1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type


Guy Peellaert

In the late sixties, Guy Peellaert created two incredible pop-art comic stories (Les Adventures de Jodelle and Pravda la survireuse). Today I celebrate having at least both mythical volumes! I have discovered that Peellaert has a website full of article clippings, samples of his work and two long quicktime videos about him. A recommended visit!



Now this is a very appealing theme for Illustration. This week’s topic on Illustration Friday is Imagine. I’ve prepared a simple yet amusing animation especially for this.

If there’s something that I love to draw anytime and anywhere is a human head with some unsuspected inner workings, some strange flowering, substance or halo. My sketchbooks and many scrape papers and envelope backsides are full of these heads. I even created several complete series of head illustrations for my dingbats, the Capsbats and the Entestats (both available at Typephases Design). Those dingbats include more than three hundred (!) variations of heads. After all, as George said in The Yellow Submarine, “It’s all in your mind, you know”.

Microsoft Expression (aka “Acrylic Graphic Designer”)

Creature House Expression is now a product from Microsoft; since they bought the product it seemed they were going to let it rot, but recently some interesting changes have shown up on the Microsoft Website. Basically, Acrylic is the same program as Expression v.3, with some new cool features. You can download a preview (seemingly non-expiring) version of this cool drawing application.

You need Windows xp and service pack 2 installed to run Acrylic. I expected some unnecesary bloat in this new version, but I have tried the program on a system with the required configuration and it actually loads quickly and runs smoothly, with the usual sophisticated brushes and many features which make this program a peculiar bridge between the traditional techniques and tools and the computer-made imagery.

I’ll try to post some drawings made with Acrylic and its unsurpassed creative tools here.

FightAIDS@Home, SETI@home and other volunteering from home

You can volunteer your CPU to power global non-profit research in initiatives such as SETI at home or Fight AIDS at home.

There are other projects of this kind. Grid.org is a single destination site for large-scale, non-profit research projects of global significance. With the participation of over 3 million devices worldwide, some projects like Cancer Research, Anthrax Research, Smallpox Research and the new Human Proteome Folding Project (running in conjunction with IBM's new World Community Grid) have achieved record levels of processing speed and success.


Sketching with ink or watercolour

Drawing directly with the brush or a reed pen is a lively way of putting your immediate ideas and observations to paper. Although it is more difficult to control the shaping of your subject, the extra sensuality and freshness of applying colour directly to paper well makes up for it.

Here is a detail from a previous post showing some of the variations in tone, even if I used a single colour here. The characters were drawn directly from imagination, as is almost always the case with this series of works on paper:

I use both ink and watercolours for this kind of drawing, and either a bamboo reed pen or a brush. Adding different amounts of clear water creates attractive variations in tone, even if what you are doing is rather a silhouette-like, highly contrasted sketch.
You can dilute the watercolour wash on the paper surface itself —just apply some brushtrokes with water only while the paint is still wet and you get an instant graduated wash. With the reed pen the process is more or less the same; I tend to dip the pen on clean water, then touch more or less slightly the ink in the inkpot or the watercolour pot I have prepared, to get a diluted tone.

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For this week’s theme of “Surprise” at Illustration Friday.


Original artwork for sale

There is a new page in the Typephases website offering original artwork for sale. The producion sheets for the Whimbats series of pictorial typefaces are now being offered exclusively in the site.

The drawings are either ink on paper or watercolor wash on paper.
The front page of the website has been redesigned too, with a funny little man watching (by the way: he is a vintage Madelman toy.)

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Blue moments

Illustration Friday theme “blue” (you can click the image to see a bigger sample.)

Like most of my contributions to this project, this one is actually a vector illustration made with simple shapes (see the underlying structure below) a little processed with Virtual Photographer (a freeware Photoshop-compatible plugin.)

The vector shapes for this illustration:


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