All images courtesy of David Álvarez. This image was made in collaboration with Julia D
David Álvarez produces soft illustrations that seem to glow despite their often limited color palette of black and white. The graphite scenes depict animals either interacting with or as humans, often donning elaborate garments while engaged in activities such as dancing or reading books.
“I always found it amazing how artists worked in the earlier days, I think of the technological limitations and how it took talent, skill, and patience to develop works of great complexity,” Álvarez told Colossal. “That was one reason why, since I was a student, I felt interest in figurative drawing for handling light and shadow. At school I discovered graphite and its possibilities. When I started working on my own I noticed that my personality and my way of working suited that particular technique.”
Mesoamerica is one of the illustrator’s favorite subjects to produce works around. Recently he created a book surrounding Mesoamerican myth titled Ancient Night that follows a rabbit and opossum’s adventures with pulque, a fermented prehispanic beverage.
Seen here are a number of collaborations with illustrator Julia Diaz. You can explore more of Álvarez’s illustrations on his Instagram and blog.
David Álvarez in collaboration with Julia D
David Álvarez in collaboration with Julia D
Artist Xavier Casalta (previously) wows us again with his miraculous patience and steady hand in this latest illustration titled Autumn, a flowing depiction of intertwined flowers, gourds, plants, and other vegetation. Casalta uses a technique called stippling, where a multitude of tiny ink dots are made it various patterns to create shadows, lines, and textures throughout the piece. The 23-year-old illustrator estimates Autumn contains roughly 7 million dots applied over a staggering period of 370 hours. You can see more close-up views of the piece here. (via Booooooom)
Autumn. 56×56 cm ink drawing on arches sheet.
All images provided by the Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum, an arts and history museum located in the heart of Amsterdam, is asking visitors to put down their cameras and pick up a pen next time they enter the museum’s walls. Rijksmuseum’s new campaign #startdrawing wants to slow down observers, encouraging attendees to draw sculptures and paintings that interest them rather than snapping a picture and moving on to the next work in quick succession.
By slowing down the process of observation, the visitor is able to get closer to the artist’s secrets, the museum explains, engaging with each work by actively doing instead of passively capturing. “In our busy lives we don’t always realize how beautiful something can be,” said Wim Pijbes, the general director of the Rijksmuseum. “We forget how to look really closely. Drawing helps because you see more when you draw.” The museum has begun to highlight drawings completed by participants on their Instagram as well as their blog associated with the campaign here.
Banning cameras (or softly dissuading attendees from using them) is also a way to bring the focus from the selfie an attendee may take with a work of art to the masterpiece before them. A perfectly timed exhibition titled “Selfies on Paper” is currently on display in the museum — 90 self-portraits from well known artists from the 17th to 20th century spread through each floor of the museum. The exhibition shows how artists captured themselves on paper while acting as a challenge to those who might have thought selfie sticks were the only tool appropriate for self preservation. “Selfies on Paper” will run though the winter. (via Hyperallergic)
Inspired in part by his graphic-designer friends disparaging comments about the lowly ballpoint pen, artist Ray Cicin took it upon himself to collect all their discarded pens and embarked on this drawing of a mammoth octopus. The piece is inspired by German naturalist Ernst Haeckel’s famous illustration of squid and octopi, and is part of Cicin’s ongoing Deep Blue series. You can follow more of his work on Instagram.
Deep Blue, Octopus. Ballpoint pen on archival Bee Rag paper, 62 x 64 inches
Artist Nicolas V. Sanchez fills entire sketchbooks with drawings of the world around him rendered in precise color ballpoint. Portraits of families page by page, sprawling scenes of rugged farms and livestock, and near photographic recollections of people and places from residencies in the Dominican Republic and China. Sanchez often explores the roots of his own identity, delving into a bi-cultural upbringing that spans from the American midwest to his family’s rural history in Mexico.
In addition to his exacting pen work, Sanchez is also a painter and works in a distinct style that’s quite different from his ballpoint pen sketches. The sketchbooks help him work through ideas to determine if they eventually meant for a larger canvas, or if they’re meant to exist only in the pages of a book.
Filmmaker Jesse Brass recently sat down to talk with Sanchez in his New York studio for this interview entitled Resolve.
English artist Ed Fairburn (previously) uses vintage road maps and star charts as canvases for drawn portraits. Cross-hatched patterns and shaded regions inside roads, borders, and rivers assimilate into the contours of faces, as if the images had always been secretly hidden in the map’s topography. “In his hands, both built infrastructure and natural phenomena echo the organic human form,” shares Mike Wright Gallery. “National highway systems become capillaries, and the tangle of Paris’ alleyways become the wrinkles that give the face history and individuality.”
Fairburn opens a new show of work alongside artist John Wentz today at Mike Wright in Denver.