Aditya Pratama aka Sarkodit is an Indonesian illustrator who creates surreal, multi-layered paintings where figurative forms unravel into dreamlike scenarios. Everything becomes fluid, and familiar characters shape-shift in a variety of ways. Inspired by cinema and storybooks alike, Pratama’s work has a strong narrative component to it, though the colorful, elaborate shapes he paints can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Ordinary situations, like reading a book at a park, are not what they seem and even inanimate objects can come alive with colorful personalities.
Digital artist Lek Chan has a series of soft, ethereal portraits that look like they could have been painted by hand, though they were created with the help of PhotoShop. Chan works as an illustrator and game designer, though her personal work has a textured, painterly quality that is more evocative of traditional portraiture than new media. On her blog, she is transparent about how she creates her works and details the steps of her process for curious viewers to follow.
Spanish artist Liqen creates murals and illustrations filled with strange, botanical references. In his street art, giant plants seem to morph into various animals and objects, blurring the boundaries between various life forms — and the biological and the manmade. While his murals utilize a tropical color palette, his illustrations are starkly contrasting and monochromatic. He renders rich textures with precise line work, making his characters come alive in the process.
Many a Grimm Brothers tale can be unraveled to find disturbing characters, stark truths, and other less-than-pleasant — and definitely not kid-friendly — themes. It’s one thing to discover these wicked twists and another to bring them to life. In his “Modern Grimm” series, Björn Griesbach illustrates his own interpretations of tales like “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.” In a modern setting, the characters from these tales become manipulative, sociopathic, and disturbed.
Polish illustrator Bozena Rydlewska, aka Bozka, draws ornate nature illustrations where flora and fauna come together to form graceful shapes and symmetrical compositions. Bozka’s depiction of nature is romanticized and almost fairytale-esque, and she turns some of her 2D works into pop-ups that evoke the 3D effects in some children’s books. She often combines floral forms found on land with aquatic life, creating unexpected mash-ups of various ecosystems. Check out some of Bozka’s latest works below.
Eero Lampinen combines painting and digital techniques for his illustrations of boyhood adventures. Drawn with a quirky, exaggerated style and a pastel color palette, his works have an instant visual appeal. Lampinen is from Helskinki, Finland and splits his time between personal and editorial work. No matter the project, he approaches it through his distinct style. His work is marked by a youthful sense of exploration and often pictures young men navigating disorienting, dreamlike settings that evoke a coming-of-age narrative.