Tag Archives: ink
Theodor Kittelsen was a Norwegian painter and book illustrator (1857-1914). He illustrated the Scandinavian bestiary of legend and fairy tales, and his work has scared countless children (myself included). He drew and painted trolls, the black death, sea monsters, nøkken (“water spirit”), and anthropomorphised natural phenomena such as the echo. His work can be rather […]
There is a fairy tale here in Norway, called the twelve wild ducks. The story is not really important, it a fairly classic good versus evil, patience, purity and deceit. I think it is a pretty convoluted story, and I always found it dissatisfying that there is no attempt at explaining why the princes are […]
Saul Bass is the genius behind movie legends such as The Shining, The Man with the Golden Arm, Vertigo and Anatomy of a Murder. During his 40-year career Bass worked for some of Hollywood’s most prominent filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. It was his work for The Man with the Golden Arm that made […]
Kjell Aukrust was a legendary artist, humourist and illustrator. He is most famous for his wacky stories from a particular part of rural Norway, full of bizarre and hilarious people, inventions and creatures. They make little sense to people from other countries, the Danes certainly do not get it at all. I grew up with […]
Audubon’s birds have been released to Public Domain! John James Audubon’s book Birds of America is usually listed among the rarest books in existence. The reason for this is that the French ornithologist used the laborious technique of hand-coloured etched and aquatint plates, which means that there only about 200 complete sets done. A set fetched £7.3m at auction […]
The network II: drawing meets laser: I made a drawing I told you about n another article, the network (it does not mean anything). The department head in my research group at uni expressed an interest in doing something lage scale on a rather empty wall. A fellow student took the idea and ran with […]
The network. The most common question I get when people see my drawings are “how long did that take you?!” The next question is “what is it?” Neither question being relevant or interesting. It seems a piece of work is weighted and valued by time and meaning must be figurative. I find this very odd, this need for everything to […]
I write this blog together with Yisela (and Vincent). I have never met either, but Yisela was such a dear that I figured she deserved a gift. So in the tradition of Sofie’s book and Adam’s book, I made Yisela’s book. But you have to be supersupernice to me to get one; well over and […]
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” I only discovered Shel Silverstein a few years ago… I can only blame it on not having grown up in an […]
Thore Hansen was one of my childhood heroes. His drawings were magic then, and they are still magic now. The best known of his children’s books illustrations are the ones accompanying Thor Åge Bringsværd’s stories about Ruffen. Ruffen is a “small” sea dragon, and the books tells the story of his adventures. This post was […]
Many moons ago, when a friend of mine acquired his first nephew, he wanted to give him a story. We co-wrote the story in google docs, and I was to do the illustrations. I forgot all about it, until the day before I was due to fly to the US (and the deadline for producing […]
I posted about stylisation before, and I’d like to show where I got my inspiration. So without further ado, some of the ‘plates’ from J.H. Boot’s book on how to take some natural object and turn it into something of mathematically precise art. It still amazes me that Boot did not just take the time […]
Back in the mist of time, I did my apprenticeship in hand bookbinding. There are basically two directions; two different apprenticeships: literature binder, or ledger binder. I am a literature binder (also called publishing or library binding). But back then it was considered essential to have a broad understanding. So part of the apprenticeship was […]
Doodly deck of cards: Being a big fan of doodles, I got the idea some time back of making a deck of cards. The idea came when I found a few places that will print your custom deck of cards; and what is cool is that you could use it for business cards and such, […]
Creativity, according to the creative – what they say is the essence of creativity..: Any mental occurrence simultaneously associated with two habitually incompatible contexts. Arthur Koestler That moment of insight becomes the creative act as a joining of two previously incompatible ideas. Lyall Watson The association of two, or more, apparently alien elements on a plane […]
William Buelow Gould (1801 – 1853) was an English artist convicted for stealing a coat and was sentenced to seven years of labour in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He constantly got into trouble, also in the penal colonies, and was regularly punished for offences such as drunkenness, petty theft and forgery. His talent, however, got him assigned as a house […]
Yisela Utopias. The no-places. I’ve always been attracted by them. The first utopia ever written could have been Plato’s Republic. Or the Genesis. However, the first one I discovered was Thomas More’s Utopia. I still can’t believe it was written 498 years ago, in 1516. Utopia is a strange book. Most scholars agree it’s a satire, a criticism […]
(I was horrified to discover that Wikipedia does not have an entry on Fritz Kahn in English. I was utterly unaware of how deep into obscurity this multitalented man had fallen. Update: my pigheaded ability to pester strangers have resulted in an solid entry on Kahn on Wikipedia. Many thanks to Yngvadottir ). Fritz Kahn (1888-1968) […]
‘…qualities like quiveriness and vulnerability come to mind when I think of creativity… creativity requires a sense of smell, a palate to taste the scents that make brilliance. All life feeds upon the random. Creativity is the haute cuisine.’
What on earth is it? No one can give a vaguely sensible answer to what goes on in my brain. It is non-stop, it goes on every waking hour, and, I suspect, when I sleep as well. It is a constant rattling, a background noise: constantly having new ideas, judging colours, angles, texture, making connections, soaking up words or phrases in any situation. Connecting bizarre things together; finding some hue, taste or sound that bring unrelated things together in my head, spanning languages, centuries, words, colours, poetry, sounds, materials, buildings, life forms; from teaspoons to magma. It is exhausting, in a way, but it’s been going on my whole life, so I have no idea what it would be like without it.
It makes me able to make metaphors no one understands. How admirable.
Bits of paper, books with notes in the margins, or the last blank pages missing to some long forgotten desperate need for scribbling something. Piles of notebooks half filled out with unidentifiable ideas, but sometimes, sometimes a notebook contains a tiny little doodle that have it. Some magic little quality. And there it is – a perfect little doodle or a surprising combination of letters or words. Something that it would be impossible to improve on. Adding something would ruin it. A doodle; born perfect. An interaction of letterforms in perfect balance and meaning. Trying to do it again would not work. Magic.
I can track a meeting through the doodles I make. I remember what was said from little squiggles. People who have not seen my meeting-doodles show me endless post-its with circles repeated endlessly and say, I do it too! No you don’t. Because my doodles – unconsciously – covers and span universes. They are bizarre, funny, sometimes scary, sometimes awful. often abstract. I am sure a psychologist would have a field day, but at least it keeps me awake through boring meetings. The doodles are an illustration of the noise that goes on in my head – forced to sit still and listen to some boring twat go on about strategies for the future and how to fix something that is not broken – the endless connecting process bursts out on paper.
And I am beginning slowly to realise that not everybody have this racket going on. In fact, very few people have the faintest idea what I am talking about.
So I wonder what goes in their heads.
(These are just fragments; that is the whole point. More of my more deliberate, elaborate work here.)
Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) was what we call a renaissance man. He was a professor, biologist, philosopher, physician, naturalist and artist. His contribution to biology, evolutionary theory and art is still mind-boggling; we owe a great deal of biological understanding and terminology to him. He was a great promoter of Darwin’s theory of evolution, […]
David Rumsey’s gigantic collection of historical and modern maps, schematics, timelines, data visualisations, diagrams, history, time, sciences, religion is a never-ending source of wonder and inspirations. It is a bit of a trap, as I can spend days wandering around in the magical world of visualisations of history, science, culture, religion. Looking at the older […]
Math can be beautiful. The artist and professor George Heart Makes amazing sculptures, and he generously shares some of the templates so that the less talented of us can reproduce them. Here, I have made a model of his Frabjous in corrugated cardboard: I am a little partial to the dodocahedron, the 12-faced Platonic solid. […]
As mentioned in the post Mechanical owls – custom drawing, I am not the most efficient at xmas presents. So this is the custom drawing my brother got, a good few weeks after christmas. It is simply called the control room, for obvious reasons. There are some personal hints to my brother, but overall, it […]
Three things are very difficult to draw: hands, feet and transparent plastic. Here are some sketches of hands from my Moleskines.
No better way than to learn from the masters. These are freehand drawings after the work of Albrecht Dürer: Dürer had apparently never seen a rhinoceros, so the drawing is what he did after having the animal described.
There is no better way to learn, than to study what the masters studied. Even though Haeckel might have been a little too creative in some of his visual analysis, he is up there with the best of them.
These are drawn from a book with Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches; all in pencil.There is no better way than to learn from the masters.
Note: this is a post I wrote a few years ago, but it is still valid. I have been reading Design Observer on and off for a few years. Sometimes it’s desperately navel-gazing, sometimes is preaching to the already converted, sometimes it’s talking to a few insiders. Sometimes, it is good. The last time I […]
The importance of doodles: I am a great believer in doodles. I am a notorious meeting-doodler, and believe there should be more doodles in the world. I carry around a Moleskine for this purpose, and here are some examples. I do not start with an image in my head of what I want to accomplish. […]