kottke.org posts about illustration

All of Star Wars Ep. IV in one infographicJun 01 2016

Star Wars InfographicStar Wars InfographicStar Wars Infographic

Swiss illustrator Martin Panchaud created a massive infographic that tells the entire story of the first Star Wars movie. How massive? It's 465152 pixels long.

This long ribbon reminds the ancient Chinese script rolls that had to be rolled in and rolled out simultaneously in order to be read. I like this stretch between ages, cultures, and technologies.

So cool. The style reminds me a bit of Chris Ware in places.

Lovely illustrated Wes Anderson postcardsMay 06 2016

Mark Dingo AndersonMark Dingo AndersonMark Dingo Anderson

Brooklyn-based illustrator and design Mark Dingo made these postcards based on Wes Anderson's films, one for each movie. (via @timothy_schuler)

Quentin Blake's handwriting typefaceMar 09 2016


If you've read a book like Danny the Champion of the World or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you have seen the work of illustrator Quentin Blake.

Type foundry Monotype have created a typeface from Blake's distinctive handwriting. Each letter has four variants so the text looks more random, like actual handwriting:

Quentin Blake font

Mad Max: Fury Road as an ancient Egyptian paintingSep 01 2015

From illustrator @takumitoxin, a wonderful rendering of the events of Mad Max: Fury Road in the style of an ancient Egyptian painting.

Mad Max Fury Egypt

Fury Road is out on Blu-ray today (and streaming). This movie was the perfect summer entertainment.

Every David Beckham hairstyleMay 01 2015

In celebration of English footballer David Beckham's 40th birthday, ESPN commissioned Helen Green to take us on an animated voyage through Beck's many hairstyles.

Beckham's Hair

See also every David Bowie hairstyle (also by Green), every Prince hairstyle, and David, a piece of video art by Sam Taylor-Wood of Beckham sleeping for an hour and seven minutes.

The women of Don DraperApr 22 2015

Women Don Draper

Hannah Choi is making illustrations of all the women Don Draper has slept with on Mad Men in chronological order.

Guillaume Cornet's dense city illustrationsApr 01 2015

I love Guillaume Cornet's fanciful and intricate drawings. He's done Paris, New York, and a London apartment building, among others.

Guillaume CornetGuillaume CornetGuillaume Cornet

Society6 recently put a camera on Cornet while he did his Paris drawing, condensing 75 hours of painstaking work into a 2-minute time lapse.

My favorite little detail highlighted by Society6 is the appearance of the Emmet minifig in the NYC illustration, complete with the Piece of Resistance.

Guillaume Cornet

Extraordinary BirdsJan 22 2015

Extraordinary Birds

The American Museum of Natural History's research library has an online exhibit of bird illustrations taken from the book Extraordinary Birds. (via @kellianderson)

Every David Bowie hairstyle from 1964 to 2014Jan 12 2015

Helen Green drew all the hairstyles worn by David Bowie from before he was a star in 1964 on up to the present day. Here's they are in a glorious animated GIF:

Bowie Hair

Green also did a one-sheet of the B&W drawings. See also every Prince hairstyle from 1978 to 2013. (via @Coudal)

Cutaway illustrations of nuclear reactorsMay 01 2014

Worlds Reactors 02Worlds Reactors 01Worlds Reactors 03

From the collection of The University of New Mexico, a big collection of cutaway diagrams of nuclear reactors.

Pixel Studio GhibliApr 30 2014

Pixel Totoro

Richard Evans rendered some of the best-known Studio Ghibli characters in pixel art style.

Wonderful animated soccer vignettesSep 12 2013

Richard Swarbrick makes these great impressionist animations of sports events, mostly soccer but also cricket and basketball. Here's one to get you started...the 5-0 drubbing FC Barcelona handed to Real Madrid during a 2010 Clasico:

It's amazing how much Swarbrick's illustrations communicate with so few strokes...Mourinho's face is my favorite. Here's the actual match for comparison purposes. And here's Maradona's sublime goal against England in the 1986 World Cup (original video):

You can find many other examples of Swarbrick's work on his web site and on his YouTube channel. (via @dunstan)

A menagerie of mechanical animalsJul 05 2013

Mechanical Dragon

From Diego Mazzeo, illustrations of a bunch of different mechanical animals, including a whale, horses, elephants, flamingos, giraffes, a griffin, and a dragon.

Drawing all the buildings in NYCApr 12 2013

James Gulliver Hancock is on a mission to draw all the buildings in New York City.

All Bldg NYC

Hancock's blog has spawned a book and prints are available as well. (via brain pickings)

Missed connections, illustratedSep 25 2009

I really like Sophie Blackall's illustrations of missed connections ads from Craiglist and other sites. The style reminds me a bit of Maira Kalman.

Sophie Blackall

If this were on Tumblr, she'd already have a book deal.

Update: About that book thing:

Ms. Blackall's whimsical drawings have also caught the attention of publishers: She says she's currently negotiating a deal to create a book of her illustrations, which would likely land on shelves sometime in the next year to 18 months.

On her overlapJul 17 2009

Stephanie Brown

There's a dynamic quality to this Moleskine sketch by Stephanie Brown that you don't often see with such spare illustration. The rest of her stuff is worth a look as well...Flickr too. Somewhat NSFW. (via sex in art)

Green beanApr 20 2009

The spouting bean concept illustrated by Jillian Tamaki for the "Green Chicago" issue of Hemispheres, the inflight magazine for United Airlines, is a little bit of genius.

Oh, Tocqueville, you're the manApr 02 2009

Maira Kalman tells a wonderfully illustrated story about democracy (and Salisbury steak).

Quirky maps and charts for NYC wayfindingOct 14 2008

Christoph Niemann shares a series of his New York City cheatsheets, including tips for getting on and off the subway at the proper points, muffin poking (you know, for checking freshness), and a door opening maneuver called "The Northside Eagle".

Whenever I rode the subway with my two older boys, I tried to hold on to their hands at all times. In the process, I developed a special move. I think anyone who saw it must have been impressed.

I would hold the boys' hands as we briskly made our way out of the station, then, just as we reached the turnstiles, I would let go. We would pass through the turnstiles simultaneously, and so smoothly that the boys' hands would still be up in the air when we got to the other side, where I would grab their little fingers again in one fluid motion. (Requires practice.)

These are great fun.

How to make a New Yorker coverOct 07 2008

Illustrator Bob Staake explains the process behind his cover on this week's politically themed New Yorker, including rejected alternatives and a video progression of the finished design. Staake still uses a copy of Photoshop 3.0 on MacOS 7 to do his illustrations. That was a great version of Photoshop...I remember not wanting to switch myself. (via df)

Update: Staake uses OS X with MacOS 9 running in the background:

Let me clear up today's rumor: I do NOT work in OS 7. I use OSX and run classic (9.0) in the background. Photoshop 3.0? Yes, STILL use that.

Mad Men wallpaperSep 10 2008

These Mad Men illustrations done by Nobody's Sweetheart are fantastic.

Mad Men WallpaperMad Men Wallpaper

Oh, Joan! And wallpaper-sized to boot! The full-sized Sally Draper's Cocktail Cheat Sheet is awesome. (via merlin)

Recreating kids drawingsMay 15 2008

Yeondoo Jung does real-life recreations of children's drawings. (via quips)

Time lapse of a gorgeous Chad PughApr 22 2008

Time lapse of a gorgeous Chad Pugh illustration from start to finish (in HD).

The video is a condensed time lapse of screenshots over a several month period. Total physical drawing time is close to 40 hours and I'd add an equal amount of time for concept time and readying the print. A screenshot was taken every 5 seconds, which actually results in a full 18 minute video.

This illustration inspired Vimeo's wonderful login screen. A limited-edition print of the finished illustration is available. (via jakob)

Some clever drawings by Russell Weekes. TheDec 12 2007

Some clever drawings by Russell Weekes. The fig 1 fig 2 one make me chuckle every time I see it.

Linzie Hunter's illustrations of spam subject lines.Nov 08 2007

Linzie Hunter's illustrations of spam subject lines. I wish she did prints of these. See also: Spamshirt.

Jennifer Daniel has a nice one-page portfolioOct 04 2007

Jennifer Daniel has a nice one-page portfolio of design and illustration work.

Recent Chris Ware talkFeb 21 2007

A friend of mine who works at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln emailed to let me know that they've posted both audio and video of a talk that Chris Ware gave at the school last week. If you're short on time, the real meat of the video starts around 18:30 when Ware starts a slideshow that delves into his process. In addition to his series of Thanksgiving-themed New Yorker covers from last year, he also talks about some of his other work, including Rusty Brown and the strip he did for the NY Times Magazine.

80 wonderful handdrawn typographic posters by Job Wouters. (Jan 31 2007

80 wonderful handdrawn typographic posters by Job Wouters. (via type for you)

Antony Hare is one of the fewJan 30 2007

Antony Hare is one of the few people from the olden days (i.e. 8-10 years ago) that I still check in on regularly...I really dig his simple illustrations. For the past few months, he's been putting time-lapse videos of some of his drawings on YouTube, including a drawing of Steve Jobs, one of Robert Altman, and another of David Lynch.

The dance of the flight attendant.Jan 11 2007

The dance of the flight attendant.

Lovely floorplan illustration by Scott Teplin.Dec 28 2006

Lovely floorplan illustration by Scott Teplin.

The DrawerGeeks are a collection of artistsDec 18 2006

The DrawerGeeks are a collection of artists and illustrators that all draw a fictional character every couple of weeks. The Harry Potter page is a good introduction to the work. (via snarkmarket)

Line RiderOct 26 2006

Line Rider is not quite a game but not quite a toy or drawing tool either. But judging by the 6,000,000 views its gotten since it was posted a month ago, Line Rider certainly is compelling. I don't even like playing it all that much, but I spent a solid hour a few weeks ago watching videos of other people's tracks on YouTube; it's just so fascinating to see how much can be done with simple lines and rules. Here's one of the better tracks I've seen (c/o clusterflock). This little non-game has even shown up in Time magazine. Go, little Line Rider, go.

Update: A new version of Line Rider is to be released soon. New features will include an eraser, new types of lines, line snapping, etc.

If you're looking to record your Line Rider creation and post it to YouTube, you can use CamStudio (Win), Super Screen Recorder (Win), oRipa Screen Recorder (Win), Screen Movie Recorder (Mac), iShowU (Mac), Snapz Pro (Mac), and ScreenRecord (Mac).

For information on how to play Line Rider more effectively, check out the Line Rider Forums.

Examples of *very* photorealistic illustrations made withJul 31 2006

Examples of *very* photorealistic illustrations made with the gradient mesh tool in Adobe Illustrator. Here's a quick gradient mesh tutorial.

Pixel citiesMay 04 2006

Here's part of a fun pixel illustration of Communication City by eboy:

Communication City

Click through to see the whole image. eboy did the illustration for a Fortune magazine article on the resurgence of internet companies. The company also does amazingly intricate futuristic posters of cities. Oh, and this T-Mobile HotSpot map of London...I could go on and on.

Chris Ware overrated? That's what this illustration fan thinks.Feb 27 2006

Chris Ware overrated? That's what this illustration fan thinks.

Profile of designer/illustrator/photographer Michael ElinsSep 12 2005

Profile of designer/illustrator/photographer Michael Elins and how he uses Macs to get his work done. "It's hard for someone like me to talk about technology, because the Mac has gotten to the point where it's a nonissue. It’s so good and so fluid, so fast and so freaking reliable that it becomes something I really take for granted."

How Danny Gregory makes those nifty watercolorsJun 30 2005

How Danny Gregory makes those nifty watercolors that illustrate The Morning News. "Roz, the color theory teacher, warned against it, but I laid down a blue underpainting!"

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