Illustration

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Illustration

Human Minds Burst into Splashes of Color in Surreal Digital Illustrations by Carolina Rodríguez Fuenmayor

January 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Carolina Rodríguez Fuenmayor, shared with permission

Bogotá-based illustrator Carolina Rodríguez Fuenmayor draws portraits and intimate scenarios brimming with surreal elements and spots of color. In her digital pieces, Rodríguez Fuenmayor tends to obscure subjects’ faces with bright bursts, masses of florals, and whirlpool-like ripples that cloud their minds and explode into their surroundings. The vivid illustrations peek into the workings of the human psyche and the idiosyncratic commotion it produces. “I wouldn’t say that there’s a particular feeling I’m focused on,” she shares. “I infuse all my pieces with a mix of random, confusing, and funny emotions about what I think life is about.”

Pick up a print and explore more of Rodríguez Fuenmayor’s imaginative pieces on Instagram.

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Dig Into an Enormous Archive of Drawings Unveiling the Complex Root Systems of 1,180 Plants

January 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Wageningen University & Research

It’s generally understood that terrestrial plant life evolved from algae, one key to its successful adaptation being roots that sprawled underground to absorb important nutrients and water. Billions of years later, the fibrous networks are essential to life across the planet as they ensure the growth and health of individual specimens, help prevent erosion, and capture carbon from the air.

A collaborative project of the late botanists Erwin Lichtenegger and Lore Kutschera celebrates the power and beauty of these otherwise hidden systems through detailed drawings of agricultural crops, shrubs, trees, and weeds. Digitized by the Wageningen University & Research, the extensive archive is the culmination of 40 years of research in Austria that involved cultivating and carefully retrieving developed plant life from the soil for study. It now boasts more than 1,000 renderings of the winding, spindly roots, some of which branch multiple feet wide.

We’ve gathered some of the biological studies here, but you can pore through the full collection on the Wageningen University site. (via MetaFilter)

 

 

 



Illustration Science

In 'Wild Design,' Vintage Illustrations Expose the Patterns and Shapes Behind All Life on Earth

January 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. Gotha: Bibliographisches Institut. All images from Wild Design: Nature’s Architects by Kimberly Ridley, published by Princeton Architectural Press, shared with permission of the publisher

Focusing on the patterns and shapes that structure the planet, a new book published by Princeton Architectural Press explores the science behind a trove of organically occurring forms. Wild Design: Nature’s Architects by author Kimberly Ridley pairs dozens of vintage illustrations—spot the work of famed German biologist Ernst Haeckel (previously) among them—with essays detailing the function of the striking phenomena, from the smallest organisms to the monumental foundations that extend across vast swaths of land. These structures are simultaneously beautiful and crucial to life on Earth and include the sprawling mycelium networks connecting life above and below ground, the papery, hexagonal cells comprising honeycomb, and a spider’s funnel-like web tailored to trap its prey. Dive further into the world of Wild Design by picking up a copy from Bookshop.

 

(Johann Andreas Naumann, Naturgeschichte der Vögel Deutschlands, 1820. Leipzig: G. Fleischer

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. Gotha: Bibliographisches Institut

Berthold Seemann, Journal of Botany, 1863. London: R. Hardwicke

Henry C. McCook, American Spiders and Their Spinning Work, 1889. Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia

 

Henri de Saussure, Études sur la famille des vespides, 1852. Paris: V. Masson

Oliver B. Bunce and William C. Cullen, Picturesque America, 1872. New York: D. Appleton

 

 



Art Illustration

Foliage Sprouts from Four Imaginative Clay Illustrations by Irma Gruenholz

December 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Irma Gruenholz, shared with permission

It’s easy to mistake Irma Gruenholz’s whimsical ceramic figures for two-dimensional illustrations. The Madrid-based artist (previously) is known for her sculptures and still lifes in clay that resemble flat graphics and drawings, although her works require precise positioning and photographing before they’re printed in the pages of a magazine or children’s book.

In addition to working on commissions for major publications and brands in the last few years, Gruenholz’s most recent projects include four imaginative figures tattooed with foliage and sprouting leafy branches from their heads. “During Covid lockdown, I have had time to reflect and realize how important it is to respect your internal rhythm when you are creating,” she says. “I think there has to be another way of living, a slow life good for the people and for the planet.”

Head to Behance and Instagram for glimpses into the process behind these fantastical figures and to explore a larger archive of the artist’s illustrative work.

 

 

 



Illustration

Energetic Explosions of Color and Doodles Encircle the Subjects of Russ Mills's Digital Portraits

December 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Russ Mills, shared with permission

Artist Russ Mills (previously) describes his chaotic, illustrated portraits as being ruled by the absurd. Bright bursts of color, paint splatters, and doodles scrawl across the canvas and surround single figures with a mishmash of markings. “I try to convey the ridiculousness of the world we all share in a way that only I really relate to,” he tells Colossal.

Currently based near Brighton, Mills balances analog and digital techniques in his practice. He begins each piece with a sketch and scanned source materials that become the crayon-like textures and thick brushstrokes in his final works. Once he places the central figure, he layers an array of markings that both conceal and help define the subject, and the resulting portraits feature curled edges, scraps of paper haphazardly taped together, and bold streaks and splotches.

Shop prints of the pieces shown here, and explore a larger collection of Mills’s works on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Miniature Watercolor Works by Ruby Silvious Are Painted on Stained Teabags

November 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

Ruby Silvious’s quaint seaside scenes and bucolic landscapes nestle between the torn edges and wrinkled folds of a used teabag. The Coxsackie, New York-based artist (previously) paints miniature scenes of everyday life on the stained paper pouches, leaving the string and tags intact as a reminder of the repurposed material’s origin. Silvious sells prints of her watercolor pieces on her site, and you can follow her latest projects and news about upcoming exhibitions—she will be showing her upcycled works in France and Japan in 2022—on Instagram.