Kelly Pousette captures storybook scenes in paper dioramas. The shadowbox illustrations are vignettes that chronicle the adventures of a small fox as it traverses wintery scenes, naps by a cozy fire, and enjoys the beauty of blooms.
For many illustrators, having their work on the cover of The New Yorker is a dream. Since the magazine launched in 1925, it has produced some truly iconic covers that, in a single image, demonstrate why illustration is an important part of our visual culture. Not one to shy away from representing timely and/or controversial topics, the images produced are a snapshot of society at that particular time.
Does the middle of the week got you down? If so, escape to the dreamy illustrations by Camila Ortega. Clad in cotton candy pinks and tranquil blues, her characters greet you with a relaxed smile and sleepy gaze. They occupy a space that’s neither here nor there—the place where our subconscious thrives.
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.
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.
Last week, I featured the work of Isabelle Feliu as part of my list of 16 fantastical fashion illustrations. Since then, her paintings have been on my mind. Combing women of all shapes and sizes, she outfits them in fabulous fashions from real-world designers like Vivetta and Gucci. The clothing is contemporary, but the Isabelle’s style of watercolor paintings is reminiscent of artists long ago. Matisse comes to mind—especially in the gesture of Isabelle’s figures, as well as her use of bold, flattened shapes.
When it comes to hoop art, light-colored fabrics are a popular choice to embroider on. But, don’t overlook dark cloth. As Lindsay Swearingen demonstrates, it too can create beautiful pieces. Under the moniker Tusk and Cardinal, the Californian sews nature-inspired pieces that showcase, most notably, flowers and hands on a black background. The contrast makes her designs pop, and I love the tattoo aesthetic that she has in some of her pieces. The creatures, in particular, have the distinct feeling of blackwork-style body art.
Follow along with Lindsay’s hoop art on Instagram. And for her embroidered goods, head to the Tusk and Cardinal Etsy shop.
Inspired by wildflowers, roootree (aka Kaori) illustrates their colorful beauty onto porcelain plates, cups, and saucers. My favorite pattern—a mixture of tall grasses and bright buds—seems undoubtedly inspired by this meadow of wildflowers. Kaori has translated the endless rows of flowers into layers of color and texture. Using a combination of tight drawing and diffused shapes, she creates the feeling of depth. It’s as if her illustrated ceramics are actually made of a field of blooms.
Kaori sells her wildflower ceramics on Etsy.
Leah Goren is an illustrator known for her awe-inspiring sketchbook. That spontaneous, painterly-style works on more than just paper, though. She’s transferred her visible, energetic brush strokes to hand-built illustrated ceramic plates and vessels. They too feel like something out of her 2D illustrations, but with these, they’ve got an added practical purpose of displaying fresh cut flowers or store your favorite rings. Personally, I wish she’d make another one of the tiger dishes.
Leah sells her one-of-a-kind ceramics in her online shop. But if ceramics aren’t your thing, Leah also has a Skillshare class called Illustration & Inspiration: Keeping a Sketchbook.
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.