Illustration

Section



Art Illustration

Flora and Fauna Assume Eccentric Guises in Bill Mayer’s Wryly Playful Portraits

May 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

“The Wakening”. All images © Bill Mayer, shared with permission

Royal frogs, masquerading lemurs, and florals with human faces are just some of the eccentric characters in acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s (previously) gouache paintings. The traditional aesthetic of European still-life, aristocratic portraiture, and romantic landscape paintings set the scene for uncanny, chimerical subjects who engage in dreamlike encounters or gaze haughtily at the viewer. Gouache, which is water-soluble and more vividly opaque than watercolor, allows the artist to mimic the incredible detail of oil paint.

Mayer continues to work on commissioned projects for recognizable publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, and Scientific American. He often shares his varied assignments on his blog, including a collaboration earlier this year with the producers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to submit a painting to the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “Duck Judges”—although disqualified from winning the stamp design for technical reasons—raised $25,000 in funds to support the conservation efforts of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Mayer is currently working toward some group shows, and you can keep up with updates on his website, where you can also find prints available for sale in his shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Le Dauphin de Rana”

“Mr. Moostache”

“The Offering”

“Duck Judges”

“Le Magistrat”

“Le Visiteur”

“Mother Opossum”

“Kinky Ducks No. 02”

 

 

 

advertisement



Illustration

Elaborate Narratives Emerge From the Surreal, Mysterious Worlds of Victo Ngai’s Illustrations

May 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Hummingbird” (2019). All images © Victo Ngai, shared with permission

Starting with a single word or short prompt from an editor or brand, Victo Ngai (previously) imagines fantastical dreamscapes brimming with surreal details. The Los Angeles-based, Hong Kong-born illustrator collaborates on commissioned projects that, although intended to be paired with an article or advertisement, become visual narratives in their own right. She shapes a tiger from coiled red ribbons, places an enormous hound among a nighttime cityscape veiled in shades of blue, and reinterprets the sun and its rays as a colorful, segmented circle hovering above the horizon. Each piece envisions an elaborately constructed world laced with metaphor and mystery.

Utilizing both analog and digital techniques, Ngai begins with an initial stylized composition. “Sometimes a bright spark can lead to nothing, and sometimes a great idea is not translatable visually. A concept can die anywhere through this ideation process, and I can only breathe easy once a solid preliminary sketch arrives,” she tells Colossal. After drawing a black-and-white outline, she combines various mediums and scanned textures into her final, layered works.

At the moment, Ngai is working on a few illustrated children’s books, which you can follow on Behance and Instagram. She also sells prints and other goods in her shop.

 

“Leap” (2013)

“Tiger” (2022)

“Late Night Dining” (2012)

“The Day” (2012)

“Breast Labyrinth” (2012)

“Empress” (2020)

 

 



Craft Illustration

Curious Squirrels and Rambunctious Hares Form a Miniature Menagerie of Felted Wildlife

May 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Simon Brown, shared with permission

From a shy baby fox to toads donning crowns, the felted miniatures crafted by Simon Brown and Katie Corrigan are adorable, whimsical renditions of forest creatures. The Northumbria, U.K.-based creative duo transforms thick rovings of wool into wildlife that can be found perching on a snowy branch or creeping up on a mouse through the grass-like bristles of a wooden brush. Brown tells Colossal that he plans to incorporate more found objects into the newer sculptures, which are increasingly illustrative in style, and is also working on developing automata to add a liveliness to the realistic characters. See more of the pair’s process on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Elegant Tattoos by Expanded Eye Combine Fragmented Figures and Geometric Details into Surreal Compositions

April 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jade Tomlinson and Kev James, shared with permission

Splashes of primary colors enhance the dotted lines and angular forms that compose Expanded Eye’s tattoos. Artists Jade Tomlinson and Kev James (previously) are behind the distinctly geometric designs that pair foliage and natural matter with architectural constructions and figures: single hands extend with delicate gestures, fragmented faces open to unveil inner dimensions, and stripes, chevrons, and other patterns fill structural elements. The ink-based works are poetic and surreal, with each composition rooted in narratives of consciousness, relationships, and universal human emotions like grief and joy.

Expanded Eye currently tattoos at Lisbon’s Eritage Art Projects, which also has some of the duo’s prints and sculptural assemblages available in its shop. They just completed a window installation for Hermès in Barcelona, in addition to a print series titled Eyesolation, which constructed characters from the cobalt tiles typical in Lisbon. See those works alongside more of their tattoos on Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

Impossibly Small Houseplants and Basketry Crafted from Paper by Raya Sader Bujana

April 25, 2022

Christopher Jobson

All images © Raya Sader Bujana. Photography by Leo García Méndez, shared with permission

Barcelona-based artist Raya Sader Bujana (previously) defines her work as something between sculpture and illustration, creating impossibly tiny replicas of houseplants that rest atop a finger. From leaves to blooms and thorns to branches, even the delicate woven baskets that contain the plants are constructed from paper with the aid of tweezers and scalpels in a process more akin to surgery than origami. Her background in architecture translates to an exacting quality of “composition, use of color, texture, volume, light and sometimes subject matter,” she shares. In addition to selling original works and prints on Etsy and Society6, Bujana also has a wide range of corporate clients like Coca Cola, Swarovski, and HP. You can follow more of her process and updates to her online shops on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration Science

Clusters of Marine Life Rendered by Zoe Keller Illuminate the Incredible Biodiversity of the Ocean

April 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Octopodes.” All images © Zoe Keller, shared with permission

From her studio in South Portland, Maine, Zoe Keller (previously) continues to work at the intersection of art and science with her ongoing Ocean Biodiversity Print Series. The digital illustrations are evidence of Keller’s meticulous technique and attention to anatomical detail, and each piece highlights a vast array of marine life, with dozens of species of octopuses, jellyfish, and other sea creatures congregating in dense crowds—she also pairs every work with a key to easily identify each specimen.

Made in collaboration with PangeaSeed Foundation, a nonprofit working toward ocean conservation through art, the series is the result of in-depth research, Keller says, and she often references organizations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Schmidt Ocean Institute to focus on the species most at risk. She explains:

Something that is definitely challenging about tackling marine subjects is that we simply do not understand ocean life as intimately as life on land. With this series, I take as much information as I can, and combine it with a bit of artistic license, to—hopefully!—inspire wonder for all of the incredible species living beneath Earth’s waves.

Keller’s most recent addition to the series is “Deep Sea,” and there are still a few of those prints available in the PangeaSeed shop. The next release is slated for fall, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates. You can also see the artist’s work in person this June at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon, and in September at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, and Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, New York.

 

“Medusozoa”

Detail of “Deep Sea”

“Syngnathidae”

Detail of “Medusozoa”

Detail of “Syngnathidae”

“Deep Sea”

Detail of “Octopodes”