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Art

Enigmatic Sketchbooks Record Visual Stories in Colored Pencil and Ink by Katherine Akmulun

November 21, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

All images © Katherine Akmulun, shared with permission

One way to approach the cinematic sketchbook drawings by Katherine Akmulun is to think about literature. “When we read a book, not only do we look at the characters, but the characters are looking at us,” she says. “And they see much more than we think.” This awareness forms the basis of the artist’s ongoing series of drawings that capture intimate interactions, bold gestures, and momentary expressions. From a young age, a fascination with human anatomy and love of reading inspired a wish to become “a kind of writer,” she explains, and “since I feel insecure about words, the only way out for me was to keep a kind of personal diary with sketches instead of words.”

In ballpoint pen and colored pencil, Akmulun explores the duality of two facing pages by creating images that are distinctive from each other yet empathetic to one another. A close-up of hands grasping lightly at the fingertips complements a joyful scene of two women dancing, or a young child clasps her mother’s hand while gazing across the binding at a man who walks briskly across an open plane. Part story and part snapshot, the mysterious narratives reference historic images and are open to interpretation. “The funny thing is that different people can see different scenes in the same picture,” she says. “And this is incredibly cool, because we all have different life experiences, different environments, and different interests.”

Akmulun travels often and is influenced by the nuances of everyday experiences, which she captures using a minimal palette. She aims to collect and record feelings and memories in the books, but she’s not precious about keeping them intact. “I love to rip out pages,” she says. “I like to realize that the pages of my personal diary can travel the world, and can find their home not only in my sketchbook. I am pleased that people want to have a piece of my personal world in their home.”

Akmulun occasionally makes pages available for sale, and you can follow more of her work on Instagram.

 

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.   A sketchbook spread of two drawings by Katherine Akmulun.

 

 

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Art

Harmonious Drawings and Sculptural Renderings by Louise Despont Conjure Balance in Nature

November 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches. All images courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NYC, and Galerie Isa, Mumbai, shared with permission

Balance, symmetry, and the geometries of proportion create a distinct visual lexicon for Louise Despont. Working in graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger paper, the French American artist practices an alchemy of pattern and color, fusing the two into intricate, contemplative renderings that evoke natural elements. “I think my work has always attempted to bridge the worlds of plant wisdom and healing with a language of architecture,” Despont tells Colossal. “I’m interested in drawing the invisible, in attempting to represent the unseen but nonetheless powerful forces and systems that surround and inhabit us. I’m interested in art-making as a co-creative experience, a bit like gardening. I plant the seeds and tend to the work, but what grows comes from its own source.”

Inspired by the homeopathy and alternative medicine practiced by the artist’s mother, Despont’s works often hearken back to botanical forms as she renders petals and writhing stems in pastel hues. Her sculptural drawings utilize bamboo and string to perfectly mirror the sweeping lines and circular shapes on each side of a three-dimensional form, and this desire for engineered precision is a nod to her grandfather, father, and partner who all have backgrounds in architecture. Whether on paper or dyed fabric, her works illuminate nature’s organic harmonies and are tinged with a reverence for its more mystical properties, focusing on the energies and expressions of the world around us.

Before moving to her current home in Mallorca, Despont was featured in three Art21 films in New York and Bali that offer insight into her earlier practice. The artist’s drawings will be on view at Art Basel in Miami this December with Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, and she is currently working on a book slated for release next year. For glimpses into her studio and process, head to Instagram.

 

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Aconite,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A photo of a bamboo sculptural drawings on pink cotton

“Ignatia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Vital Force IV,” graphite, colored pencil, and pure gold leaf on antique ledger book page, 18 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Arsenicum Album Constitution,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 56 1/4 x 48 inches

Four photos of bamboo sculptural drawings on dark dyed cotton

Top left: “Arsenicum,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Top right: “Veratrum Album,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Bottom left: “Silicia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 73 x 59 inches. Bottom right: “Conium,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Calc Fluor,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 53 x 67 1/4 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

 

 



Art Illustration

Watch Artist Zak Korvin Draw a Precise Geometric Emblem in a Mesmerizing Timelapse

November 14, 2022

Kate Mothes

Artist Zak Korvin offers a look into the process of making a geometric crest of three birds in a mesmerizing timelapse. Drawing inspiration from Japanese mon, an emblem used to designate an individual or family, Korvin incorporates three birds in a circular motif that are drawn into the framework of a precise network of lines that he first traces in graphite using a compass. Korvin regularly shares videos on YouTube, and he also offers tutorials on Patreon. You can find more work on his website.

 

An animated image of the artist's hand drawing a geometric drawing of three birds.

All images © Zac Korvin

An image of a drawing of geometric birds in progress.

An animated image of a hand holding a pencil and drawing in a geometric shape.

A compass drawing geometric shapes.

An image of drawing of geometric birds in progress.

 

 



Design

Portable and Precise, Horizon’s ‘Swiss Army Knife of Sketch Tools’ Combines an Array of Functions into One Ruler

October 24, 2022

Kate Mothes

To render a perfect circle or measure precise angles, designers and artists rely on a slew of tools to compose accurate sketches and diagrams, but with so many different devices, one drawback is portability. Dubbed the “Swiss Army knife of sketch tools” in a new Kickstarter campaign, the team at Horizon has created a new double-sided ruler that combines functions like an imperial and metric compass, protractor, T-square, circle stencils, and four straightedges in inches, centimeters, pixels, and picas—all packed into a laser-cut, stainless steel tool the size of a credit card. They have also incorporated the Helvetica typeface, which rose to popularity in the mid-20th century for its clarity, to make the measurements even easier to read.

You can find more of Horizon’s designs on Instagram.

 

All images © Horizon

 

 



Illustration

Home Is Where the Doodles Are: Playful Drawings Crawl Across Every Inch of a 12-Room House

October 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

Two years, 900 liters of white paint, 401 cans of black spray paint, 286 bottles of black drawing paint, and 2,296 pen nibs later, and artist Sam Cox has completed his most monumental and immersive project to date. Cox, who works as Mr. Doodle, is known for his quirky drawings of squiggly lines and cartoon-like characters, and he recently converted his home in Tenterden, Kent, into a monochromatic playhouse of animals, shapes, and patterns that sprawl across every inch of the space. The lively renderings cover the exterior and surrounding landscape, the 12-room interior, and personal items like bedsheets, framed photos, and even the artist’s clothes.

Now that the project is complete, Mr. Doodle plans to move into the eclectic space, which you can virtually tour in the mesmerizing timelapse comprised of 1,800 photos shown above. Visit the artist’s Instagram to see what he transforms next.

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Six Centuries, 700 Scientists, 300 Groundbreaking Milestones: A New Book Examines the Invaluable History of Science Illustrations

October 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

Sagittal section of the body of a male; An Atlas of Topographical Anatomy: After Plane Sections of Frozen Bodies, Christian Wilhelm Braune, Philadelphia, 1877 © Courtesy US National Library of Medicine. All images courtesy Taschen

From medicine and biology to chemistry and astronomy, a massive new book published by Taschen chronicles the unparalleled contributions of illustrations to scientific study. Compiling more than 300 distinct charts, renderings, and graphs within its 436 pages, the volume opens with early developments like Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation and Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentrism, which positioned the sun at the center of the solar system. It then travels throughout the following six centuries, capturing everything from the use of anesthesia and zoological studies to current-day renderings of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to the illustrations themselves, the book also details how such visuals continue to impact both the theories and principles that are the foundation for scientific discovery and the general public’s conceptions of how the world works.

Science Illustration. A History of Visual Knowledge from the 15th Century to Today is available now from Taschen and Bookshop.

 

“A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2”, an ultra-high-resolution computer model gives scientists a look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe, Goddard Space Flight Center’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA, 2014. Image © NASA

A slice of the lower part of the root of horseradish cut transversely, An Idea of a Phytological History Propounded, Nehemiah Grew, London, 1673 © ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Rar 6191

Spectra of the stars and nebulae, ‘Spectrum Analysis,’ Henry E. Roscoe, London, 1885. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington, D.C.

Application of anesthesia, ‘Illustrations of Strange Diseases and Their Surgical Treatments,’ Hanaoka Seishū, 1805, illustrated by Tangetsu. Image courtesy US National Library of Medicine

Montgolfier balloon carrying the Marquis d’Arlandes and M. Pilatre de Rozier, Paris, 1783 © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Tissandier Collection

 

 

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