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November 11, 2015

Beauty in the Unfinished

There’s something appealing about seeing the skeleton of a drawing, the bare bones version before it has been perfected. It looks like Marjolein Caljouw knows this, because she often takes photographs of her works in process and shows them side-by-side with the completed illustration. With pencil, ink, and paint, she depicts the female body in all its mystery and sensuality. The soft, organic features are charged with human intimacy that is easily palpable even in the rough sketches.

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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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September 28, 2015

What My Daughter Wore - Sketching Tween Street Style

tween style doodle

Young girls don’t get enough credit for their fearless attitude towards how they present themselves. I hadn’t really thought about it until I found @what_my_daughter_wore on instagram, a project by Jenny Williams that documents the daily stylistic choices of tween girls. In an effort to focus more on her art, Williams challenged herself to draw more every day. Being a stay at home mom, she was frequently swarmed by her three kids and their many friends while trying to work. Instead of letting it disrupt her, Williams used the youthful madness as a source of inspiration.

The muses for What My Daughter Wore are not only her daughter, Clementine, but also her female friends. These color pencil drawings expressively capture the enthusiastic creativity each girl puts into self-expression through her appearance. Jenny Williams has said that the "focus is the tween years, because at that age it’s still possible to find kids dressing entirely for themselves, without regard for trends or peer pressure." It's true that whether their outfit looks zany or chic, the drawn girls are unselfconcious and unpretentious in a way that comes as a breath of fresh air. If you love these spunky style chronicles, check out the What My Daughter Wore book !

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September 8, 2015

Unsettling Black And White Dreamscapes

There are two types of reactions to seeing the grotesque: turning away or moving in closer. I am the second type, which is why I’ve spent so much time staring at Nicole Sofia’s illustrations. Bold and delicate shading coexist skillfully in this Argentinian artist’s warped dreamscapes. Versatile lines create a sense of gesture and motion overflowing with a raw sensuality that unsettles you with its fleshy, malformed anatomy. Manifestations of bodily insecurities, perhaps. If you follow Sofia’s linework closely you can appreciate what unusual paths the pencil took to create her own version of human(ish) forms in darkly oneiric settings.

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September 7, 2015

Delicately Drawn Women with Fierce Beasts

drawn girl with wolf

The lines Andrea Hrnjak draws are so gentle and light, these images seem to be the definition of ethereal. Glamorous girls in fashion editorial poses caress wild beasts with a softness that casts predators in a loving light. As an animal enthusiast myself, I found these images instantly relatable on a personal level. They visualize a strong connection to the wild, spiritually or emotionally. The women look empowered by their majestic companions too. Just like the animal she intertwines with, each one holds herself with the silent confidence that beautiful beings may also be fierce in their nature. Which animal do you channel your power from?

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May 21, 2015


Crystal balls, ouija, magic circles… Is this a sketchbook or a spellbook? Emma Black pulls art and occult together in a hypnotic style. There’s something in the cryptic imagery that makes it come off more spiritual than spooky. Again and again I find myself mesmerized by her ritualistic repetition of geometric patterns and shading in thin, straight lines. Her series of animal sketches has the same magical undertones, where in pencil she draws the natural, then adds an element of the unnatural in red. It’s a compelling sketch style that’s simplistic and mystic. 

You can follow Emma Black on instagram to keep up with her witchy business.

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April 21, 2015

Simple Lines with Such Great Meaning

Art that sticks to the basics is often the most compelling. When I found these doodles by an illustration student named Laurel, I lost track of time and scrolled through months and months of drawings before I realized how deep I had gone. Many of her drawings are childlike, but each rough line was drawn with purpose. The best for me are her series of giant girls wandering the world, sitting on waterfalls and poking your house.

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