It’s no secret that learning new things helps keep your brain sharp. In art, it’s especially valuable to take time and gain a new skill. Doing so, at the very least, can improve the way you work. But more importantly, it can change the way you think about your art. Luckily, you can learn new things from the comfort of your own home. That’s where Skillshare comes in. They’ve got 15,000 online classes available for you to take from people at the top of their field. I recently enrolled in a class that I was eager to try: Illustration & Inspiration: Keeping a Sketchbook by Leah Goren. You too can try this class with 2 free months of Skillshare Premium.
Last year, Isa Beniston wowed me with her playful clothing that looked like the pages of a sketchbook. She’s been busy since then; through her retail line called Gentle Thrills, she’s released her most recent collection for spring, the aptly-named Get Sprung. Here, Isa branches out from hand-painted clothing and includes revamped vintage and military surplus pieces into her one-of-a-kind garments. They’re adorned with embroidery based on her own drawings, and the colorful additions add a contemporary look and feel to these upcycled pieces.
Fusing folk art with the Latin names of men and beasts, illustrator Sarah Walsh has produced a colorful series called Folk Science. She’s taken eight subjects—from rabbits to lions to a guy with a healthy beard—and decorated their bodies with florals. In every painting, Sarah includes a hand lettered label with their scientific moniker—creating an unlikely fusion of the two worlds.
Drips are in. Sweet, sticky drip cakes are one of Pinterest’s 2017 wedding trends, and the same goes for ceramics. The latest drip pots by the London-based Kinska use her signature minimalist palette and tiny faces that are overrun by dribbles of black and white glaze. But rather than looking messy and haphazard, it adds visual tension to the otherwise sweet, tranquil faces—like these pot people are slowly melting from within.
Most of us have probably heard of the toy company Fisher-Price. They’re the manufacturers of classics like Little People, Power Wheels, and the View Master. It’s been around since the 1930s, and was co-founded by Golden Age illustrator Margaret Evans Price. Before she founded one of the world’s most popular toy manufacturers, however, she was a young girl interested in art. And, talented, too; she sold her first illustrated story to the Boston Journal when she was just 12 years old.
“Men are often portrayed in the company of dogs,” Sam Kalda writes in his book Of Cats and Men. “They hunt together, run happily side by side, and ride shoulder to shoulder in mud-splattered pickups—the perfect image of masculine bliss. The dog is, after all, man’s best friend. Some men, that is.” But what about the feline muses that inspired some of history’s great artists, writers, and thinkers? Well, they’re profiled in this beautifully illustrated and delightfully written book.
This time of year, painted eggs are a popular way to celebrate spring and Easter. What comes to my mind is the egg dye kits you used to get from the grocery story. You’d use a crayon to mask the area you wanted to keep white and then dip the egg and hope it looked good. Most of it was left up to chance.
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.
The longer that Society6 is around, the more practical products it carries. (Years ago, I bought a shower curtain that I still use!) And I’m continually impressed with how they offer illustrators the opportunity to sell their work through products other than prints. One of their latest offerings is comfy seating—floor pillows! Available in square or round shapes, they’re perfect for making a cozy reading nook. Or, if you’ve got a large furry friend, it could be a fancy bed.
Like so many people on the internet, I’ve fallen in love with the work of Elisa Lefebvre. The colorful illustrated ceramics feature a watercolor-esque application of glaze. So despite their strong, often stout forms, the pieces have a feeling of levity and airiness. It’s this juxtaposition that makes them irresistible and draws you towards them—especially the animal pieces. I like the peekaboo holes cut in cats and dogs that showcases small cut leaves.