1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type


Graham Clarke: charming watercolours, illustrations and prints

Graham Clarke is a well-known english artist, printmaker and illustrator.

Visiting Clarke’s website you will find a good deal of information about the artist, and an overview of his many publications, prints and paintings.

I love his illustration style, either in his etching, watercolours, books and booklets. Something (well, a lot!) to enjoy!


Gettings things illustrated

one of the illustrations about GTD
I have a parallel blog called GTDrawings, where I’ve been posting some of my visual side notes about Getting Things Done, the time management system championed by David Allen in his book and enthusiastically followed by many people.

The site also offers a good selection of relevant links about Getting Things Done, organisation, productivity, personal development and creativity.


Experiments in colour

Trying different colour combinations for a particular painting, illustration or design is a very appealing part of the creative process.
However, doing it with traditional media needs a lot of time. You need to prepare or choose new colours, blend new mixes and then apply the paint to a fresh paper sheet.
I have found that some digital tools are a very exciting, fast, easy and always editable way of handling the colour experiments.
Let’s take this painting, for example. The original is an acrylic on canvas from a few years ago, a time when I enjoyed painting invented interiors as the perfect excuse to freely play with the paint on canvas using colour to my heart’s content:
I want to experiment new bold and unusual colour schemes for a new project. I take a photo of the painting and open it in a bitmap edition program. Of course Photoshop is perfect for this, but so it is the Gimp and a variety of Photoshop plugins–compatible programs, like Irfanview.

Here you have several variations on the theme produced almost magically in a few seconds. I don’t know you, but I feel like taking the crayons, the acrylics, markers or whatever I have near at hand and start painting right away!

I have used paintings to come up with new chromatic ideas, but you can start with a photography as well. Here I took a photo of a very normal corner of my studio, but just after a few clicks we are in an entirely different place:

So here you have it: a perfect bridge between the power of digital media and the most traditional painting and drawing techniques, cross–pollinating in terms of inspiration and workflow. You only need a few minutes to create literally dozens of inspiring variations. Chances are you will find something perfect to start a new painting.


Creative vision mindmap

On a side project (GTDrawings) I have recently posted a personal exploration of what is personal creativity and some related concepts, as a mindmap. In the post I explain it a bit, and the diagram itself is available in different formats.



There is no doubt the Pirates of the Caribbean saga has fueled a new interest for pirate stories. My son has always loved ships, travel adventures and of course everything related to buccaneers, pirates, corsairs, privateers, and other sea–bound villains. We have some favourites related to this ever–fascinating subject that we’d like to share here, especially those sites with lots of illustrations. If you have some super-pirate-resource (and I don't mean software or music piracy here!), feel free to post in in the comments of this article.
Captain Kidd burying his bible, from Pirates' own bookPirate Image Archive:pirates, battle, ships, pirate fun, punishment, pirate maps, The complete Howard Pyle book (see below), flags… plus links and more.

700 pirates group at Flickr, with illustations of imaginary pirates.

A french site with tons of information and links: http://www.pirates-corsaires.com/

Super-cute illustrations in the children book style by Rémy Tornior at http://www.gribouillage-et-coloriage.com/

A James Harvey project called 100 pirates in 100 days. A good exercise!

And of course, there is no shortage of copyright–free books in The Gutenberg Project, including illustrated volumes such as:

In the same Project Gutenberg website, you’ll also find dozens of pirate stories as plain ebook (html / txt), like Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates; fiction, fact & fancy concerning the buccaneers & marooners of the Spanish main, and the classic among classics, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

And maybe, before setting off on your piracy journey, some background information from the Wikipedia could help.


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Quotes on design

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