Posts Tagged ‘Illustration’

Motivating Personal Project: Windows of New York

Windows of New York by José Guízar iWindows of New York began as an outlet for Mexican graphic designer’s obsession with windows in his new home.

If the eyes are the window to the soul, does that make the windows of New York the portal to the city’s soul? If so, 26 year old Mexican graphic designer, José Guízar, has embarked on a mission to discover what makes his new home tick. Turning his obsession for illustrating interesting windows of the Big Apple into a weekly graphic design challenge, Guízar is no doubt keeping his creative spark alight with this personal project, when he’s not creating mobile apps from 9-5. Choosing a simple, pared back approach to his illustrations he says references “the very basics of graphic design,” and uses colourful palettes which resonate with the vibrant colours of old buildings from his native Mexico. Beginning as what Guízar describes as a project which is “part an ode to architecture and part a self-challenge to never stop looking up”, he hopes one day to see his graphic illustrations in print. Right now he is working towards creating 100 window illustrations, with one each week, which can be seen at his website, Windows of New York.

Windows of New York by José Guízar iiNew York based graphic designer, José Guízar’s personal project, Windows of New York.

If this was published as a book, would you buy it? It would certainly make a fantastic gift for New Yorkers and look awesome on coffee tables around the world. It also has great potential for a follow-up book featuring doors of New York. Keep it up José, you’re onto a winner!

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Interview: Italian Illustration Duo, Shhhh My Darling

Illustrated cards by Shhh My Darling

I recently had the pleasure of swapping emails with the gorgeous Jenny Schenal, one half of the husband and wife illustration duo behind illustration and stationery studio Shhh My Darling. Based in Rome, Jenny and her equally talented hubby, Graziano Farinaccio, met seven years ago working for the same animation company, fell in love and left the company to begin an exciting journey together as both husband and wife and creative partners in their own business. Their charming hand drawn imagery is based around the theme of love depicted by adorable animal couplings which are seen in their unique bespoke letterpress wedding stationery, greeting cards, and animal prints. I was curious to hear about the young couple’s impressions of our country and cultural scene when they visited New Zealand earlier this year.

Coming from Rome, what inspired you to visit New Zealand? Even though we both grew up in two different parts of Italy we live and work in Rome. Gra is from a small town in the South and I am from the North – two very different contexts, but somehow very close to each other in terms of a genuine country lifestyle, if you know what I mean. Arriving in Rome we were both escaping a reality that didn’t fit too much with our aspirations and wishes. We were looking for a second quick escape this year by visiting a country that could inspire us having a break from the chaotic life in Rome, so we decided to go to New Zealand where we have a couple of friends that helped us to discover the beauty of this country. We loved it so much that we decided to stay here more than we had planned!

Where did you live in New Zealand and how long did you stay here? We spent five months there living in Auckland most of the time, working on our projects and traveling around the country whenever we had the chance!

Shhh My Darling Wedding InvitesBespoke wedding invitations by Shhh My Darling

What would you say are the three greatest differences between Italian and New Zealand culture? New Zealand is a relatively new nation – young, lively and open-minded. Much more international than our old, tired country. It’s a perfect place to breath new vibrations and trends, this is why the world looks at this small country with great interest. Life rhythms: in Italy sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the pace, people have a very stressful life. When arriving in New Zealand you naturally slow down. There’s not too much traffic, short cues in post offices… I think the most difficult thing was understanding that when you enter in a cafe you must sit down and wait. Then it takes around ten minutes to get your coffee and if you’re not prepared in the beginning, this seems a crime! You get stressed! “What?? Ten minutes for a coffee??? Bring me the manager!” After a while you start to appreciate this quiteness and would like the italian waitresses to take a little longer than 90 seconds to bring your espresso saying, “There’s no rush baby, I can wait.”:)

Letterpress printing all done by hand by Jenny and Gra

Wedding planning flyer illustrative details

Describe some of your highlights here. Oh, well! Gorgeous food, so beautiful that you start devouring them first with your eyes before your mouth! We loved having breakfast at Meola Kitchen in Westemere, where a dear friend works, or at Little & Friday cafè or at Coffee Supreme in the weekend, breathtaking landscapes and wild nature everywhere. One day we met a seal taking a nap while we were walking on a seashore! We rented a minivan and travelled around the North Island which is something we’ll never forget!

What did you miss out on the first time around that you plan to do on your next visit? Unfortunately we hadn’t the chance to visit the South Island, which is such a shame – that will bring us back soon!

Do you find there are different things which inspired you in NZ as opposed to Italy? As I said before, New Zealand is a very inspiring country. The music scene is very interesting and populated by great bands. Contemporary and country styles are perfectly melted together to create that current country-chic taste that you can see on the 80% of Pinterest pins.We found more international influences in New Zealand than in Italy which is very important for what we do. Although European countries vary; full of traditions and marvellous art, but not so open to new inspirations, although things start slowly beginning to change.

Animal prints with handwritten names for the perfect baby gift

The adorable husband and wife team behind Shhh My Darling, Jenny Schenal and Graziano Farinaccio.

With Christmas just around the corner, how will you spend the festive season? Oh my! There is a lot of work to do during Christmas time! Nevertheless, we always find some time to spend with our families and friends, eating calorie rich traditional foods, drinking mulled wine and wearing old heavy woolly jumpers. We usually invite friends over to our home and play a special ‘Scary Raffle’ in which everyone wraps terrific gifts they received for Christmas they want to get rid of. Sometimes you win back a ugly gift of yours, sometimes a terrific one from a friend’s aunt. We laugh a lot anyway!

What most looking forward to in 2013? Seeing our brand grow and spread, visiting and being inspired by New York – never been there yet!

Visit Shhh My Darling’s shop, blog for interesting insights into their creative process.

Click here for Shhh My Darling’s FREE Christmas patterned gift wrap download!

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Fashion Illustrator: Ekaterina Koroleva

From the Zodiac series, 2011, by Ekaterina Koroleva for a Portuguese fashion magazine.

Recalling how it all began, Ekaterina Koroleva says, “I used to paint my legs, my parents’ couch, packages of cornflakes, (and) then my mother introduced me to paper!*” Fascinated by the female form since childhood, the Russian-born illustrator has been taking drawing classes since she was twelve. Living in Berlin since 1985, Ekaterina began her career as a graphic designer. Combining her illustrative talents with her graphic design skills, Ekaterina mixes ink, watercolour, and acrylic with computer technology to create these ever elegant, vibrant, playful, and at times melancholic, renditions of women. At first glance I couldn’t help but draw the obvious parallels between her style and Melbournite Kat MacLeod‘s fun-filled, flirtatious characters, however, there is greater depth and range in Ekaterina’s tool box, whose breadth is vast. While effortlessly rendering the feminine form reminiscent of the great fashion photographers of the 50s, 60s and 70s, like Richard Avedon and FC Gundlach, whose work is of great influence, she is able to draw from a bottomless well of finely nuanced emotions and moods, giving her feline characters life and integrity.

Clockwise from top left: Urban Outfitters in Berlin where Ekaterina’s framed prints are available,one of the album covers Ekaterina has illustrated, and more prints ready for shipping.

From Ekaterina’s sketch book

From the Doll series of portraits

As the creative and cultural hub of Germany, Berlin is the ideal environment for a young, up-and-coming artist such as Ekaterina. The new year brought with it phenomenal exposure through the Berlin Mitte outlet of American retail chain, Urban Outfitter. Within the art scene itself, Das Beet, a collective of young illustrators and photographers, is another platform which brings Ekaterina’s work to the wider community through exhibitions and producing and selling limited edition prints. Ekaterina’s work also features in magazines, emblazoned on music album covers, and in collaboration with fellow creatives. With such a multi-faceted talent as Ekaterina clearly is, we can’t wait to see what interesting projects she will put her hand to next.

The Silhouette series for Berlin based fashion brand, Hypnosis.

For a small selection of prints for sale, visit Das Beet. To contact Ekaterina for commissions or to view more of her work, visit her website, Ekaterina Koroleva, and her Flickr stream.

* sourced from an interview on Norwegian blog, Maicen Culture.
other background information sourced from Dutch journalist, Priscilla Obermeier’s interview for ELLE, 10 February 2012.

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Yankee Designer/Illustrator: Alyssa Nassner

Illustrations by Alyssa Nassner for her co-founded project, Ten Paces and Draw.

As a creative working a full-time job, then cramming a host of exciting freelance work into my ‘down-time’, I’m constantly drawn to and inspired by other creatives jumping on the same exhilarating joyride. Alyssa Nassner is a perfect case in point. Surface designer for the design packaging outfit, Paper Bicycle, by day, Alyssa flexes her illustrative muscles by night working for a host of clients including Chronicle Books, Dwell Studio, Uppercase magazine, and many more. Before landing the position at Paper Bicycle, Alyssa and her friend and fellow artist Rachel Dougherty founded Ten Paces and Draw. To fill a lull while finding work after first arriving in Philadelphia in 2011, the pair began the on-line community collaborative project made up of illustrators and designers. Setting new and creative projects on a weekly basis, what first began with only a fistful of artists, has now mind-blowingly grown beyond all expectations to 120 in the last year. Alyssa says they’re “excited to share (their) project with like minded artists, and (they’re) constantly experimenting, growing, and scheming how to take over the art world.” Love it! What enthusiasm, passion, and zest they have for the amazing work they create and share with the rest of the creative community. As if all that isn’t enough to satiate her artistic appetite, Alyssa also runs a personal side project Once Daily, her blog inspired by fashion bloggers which acts as “visual journalism” devoted to drawing daily self-portraits in different apparel (see below).

Personal projects and Forest Friends Ornaments for Paper Bicycle.

Illustrations for the cover of Canadian magazine Uppercase and independent UK based illustration magazine AMMO.

Alyssa’s self-styled portraits from her personal blog, Once Daily.

Pattern designs illustrated by Alyssa Nassner

To view more of Alyssa’s playful and utterly feminine work, visit her website at Alyssa Nassner or more images on her Flickr site.

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It’s Raining Cats & Dogs: Studio Legohead

Canine illustrations by Jo Chambers from Studio Legohead

What started out as a few sketches to shift a creative block has turned into a successful business for Jo Chambers of Studio Legohead. Trained as a textile designer at Bath Spa University, Jo now supplements her commission work as a part-time lecturer there. Jo’s late grandmother’s style, she explains, has been a huge influence on on her own creative style used in her pet portraits: “very eclectic, jumbled….but always interesting, a bit odd, but fun”. It is no doubt these eccentric and playful qualities are those that Jo’s clients are drawn to time and time again. Given Jo’s background in textiles, she also machine embroiders her illustrations, as well as using paint and collage to create her portraits of people’s beloved four-legged friends. Specialising in canines and felines I asked Jo whether she has a favourite. “I am actually more of a cat person I think, although having worked now with dog owners for nearly a year and a half I would really love a dog later down the line. Initially I liked the independence of a cat, but the thought of having a canine buddy is very appealing now!” And her pooch of choice? “I would dearly love a pug, schnauzer, greyhound, or any canine that looks a bit grumpy. Drawing grumpy looking canines was what got me started…(I) just love the fact that they look like they have so much personality and character!”

More kitsch pet portraits from Studio Legohead

It sounds like Jo has some exciting projects on the horizon, but has them keep tightly under wraps for now! I’m thinking these would look fabulous screen printed on silk scarves…how utterly gorgeous would that be?! Visit Jo’s online Etsy shop for portraits or greeting cards. Most of Jo’s work is through commissions, so drop her a line with some good quality pictures of your puss or pooch, with a description of their personality and any adornments you’d like her to add. A4 portraits at $175 (USD) including p&p and would make a delightful treat for yourself, a friend, or in tribute to a departed pet.

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