Art Illustration

Rain Szeto Renders Imaginative Scenarios in Intricately Detailed Ink and Watercolor Illustrations

April 17, 2023

Kate Mothes

A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a small cafe with a figure in the center serving a fish to a cat. Another cat is curled up on a stool.

“Cat Hours.” All images © Rain Szeto, shared with permission

In Rain Szeto’s intricately rendered fictional universe, people partake in work and pastimes surrounded by stacks of books, snacks, merchandise, and mementos. Her detailed illustrations (previously) portray the organized chaos of everyday activities in domestic spaces and in shops, cafes, and outdoor areas. Typically centered around a single character like a baker behind a counter or a figure carrying a pot of flowers, the scenes are filled with quotidian objects, providing a lived-in feeling that brims with colorful energy.

Based in San Francisco, Szeto began working in comics during art school, which cemented her interest in narrative drawings. Specific details like the design of food packaging, an elaborate audio mixer setup, or pastries in a glass case suggest individual hobbies, jobs, and personalities distinctive enough that they could be mistaken for real places. Many of her recent pieces also feature feline friends that stride by confidently or curl up on cushions, including an orange tabby that could just as well be making the rounds to all of the inviting spaces.

Most of these works are on view through April 26 in Szeto’s solo exhibition Idle Moments Too at Giant Robot’s GR2 location in Los Angeles. Find more of her work on Instagram.


A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a bakery with many trays of pastries and breads. A baker looks at a sleeping cat on the counter.


A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a figure in his living room at a table with a hot beverage, and a sleeping cat next to him.

“Afternoon Movie”

A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a figure standing behind a counter, surrounded by hundreds of packages of food. He is scanning a package and appears "checked out."

“Checked Out”

Two detailed watercolor and ink illustrations. On the left, a man sits at a small table and eats lunch while a cat also sits on the table and eats. On the right, an orange tabby cat with a flower in its mouth walks by a man carrying a potted plant.

Left: “Lunch Break.” Right: “Springtime”

A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a figure sitting inside of a densely stocked food shop.

“Corner Shop”

A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a shopkeeper standing behind a counter, and a calico cat has just walked through the open door.

“First Customer”

A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a young man sitting on a chair with an electric guitar, surrounded by keyboards and sound mixing equipment.


A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a well-stocked shop full of food with a satisfied-looking orange tabby cat sitting in the center.

“Shop Cat”

A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a small fish shop with a shopkeeper standing outside the front door.

“Smoked Fish”

A detailed watercolor and ink illustration of a young figure sitting on the floor in a house, looking through records. An orange cat sleeps on a table outside on the balcony.

“Summer Waves”





An Endearing Fawn Searches for the Sun in an Enchanting Picture Book Illustrated by KAA

April 14, 2023

Jackie Andres

A vibrant illustration of a fawn drinking water out of a stream.

All images © Kaa Illustration, shared with permission

A stunning picture book written by Joanna McInerney and illustrated by KAA follows a small fawn who embarks on a beguiling journey in an effort to chase the sun. Traveling through lush forests, groves of cherry blossom trees, wintry hills, and sunflower fields, readers accompany the young deer on his poetic journey to stop and smell the flowers.

In The Fawn Who Chased the Sun, Ho Chi Minh-based duo Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, a.k.a KAA, envision a whimsical world that translates into flourishing illustrations. Transporting readers into an exuberant environment, KAA incorporate various patterns inspired by William Morris along with surreal elements such as oversized flora and towering frogs.

The duo first creates detailed sketches, which Quang scans and hands over to Lien to begin the digital coloring process. Highlighting seasonal shifts through different palettes, they encourage the reader to enjoy the journey through multiple perspectives as the environment changes. “We have tried so many new perspectives and colors that we never used before in this book, and every experiment brought us joy while drawing it,” the illustrators tell Colossal.

You can follow more of KAA’s work on their Instagram, Behance, and website.


A vibrant illustration of towering frogs at dusk looking at a small fawn in a pond.

An illustration of a deer peering over a snowy cliff at night.

A vibrant illustration of a large fox peering at a deer in an autumn forest.

A vibrant illustration of a fawn looking up at giant sunflowers.

An illustration of a deer wandering through a desert with large rocks



Animation Illustration

Virginia Mori Twists Everyday Anxieties into Dreamlike Illustrations

April 11, 2023

Grace Ebert

A gif of a swimmer jumping into a pool on a larger figure's face

All images © Virginia Mori, shared with permission

Through pen and ink renderings, Virginia Mori continues her elegant and surreal interpretations of the prosaic. The Italian illustrator and animator (previously) gravitates toward the everyday and turns moments of relative simplicity into strange otherworldly scenes. Plucking a book off of a shelf reveals a figure lurking behind the volumes, for example, while an enormous detached head plummets to the earth where a team awaits with a cushion for a safe landing. Often featuring minimal palettes of pastel colors, the introspective works meld relatable feelings of anxiety, hesitation, and fear with dreamlike inventions.

Currently, Mori has works on view in a group exhibition through May 7 at the Seoul Museum and is preparing for another opening in September at Jiro Miura Gallery in Tokyo. Shop prints of her illustrations at Librera di Fursaglia and stay-hop, which also sells t-shirts, cards, and her latest book Feeling Bed. You can follow her projects and collaborations on Instagram.


Two illustrations, one of a person peeking through a gramophone, and another of a giant head tumbling toward the earth, with a group of people stretching out a cushion to break the fall

An illustration of a person doing yoga, with their head on their hand

An illustration of tiny figures sitting on a larger figure's ear

Two illustrations in yellow, blue, black, and white, one of a man reading a book from a shelf with a person peering out from the books, and another with a woman hanging her head over the edge of a bed to reveal a celestial expanse

An illustration of a person doing yoga, with their head split in their hands

Two illustrations in yellow, black, and white, one with a woman seeing her shadow in leaves, and another of a man sitting on a bench with a leaf on his face

An illustration of a person sitting in a box on a blanket with a cat nearby




Clever Illustrations by Nash Weerasekera Highlight Ironies and Anxieties of Everyday Life

March 21, 2023

Kate Mothes

An illustration of a figure painting a silver lining on a cloud

All images © Nash Weerasekera, shared with permission

Influenced by what he describes as a “healthy level of cynicism,” Melbourne-based artist Nash Weerasekera taps into the subtle ironies of everyday life. His digital illustrations often center on seemingly paradoxical circumstances like a figure meditating on top of an overturned car or a young girl in a bathing suit seated on an ice floe. Largely focused on the nature of work, social interactions, and domestic responsibilities, his humorous scenes visualize endless to-do lists, running out of time, or a satirical take on a favorite phrase of optimists everywhere: every cloud has a silver lining.

Weerasekera shares that he “thinks” better on paper, so every piece begins with a physical sketch. His illustration practice stems from a background in street art in his home country of Sri Lanka that blossomed into acrylic painting when he moved to Australia. During pandemic lockdowns when it was a challenge to gather materials, he began to experiment with digital techniques and increasingly collaborates with commercial clients.

Weerasekera is currently illustrating a children’s book, and you can find more of his work on Instagram.


An illustration of a figure with Post-It notes stuck on his face

An illustration of figures walking with umbrellas

An illustration of a figure sitting on an overturned car and meditating

An illustration of a girl in a bathing suit sitting on an ice floe with a penguin, looking at glaciers

An illustration of a tiny figure running around the face of a watch like a race track

An illustration of a figure submerged in a sick full of dishes

An illustration of a tea bag full of pills, steeping in a mug

An illustration of a figure with her mouth open extremely wide

An illustration of a figure whose body has been modulated into shelves



Art Illustration

Debatable Motivations Inspire the Adventures of Biking Sloths and Raging Cats in Ravi Zupa’s Illustrations

March 17, 2023

Grace Ebert

An illustration of a sloth riding a bicycle with text saying "what an intense rush!"

All images © Ravi Zupa, shared with permission

A raccoon on a motorcycle laments over being a poser, a sloth finds itself exhilerated after a bike ride, and a raging cat screams that, despite its snarling teeth, it’s not angry. The self-conscious, awkward, and excitable creatures are the latest additions to Ravi Zupa’s growing cast of characters, which follow earlier illustrations featuring a pack of self-deprecating dogs and a herd of disorderly, drunken cats.

Zupa tells Colossal that he’s spent the last few months riding his bike near his home in Commerce City, Colorado, each morning—rain, snow, or sunshine—and this dedication has translated to his work. Many of his recent prints and greeting cards feature animals mid-cycle as they contemplate their television habits and whether their helmet really does make them look corny.

Currently, Zupa is preparing for a solo show opening in June at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles. His work will also be included in a group exhibition opening in July at Harman Projects in New York City. Shop prints and greeting cards featuring the illustrations shown here on his site.


An illustration of two cats riding motorcylces with text saying "friendship, they had decided to go for more adventures!"

An illustration of an angry cat with text saying "I said...I'm fine!"

An illustration of an angry cat with text saying "VOTE!"

Four illustrations of cats riding bicycles and motorcycles on grainy yellow backdrops surrounded by text

An illustration of a tiger doing a backend with text saying "those who are flexible and yielding are disciples of life"

An illustration of an angry cat with text saying "do not go gentle into that good night rage against the dying of the light"



Animation Art Illustration

Everyday Objects Swirl in the Dizzying Choreography of Alain Biet’s Elaborate Animation

March 2, 2023

Kate Mothes

Items you might find on a shelf in the garage or packed away in the basement—like wrenches, your old MP3 player, key fobs, or spare light bulbs—become stars in their own right in Alain Biet’s mesmerizing animation. “Grands Canons,” which translates from French to “Big Guns,” opens with a close-up of the artist drafting a realistic, green pencil in watercolor. Once the rendering is complete, we meet another pencil, and another, as a “visual symphony” of thousands of precise drawings unfolds.

Biet’s intricately detailed illustrations highlight everyday objects we might find in a junk drawer, a closet, or even destined for the trash, emphasizing a variety of styles and how items have evolved over time. His survey of technology and tools stokes a tinge of nostalgia, too. Remember that old Discman, SLR camera, or Nokia brick? The gang’s all here in a dizzyingly choreographed sequence, accompanied by an original score that responds to the rhythms and movements of the drawings as they skitter and whirl across the surface.

Find more of the artist’s work his website and Instagram.


All images © Alain Biet

An animated image of illustrations of kitchen utensils from an animated short film by Alain Biet of thousands of aquarelle paintings of everyday objects.

A still of illustrations of pliers from an animated short film by Alain Biet of thousands of aquarelle paintings of everyday objects.

A animated image of keys and locks from an animated short film by Alain Biet of thousands of aquarelle paintings of everyday objects.

A still of illustrations of lightbulbs from an animated short film by Alain Biet of thousands of aquarelle paintings of everyday objects.