Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

23 DECEMBER, 2010

Len Kendall Sketchnotes the Best of Brain Pickings 2010

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This year, we asked some of our favorite visualization artists to each capture the 10 most popular Brain Pickings articles of 2010 in a single piece of artwork, and we’re revealing them one by one this month. After Stefanie Posavec, Sam Potts, Tiffany Farrant and Christina Tsevis, we continue with a longtime favorite — sketchnote master Len Kendall, whose work you may recall from the Brain Pickings 500.

The articles, in order of popularity:

  1. Mythical Beasts & Modern Monsters — three humorous takes on the relational understanding of the monsters ecosystem.
  2. Mapping European Stereotypes — a Bulgarian designer based in London pokes fun at Europeans’ xeno-bias and the subjective reality of nationalism.
  3. 7 Image Search Tools That Will Change Your Life — 7 visually-driven image search interfaces that change how we look for, find and catalog images.
  4. 7 Must-Read Books by TED Global Speakers — selection of the 7 most compelling books by speakers at this year’s TED Global in Oxford.
  5. How Do I Explain It To My Parents — Dutch abstract artists sit down with their parents and try to explain to them what they do, to a delightfully amusing effect.
  6. Vintage Posters for Modern Movies — a look at the faux-vintage design trend as it applies to film poster design, spotlighting the work of seven contemporary designers with a retrostalgic aesthetic.
  7. How To Be Alone — a poetic manifesto for the art of solitude.
  8. Strange Worlds: Miniature Condiment Landscapes — remarkable miniature landscapes made out of spices and condiments by artist Matthew Albanese.
  9. What Does It Mean To Be Human? — three disciplines (evolutionary biology, philosophy and neuroscience) tackle the grand question of existentialism.
  10. Literary Action Figures — you know you want them.

And as if Len’s signature style wasn’t enough of a treat, the artwork is actually image-mapped, which means you can click on the different elements to read the actual articles they represent.

Image Map

Want to go bigger? Grab the image as a PDF.

For more of Len’s work, do check out his brilliant the3six5 project and follow him on Twitter.

We’ve got a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays, offers the week’s main articles, and features short-form interestingness from our PICKED series. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

21 DECEMBER, 2010

Christina Tsevis Illustrates the Best of Brain Pickings

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This year, we asked some of our favorite visualization artists to each capture the 10 most popular Brain Pickings articles of 2010 in a single piece of artwork, and we’re revealing them one by one this month. After Stefanie Posavec, Sam Potts and Tiffany Farrant, we continue with one of our favorite artists — Greek illustrator Christina Tsevis, whom we interviewed last year and whose enchanted Alice in Wonderland work we featured earlier this year.

The articles, in order of popularity:

  1. Mythical Beasts & Modern Monsters — three humorous takes on the relational understanding of the monsters ecosystem.
  2. Mapping European Stereotypes — a Bulgarian designer based in London pokes fun at Europeans’ xeno-bias and the subjective reality of nationalism.
  3. 7 Image Search Tools That Will Change Your Life — 7 visually-driven image search interfaces that change how we look for, find and catalog images.
  4. 7 Must-Read Books by TED Global Speakers — selection of the 7 most compelling books by speakers at this year’s TED Global in Oxford.
  5. How Do I Explain It To My Parents — Dutch abstract artists sit down with their parents and try to explain to them what they do, to a delightfully amusing effect.
  6. Vintage Posters for Modern Movies — a look at the faux-vintage design trend as it applies to film poster design, spotlighting the work of seven contemporary designers with a retrostalgic aesthetic.
  7. How To Be Alone — a poetic manifesto for the art of solitude.
  8. Strange Worlds: Miniature Condiment Landscapes — remarkable miniature landscapes made out of spices and condiments by artist Matthew Albanese.
  9. What Does It Mean To Be Human? — three disciplines (evolutionary biology, philosophy and neuroscience) tackle the grand question of existentialism.
  10. Literary Action Figures — you know you want them.

Christina unleashes her signature textured whimsy in this absolutely beautiful illustration incorporating visual elements from each of the top ten stories:

[Click image to enlarge]

See more of Christina’s wonderful work here and follow her on Twitter.

We’ve got a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays, offers the week’s main articles, and features short-form interestingness from our PICKED series. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

20 DECEMBER, 2010

The Best Children’s Books of 2010

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Lost owls, found cats, and how contemporary art is helping sick children heal.

Last week, we spotlighted the year’s best books in Business, Life & Mind and Art, Design & Photography, as part of our end-of-year best-of series. Today, we’re back with the 10 most delightful literary and visual treats for young readers and their creatively sophisticated parents.

I LEGO N.Y.

Between our massive culture-crush on the amazing Christoph Niemann and our soft spot for all things LEGO, I LEGO N.Y. was a natural swoon-maker. Though not necessarily a children’s book per se, this imaginative look at New York rendered entirely in LEGO embodies Niemann’s incredible penchant for taking something ordinary and transforming it into pure whimsy.

I LEGO N.Y. came out in March and is Niemann’s print publishing debut as a sole author. (Though he has illustrated and co-authored a number of other treats). We can’t wait to see what he imagines next.

AN AWESOME BOOK OF THANKS!

We have a well-documented distaste for both exclamation points and the word “awesome” — mostly because they’re linguistic indulgences used far too often and indicative of actual merit far too rarely. But artist Dallas Clayton‘s An Awesome Book of Thanks! more than lives up to the linguistic promise of its title. A sequel to his 2008 An Awesome Book!, a lovely illustrated children’s book about dreaming big, this new treat is charmingly illustrated manifesto for gratitude and the art of being thankful. And as if this isn’t enough of a ray of light in the world, Clayton also gives one copy of the book to a child in need for every copy of it sold.

Sample this gem with a video introduction by Clayton and pages from the book in our full review.

13 WORDS

13 Words is a meeting of two great talents: Iconic illustrator Maira Kalman and the one and only Lemony Snicket of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

The beloved children’s author curates 13 of the most essential words of all time and pairs each with original illustrations in Kalman’s signature style of delectable, childlike simplicity.

Our full review, complete with a lovely animated trailer for the book illustrated by Kalman herself, can be found here.

THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE

Oliver Jeffers is one of the most prolific and whimsical children’s book authors and illustrators of our time, equal parts artist and storyteller. With modern classics like Lost and Found and The Incredible Book-Eating Boy, he has carved himself a special place in the hearts of creative parents and their offspring. This year, Jeffers returned with another slam-dunk: The Heart and the Bottle — the breathtakingly illustrated and touching story of a little girl who bottles up her pain when her grandfather passes away, with an underlying message about the importance of keeping curiosity alive.

I keep writing children’s books, I keep making children’s books, because I still have them inside of me.” ~ Oliver Jeffers

As of this month, The Heart and the Bottle is also available as a stunning iPad Picture Book app

via Swiss Miss

BETWEEN THE LINES

Nonprofit RxArt uses the power of art to aid healing by placing contemporary art in children’s hospitals and clinics in an effort to transform these sterile environments into comforting havens, inspiring healing and hope in kids, their families and the tireless medical staff that takes care of them. Between The Lines is a wonderful coloring book and fundraising tool for the RxArt program, featuring over 50 original line drawings by some of today’s most celebrated contemporary artists, including Takashi Murakami, Ed Ruscha and Cynthia Rowley, plus a series of delightfully vibrant stickers designed by Nate Lowman and Mickalene Thomas.

Take an exclusive peek inside the book’s beautiful artwork in our full review.

THE QUIET BOOK

From author Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska comes The Quiet Book, which may just be the new bedtime classic of our time. The stuffed-animal heroes of the story aren’t merely adorable, their body language and facial expressions harbor a level of emotional complexity that is simply astounding. The book is as much a soft-colored illustrated lullaby for tiny humans as it is a meditation on life’s peaceful moments for humans of all sizes.

Amazon has some exclusive sketches from Liwska’s drawing pad, very much worth a look.

DOG LOVES BOOKS

On the surface, Louise Yates’ Dog Loves Books is the story of a little white dog who opens a bookstore and, after no customers come, occupies himself by reading. The story, of course, is really about the life of the mind and the importance of pursuing one’s own curiosity — something at the core of our philosophy here at Brain Pickings. Yates manages to deliver this message to young readers in charming, dreamy watercolor drawings and soft pastel pencil illustrations, a most delightful primer for a lifetime of bibliophilia and imaginative intellectual curiosity.

Dog Loves Books is the follow-up to Yates’ excellent 2009 bunny adventure, A Small Surprise.

THERE ARE NO CATS IN THIS BOOK

Viviane Schwarz‘s There Are No Cats in This Book is a lie — there are cats in this book, plenty of them, each more delightfully mischievous than the next. The story takes a charming meta turn as Tiny, Moonpie and Andre, the three lead feline heroes, decide to escape the confines of the book and venture out into the world — a narrative technique whose analogy in theater and cinema is known as “breaking the fourth wall.”

Beautifully illustrated, brimming with bold colors, and wildly playful from cover to cover, There Are No Cats in This Book is a wonderful exercise in full-immersion storytelling for young readers.

LITTLE OWL LOST

Little Owl Lost is the kind of book that feels like a beautifully designed poster that somehow accidentally contorted and folded itself into a different format and, in the process of it, unfolded a captivating story. Despite — or perhaps precisely because of — the completely flat colors and plethora of negative space, Chris Haughton manages to deliver a potent dose of suspense and surprise for a dynamic narrative full of wide-eyed creatures and vibrant forest landscapes, designed and art-directed with a kind of craftsmanship and creative vision that make the turning of each page an absolute treat.

Little Owl Lost came out in August. 36Pages has a short but excellent interview with the author about his creative process.

via Swiss Miss

ART & MAX

David Wiesner is one of the most prolific and beloved living picture book creators. Three of his books (Flotsam, Tuesday and The Three Pigs) are winners of the prestigious Caldecott Medal, making him one of only two three-time winners of the medal in the award’s 73-year history. This year, he bestowed his latest piece of creative genius upon the world: Art & Max, the charming and colorful story of two artist friends: Art, a collared lizard with a penchant for portraits, and Max, a smaller lizard armed with a restless paintbrush. The two embark upon a vibrant, eye-popping journey into art and color.

Amazon has some fascinating exclusive images showing the development of Wiesner’s illustration and named Art & Max their #1 picture book of the year.

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17 DECEMBER, 2010

Unruly Alphabet: The Macabre, Anthropomorphic Lives of Letters

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Yes, we’re officially on an alphabet binge. After marveling at it in mesmerizing motion graphics, on fabulous Mad Scientist wooden blocks, and in a brilliant typographic anthology, we’ve discovered a worthy new addition to our selection of creative ABC books — illustrator Aaron McKinney’s Unruly Alphabet. With wit and beautifully detailed illustration, McKinney brings each letter to macabre, hauntingly playful life, weaving a dialogue of gallows humor between the letters built on a larger metaphorical narrative on the most loathesome human qualities.

I’ve always been interested in etymology. The way words, a human constructed concept, play off one another to somehow convey thought and expression in our minds fascinates me. With that thought in mind, I decided to strip language down to its most primitive form, the alphabet. To make it interesting, I anthropomorphized each letter with some of humanity’s most common, despicable traits. With each letter playing off the next, the end result is the alphabet, a pretty inorganic and deliberate thing made more barbarically human.” ~ Aaron McKinney

Blending the nostalgic charisma of the classic childhood alphabet book with adults’ taste for dark comedy and sophisticated aestheticism, The Unruly Alphabet is a treasure trove of gorgeously gory glyphs that will delight you with artistic merit and surprise you with a philosophical prompt to contemplate human nature.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

17 DECEMBER, 2010

Sam Potts Visualizes the Best of Brain Pickings 2010

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This year, we asked some of our favorite visualization artists to each capture the 10 most popular Brain Pickings articles of 2010 in a single piece of artwork, and we’re revealing them one by one over the coming week. Yesterday, we started with the ever-brilliant Stefanie Posavec. Today, it’s Sam Potts, whose fantastic work you may recall as one of the three Infinite Jest visualizations we featured last week.

The articles, in order of popularity:

  1. Mythical Beasts & Modern Monsters — three humorous takes on the relational understanding of the monsters ecosystem.
  2. Mapping European Stereotypes — a Bulgarian designer based in London pokes fun at Europeans’ xeno-bias and the subjective reality of nationalism.
  3. 7 Image Search Tools That Will Change Your Life — 7 visually-driven image search interfaces that change how we look for, find and catalog images.
  4. 7 Must-Read Books by TED Global Speakers — selection of the 7 most compelling books by speakers at this year’s TED Global in Oxford.
  5. How Do I Explain It To My Parents — Dutch abstract artists sit down with their parents and try to explain to them what they do, to a delightfully amusing effect.
  6. Vintage Posters for Modern Movies — a look at the faux-vintage design trend as it applies to film poster design, spotlighting the work of seven contemporary designers with a retrostalgic aesthetic.
  7. How To Be Alone — a poetic manifesto for the art of solitude.
  8. Strange Worlds: Miniature Condiment Landscapes — remarkable miniature landscapes made out of spices and condiments by artist Matthew Albanese.
  9. What Does It Mean To Be Human? — three disciplines (evolutionary biology, philosophy and neuroscience) tackle the grand question of existentialism.
  10. Literary Action Figures — you know you want them.

And Sam’s stunning semi-literal interpretation:

See more of Sam’s wonderful work here.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.