Playing with Fire, Illustratively

Matches, fire, smoke… that’s the idea behind today’s Fri­day roundup. There are a lot of neat match­book designs out there, and it was my ini­tial inspi­ra­tion for this post. But, I wanted wanted to go beyond that and explore a few ways in which fire is shown/thought of in illus­tra­tion. (This is by no means com­pre­hen­sive.) Got a cool fire-themed illus­tra­tion to show me? Let me know in the com­ments or on Twit­ter!

Colorful Tapestries Find New Life as Taxidermy Skin

Frédérique Morrel

French artist Frédérique Mor­rel com­bines tapes­try and taxi­dermy to cre­ate fresh and unex­pected works. Deer, moose, and cat­tle tell vibrant sto­ries on their new skin that fea­tures a dizzy­ing array of col­ors, pat­terns, and peo­ple. I’ve always been fas­ci­nated by both taxi­dermy and tapes­tries, so the fusion of the two is excit­ing to see.

But, many peo­ple don’t think of these crafts as things that are wor­thy of atten­tion. Frédérique’s artis­tic phi­los­o­phy rec­og­nizes this and tries to change it. She writes:

These tapes­tries are telling the sto­ries of these key and essen­tial casualties:

- loss of sale value : these tapes­tries are expen­sive (mate­r­ial and time con­sum­ing), but worth peanuts.
– loss of aes­thetic value : these tapes­tries are con­sid­ered ugly and out of date, but have their own hid­den beauty, par­tic­u­larly for those who are them.
– loss of emo­tional value : these tapes­tries are telling love and fam­ily hap­pi­ness sto­ries, but are aban­doned and thrown into mud.

I revi­tal­ize them, offer­ing a redemp­tion, beneath ani­mal appear­ance and cov­ered with this pop­u­lar lan­guage. I give them back their cen­tral and essen­tial place inside households.

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Paper-Cut Illustrations with a Relief-Sculpture Feel

Maëlle Doliveux

Last week, I shared paper-crafted illus­tra­tions by Estu­dio Guard­a­bosques and this week it’s the hand­i­work of Maëlle Doliveux. The New York-based cre­ative sculpts paper into edi­to­r­ial illus­tra­tions for clients like Newsweek and the Boston Globe. But really, our enjoy­ment doesn’t hinge on the fact that these are pro­fes­sional assign­ments. She’s made inter­est­ing and beau­ti­ful images that stand on their own as art­works. I espe­cially like how Maëlle uses light to add drama and enhance the cuts that she’s made in the paper. It gives them a nice 3D feel — like a relief sculpture.

Maëlle Doliveux Maëlle Doliveux mdoliveux-13 mdoliveux-12 mdoliveux-3 mdoliveux-2 mdoliveux-6 mdoliveux-5 mdoliveux-4 Cut paper comics! I love this idea:mdoliveux-8 mdoliveux-9

Colorful Cut-Paper Collages by Chris Hagen


Using a com­bi­na­tion of paint­ing and col­lage, illus­tra­tor Chris Hagen cre­ates vibrant works that high­light the nat­ural beauty of this world. Ani­mals, land­scape scenes, and even some fan­tas­ti­cal things hap­pen in his tex­tured scenes. I’m a huge fan of col­lage and love this tech­nique. Chris painted and drew on pieces of paper and then cut them out and assem­bled them into a flat, folk-inspired com­po­si­tions. See an in-progress shot below! He has even more on his Face­book page.

Chris has an Etsy shop and a Folksy shop where greet­ing cards and prints are avail­able for purchase.

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Dingding Hu’s Illustrations are Everyday Life… Enhanced

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I went to grad school with the (now) New York-based illus­tra­tor Dingding Hu, and it’s been a plea­sure see­ing her work develop since we’ve grad­u­ated. I love these col­or­ful, bizarre, and ener­getic illus­tra­tions that she’s made. They’re busy scenes with a lot of details, so make sure that you look at what’s hap­pen­ing in both the fore­ground and back­ground — it’s all very entertaining!

Dingding writes that “she loves to make fun and juicy images, to express her curios­ity about the quirk­i­ness of every­day life.” I’d say it’s every­day life+ . She enhances the ordi­nary with sur­real and dream­like elements.

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13 Submissions from the Collage Scrap Exchange (Pt. 2)

Each day, I receive more and more sub­mis­sions from those who par­tic­i­pated in the Col­lage Scrap Exchange. It’s great! I am always so excited to see the cre­ative things that ya’ll came up with (and sent each other!). Here are a selec­tion of 13 I’ve received so far. Check out my other ear­lier post that fea­tures 6 submissions.

A reminder to those who are par­tic­i­pat­ing: the dead­line is Feb­ru­ary 15. That’s less than a month! You can email me your sub­mis­sions once you’re done. I can’t wait to see them!

I’ll leave you with one very awe­some email I received from par­tic­i­pant Beth Maiden about her experience.

My friend Polly and I booked a teeny-tiny cabin in the hills of mid-Wales for the week­end — I thought this would be the per­fect time to do my col­lage. It snowed and we woke up to a total win­tery won­der­land. We went out in the snow for long walk, then came home, stoked up the fire, put on the radio and got busy with scis­sors and glue. It was so blissful.

That sounds amazing!

Collages by Polly

Col­lages by Polly

Polly working on her collages!

Polly work­ing on her collages!

Awesomely Outrageous Scenes on Silk Scarves by Karen Mabon

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So, ear­lier this week I shared some illus­tra­tive scarves by Nathalie Lété, and now it’s these silk beau­ties by artist and designer Karen Mabon. They’re whim­si­cal as well as nar­ra­tive and char­ac­ter dri­ven — terms you nor­mally wouldn’t use to describe scarves. Karen’s out­ra­geous, busy scenes fea­ture things such eat­ing at a diner, rob­bing a candy store, and a sleight of hand. It’s totally not what you’d expect to be on a scarf and makes each piece a wear­able work of art.

On her web­site, it says that “Karen rev­els in pro­duc­ing work that is acces­si­ble, indi­vid­ual and fun.” That’s exactly what I love about these scarves. This style isn’t for stodgy old ladies anymore!

I found Karen’s work via the online shop Whim. Check it out for other awe­some good­ies. I swoon at their sweaters!

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Scenes from Nature Completely Crafted with Cut Paper

Estudio Guardabosques

Estu­dio Guard­a­bosques is the col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts of cre­atives Juan and Car­olina from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They craft scenes entirely out of paper by using com­plex sculpt­ing to fold and build forms. Often, that involves per­fo­rat­ing edges and cut­ting just so — enough to trans­form the paper, but not enough to wrin­kle or destroy it.

Much of the couple’s work involves nature, and this is def­i­nitely where they shine. My favorite instances are where ani­mals are involved. They’re cute, innocent-looking, and that fox… so wise!

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Nathalie Lété’s Busy Paintings Make Great Illustrated Products

Nathalie Lété

See that spot­ted dog in the paint­ing above? I love ‘em. And hon­estly, it’s the first thing I noticed when look­ing at Nathalie Lété’s work… like I have some sort of 6th sense for that type of thing. Her paint­ings are full of quirky objects  set against pat­terned back­grounds. They are busy, but so much fun to look at!

In addi­tion to paint­ings, Nathalie’s illus­tra­tions adorn many, many prod­ucts. I’ve included her scarves here, and she’s cre­ated images that are on toys, tote bags, key chains, and ceramics.

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And, a rug!nathalie-8

Perrin’s Illustrations Make Tiny, Awkward Creatures Beautiful

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One of my best pals, Per­rin, recently illus­trated this awe­some set of pray­ing man­tises. I love how she com­bines these odd crea­tures with beau­ti­ful flo­ral arrange­ments. Per­rin says that they look like tiny, awk­ward aliens, and I’d have to agree.

These two pieces are a dip­tych and fea­tures one at rest and one that’s ready to attack!