislove
5  // Nat­ural Hand­made Facial Soap Bar by The Printed Peanut (That pack­ag­ing! So great!)
6 // JC + SS Lion Col­lec­tion: Pots by Jen Collins and Shayna Steven­son
7 // Navy Pot with 3D Face by Kin­ska Shop

Face pots, glit­ter hand­bags, and eraser patches — these are just a few of my illus­trated prod­uct obses­sions for this week! Do you have some­thing that you’re cov­et­ing? Take a sec­ond and sub­mit a link! In fact, the pizza friend­ship pins (#2) came from a reader suggestion.

And as always, happy Fri­day! And to my US read­ers, I hope you have a great Fourth of July weekend.

Lately & Liked

11 More Awesome Illustrators You Should Follow on Instagram


I made this list once before, and it was a lot of fun to com­pile. So, why not do it again?

When I have an idle moment, I’m often scrolling through my Insta­gram. These are just 10 illus­tra­tors to fol­low. I enjoy these feeds because they’re a great mix of fin­ished pieces, in-progress stuff, and inspir­ing (non-illustrative) imagery.

1. Jor­dan Sondler



2. Linzie Hunter

A photo posted by Linzie Hunter (@linziehunter) on


3. Lind­say Stripling


4. Gizem Vural (Gizem also illus­trated the Brown Paper Bag header!)

A photo posted by Gizem Vural (@littleteashi) on


5. Aimee Bee Brooks


6. Laura Callaghan


7. Esmé Shapiro

A photo posted by Esmé Shapiro (@esmeshapiro) on


8.Ji Hyun Yu


9. Helen Dardik

A photo posted by Helen Dardik (@helen_dardik) on


10. Sarah Andreacchio


11. Mai Ly Degnan

A photo posted by Mai Ly Deg­nan (@mailydegnan) on


Painted Ladies are a Playful Nod to Fashion, Architecture, and Food

Julianna Brion

I first saw Julianna Brion’s painted ladies on  Tum­blr a few weeks ago, and since then I’ve been wait­ing for more of them to appear. The Baltimore-based illus­tra­tor uses gouache to paint the tall, styl­ized women. Their fash­ions are a play­ful nod to archi­tec­ture and food.

These pieces are a way for Julianna to unwind after fin­ish­ing com­mis­sioned illus­tra­tions, and she often paints in repur­posed books. Look closely and you might see some of their text showing!

I’m hop­ing Julianna will con­tinue to post more pieces like these. Fol­low her on Insta­gram to see more.

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Essi Kimpimäki’s Beautiful Illustrations Inspired by Travel

Essi Kimpimäki

Essi Kimpimäki’s illus­tra­tions depict jour­neys and archi­tec­ture of dif­fer­ent lands. Nor­way, Morocco, and even Cal­i­for­nia are places that she’s crafted with her col­or­ful, heav­ily tex­tured style. I espe­cially love the top image, which was inspired by the nar­row alleys of Alfama in Lis­bon. With a clear divide in the com­po­si­tion, it’s as if we’re look­ing at two sep­a­rate pieces. But, the hard angle is a nice con­trast to the wind­ing steps and clothes that flut­ter in the breeze.

Check out Essi’s Etsy shop to buy some of her prints!

Essi KimpimäkiEssi Kimpimäki

Essi Kimpimäki








Mary Kate McDevitt Illustrates Whimsical Relationships of People and Pets

Mary Kate McDevitt

Have you ever heard of the #The100DayProject? It’s exactly what it sounds — for 100 days, you work on one cre­ative endeavor. The project is about the process, and at the end of it, you can learn some valu­able things about how you work. Illus­tra­tor Mary Kate McDe­vitt is cur­rently com­plet­ing her own iter­a­tion called #100daysofpeopleandpets. The whim­si­cal Insta­gram series is exactly as it sounds — peo­ple and their pets! In every post, she intro­duces us to her char­ac­ters with a short sen­tence and a funny scene. I love the funny quips and vintage-inspired style.

At the time of writ­ing, Mary Kate is on day 55/100, so there’s still time to fol­low her on Insta­gram and see this series hap­pen in real time.

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Illustrated products, Lately & Liked

My Weekly 7 Illustrated Product Obsessions


1 // Pizza Every Day Meal Plan­ner Notepad by Julia Lav­i­gne
2 // My Ghostie is Gonna Gitcha limited-edition print by Katy Horan
3 // Cecil the Croc­o­dile Plush Toy by Sara Carr
4 // Three Cats Tea Tow­els by Gin­giber
5 // Tiger Fish Bag by Don Fisher (I fea­tured more of them here… still obsess­ing over them!)
6 // Illus­trated Planters by Damián Quiroga (via Beach Lon­don)
7 // Ani­mal Planters — Foxes, Capy­baras, and Anteaters by Cum­buca Chic (I orig­i­nally wrote about these adorable pieces on My Mod­ern Met)

Happy Fri­day, ya’ll! Here are some of my illus­trated obses­sions this week — click the links and score ‘em for your­self. Also, if you have a minute, why not sub­mit a link? It just might show up here!

And if you enjoy illus­trated prod­ucts, I’d rec­om­mend check­ing out Emme­line Pidgen’s new series, Illus­trated Life.

Illustrated products

Aitch and Saddo Reimagine The “Memory” Game with Their Folk-Inspired Art

Aitch and Saddo

Did you ever play the game Mem­ory? I used to, and this is the neat­est iter­a­tion I’ve seen yet. Illus­tra­tor Aitch (pre­vi­ously) and artist Saddo col­lab­o­rated on the all-ages activ­ity by cre­at­ing col­or­ful cards fea­tur­ing their beau­ti­ful art­work. There are 24 unique scenes on 48 cards that are printed on thick cardboard.

Aitch describes why they cre­ated this set, writ­ing, “This March we took a trip to Berlin and in the apart­ment we rented for a few days we dis­cov­ered a sim­ple but fun lit­tle game — a mem­ory game that we could not wait to play as soon as we got back from the city. We were hooked :)” Once they returned to Roma­nia, they made their own ver­sion and adorned it with stuff they love - flow­ers, plants, birds, ani­mals, patterns.

To fund this project, Aitch and Saddo are try­ing to raise a mod­est amount of money through IndieGogo. They’ve sold out of their Mem­ory game, but you can still pur­chase the orig­i­nal art­work pro­duced for it.

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Ceramics, Illustrator

Illustrated Bowls That Talk Back to You While You Eat


How would you like it if your plates and bowls talked back to you? In this col­lab­o­ra­tion between illus­tra­tor San­ti­ago Uceda and artist Nancy Froehlich, you don’t have much of a choice! They occupy the bot­toms of dishes, direct­ing you, cheer­ing you on, and telling you what you already know — that the meal you just ate was so good. The amus­ing char­ac­ters were cre­ated by San­ti­ago and then placed onto forms cre­ated by Nancy.

I would love to own one of these delight­ful pieces. Alas, I can’t find any­where to buy them! It looks like, accord­ing to Santiago’s Insta­gram, that they were for sale a while ago… and have prob­a­bly sold out since!