The Best Art Books to Buy as Holiday Gifts
November 17, 2021

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission ’Tis the season, which means it’s time to start racking your brain for gift ideas. But if your list happens to include artists or art lovers, the choice is a no-brainer: Give them a […] Continue reading

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An Illustrated Children’s Book Is a Sensitive Retelling of a Timber Elephant’s Role in WWII
November 1, 2021

Meet Bandoola, an Asian timber elephant the British Army enlisted in WWII. Purchased as a calf, the lumbering creature was shipped to a teak plantation where he was forced to drag and push logs across the landscape to construct bridges and other structures. Bandoola’s life, while fictionalized by London-based illustrator and author William Grill in his forthcoming children’s book, is based on the true story of Elephant Bill, a soldier who worked with the animals in forestry camps during the war. More Continue reading

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Phantom Clouds Descend from the Sky in Vorja Sánchez’s Illustrated Photos
October 28, 2021

In Vorja Sánchez’s ghostly dreamworld, spectral creatures plunge from the sky with long, wispy appendages that grasp onto the landscape. The Barcelona-based artist and illustrator (previously) disrupts otherwise peaceful photos with the massive forms that haunt unsuspecting hikers and farm animals as they peek out from behind a hill or congregate in airborne groups. Prints of the playfully illustrated phantoms are available in Sánchez’s shop, and you can find more from the series on Instagram. More Continue reading

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Timely Editorial Illustrations by Eiko Ojala Elegantly Explore the World’s Most Pressing Topics
August 18, 2021

Climate change, the pandemic, politics, and social unrest: these are just a few of the topics artist Eiko Ojala (previously) has been asked to depict for some of the world’s largest and most respected publications. Using his immediately recognizable style of paper and shadow, the Estonia-based illustrator wants the viewer “to have a feeling that they would like to touch the illustration with their fingers.” As the world has grown in complexity over the last decade, so has Ojala’s work. More Continue reading

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Graceful Swimmers Breach the Water’s Surface in Sonia Alins’s Poetic Mixed-Media Illustrations
August 12, 2021

In Sonia Alins’s dreamy works, figures gently break through the surface of the sea, creating a minimal ripple around their bodies as they dip in and out of the water. The Spanish artist and illustrator (previously) is known for her expressive swimmers, whose enlarged limbs splay in graceful positions as they float and move through the ocean. Translucent sheets of vellum produce the cloudy effects of water, obscuring fish and coral and adding a three-dimensional element to the largely ink, acrylic, and watercolor drawings. More Continue reading

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Surreal Watercolor Illustrations Shake Back and Forth in Marija Tiurina’s Chaotic Stereograms
May 27, 2021

Longtime Colossal readers will recognize the surreal, fictionalized scenes illustrated by Marija Tiurina (previously). Whether a bizarre mishmash of thoughts from quarantine or a crowded parallel universe in North London, Tiurina’s works are a seemingly endless exploration of mystery, delight, and general chaos, themes the London-based illustrator continues in her new series Stereogramos—the title is a portmanteau blending the “Spanish world for a bouquet (of endless objects and limbs, in my case) and ‘-os’ ending that is typical to the worlds of plural female form in Lithuanian language,” she says. More Continue reading

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Fantastical Plants and Hybrid Characters Form a Strange Menagerie Crafted by Cat Johnston
March 19, 2021

A moth-human hybrid, striped coral, and a smoking frog sporting a tracksuit inhabit Cat Johnston’s fantastical ecosystem crafted from paper and textiles. The playfully bizarre creatures are inspired by monsters, mythology, and folklore, evoking deities and magnifying the strange qualities of plants and animals. Johnston created many of the lifeforms shown here shortly after moving to San Francisco and exploring the environment. “I was blown away by all the strange and lovely cacti and succulents and the animals I saw there (hummingbirds and pelicans and raccoons!) and wanted to create a landscape of plants and creatures that felt as alien and magical as California did to me,” she says. More Continue reading

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Otherworldly Ecosystems Populate Dense, Cross-Hatched Illustrations by Song Kang
February 16, 2021

Packed with texture and depth, Song Kang’s ink-based drawings begin with “I wonder…I wonder how this will look compared to that, or I wonder if I can mix this and that,” she says. The Atlanta-based illustrator renders rich labyrinths populated by elements from land and sea that are depicted in an otherworldly manner: candy-colored liquid drips from a bonsai, fish and butterflies coexist in the same dense ecosystem, and a maze of M.C. More Continue reading

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Expressive Portraits, Line Drawings, and Foliage Are Superimposed into Rich Illustrations by Ana Santos
February 11, 2021

At the center of Ana Santos’s practice is a commitment to discovery. The Salamanca-based illustrator fuses multiple mediums—her work ranges from watercolor, ink-based drawing, and digital painting to embroidery and ceramics—into portraits superimposed with clusters of foliage, birds, and small, black-and-white renderings, a technique she’s developed through experimentation. “Enjoying the process is very important and being open to error has given me unexpected results, which I really appreciate,” she tells Colossal.
Santos begins the layered works on paper, which she then scans to complete digitally in Photoshop. More Continue reading

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