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Art Illustration

Vibrant Digital Portraits by Artist Alexis Franklin Emphasize the Nuances of Emotions

August 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Alexis Franklin, shared with permission

Dallas-based artist Alexis Franklin considers her digital renderings a reinvention of the expected. “I’ve always seen the world through a filter that brings vibrance and excitement to things most people wouldn’t notice, and that’s something that I really want to have come across in my work,” she says of her expressive paintings. Through facial expressions, gestures, and color, each work highlights the nuances of the subjects’ experience, personality, and mood.

A church videographer by day, painting is Franklin’s side-project and one for which she’s received an influx of attention in recent days. She illustrated an affective portrait of Breonna Taylor, who was murdered by three Louisville police officers in March, for the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine. The two-decades-old publication has only ever featured Oprah Winfrey. This isn’t the 24-year-old’s first high-profile cover, though: she also created a powerful rendering of Anita Hill for Time earlier this year.

Franklin often shares time-lapses of her paintings-in-progress—which you can watch below and on YouTube and Instagram—that document every step of her process. “I tend to stay in the present with my work. I don’t really imagine where it’s headed,” she writes to Colossal. “I just let each project be what it is, and then I move to the next one with fresh eyes. And I’m very grateful that each project continuously seems to find me!” (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

Dark Backgrounds Dramatize Colorful Portraits of Quilled Paper by Yulia Brodskaya

August 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Yulia Brodskaya, shared with permission

For years Yulia Brodskaya (previously) has gravitated toward light backdrops for her densely quilled paper portraits. “It rarely even crossed my mind that I should choose any colour other than white. White allows all wonderful colour reflections and blended inter-reflections from paper strips to be visible and showcased at their fullest potential,” she tells Colossal.

In recent months, though, the United Kingdom-based artist has started to utilize dark canvases, which poses new challenges as some of her standard techniques, like composing portraits with thin strips, don’t translate well. “Black color is dense, dominating, it absorbs all reflections and most of the shadows; only top edges of paper strips are left to see,” she says.

Instead, Brodskaya has focused on thicker rolls and larger bends to create necessary contrast. Many of the vibrant portraits feature larger, three-dimensional swaths similar to brushstrokes, a nod to the artist’s method of “painting with paper,” that help to highlight distinct features. “I chose to leave plenty of empty dark space and blend in colored parts to gradually transition them into the black nothingness, so the background plays a crucial role in these new artworks,” she says.

To see Brodskaya’s paper-based works in progress, check out the video below and follow her on Instagram.

 

 

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Illustration

Exquisite Digital Illustrations by Maxim Shkret Render Tousled Manes and Ruffled Feathers of Fantastical Creatures

July 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Maxim Shkret, shared with permission

Based in Moscow, artist Maxim Shkret (previously) renders animals’ coats with refined details, presenting a horse’s mane or crow’s feathers through distinct, sinuous pieces. Appearing three-dimensional, Shkret’s elegant renderings capture the flowing qualities of fur and feathers. Each digital illustration has a strict color palette, and although some creatures maintain realistic shades of browns and black, others take on a whimsical quality with blush and magenta features. To explore more of the illustrator’s digital projects, head to Behance and Instagram.

 

 

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Art Design Illustration

Paper Wildlife Sculptures by Artist Diana Beltrán Herrera Document Nature's Most Striking Details

July 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Diana Beltrán Herrera, shared with permission

In 2012, Bristol-based artist Diana Beltrán Herrera (previously) began sculpting impeccably layered paper birds and other wildlife as a way to record her surroundings. Her lifelike pieces continuously have captured nature’s finely detailed and minuscule elements, like the fibrous texture of feathers and the veins running through leaves.

Today, the artist has expanded the practice to include exotic species and environments she’s never seen up close, developing her paper techniques to express the more nuanced details of the shapes and textures she studies in biology books. Now focusing on the structural elements of fungi, fruit, and florals, Beltrán Herrera shares with Colossal:

Paper as a medium for documentation allows me to register and create notions and ideas of subjects that I have not experienced in real life but that I can experience when a sculpture is completed. I like this approach because it is not harmful, and through my work, I can show and tell my viewers about the things I have been learning, of the importance of nature just by researching and making it myself.

Much of her work centers on conservation efforts and environmental justice. For example, a recent commission by Greenpeace UK bolstered the organization’s Plastic Free Rivers campaign. ” I am constantly looking for more subjects that are relevant to the times we are living in, so that through my work I can communicate important information that can educate or just make things more visible. The approach is very (graphic) and visual, which helps to deliver a message,” she says.

Beltrán Herrera’s upcoming projects include a commission for a coral sculpture, in addition to plans to launch a studio with her brother by the end of 2020. Her hope is to merge graphic and digital design with her paper pieces, potentially adding in animation, as well. Ultimately, her goal is to dive into larger projects. “I don’t see my work as something I want to know how to make and stay safe, but as a challenge, that will always allow me to wonder how to execute and create things that were never made with paper,” she says.

To see more of Beltrán Herrera’s creative process and follow her future pieces, head to Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation Illustration

Delicate Gifs by Illustrator Maori Sakai Capture the Serene Moments of Daily Life

July 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

All gifs © Maori Sakai, shared with permission

Based in Japan, Maori Sakai imbues a bit of whimsy into otherwise mundane scenes through her delicately illustrated animations. Each gif is rendered largely in pastels and captures simple movements: a record spinning on a turntable, rain falling outside a window, and butterflies hovering around hydrangeas. Many of Sakai’s short animations, in addition to glimpses into her process, can be found on Instagram and Tumblr. (via Lustik)

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Formed With Geometric Blocks of Color, Modern Women Exhibit Strength in Artist Luciano Cian's Prints

July 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Luciano Cian, shared with permission

Artist Luciano Cian’s latest series Geo explores the power, perseverance, and stability of contemporary women through bold colors and gesture. Simple lines and geometric shapes comprise the nondescript figures, who tend to look away from the viewer with striking facial expressions. Relying heavily on the tension between symmetry and asymmetry, Cian tells Colossal he’s inspired the aesthetics of Brazilian modernist artists like painter Athos Bulcão and architect Oscar Niemeyer. Dive into more of the Rio de Janeiro-based artist’s vibrant prints on Behance and Instagram, and check out which pieces are available to add to your collection.

 

 

 

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