Surreal Illustrations That Swim in the Unknown

sonia alins miguel

Illus­tra­tor Sonia Alins Miguel cre­ated these sur­real and eerie works titled Dones D’Aigua (trans­la­tion: Water Women), and it makes sense given the sub­ject mat­ter. Naked ladies swim in a gray-blue void. This liq­uid, lim­i­nal space could sig­nify dreams or feel­ings of unknown. And, by the looks on their faces, this could be unwel­come or down­right alarming.

I was imme­di­ately drawn to Sonia’s illus­tra­tions because of the com­po­si­tional push-and-pull. As these ladies’ limbs are out of the water, they are rep­re­sented with crisp lines. But, when they’re under the water, every­thing becomes very dif­fused and distorted.

sonia alins miguel sonia alins miguel SoniaAlinsMiguel-3 SoniaAlinsMiguel-5 SoniaAlinsMiguel-6 SoniaAlinsMiguel-4 SoniaAlinsMiguel-9 SoniaAlinsMiguel-10 SoniaAlinsMiguel-12

Classics Tales Unfolded into Beautiful Illustrations

classics unfolded becca stadtlander

If you’re a fan of clas­sic tales like Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prej­u­dice, then you’ll swoon at these illus­tra­tions by Yelena Bryk­senkova and Becca Stadt­lander. The two (sep­a­rately) painted Clas­sics Unfolded for Frances Lin­coln publishers.

Sto­ries are told in a fold-out con­certina gift for­mat that fea­tures 16 illus­trated frames. The pub­lish­ers describe it say­ing, “every title in this series is like a visual ‘spark notes’: a  learn­ing tool that sim­pli­fies plots into bite-sized pieces, and dou­bles as a beau­ti­ful piece of free­stand­ing art to shelve or frame.”

I love both Yelena and Becca’s styles and think they’re per­fect for this project. Plus, they are real-life friends — what a nice coin­ci­dence (or is it?)!

You can now pre­order these titles for release in March.

yelena-2 classics unfolded becca stadtlander yelena-1

These French Chocolate Bars Have the Best Illustrated Labels

Le chocolat des Français

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love choco­late. LOVE. I can’t seem to turn down sweets, espe­cially in the form of a cup­cake or bar. So, when I found a choco­late brand that fea­tured awe­some illus­tra­tions on their pack­ag­ing, it was the best of both worlds.

Le choco­lat des Français is a French brand that’s made tra­di­tion­ally in a small vil­lage in Ile-de-France, near Paris. Paul-Henri Mas­son art directed these labels, and he employs the tal­ents of many, many illus­tra­tors (see list below). I love the range here. You’ve got bold, col­or­ful labels mixed with fine pen draw­ings. The sub­ject mat­ter varies, but the thread that ties every­thing together is the sense of playfulness.

Le chocolat des Français Le chocolat des Français chocolate-7 chocolate-4 chocolate-3 chocolate-5 chocolate-9 chocolate-8

Illus­tra­tions by: Alexan­dre Doucin, Amélie Wag­ner, Arthur de Pins, Car­o­line Hoël, Edith Car­ron, Emma Valleran, Gaël Davrinche, Gally, Gas­ton de Lapoy­ade, Guil­laume Chauchat, Hervé Di Rosa, Jean-Charles Fré­mont, Jean-Christophe Valleran, Jean-Manuel Duvivier, Jen­nifer Bon­gibault, JLFQD, JUL,Julia Spiers, Julie Joseph, Julien Chheng, Laura Junger, Lau­re­line Gal­liotLau­rene Boglio, Ludovic Faledammade­line peirs­man, Marc socié,Marie Assé­nat, Matthieu Laroussinie, Maud Begon, Miss Bean, Mlle Forma, Mr Wal­ter, Pas­cal Lemaître, Quentin Willi­aume, Remi Wyart, Serge Bloch, Simon Bour­nel Bosson, Sophia Babari, Steffie Bro­coli, Stéphane Maupin, Tizieu,Vic­tor Hussenot, Yas­mine Gateau, Youloune

Wenjia Tang’s Soft and Subtly-Colored Illustrations

wenjia tang

With these soft col­ors and gor­geous, sub­tle details, it’s hard to believe that Wen­jia Tang is just a sopho­more in col­lege. She already has a beau­ti­ful style that lends itself well to story-telling and design.

A lot of Wenjia’s work (so far) is assign­ments for school such as redesign­ing book cov­ers (I love what she did with Rapun­zel, directly below).  I’m def­i­nitely keep­ing tabs on her illus­tra­tions to see how she pro­gresses as time goes on!

wenjia tangwenjia tang Wenjia-Tang-7 Wenjia-Tang-8 Wenjia-Tang-10 Wenjia-Tang-11Wenjia-Tang-4


I Want to Go There!

Happy Fri­day! Today, my illus­tra­tive round up is of places that I can best describe as “I want to go there.” (Thanks to Lisa for that phrase.) They’re fan­tas­ti­cal, dreamy, relax­ing, and best of all? No snow or frigid temperatures!

Who Needs a Pencil When You’ve Got Thread?

Julie Van Wezemael

Julie Van Weze­mael is an illus­tra­tor based in Ghent, Bel­gium, and she com­bines paint­ing and embroi­dery in her exquis­ite works. The use of thread is often sub­tle; here, you can see that it takes the place of lines that would nor­mally be drawn with a pen or pen­cil. I like the tex­ture it cre­ates, and it adds an unex­pected twist to her land­scape scenes.


Julie Van Wezemael Julie Van Wezemael Julie-Van-Wezemael-14 Julie-Van-Wezemael-9 Julie-Van-Wezemael-8 Julie-Van-Wezemael-7 Julie-Van-Wezemael-2 Julie-Van-Wezemael-1 Julie-Van-Wezemael-10

Julie also pro­duces ceram­ics! Here are a few of her animal-centric creations:

Julie-Van-Wezemael-6 Julie-Van-Wezemael-3 Julie-Van-Wezemael-4

Chanel Couture’s Amazing Floral Backdrop Featuring 300 Blooms

It’s no secret my love for paper sculpt­ing, and so when I saw the Chanel Spring 2015 Cou­ture Run­way, I was instantly enthralled. The flo­ral theme fea­tured an arbore­tum of white card­board palms con­structed under a glass ceil­ing. And, bet­ter yet, they moved!

It took 6 months to pro­duce the 300 flow­ers that dec­o­rated the set. Each fea­tured their own engine, and at the start of the show, Bap­tiste Giabi­coni (Karl Lagerfeld’s muse) “watered” them and brought the mechan­i­cal blooms to life.

The mostly-white back­drop had pops of color that com­pli­mented the cou­ture out­fits, some of which were heav­ily adorned with bril­liant flow­ers. Images of the set and cloth­ing below!

Image via: Racked

Image via: Racked

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Photo via: Purple Diary

Photo via: Pur­ple Diary

Pho­tos of some of my favorite out­fits. See the entire thing on








Illustrators with Ink: Daniel Fishel

daniel fishel

So, it’s been a while, but I have for you another install­ment of Illus­tra­tors with Ink! Queens, New York-based illus­tra­tor Daniel Fishel was gra­cious enough to share his tat­toos with me.

Daniel grew up near Har­ris­burg, PA but moved to New York and pur­sued his MFA in Illus­tra­tion as Visual Essay from SVA. His clients include an impres­sive list: the New York Times, McSweeneys, The Globe & Mail, GQ Mag­a­zine, Wash­ing­ton Post, Baron Fig, Lands End Can­vas and National Pub­lic Radio (yay, NPR!). If you don’t fol­low him on Insta­gram, please do. He has an adorable cat named Avo­cado and likes pizza.

How many tat­toos do you have? 9 (8 patched, 1 unfin­ished sock)

How old were you when you got your first tat­too? I was 19 years old. I was going to get one at 18 but I was super broke just start­ing art school. I’m kind of glad I waited because I prob­a­bly would have got­ten some­thing really dumb but I was smart enough to avoid get­ting a nau­ti­cal star or sparrows.

My first tat­too is a pirate ship on the Susque­hanna river with the Har­ris­burg cap­i­tal build­ing and Three Mile Island on the other side. It’s framed with a ban­ner with 717, my area code, and two straight razors on the sides. It’s a com­mem­o­ra­tion of where I was from and what I believe in. Also, every­one who lis­tened to hard­core and was apart of the scene had got­ten a 717 area code tattoo.

Did you design any your­self? If not, would you ever? For some of the cus­tom work I roughed it out but had them draw it. It’s their job to draw it in the way they typ­i­cally do. My Buddy Holly tat­too is ref­er­enced based on a Chris­t­ian Clay­ton illus­tra­tion and obvi­ously all of my punk rock band logos are just that.

Do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why? Prob­a­bly the tat­too on the back of my arm. It’s of a T-Bone steak with a halo at the top that has a ban­ner around it say­ing “For­ever Ten­der.” I got it out of spite at 21 when most of my friends were aggres­sive hard­core veg­ans. I mean they had vegan writ­ten on their knuck­les and “xVE­G­ANx” up their shin. At the time I ate meat and it was all out of fun. Now I’m veg­e­tar­ian and it’s kind of has a whole new mean­ing to me.

daniel fishel
Where did you get your work done? Most of the artists who have done the work on me have moved onto other shops. In no order, Black Thorn Gallery (Mechan­ics­burg, PA), Machine Heads Tat­too (Ley­mone, PA), 717 Tat­too (Mechan­ics­burg, PA), Atom Age Tat­too (Mechan­ics­burg, PA). Ryan Spahr did my awe­some Buddy Holly tat­too and he should get a bunch of atten­tion. I’ve never got­ten a tat­too in NYC yet but it’s on my list of things to do. I’ve lived here for 6+ years so I should get on that.

Is there any mean­ing behind any of your tat­toos? All of my tat­toos are mean­ing­ful and some­times poetic. I have a tree fort, sub­urb and kids play­ing on my leg which plays as a loose nar­ra­tive of grow­ing up in cen­tral PA. Just run­ning out and about and you came home at dusk to eat din­ner. I guess a call for sim­pler times that I kind of miss before computers/cell phones took over our lives. Before that it was just TVs.

Do you see a con­nec­tion between the type of tat­toos you have and your illus­tra­tive work? Tat­toos have been apart of my life and apart of my visual lan­guage. When­ever I can I try to add tattoo’s on the char­ac­ters I draw.

Here’s a selec­tion of Daniel’s illustrations:

daniel-fishel-illo-1 daniel fishel daniel-fishel-illo-2 daniel-fishel-illo-3 daniel-fishel-illo-4

Energetic Scribbles (and Carefully-Drawn Lines) by Felicita Sala

felicita sala

Ital­ian illus­tra­tor Felicita Sala cre­ates delight­ful works that incor­po­rate ele­ments of paint­ing, draw­ing, and cut paper. She’s not mar­ried to any one tech­nique and com­bines pho­tog­ra­phy with ener­getic scribbles.

I decided to dis­cover the world of art and illus­tra­tion out­side of for­mal insti­tu­tions, tak­ing inspi­ra­tion from from con­tem­po­rary art, phi­los­o­phy, music, chil­dren, archi­tec­ture and peo­ple on the street,” Felicita writes on her blog. She’s got a very active sketch­book (and reg­u­larly posts snip­pets of it on her there), which I would imag­ine has helped her in her approach.

felicita salafelicita sala felicitas-5felicitas-7felicitas-2 felicitas-3 felicitas-4felicitas-10

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!