Happy Friday! Hopefully you have some fun things planned for your weekend — I know I do! In the meantime, check out these 10 illustrations I’ve seen lately and liked! Some are from my favorite illustrators while others are new discoveries.
Have ya’ll heard of Until Now? If not, then you’re in for a treat. It’s a publication started by illustrator/art director Alex Citrin and features stories about coming of age (AKA the transition from childhood to adulthood). Personally, I love these types of tales — they are by far my favorite subject to consume. So, needless to say that when I heard Alex was producing this for her graduate thesis, I was excited.
Alex was a cohort of mine in MICA’s MFA Illustration Practice program, where we’re encouraged to think about illustration differently and push the field to new places. As a result, the first issue of Until Now features a ton of great illustration showcased in gorgeous, large spreads.
I had the pleasure of interviewing her about being an art director and her love of coming of age tales. This is a long-form interview, but stick with it. Alex is hilarious and has some great things to say.
So, I’ll spare you answering a lot of questions that you’ve already covered, but for those that aren’t familiar with Until Now, how would you describe it? How long had you been thinking about putting a publication like this together?
Until Now is a magazine about coming of age, although I envision the readership to be broader than just those currently coming of age themselves. I suppose I’d been thinking about producing a collection of stories related to this topic for a while, though in different forms — collages, photo essays, a graphic novel…those ideas were reflective of my focuses at the time (a college art major, band photographer, and illustrator, respectively).
I’ve always been obsessed with documentation and I am also a believer in the traditional print magazine as a medium for communication as well as a kind of art object. Basically, I’m a complete luddite. Considering the vast cultural reach of your average mainstream magazine, though, there’s still something not quite serious about the format. I think there’s room to play with that contradiction. Similarly, coming of age stories are typically relegated to the “less serious” YA section of the library or within magazines aimed exclusively at teens. I’m still fascinated by coming of age stories at age 27.
Another month, another new header image for Brown Paper Bag! I’m delighted to share with you Katy Horan’s gorgeous, haunting illustration that she calls Lucy. It’s based on the character Lucy Westenra from the classic story Dracula by author Bram Stoker.
Name: Katy Horan
Location: Austin, Tx
What was your dream job when you were 7 years old? Costume Designer/ Veterinarian
Your profession now: artist / illustrator
What’s your favorite thing to draw? It’s probably a tie between pretty dresses and spooky ghosts
What was the inspiration for this piece? I like to listen to movie scores and was listening to the score from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It got me thinking about the character of Lucy. I find her to be very beautiful and sad and I wanted to do something appropriate for Halloween, so I decided to create my own interpretation of Miss Lucy.
How did you create your illustration? Was it any different than your regular process? I started with a loose watercolor underpainting then added layers of tissue paper and gouache on top and filled in the background with black gouache. That is pretty much my standard process, aside from the watercolor. Usually I just jump straight to the gouache.
Do you have a favorite scary movie or story? It would be impossible to pick one single favorite, so I will list the first few that come to mind: The Others (with Nicole Kidman), The Shining and any story out of the Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark book series.
Paper sculpture has always wowed me. How do artists form such intricate works?! It’s incredible.
These small, sculpted birds by Diana Beltran Herrera are gorgeous and eerily life-like; you might not even know they were made of paper. The fowl feature small details like bustling chest feathers and long, delicate tails. Plus, just look at that minute fringe for even more texture! There’s no wonder why they look so realistic.
Animated GIFS are wonderful, and so many illustrators have created colorful, beautiful works that are like watching a tiny film. I love the subtly that some of these animations use, and how you really must study them to see the small movements that are contained within.
Enjoy, and happy Friday, ya’ll!
For some reason, I’m really particular about the spoons that I like to use. They can’t be too large or small (I don’t want to feel like I’m holding a utensil made for a baby), and it’s best if they are beautiful, too. With those stipulations in mind, I’d totally use these ceramic spoons by French illustrator Nayanai. They have personalities all their own! Surprised, pensive, and goofy — they run the gamut.
She also makes ceramic bowls, too:
Gosia Herba is a Polish illustrator whose editorial images feature larger-than-life women, reflections that have a mind of their own, and other surreal situations. It’s this, coupled with her vintage-inspired style (even some elements of Cubism thrown in there!), that initially drew me to her work.
I love illustrations that offer me something beneath the surface. Goisa’s work looks wonderful, but it’s also strange and a little dark, and it leaves a lasting impression on me.
(H/T my pal Perrin)
Yvonne Ellen’s up-cycled ceramic plates are delightfully whimsical. Instead of keeping an image confined to a single circle, the illustrator’s designs span multiple vintage pieces. We see an animal’s head on one plate with its tail on another; it creates an engaging diptych.
Yyonne’s Etsy shop is comprised of original pieces and no two designs are a like. What a nice addition to any table setting!
Fun fact: This coming Tuesday (September 23) is my birthday! To celebrate, I’m heading to New York this weekend where I’ll snarf down a piece of Crack Pie at Momofoku Milk Bar, among other things. (Follow me on Instagram to see it all: @brwnpaperbag).
So, it feels appropriate for this Friday Roundup to revolve around birthday cards. Not just for me, of course, but that special person in your life.
I guess it’s safe to say I like animals and flowers.
I realize that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted some collage, so let’s take a look at the work of Travis Bedel. Meticulous, eh? Travis uses illustrations from old science guides and textbooks and transforms them into new and exciting imagery. He layers countless flowers, butterflies, and other insects on top of one another, which creates this surreal mass of color that explodes from different parts of the human body. Instead of blood, we’re filled with the most beautiful parts of the natural world.