birds

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Illustration

Whimsy and Vintage Illustrations Merge in Colorful Stippled Tattoos by Joanna Swirska

February 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joanna Swirska, shared with permission

Amidst delicate black lines and stippled shading, Polish tattoo artist Joanna Swirska (previously) inks splashes of bright pigments. Her works blend fanciful elements with elegant illustrations of flora and fauna, like her signature ferns and detailed monsteras colored with bright green gradients. Often covering an entire upper arm or calf, the tattoos are whimsical in both subject matter and style, depicting raccoons dressed in orange hooded capes, birds perching on berry-studded branches, and cheerful cats riding retro cruisers.

Swirska, who’s known as Dzo Lama, lives in the Karkonosze mountains and works between Jelenia Gora and Wroclaw, where she runs Nasza Tattoo Shop. Her books are closed until July, but keep an eye out for future openings on her Instagram. You can also pick up prints, mugs, and other goods adorned with her illustrated characters on Etsy.

 

 

 



Illustration

Intricate Cross-Hatching Layers Elena Limkina's Exquisite Illustrations in Black Ink

February 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Elena Limkina, shared with permission

From her studio in Moscow, Elena Limkina (previously) illustrates pages upon pages of sketchbooks with delicate studies of birds, architectural flourishes, and surreal compositions that trap cats and small mice inside glass vessels. She’s spent a decade drawing these elegant compositions, and while they originally functioned as diaries filled with objects, phrases, and impressions she encountered throughout her day, they’ve evolved into narratives unto themselves with recurring characters and motifs.

Frequently working in watercolor, the artist uses solely black ink, pencil, or pen in her sketchbooks, and the meticulous illustrations are shaded with circular crosshatching. “I like the complexity of the task—to convey feelings, emotions, form, without using color,” she says. “I use some parts of the sketches in intaglio printing (etchings, aquatint), and I would like to transfer some of them to large canvases and sculptures in the future.”

Limkina sells originals and prints on Etsy, and you can explore an archive of her monochromatic works on Instagram and Behance.

 

 

 



Art

LEGO Letterpress: Bird Species from The Netherlands Are Printed with Everyone’s Favorite Toy Bricks

February 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

35 birds. All images © Roy Scholten, shared with permission

Back in 2017, designer Roy Scholten and collaborator Martijn van der Blom brought LEGO into their letterpress workshops for elementary school students. Small and accessible to most, the ubiquitous plastic bricks were easier and faster to use than traditional lead type and were familiar creative tools for many of the children. Around the same time, the pair also developed a series of LEGO dinosaur prints in subtle gradients, an early collection that inspired Scholten’s ongoing project using the unusual material.

From his studio in Hilversum, Scholten forms dozens of winged creatures found in The Netherlands as part of 50 Birds. The 6 x 6-inch designs adeptly arrange the rigid blocks into beaks and round bellies with small lines of white left between. He describes his process:

Creating a design starts with establishing the outline, the total shape, and posture of the bird in question. Once that puzzle is solved, that construction is then divided up again into three to six different “lego stamps”, one for each color. Each stamp gets printed in the right order so that the combination results in the finished design.

Scholten releases 20 editions of each work, and keep an eye on Instagram for his upcoming renditions of the kingfisher, jay, dunnock, blue-headed wagtail, and the odd duck. If you’re in the area, he also offers weekly letterpress and monoprinting workshops at Grafisch Atelier Hilversum. You also might enjoy these LEGO typeface studies. (via Present&Correct)

 

Finch

Goldfinch

Coot

Collared dove

Magpie

 

 



Photography

Veiled in Grainy Blue, Cyanotypes by Deborah Parkin Center on a Flock of Jackdaws

February 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Deborah Parkin, shared with permission

Gregarious and intelligent, jackdaws are small cousins of the crow and raven with dark feathers on their crowns, tails, and wings and lighter plumage everywhere else. The feathered socialites frequent the moor near photographer Deborah Parkin’s home in the Northumberland, where she’s spent hours watching them swoop from branch to branch and perch in trees thick with foliage during a period of grief, and they eventually became the subjects of her quiet, contemplative series of cyanotypes.

The medium, which dates back to the 19th Century, uses a combination of ferric ammonium citrate, potassium ferricyanide, and UV light from the sun to create signature colored prints. Parkin tells PetaPixel she encountered the process through the work of English botanist Anna Atkins who was the first to publish a book that included photographic images of dried algae. Following in that tradition, Parkin documents the birds through a hazy wash of the pigment, saying, “in her book on the colour blue, Carol Mavor talks of blue being the colour of memory, and this felt relevant to my work.”

In addition to the jackdaw series shown here, Parkin has branched out to try the cyanotype process with tea toning rather than the two chemicals. She shares glimpses of that project and more of her photography on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Photographic Composites Document the Mesmerizing Flight Trails of Vultures, Crows, and Bats

February 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Lockdown Vultures (Moab Mesa).” All images © Doris Mitsch, shared with permission

In Locked Down Looking Up, Bay Area photographer Doris Mitsch captures the swirling, shapeshifting flight patterns of birds and other winged creatures: a flock of vultures creates coils and whirls between rugged mesas, crows descend toward a forest in single-file trails, and gulls congregate above the sea in lengthy lines.

The ongoing project began early in 2020 when Mitsch set up a camera outside her front door and shot consecutive images of birds flying around her home. “While everything in my life has come to a standstill, up in the air, there is still a lot going on,” she writes. She’s since traveled along the California coast and to Moab’s desert landscapes capturing similar swarming phenomena featuring vultures, gulls, and crows.

Mitsch’s composites vary in length of time, number of birds, and total images combined, which ranges from 500 to 5,000. “One of my favorites, ‘Lockdown Vulture (Signature)’ shows just one vulture making slow circles over the course of about a minute,” Mitsch tells Colossal. “My other favorite, ‘Lockdown Vultures (Moab Mesa)’ shows about five minutes’ worth of 25 or so birds circling together.”

In addition to this series, Mitsch also shot a collection devoted to starlings’ murmurations, which you can see on her site. You might enjoy this bird-shaped swarm, too. (via swissmiss)

 

“Lockdown Vulture (Signature)”

“Lockdown Vultures (Moab Slope)”

“Lockdown Swallows (Hunting)”

“Lockdown Crows (Evening Commute)”

“Lockdown Crows (One Tree)”

“Lockdown Bats (Pas de Deux)”

“Lockdown Gulls (Sea Ranch)”

 

 



Craft

Learn to Paint Magical Scenes in Thread in a New Book by Embroidery Artist Emillie Ferris

January 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Emillie Ferris, courtesy of David & Charles, shared with permission

U.K.-based artist Emillie Ferris (previously) has spent nearly a decade refining her distinct embroidery technique, which involves staggering long and short stitches to create textured portrayals of flora and fauna. She’s crafted magical butterflies in smooth gradients, bees that appear as fuzzy as their real-life counterparts, and a variety of realistic portraits that use sweeping, layered passes associated with brushstrokes to render images in fiber.

Now her work culminates in a forthcoming book published by David & Charles titled Paint with Thread: A Step-By-Step Guide to Embroidery Through the Seasons. The how-to volume contains instructions for creating five projects shown here, in addition to tips and tricks from the artist, and is available for pre-order on Bookshop. In the meantime, shop more of Ferris’s tutorials and patterns on Etsy.

 

 

 

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