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June 28, 2015

More Illustrated Travel Journals: Анастасия Кардашова

This weekend, I experimented with a set of Prismacolor markers I received as a gift several months ago. My experience inspired me to look for more work in the same vein, and in my search I discovered the diverse portfolio of Анастасия Кардашова. I encourage you to scroll through her Instagram for examples of all kind of different imagery, mediums, and styles.

But for this post, I want to focus on the illustrated travel journal she created from a trip to Venice. I’m now able to relate to the process of working with markers, and I’m fascinated by how the colors are applied in these sketches. The irreversible strokes of markers made me very cautious about where to place my own strokes, afraid that I would make them too wide, too saturated, etc. Анастасия employs a style of layering vertical strokes to create a really interesting and effective way to apply color without just solidly filling an entire space. I also like her selective choice of white space. When viewing this journal I feel like Анастасия is telling me about her trip, and as she proceeds with the descriptions, the color creeps in. Not every moment of the trip is explained in detail, and therefore suggested in the negative spaces.

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June 18, 2015

Amliv Sotomayor: Women with Eyes Closed

Amliv is living and working among us here in Miami. The Cuban artist (who, according to her bio "eats her rice and beans regularly") creates delicate and ethereal imagery - it's hard to place the images within a city so much the opposite. Not only do I admire Amliv for her skill with graphite, but the imaginative nature of her images is also to be revered. As someone who at times relies heavily on source photographs, I'm in awe of the emotion and precision portrayed in these fantastical scenes.

I see Amliv's images and wonder about the story behind the characters and their interactions. What relationship does the artist see between these women and beasts? Almost all of Amliv's drawings of women show them with their eyes closed. I feel as if these women are completely engulfed in their personal experience, whether it be transformation, grandeur, dream, or sleep. It’s a beautiful and strange effect, and it is executed with such grace.

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June 6, 2015

James Roper: Double Exposure

James Roper has done a magnificent job in executing his goal in these graphite drawings. The description likens these portraits to headshots, "a must-have for any aspiring Hollywood actor" but the aim is to show the emotional depth of someone pursuing an acting career. Some may view this career path as a choice made by the vapid, the unrealistic, the dramatic and ridiculous. But my interpretation is that Roper shows how inaccurate this generalization can be by suggesting the form of a headshot with an unidentifiable pattern teeming beneath it, creating a double exposure effect.

Furthermore, this double exposure effect has beautiful results. The viewer is distracted by the intricacy and beauty of the pattern that they do not at first realize that the pattern is of nothing in particular. It has traces of architectural themes, feather-like line patterns, folds that could be fabric. We as viewers stare at the pattern, trying to find something that is, in fact, not there. It is ephemeral; it escapes us. It’s a reminder for us to stand back and enjoy the bigger picture.

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May 29, 2015

Ola Szpunar: Summer Sunlight

I recently returned from a trip to Texas where the days were unexpectedly filled with clouds, rain, and chilly temperatures. When I saw Ola Szpunar's "Summer" series, the images matched what I had thought my trip would look like: scenes of warm, sun-drenched indoor and outdoor settings. You cannot feel any other season besides summer when observing these pictures, not only from the sunny glow emanating from each scene. I see myself as the girl standing near the sink in a bikini top and black pants, coming in from the pool to take a break from the sun.

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May 22, 2015

Elena Chetverik: Hide and Seek

I have to let my emotions get the better of me on this post: I LOVE this series. I don’t understand everything that is going on in this game of hide and seek, I don’t know what happens when each character is found. Why are they wearing animal masks? In what kind of world does this take place? The viewer is left to either answer these questions, or leave them unanswered.

There’s a balance between beautifully illustrating a scene and telling a story. This series by Elena Chetverik allows the two to meet in the middle. The story exists but is not defined. The people are over-large, awkwardly positioned, the setting rough and unfinished and yet both have more character than had they been drawn down to the last detail. Elena’s style is so much her own: her shading haphazard, her lines imperfect. I love it all.

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May 12, 2015

Dorothy Leung: Etched into Paper

In one of the gallery sections of Dorothy Leung's website, she describes how viewing vintage cartoons at a museum in Basel created a turning point in her style as an illustrator. The influence of that style is apparent in the tiny line after line after tiny line and minuscule details of this plant series. The dark lines seem scratched into the surface so deeply and precisely as if they are etched in my screen. I see more influence than just the vintage cartoons in these pieces - she has imitated the bare layout used in old drawings cataloging flowers, plants and vegetables.

Dorothy is an expert in creating delicate dimension with only these small lines. With mostly very thin objects, she knows how to meticulously layer the lines to create a tiny shadow. She is creating all these drawings of plants as a part of #The100DayProject, and will have a beautiful, complete series – her own plant catalog - once the 100 days come to an end.

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May 8, 2015

I Tried to Draw You Last Night

Brandon Vosika's series "I Tried to Draw You Last Night" feels like a tribute to friendship. He's caught his friends in natural poses; the drawings feeling as easy and sincere as a friendship should be. It's not a simple task to draw people who are close to you – you want them to see the thought and care you put into making something just for them.

Brandon's technique and use of materials is another aspect of these pieces that caught my eye. He's painting with watercolor but not on watercolor paper, hence the uneven wrinkling of the paper. Brandon's rejection of "proper" materials enhances the casual nature of the pieces. I love his varying line weight in each of the drawings. Shapes and forms are suggested, lines trail off into nothing - these are truly sketches, but as personal pieces and as a body of work, they feel like more than an afterthought dashed off on a scrap piece of paper.

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