Illustration

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Illustration

Whimsy and Vintage Illustrations Merge in Colorful Stippled Tattoos by Joanna Swirska

February 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joanna Swirska, shared with permission

Amidst delicate black lines and stippled shading, Polish tattoo artist Joanna Swirska (previously) inks splashes of bright pigments. Her works blend fanciful elements with elegant illustrations of flora and fauna, like her signature ferns and detailed monsteras colored with bright green gradients. Often covering an entire upper arm or calf, the tattoos are whimsical in both subject matter and style, depicting raccoons dressed in orange hooded capes, birds perching on berry-studded branches, and cheerful cats riding retro cruisers.

Swirska, who’s known as Dzo Lama, lives in the Karkonosze mountains and works between Jelenia Gora and Wroclaw, where she runs Nasza Tattoo Shop. Her books are closed until July, but keep an eye out for future openings on her Instagram. You can also pick up prints, mugs, and other goods adorned with her illustrated characters on Etsy.

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

A 900-Page Book Catalogs Hundreds of Medicinal Plants through Colorful Renaissance-Era Woodcuts

February 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

Mandragora officinarum L., Mandrake. All images © Taschen, shared with permission

Memorialized in his namesake flower the Fuschia, Leonhart Fuchs was a German physician and groundbreaking botanical researcher. He published an immense catalog of his studies in 1543 titled The New Herbal, which paired colorful woodcut illustrations of approximately 500 plants with detailed writings about their physical features, medical uses, and origins. Fuch’s own hand-colored copy remains in pristine condition to this day and is the basis for a forthcoming edition published by Taschen. Weighing more than 10 pounds, the nearly 900-page volume is an ode to Fuch’s research and the field of Renaissance botany, detailing plants like the leafy garden balsam and root-covered mandrake. The New Herbal is available for pre-order from Taschen and Bookshop.

 

Impatiens balsamina L., Garden Balsam, Common Balsam, Jewelweed

Pulsatilla vulgaris MILL., Pasque Flower

 

 



Illustration

Intricate Cross-Hatching Layers Elena Limkina's Exquisite Illustrations in Black Ink

February 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Elena Limkina, shared with permission

From her studio in Moscow, Elena Limkina (previously) illustrates pages upon pages of sketchbooks with delicate studies of birds, architectural flourishes, and surreal compositions that trap cats and small mice inside glass vessels. She’s spent a decade drawing these elegant compositions, and while they originally functioned as diaries filled with objects, phrases, and impressions she encountered throughout her day, they’ve evolved into narratives unto themselves with recurring characters and motifs.

Frequently working in watercolor, the artist uses solely black ink, pencil, or pen in her sketchbooks, and the meticulous illustrations are shaded with circular crosshatching. “I like the complexity of the task—to convey feelings, emotions, form, without using color,” she says. “I use some parts of the sketches in intaglio printing (etchings, aquatint), and I would like to transfer some of them to large canvases and sculptures in the future.”

Limkina sells originals and prints on Etsy, and you can explore an archive of her monochromatic works on Instagram and Behance.

 

 

 



Illustration

Imaginative Doodles by Vincent Bal Recast Shadows as Witty Illustrations

February 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Vincent Bal, shared with permission

Belgium-based illustrator and filmmaker Vincent Bal (previously) sees the playful potential of shadows cast by eyeglasses, a peeled clementine, and other household objects. Completed with minimal sketches in black ink, Bal’s reimagined scenes transform the holes of a colander into winter snowfall, an open headphone case into a glum dog, and the translucent blue light from a plastic cup into a swimming pool. His clever illustrations are part of an ongoing Shadowology project, which includes the inventive pieces shown here and a short film about a boy whose doodles come alive. You can shop prints, postcards, and other goods on Etsy, and keep an eye on Bal’s Instagram for information about upcoming exhibitions in London and Seoul.

 

 

 



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)