1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type


Yours truly

(Click the image to see a bigger version.)


A flawed relationship

I will use these recent colour pencil drawings from my sketchbook as a submission for this week's Illustration Friday theme, Flawed.
Lately I'm rediscovering the pleasure of drawing with colour pencils, pastel pencils, crayons, and the truly unique water-soluble Neocolor (now Neoart) sticks from Caran D'Ache: creamy, very covering and intense colours.

I've always loved colour pencils, and I'm especially fond of David Hockney's portraits with this technique. Then there is Lorenzo Mattotti, whom I dedicated a post a few days ago.

Why the title? I just thought this imaginary girl pose, moody, with the cup between her hands, could have something to do with love and loss, with a relationship that is going nowhere. But it could be almost anything else.



Fears is a collection of 99 drawings by the bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov. I first read about them in relation to a book edition, reviewed in one of my favourite blogs, Book by its cover.

It is a nice conceptual work, trying to illustrate different fears. Some are straightforward to depict, but others are vague and imprecise and it's quite more difficult. The technique in most of the drawing is ink, on heavyweight textured paper.

The 99 fears book is available from Phaidon, Oxford.


Juan Berrio's Moleskine Puppet House

Both the making of... shown in this video, and the final results are awesome.


Scott McCloud at TED

Here's the video of the lecture by Scott McCloud at TED:

In this unmissable look at the magic of comics, Scott McCloud bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch.


Neil Halstead's Oh! mighty engine

This record is extraordinary. Acoustic, intimate, delicious. Superb melodies, quirky and clever lyrics (you creative types will enjoy No mercy for the muse). Among the best things I've listened to in a long long time.

Neil Halstead (Mojave 3) has created a wonderful album. Irresistible in every sense. Available from Brushfire Records.

Here's a video of one of the songs, Paint a face, and the album cover.


The masks of Gourmont and Vallotton

Remy de Gourmont (1858-1915) was a french symbolist poet, novelist and influential literary critic. Two of his works, the so-called Livres des masques, (books of masks) are critic-literary anthologies illustrated by Félix Vallotton, a contemporary of Gourmont. His monogram appears beside each portrait. Vallotton may be little known today, but he was very influential in later artists who worked in simplified and stylized shapes, with big contrasting masses in the images.

The portrait gallery includes Francis James, Marcel Schwob, Maurice Maeterlinck, Stéphane Mallarmé, Lautréamont, Arthur Rimbaud, André Gide, J.-K. Huysmans, Paul Verlaine and many more.

The books of masques are available for free on Project Gutenberg. (http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/g#a6996). They include the aforementioned portraits by Vallotton in bigger sizes. Those images can be vectorized very well, for example with Inkscape:


12 ways of talking

One of my illustrations in Flickr, click to visit my account and see all sizes.

Sometimes when people talk to you it's hard to tell exactly what are they telling you. Because sometimes they tend to speak in such a way that what they say is one thing and what comes across something quite different.

Another thing is the conversation style. Oh, communication is so complex and so fascinating! But, honestly, some folks would rather keep their mouths shut.

From left to right, top to bottom:
1. Confusing.
2. Logical.
3. Chaotic.
3. Enthusiastic.
4. Negative.
5. Dubitative.
6. Blocked.
7. Laconic.
8. Fragmented, dispersed.
9. Complex.
10. Sweet.
11. Contradictory.

This comes from the sketchbook, A4 size, and it's drawn in ink.


Lorenzo Mattotti

"When I first saw the illustrations of Mattotti, I knew I had seen them already: in a dream."
—Art Spiegelmann
These are some videos about one of my favourite comic artists and illustrators, Lorenzo Mattotti. Of course, first you should visit his website.

Mattotti works in different techniques: pencils, pastels, watercolour, ink, acrylics... on different sizes of paper and canvases, but somehow he manages to obtain consistent results. Looking at a particular image it's sometimes difficult to guess its size and technique: a small pastel panel in one of his comics may look exactly like a big 2 x 2 m acrylic on canvas. On the website of the italian publisher Nuages you can visit an online exhibition with some imaginary landscapes (acrylic on canvas) that remind me of some recent works by David Hockney, his northern landscapes .

Those videoclips (Youtube) can be viewed on your own browser (provided that you have the Flash player installed, that is.) But I have also found a long documentary about Mattotti; it lasts nearly an hour. You can watch it online in Babelgum. In this case, however, you'll need to install the specific player used by this online tv platform (freeware.)

A complete list of news related to Mattotti’s career can be found here (Prima Linea Publishing).


Paul Rand and Alvin Lustig

It's a delight to find that, at long last, there is an official website dedicated to the figure and work of one of the best and most influential designers of the 20th century: Paul Rand.

The site collects a lot of biographical information and a generous selection of his designs, articles and interviews, photos of exhibitions... it's quite a good visit for design enthusiasts. Indeed a good addition to monographies on Rand like the one written by Steven Heller, published ten years ago (Phaidon).

If you are into modernism in design, a site about Alvin Lustig has been online for some time now. Lustig (1915-1955) shared some of the modern aesthetics of Rand, but died many years before him. The site showcases his editorial work, architecture and interiors, ads, identity and print.

The Milton Glaser SVA archives

Milton Glaser has been involved with the School of Visual Arts in New York for many years, both as a teacher and designer.

The Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, a division of the Visual Arts Foundation, is dedicated to preserving and making accessible design works of significant artistic, cultural, and historical value by preeminent designers, illustrators, and art directors who have close ties to the SVA. The Archives contains thousands of individual pieces of original art, posters, and printed materials designed by Milton Glaser, Ivan Chermayeff & Tom Geismar, Henry Wolf, Tony Palladino and others. The online gallery website presents just a sampling of the materials contained in the individual collections.

If you live in NY, however, the archive is open (by appointment only) to all members of the SVA community, as well as outside researchers and designers. The Milton Glaser collection contains approximately 700 pieces of original art, 1,700 sketches, 380 posters, 150 prints, as well as 29 boxes of newspapers and magazines, album covers, menus, letterhead, annual reports, brochures, and books designed and/or illustrated by Mr. Glaser. It takes 152 pages to describe in detail all this artwork and publications!

The amount and quality of work by Milton Glaser is, by all accounts, impressive. One can imagine its sheer magnitude watching the storage rooms in the Hillman Curtis short film about the designer:

(alternative address for the short movie.)


Heinz Edelmann

It's a shame there aren't more resources online about Heinz Edelmann, the german designer and illustrator (born in 1934 in Czechoslovakia).

He is a very talented artist who did excellent illustration and design for the mythic Twen magazine in the sixties, worked as chief designer in the Yellow Submarine animation film and created a huge number of posters for Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), book covers for Klett-Cotta and illustrations for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Edelmann has also been a teacher in the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts.

Books showcasing his work are hard to come by. However, very recently, Edelmann has published a graphic novel called The Incredible!, where

he refuses to take part in the 21st century. He lives in 1999, indefinitely(...) records bombs dropping and media battles raging, unaware of their political or economic reason, and all in what might have passed for a breezy style circa 1955.
He is remembered best, undoubtedly, by his work on the Yellow Submarine, with its quintessential psychedelic imagery, made in a style that has a lot in common with some works done around the same time by Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast at the Push Pin Studio.

Here is an online exhibition with a selection of his poster designs.

The accompanying image comes from a spanish website where you find a gallery of fantastic creatures drawn by Edelmann.


Girl with guitar

One of my illustrations in Flickr, click to visit my account and see all sizes.

Drawn from imagination, I'm experimenting with highly absorbent papers. Yep, those you are not supposed to use with watercolour! But I really like some effects, blurry lines... a bit impredictable, though. (click the picture so see bigger versions on my Flickr page.)

By the way, one of my new year resolutions is practice guitar more seriously. Perhaps that's why I'm drawing quite a few characters playing guitar when doodling... I'll have to build up some thick calluses in the tips of the left hand fingers, and all that...


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