1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type



Yupo sheets are definitely a surface I’d like to try, especially when you see the wonderful results in these examples by loveitaly. In them, the pigment moves freely on the painted areas creating wonderful effects:

What is Yupo in more detail?

This special material, rather than a traditional paper sheet is a durable stain-resistant non-absorbent synthetic (polypropilene) material that holds ink and watercolor with precision. Its smooth surface also resists tearing and buckling and it remains perfectly flat.

Colors applied on Yupo paper are brilliant and they lift off completely. It is an extremely forgiving sheet! As a watercolor paper it has the advantage of being non-absorbent so colors lie on top of its surface producing brilliant vibrant effects. Colors retain their true clarity and brilliance. Yupo requires no soaking stretching or taping flat. Best of all it allows you to wipe off unwanted sections of your painting and start again with a fresh surface, without damaging the surface, as it is often the case with the coating of watercolor paper.


2011 greetings

This is my digital postcard for the soon-to-come 2011. My best wishes for everybody!


These are four pencil sketches salvaged from this year's agenda. A year that's (nearly) flown away, again! One for each season. A man with a hat in each picture.

These drawings and many more are on my Flickr page!


Animated organization

This imaginative ad in stop-motion animation, for Moleskine organizers made me smile:


This is the theme for the current week @ Illustration friday, and it has reminded me of this sketch in my agenda. This is a contrasted version of a pencil sketch (click to see it larger).


Charles Ritchie

Charles Ritchie (born in Kentucky, USA in 1954) shares some of his huge collection of journals, sketchbooks and diverse art creations. Finding inspiration in the artist’s home, using watercolor and graphite to investigate images in series, Ritchie’s journals have tracked his dreams and creative process steadily since 1977.

On close inspection, I doubt that the writing in some of the works (for example, do check out the drawings section, which can be enlarged to a comfortable size) can actually be re-read, but they are a part of the overall effect anyway.


Hippolyte's watercolor comics

In these days of completely digital workflows, it's rather uncommon to find comic books with their artwork drawn in watercolor. In one of these few examples, I have enjoyed the adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The master of Ballantrae by Hippolyte (sometimes known as Frank Meynet).

A portrait of Stevenson is included:
And here is a photo of the scottish writer with His Majesty King Kalakaua of Hawaii:


Das Pastoras' sketches

Das Pastoras (born Julio Martínez Pérez, 1962) is a galician - spanish comic artist whose preferred technique is watercolour. In his style one sees traces of Corben, Moebius and Liberatore.

He has a remarkable mastery at this technique, and also at drawing the human figure. No wonder, if you take a look at some of his sketchbooks, as posted in a recent article in his visual journal blog.


Picasso Mediterráneo

It is always a great pleasure to see some of Picasso's oeuvre. Today I've enjoyed a thematic retrospective of prints, called Picasso Mediterráneo. The works displayed, taken from different phases of his long career, show the always-present elements of the Mediterranean culture and life in Picasso's work, and his unique place between the spanish tradition and the modern revolution in art.

Different aspects of mediterranean culture are mirrored in these prints, with references to The Bible, Greeks and Romans, a celebration of Mythology, the arab world, the joy of living and celebration of the human body, the beach, the mediterranean fauna, landscapes and, of course, bullfighting.

This exhibition is currently shown at the Palau Solleric in Palma, until january, 9th,


Brecht Evens

The flemish illustrator and cartoonist Brecht Evens does some fine stuff with watercolours and gouache, including comic books (like his The Wrong Place —recently translated to english), and many editorial illustrations and posters.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


At the studio desk

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

Sort of improvised selfportrait being a good boy, at the desk and working. It was just a warm-up line drawing but then I added a touch of watercolour paint that was lying around from a painting session.


Hollie Chastain

Hollie Chastain describes herself as a

full-time found paper and collage artist. Influenced by nature and fairy tales, she lets water stains, scribble and natural aging play into her pieces. The subject of the piece is often influenced by the materials as opposed to building around a sketch or idea. She creates a world of adventure and secrets open for the viewer's interpretation.
I love her imaginative collages and subtle colours. More of her work at her website.



Ribafrecha by Adoración Santolaya Ruiz-Clavijo Enrique Flores | Make Your Own Book

Ribafrecha is the new book by Enrique Flores and Adoración Santolaya, collecting sketches and watercolours from his holidays in this village in La Rioja, Spain. You can get it here (and just for 14,95 euro, it's a bargain).


Elwood H. Smith

Time for some fun visiting Elwood H. Smith's website or his page at illoz. His cartoons are whimsical, offbeat and crazy. I love it. His preferred technique is drawing in waterproof ink and adding some touches of watercolour.


Alexis Deacon's sketchbooks

The very talented british illustrator Alexis Deacon shares some wonderful sketchbooks in his website. The peculiar atmosphere of his books is already present in the drawings collected in them.
Deacon is a very skilled draughtsman, as these sketchbooks utterly show. His final images, as published in his books, are the result of a complex process of small-scale sketching, photocopy enlarging and different techniques (ink, gouache, watercolour).


40 years of OP-ED

New York Times' OP-ED (Opposite Editorial page) is 40 years old. To commemorate this anniversary, the newspaper has put together a special section with some of the remarkable illustrations that have paraded this section through the years.

Along these 40 years the NYT has built up an incredible collection of witty, creative and though-provoking artwork by leading artists such as Ronald Searle, Milton Glaser, Tomi Ungerer, Gary Baseman, Tibor Kalman, Seymour Chwast, Shigeo Fukuda (this sample), Roland Topor, Al Hirschfeld, Ralph Steadman, The Heads of State and many more.

You can explore different topics (terrorism, equality/inequality, science, money, the presidency, and more) and read a selection of the Editorials and their OP-ED counterparts (in PDF format). Plus, there is a short, high-quality video OP-ED at 40: Four Decades of Illustration, with examples and comments from both editors and artists.

Illustrations by Shigeo Fukuda (top), Milton Glaser (centre) and Brad Holland (bottom).


Books and tees

Out of print is an online shop which sells t-shirts with book covers. These designs can be anything from iconic designs and illustration classics to bizarre pulp fiction images, and anything in between. Nice project.


Making ink

Chemistry + physics + technology + craft= color à gogo

The workshop shown is from The printing ink company. Yes, I like to watch how stuff is made.


What a nice (interactive Flash) website for the Monet retrospective in Paris (Grand Palais, until the 24th of January 2011).



Artologica sells original paintings that explore the intriguing beauty of natural phenomena. Using the wet-in-wet technique in watercolor, microorganisms and biological suggestions emerge in these peculiar works.

(via Brain Pickings).


Ghost diagrams: exploring symmetries and patterns

Enjoying this experimental app by Paul Harrison, called Ghost Diagrams. It is available either as a Python script or a browser-based tool. My test, shown here, uses the desktop version in Ubuntu 10. Screen capture with gtk-recordmydesktop.

With Ghost diagrams you generate different types of symmetries and repetitive patterns at a click of a button. It's very fast and intuitive. The best thing? You can save the results as a vector file (SVG format), so you can edit it to your heart's content and make it any size with no loss of quality.


Drawing with Muro

Muro is an amazing digital painting application that only requires a modern web browser.

It does not use Flash or any special plugin. HTML5, pure and simple, like similar online tools such as  Harmony or Sketchpad. Meaning what? Meaning that you can use it not just on your computer, laptop or desktop, but also on your iPad or iPhone / iPod Touch, for example. Here is a sample of something I tried on my laptop:

And, as a bonus, if you have a Wacom tablet installed, you can take advantage of additional features provided by the browser plugin,  available on the Wacom website.

If you want to try you hand with some other related programs, here it is a selection of drawing applications for your browser, based in several technologies (html5, flash, java…): CloudcanvasSumopaint, Pixlr, SketchPad, FlashPaint, ScribLink, Myoats, FlockDraw, ScribblerToo, QueekypaintImaginationCubed and a generous selection reviewed at Make use of.


Video - visiting artists' studios

Over on Vimeo there are quite a few videos of interesting art / design / creative studio visits.Just try searches such as studio visit, artist studio, painting studio or the like.


Sketches on the calendar

These are a few distracted, “phone ”drawings from this year's calendar. Most of them ebony (layout) pencil.

The slideshow includes some cleaned up images— at the end of the year I resist to throw away the agendas without at least keeping some of the doodles in photograph or scan, because I like the raw energy of these.


Online Picasso project

The Online Picasso project is a comprehensive online catalogue of Picasso's oeuvre. The site contents are impressive: 18,647 Catalogued Artworks, 9,092 Artwork Notes, 3,315 Artwork Commentaries, 844 Listed Collections, plus hundreds or thousands of biographical entries and commentaries, references, archived articles...

The database is thoroughly organized, and the artwork to display can be filtered by title, technique, year...  The pages load fast and the catalogued items appear as sorted thumbnails, which can be zoomed in to appreciate the details of selected pieces.

An invaluable resource for art students, designers, artists and art lovers in general.


Visual inspiration stream

“Tumbos” (designermanual.com) is a tumblelog, that is, a brief posts blog, in which I frequently add miscellaneous things that catch my eye, most of them visual inspiration.


Harmony sketches

One of my illustrations in Flickr, click to visit my account and see all sizes.
I will post some digital sketches drawn with the 'procedural drawing app' Harmony, coded with html5.

This one has been drawn with the mouse. Even with this unfriendly tool, Harmony is quite smooth and a pleasure to use, with unexpected surprises along the way.

More to follow in the Digital artwork set in my Flickr.


The big book of little people

A small sampler of a recent book that collects more than a thousand original illustrations of peculiar people, peppered with some wisdom capsules taken from the Maxims by La Rochefoucauld.

The printed book has 340 b/w pages, with colour cover. The size of the softcover volume is 14 x 21.6 cm (5.5 x 8.5 in). Available worldwide from Lulu Publishing (order online). See the whole contents as browsed:

Do check my Issuu library for more sample pages and other interesting illustrations!


Travels in Algeria

Enrique Flores has come back from a long trip in Algeria with a bunch of excellent watercolours and, as usual in him, sketchbooks packed with sketches, observations and insights.

There is a current exhibition of this work in aaaaarte.com (I guess it stands for 5-star art!), and if you visit his blog you can see more related artwork. The sketchbooks will be eventually uploaded as video to his Youtube account and, finally, his photos from the trip are well worth visiting, too.


Drawing Shakespeare

Milton Glaser draws an imaginary portrait of Shakespeare (one of a long series featured on his website and in the book Art is work), while he lectures about the meaning of drawing. It is a pleasure to see the master at work, and the remarks he makes are very interesting, too.


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Quotes on design

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