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Art

Antidote: Organic Lifeforms Rendered with Prussian Blue Create Vivid Ecosystems by Yellena James

October 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Yellena James, courtesy of Stephanie Chefas Projects, shared with permission

Using a combination of acrylics, gouache, and ink, Yellena James cultivates brightly-hued ecosystems ripe with lines, patterns, and nature-based motifs. The Portland-based artist paints organic forms that resemble both marine species like coral and kelp in addition to full-bloom flowers, creating brilliant, labyrinth-like ecosystems. Although Prussian blue ink has been a mainstay in James’s practice for years, she recently discovered that the specific color serves as a remedy for certain toxic metal poisonings. This realization spurred the series shown here, which is aptly named Antidote. Each work features the vibrant hue in some capacity.

If you’re in Portland, check out James’s solo show at Stephanie Chefas Projects through October 10. To see the artist’s works in progress, head to Instagram, and try your hand at similar drawings with James’s book, Star, Branch, Spiral, Fan: Learn to Draw from Nature’s Perfect Design Structures. (via Supersonic Art)

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Shadowy Geometric Shapes Rendered with Meticulous Crosshatching by Artist Albert Chamillard

May 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Albert Chamillard, shared with permission

Tucson-based artist Albert Chamillard (previously) spends hours, if not days or weeks, crosshatching cylinders, sliced cubes, and three-dimensional arrows. Rendered on vintage ledgers and graph paper, each geometric shape relies on the density of the artist’s pen markings to create works that appear to stand straight up off the page.

Chamillard describes his process as absorbing, often occupying him for hours at a time as he meticulously draws line after line. “A much longer process is developing the drawing in pencil first so it looks ‘right,’ meaning it fits within the page and balances the shape and looks like it belongs there,” he says. “Composition is a huge part of my work, and if it doesn’t fit on a page correctly, I won’t bother finishing it.” Despite being non-representational, the works also hold information like a diary or journal. “When I’m drawing, I thinking about everything else in my life, and usually title them in a way that conveys that snapshot of time for me, so I can look at my older drawings and know roughly what was going on.” The artist hopes to convey the necessity of devotion and patience in creative work. 

Each monochromatic drawing has a meditative and hypnotic effect, and Chamillard’s fascination with light and shadow began in 2017 when he started rendering three-dimensional shapes. Since then, though, he’s shifted his intention. “I am currently focused on drawing fabric, specifically folded fabric, and translating it into drawings using the same crosshatching technique I’ve been using 6 or 7 years,” he says. “I’m also experimenting with larger drawings comprised of multiple sheets of ledger paper.”

Often sourcing his materials from thrift stores and yard sales, the artist tells Colossal it hasn’t been as easy to obtain old notebooks in recent years. “They have since become much more difficult to find, so I rely on Etsy if I want a specific one, and I’ve also had the benefit of strangers on Instagram sending me ones they find (If you have an old ledger you want to see go to a good home, please contact me!).”

To see more of Chamillard’s volumetric drawings, and perhaps to share some of those papers you’ve got piling up in the attic, head to Instagram.

 

 

 



Design History

A Miniature Magazine Penned by Teenage Charlotte Brontë is (Finally) Acquired by the Famous Author's Namesake Museum

November 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

It’s often said that even the most successful people start small. What they probably don’t mean, though, is that to become an author equal to the timeless stature of Charlotte Brontë, you should pen a miniature magazine first. Yet Brontë did just that: in 1830, at age fourteen, she hand-wrote six issues of a petite periodical, one of which recently came up at auction for $777,000. The Young Men’s Magazine was a matchbook-sized series including stories and even advertisements of Brontë’s devising.

The Brontë Society placed the winning bid to acquire Brontë’s magazine, wresting it back from the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, a now-shuttered for-profit (and fraud-ridden) venture that nabbed it in 2011. Learn more about the history and significance of The Young Men’s Magazine in the video below, which features Ann Dinsdale, the curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England.

 

 



Animation Illustration

Eyes Roll and Tongues Unfurl in Quirky Hand-Animated Illustrations by Ed Merlin Murray

July 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

 

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Using simple materials like paper and ink washes, artist Ed Merlin Murray creates lively illustrations that animate with the pull of a tab. The expressiveness of the human face is Murray’s frequent subject, with blinking eyes and slithering tongues coming to life in bright colors. In addition to these hand-activated animations, the Scotland-based artist pursues a wide variety of illustration and animation projects. This spring, Murray crowdfunded a “book of drawings based on the eternal mystery of human consciousness, via a set of arcane sciences, esotericism, and the mystical” on Kickstarter, and also offers designs on Society6. You can see more of Murray’s moving images, paired with quirky captions, on Instagram.

 

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Design

Color-Changing Dyes Illuminate Iconic Internet Acronyms and Popular Phrases

June 19, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Traditional calligraphy styles get an update with Seb Lester‘s series of contemporary words and phrases pulled from popular memes and classic web acronyms. Words like “chill” are slowly hand drawn in colorful inks which slowly change their hue and increase in sparkle as they dry on the page. Lester studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London and now works in East Sussex as an artist and graphic designer. The calligrapher has amassed a large online following for his daily twists on the ancient form, which you can follow on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to watch with the sound on, as the scratching of the pen nib on paper is just as engaging as his shimmering strokes. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 

 



Illustration

Corner Shops and Cathedrals Get Equal Attention in Zhifang Shi's Travel Watercolors

June 12, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Using a combination of watercolor and ink, Zhifang Shi creates vignettes of the places he encounters in his worldwide travels. The Shanghai-based artist works en plein air, painting atop a portable palette to document storefronts, architectural features, boats, and trolley cars. Washes of color add depth and movement to Shi’s loose, gestural contour lines, and his focus on points of entry and modes of transit invites the viewer into the artist’s world. You can keep up with Shi’s wide-ranging travels and resulting urban sketches on Instagram.