Sketchbooks

A Colorful Collage Sketchbook is a Modern-Day Homage to Matisse

Julie Hamilton collage sketchbook

For those who exer­cise, you (prob­a­bly) go through a warm up before you start on your work­out. This activ­i­ty tran­scends phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, how­ev­er, and extends to men­tal ones  as well. A sketch­book is the per­fect place to get ~ready~ to illus­trate and try out new tech­niques. Julie Hamil­ton does just this with her col­lage sketch­book. Under the hash­tag #sketch­book_s­tud­ies, she cuts out paper of dif­fer­ent col­ors and shapes, arrang­ing them into var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions that range from fig­u­ra­tive to abstract. In each col­lage, Julie’s trusty pair of scis­sors is her paint­brush—just like Matisse—which gives her images a bold, angu­lar appear­ance.

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Embroidery

Contemporary Hoop Art of People, Plants, and Beautiful Interior Spaces

Sarah K. Benning embroidery hoop art

It seems for­ev­er ago when I first fea­tured the embroi­dery hoop art of Sarah K. Ben­ning (it was 2015!). Since then, the nomadic con­tem­po­rary embroi­der­er has cre­at­ed a myr­i­ad of oth­er works, all of which revolve around peo­ple, plants, and inte­ri­ors. She’s also host­ed work­shops and par­tic­i­pat­ed in gallery shows, in addi­tion to cre­at­ing a pop­u­lar pat­tern pro­gram; known as #SKBDIY, each month she intro­duces a new DIY pat­tern that’s avail­able on Etsy.

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Illustrated products

Folk Art-Adorned Animal Totems Offer Double Good Luck

Animal totems by Emily Rose Thomson

I’ve talked before my love for illus­trat­ed ani­mal totems. I think, par­tial­ly, it comes from a child­hood fas­ci­na­tion I had with my mom’s minia­tures that she kept dis­played old print­er draw­ers. Through her online shops, Emi­ly Rose Thom­son crafts sim­i­lar­ly tiny crea­tures you can hold in the palm of your hand. Sloths, camels, fox­es, and more are hand-sculpt­ed and adorned with repeat­ing pat­terns and my favorite—tiny pil­lows and oth­er col­or­ful packs.

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Illustration History

#TBT | Mary Blair Adds a “Golden” Touch to Children’s Books of the 1950s

Mary blair concept art disney

You know how there’s the hash­tag #TBT? (If you’re not in the know, it means Throw Back Thurs­day.) Any­ways, it’s basi­cal­ly an excuse to post vin­tage pho­tos and oth­er things from long ago. I’ve always enjoyed it, but nev­er par­tic­i­pat­ed… until now. I thought it’d be fun to take a look back at illus­tra­tions from the past cen­tu­ry, with a spe­cif­ic focus on women illus­tra­tors. First up is my all-time favorite, Mary Blair.

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Illustration

Intriguing Landscape Illustrations Explore Our Planet… and Beyond

Landscape illustration by Maggie Chiang

Mag­gie Chi­ang (pre­vi­ous­ly) remains as one of my favorite con­tem­po­rary illus­tra­tors. Her work is tech­ni­cal­ly beau­ti­ful and con­cep­tu­al­ly intriguing—particularly when she delves into sprawl­ing land­scape illus­tra­tion. The abstract hori­zons leave much to the imag­i­na­tion as fig­ures con­tem­plate what’s ahead. These spaces, no mat­ter desert or for­est, per­me­ate her imagery—even when it comes to por­trai­ture. This ded­i­ca­tion to spaces both near and far play into Maggie’s larg­er ideas of her work.

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Embroidery

Embroideries of Fowl-Mouthed Birds and Victorian Shadow Puppets

Embroidery hoop art by Kate Appleby

Inspired by flo­ra, fau­na, and Vic­to­ri­an shad­ow pup­pets, Kate Apple­by cre­ates delight­ful hoop art that com­bines a vari­ety of stitch­ing tech­niques. From the basic back­stitch to French knots, she illus­trates birds with fowl mouths (pun intend­ed) and hands with sprawl­ing leaf tat­toos. The embroi­dery airs towards the side of min­i­mal­ism, but Kate has an excel­lent sense of com­po­si­tion and bal­ance that’s informed by her back ground in graph­ic design.

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Illustrated products

Colorful Illustrated Clothing that Celebrates the Joys of Sunshine

Illustrated clothing by Doops Design

I’ve got a quick note of house-keep­ing: I’m phas­ing out my 7 illus­trat­ed prod­uct obses­sions. You’ll prob­a­bly see them every so often in the future, but now I’m going to ded­i­cate Fri­days to indi­vid­ual shops. It’ll still be an illus­trat­ed prod­uct-relat­ed day, just with more laser focus.

That being said, hap­py Fri­day! Doops Design is one of my favorite illus­trat­ed cloth­ing shops. I love the bright col­ors, kooky cac­ti, and oth­er bold imagery on the shirts, dress­es, and tank tops.

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Paper Craft

Exquisite Cut Paper Shadowbox Pays Homage to Lovely Forest Leaves

Colorful paper craft by Chao Zou

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.

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Illustration

Colorful Illustrations that Celebrate Nature, Digitally

Colorful illustrations by Kiki Ljung

I want to live in the col­or­ful illus­tra­tions of Kiki Ljung. The Paris-based cre­ative crafts vibrant imagery that’s inspired by the nat­ur­al world—even her illus­tra­tions of peo­ple are seep­ing with beau­ti­ful blooms on their clothes and in the back­ground. While nature dri­ven, Kiki cre­ates an inter­est­ing jux­ta­po­si­tion: her art­work is defined by geo­met­ric shapes and dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion. It real­ly sym­bol­izes the world today; that we love the out­doors, but also our devices.

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Embroidery

Abstract Embroideries Made with Colorful Polymer Clay

Clay embroidery by Justyna Wolodkiewicz

Here’s an inter­est­ing com­bi­na­tion: poly­mer (aka oven bake) clay and embroi­dery. Artist Justy­na Wolod­kiewicz has fused the two in her lat­est series of abstract hoop art. Full of col­or and tex­ture, these pieces use flat­tened pieces of clay with tiny holes poked in them, which are then attached to fab­ric. The result is a rich jux­ta­po­si­tion between the smooth­ness of the clay with the fuzzi­ness of the thread.

This clay embroi­dery rep­re­sents a new path for Justy­na, who has pre­vi­ous­ly made elab­o­rate poly­mer clay clocks. You can find it all in her Etsy shop.

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