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.
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.
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.
Remember last week when I was declaring my obsession for planters? Cumbuca Chic is another online shop that makes my list. Brazilian artist Priscilla Ramos is the woman behind these cute animal planters, which feature foxes, whales, sloths, and even tiny capybara. Each is adorned with a combination of shiny glaze that’s offset by the matte stoneware. I like this combination—it offers a nice visual contrast that proves that sometimes, minimalism can say as much as heavy decoration.
Some people lack the green thumb necessary to take care of plants. If you’re one of them, here’s a solution for you—no watering necessary! Tania of Lissova Craft creates tiny paper craft cacti that you can hold in the palm of your hand. Each potted plant is individually cut and intricately detailed with things like decorative planters and tiny flowers. Lissova will use a different types of papers to create a variety of texture, as well as cutting fringe into the paper itself.
These paper cacti are available on greeting cards and as original art in the Lissa Craft Etsy shop. And if you want to see works in progress, follow Tania on Instagram.
Whether you own a couple of t-shirts or a closet full of dresses, you can still appreciate the fun of fashion. One way to explore outfits is through illustration; why not build your own dream ensemble? Real world cost, material, and construction has nothing to do with it!
This week, I’ve shared vibrant portraits celebrating women of color and strong females kicking the shins of the patriarchy. Let’s cap off this week with the work of Rachel Ignotofsky, who recently released a poster depicting Female Activists Throughout History. “These women have fought, organized, and protested the inequality they saw around them,” Rachel explains. “This poster celebrates how they helped to create a better future. I hope this illustration inspires you to use your own unique voice to resist and fight injustice.” Half of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the ACLU in your name.
I first met Hayley Powers Thornton-Kennedy when I visited the MFA Illustration Practice program (MFA ILP) as a guest critic and lecturer. In their cozy, well-lit studio, she showed me a selection of signage she had created for the Women’s March on January 21. I was instantly attracted to the bold illustrations and, above all, imagery featuring strong female figures. I had the opportunity to talk to Hayley more about her work, both in person and via email. The conversation and her illustrations seem especially fitting for today’s International Women’s Day and A Day Without Women.
Last summer, Jess Phoenix wowed me with her vibrant blooms. And, she was a hit on Brown Paper Bag, too; her beautiful bouquets were one of the most popular posts of 2016. Jess has just finished another gorgeous series called Queens that builds off of flowers and incorporates illustrated women and cats.