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July 24, 2015

Scrapbook Meets Sketchbook

I went to eat at a friend's swanky restaurant recently, and he stopped me when he noticed I started my meal without touching the lemon wedge on the rim of the plate. He explained that the lemon is an important finishing touch to the flavor, and the chef leaves the wedge there so that you can feel included in the preparation of your food. I thought of this just now, as I was looking at Mall Licudine's illustrations. There's a sense of purpose in the way she photographs her finished works with the tools she used clearly visible in the periphery. I found myself examining the clutter of her workspace and looking back to the drawing to figure out where she used what in the picture. This gave me a surprisingly clear mental image of the artist at work and the steps she took to construct specific pieces, almost making me feel as if I was there during the creation. It's an unusual experience that doesn’t happen for me often! 

Her sketchbook drawings have dates incorporated into the art, which makes me wonder if this is a form of journal. Typography in the illustrations is often inspirational or emotional in subject, which suggests something therapeutic for the artist. There’s also a nostalgic aspect which comes from using snips of patterned washi tape to add elements of collage into the sketches. A scrapbook made of sketches instead of photos? You can follow Mall Licudine's instagram or tumblr to see more.

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July 20, 2015

Heading Home

I'm having a moment over Michael Howard's Make Your Head Your Home series. It is a majestic mixture of architecture and portraits organically entwined with each other... and a good dose of flowers because why not? The illustrations are surreal, yet personally relatable. Any introspective artist can connect to the idea of living in your thoughts, or going to your mind palace. With the eclectic variety of faces and building styles, I'm choosing to imagine each person designing their own inner world into a sanctuary that is uniquely theirs, and proudly wearing it as a crown. With head space this extravagant, I wouldn’t want to leave my thoughts either. What would yours look like?

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July 14, 2015

Doodle With Your Dog

Memories from my childhood are a bit hazy for me, but I have a very vivid one of my mom scolding me when I was eight years old for drawing on my wall. I remember feeling very offended that she was being angry at me instead of noticing how well I had drawn that scene. This moment came to mind when I found Rafael Mantesso's instagram. I know a ton of people whose instagrams consist mostly of pictures of their pet, but Mantesso has taken it to a new level. Living in an empty apartment full of blank white walls and only Jimmy Choo (his pet bull terrier, not the designer) for company, this doodle addict couldn't control his itch to scribble all over them.

Wherever Jimmy decided to lay down for the afternoon, his owner would follow with black markers and draw amazing scenes around his dog. His doodles themselves are simplistic, but the ideas are clever and humorous in a genius way. So witty that Mantesso's doodles caught the eye of Sandra Choi, creative director of the Jimmy Choo brand. Charmed by Jimmy Choo the bull terrier and his doodle adventures, she approached Mantesso directly for a collaboration! My inner eight year old is wishing I could have told my mom about this when she said drawing on walls will only get me in trouble.

If you love Rafael and Jimmy's work, you can pre-order their upcoming book: A Dog Named Jimmy!

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July 10, 2015

Art: In Construction

I’m looking at my dream home! Noel Badges Pugh’s pen and watercolor houses become more breathtaking with every passing moment that your eyes linger on the page. Unsurprisingly, I enjoy the process photos more than the finished products. The artist pays meticulously close attention to drawing the finest architectural details, which are given captivating depth by rich color shading. It’s particularly interesting for me to see this juxtaposed with the “bare bones” version of the house in the same drawing. A nice visual reminder that amazing illustrations have simple beginnings.

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July 2, 2015

Layers of Doodles

The sketchbook of Stuart Adams is a wild ride. He draws in layers, which makes each page take a while to soak in while my eyes constantly find new visual details hidden underneath the doodled characters. Some of his backgrounds are unexpected textures, photographs, or a chaotic melange of colors which gives a certain depth to otherwise silly-looking doodles. My favorite thing Adams does is use white space to draw characters within the background, and then doodle more characters over those in black. The end product is crowded, messy, and full of spontaneous spirit. I see where Adams was coming from when he said, “The best way to describe my artwork is that it is like taking a mystery tour bus where Disney Land fuses into a Heironymous Bosch painting.”

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June 19, 2015

Letting Go, Step by Step

"How a graphic artist discovers to free his creativity and have fun" is the alternate title for journal d’une décomplexion graphique, a record of an ongoing journey in letting go of artistic insecurities. A detailed, hand-written note on the blog explains, "I love my job, but I don’t love my work. Few are the projects which I feel proud of and would like to put in a book." Crushed by deadlines from time-consuming jobs, over years this artist began to feel their sense of creativity shriveling. When do I have fun in all this? Stuck behind a computer all day with no chance to mess around and then coming home too tired to do anything, there was a growing fixation on the idea of taking a pen or pencil to paper.

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June 15, 2015

A Monochrome Moleskine

I am captivated by Vahid’s marvelous monochrome moleskine. It was no surprise for me to read that his illustration experience includes some projects in animation and cartooning, because the artist’s passion for it bleeds through into his sketchbook. My first impression of several drawings was that they seemed like paused frames in the middle of a movement. The boldness and simplicity of his illustrations, along with a story they seem to be suggesting, evoke ancient black-figure paintings with a modern spin. It’s a cool combination of sharp angles and soft curves creating fascinating figures that prove you don’t need color to breathe life into a sketch.

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