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October 30, 2015

Doodles from the Dead

"I will probably doodle on the inside of my coffin."

That sums up the whole DA spirit, doesn’t it? When I stumbled across Operation Underwear’s blog and read that blurb, I knew I had found an artist I would need to write about. With Halloween approaching, there is no better time than now to meet his many merry monsters who are as wildly colorful as they are creepy. Alvaro Diaz-Rubio plays with character designs that spunky and spooky at the same time. The expressions in his doodles are always intense, too. Even in crowded group photos, no two creatures have the same face.

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October 29, 2015

Anthropological Drawings from 1903 of Kachinas from the Hopi Culture

native american hopi drawing

This find is an oldie but a goodie! It’s always super cool to see hand drawn illustrations from way back when. In 1903, a 30 year old Hopi man named Kutcahanauu, also called White-Bear, was hired by an American anthropologist to record different kachinas (spirits revered in Hopi and Pueblo culture). When I think of drawings of religious icons, I don’t expect them to look as fun as these, so Kutcahanauu’s uniquely Hopi style came as an awesome surprise. His drawings look right at home amongst the fun, spontaneous art we normally share, don't they? You can click here to read about the cultural significance of kachinas and see more drawings.

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October 28, 2015

Eerie Pen and Pencil Portraits

My thoughts are haunted by these monochrome sketches ever since I first came across them. I can’t get the images of malformed humans with oversized and tangled anatomy out of my mind. This seemingly endless portrait series is drawn with childlike abandon by Daniel Williams. Despite the simplistic, smudgy style, each rough line is drawn with purpose. There are so many of these odd little people that I can’t help admiring the artist’s ability to dream up countless characters with their own story to tell. If I had seen one of these human oddities on their own, I don’t think it would have fascinated me as much as seeing the consistency between every single one of Williams’ huge portfolio of drawings. It’s a mysterious effect that leaves me simultaneously impressed and uneasy.

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October 26, 2015

Intense Faces from Passports of Animals

animal passport doodle

I hate the way I look in all my identifications. The flat lighting and angle do nothing to flatter me, plus the awkwardness of staring straight into the camera. I wish Ola Liola had done my passport photo! In her delightful set of Passport Faces, she uses the same elements that I hate from my own ID photos to draw animals. The dead-on expressions from these critters put a wild twist on the clinical nature of ID photos—a passport between urban and natural life. There’s also an interesting balance within her style between the realistic intensity with which her lifelike stares are drawn, and the fantastical designs and colors she fills them in with. Liola uses watercolors and ink to adorn animals with elaborate tattoo-like patterns, continuing her art’s dialogue between the wilderness and cosmopolitan.

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October 22, 2015

Dreaming in Blue Ink

My mind is having trouble wrapping itself around how many pen strokes it takes to complete just one of these drawings. Kevin Lucbert is a French artist who specializes in making incredible monochrome illustrations with biro pens. His favorite is a familiar shade of blue ink that I personally associate with tedium — lecture notes and office forms. I can imagine the artist zoning out in the middle of the mundane and using the pen to doodle his surreal daydreams. Yet, amazingly, Lucbert’s attentiveness from line after line after line never slips. His elaborate line work is painstakingly methodical, layering strokes of the pen in varying directions to create awesome depth and texture. This obsessive repetition of lines consumes almost the entire page, carving brilliant ethereal scenes out of the white space. 

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October 21, 2015

Sketches From the Dark Side of the Moon

Moon is a French illustrator and graphic designer whose drawings devise a mysterious mythology of their own. Spectral girls in preternatural environments carry an elegant darkness with them, like characters in a grim fairy tale. The artist’s ink and pencil lines vary between sharp and wispy in a dramatic style, sometimes complimented by subtle watercolors. It’s an an incredible illustration style that draws elegiac scenes with poetic undertones while sticking to visual basics. You can see more of these melancholy mysteries if you check out Moon’s instagram.

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October 14, 2015

Oh my! A Manga-inspired Handdrawn Daily Planner

What is it about artists’ diaries that I find so captivating? I used to think I love them because I am a nosy person who likes to snoop on people’s business, but I’ve just been proven wrong. I can hardly read a word from @oharu1205’s instagram account, and yet here I am—scrolling months deep into their daily planner. Last Christmas, Haru Suzuki committed to posting a photo each day of a doodle from their journal and the project is still going strong. The bubbly manga style fills me with a sense of sunshiny optimism from the drawings of what was on the artist’s mind that day. It’s a log of daily life brimming with the colorful exuberance of a doodler who thinks everyday is special, even the ones where it seems like nothing much happened have something worth jotting down and illustrating.

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