Monthly Archives: February 2013

the dollhouse effect

I’ve been working on sketches for my new project “Cat’s Pajamas” and I have realized that I very very rarely draw the city or the indoors. Now that I’m thinking of it, my entire portfolio is all illustrations that take place outside.

So I’ve been turning to some much admired illustrators for ideas. My favorite discovery so far is something I’m calling the dollhouse effect, which shows the interior of a building while also showing the structure of the building. Like a dollhouse.

nutcracker dollhouse

This is from Maurice Sendak’s illustrated version of the Nutcracker. It’s a much larger spread, cropped by my small scanner. But I adore the glimpse into Clara’s bedroom, while the buildings and rooftops loom all around her. Not to mention the Rat King…

royal tennenbaums dollhouse

royal tennenbaums dollhouse 2

These are from Wes Anderson’s movie the Royal Tennenbaums, or rather the insert in the dvd. They were drawn by his brother, Eric Anderson, as a way to plan for creating the movie’s meticulously detailed sets. Rather than a dollhouse, he used a hanging picture motif, but I still get the sense of these stacked glimpses into rooms that I get from a cutaway dollhouse.

chester dollhouse

This is from Ayano Imai’s book Chester. It might not be immediately apparent, but it’s an interior view of his dog house. It also has details, like an apple branch growing from the wall and a steaming cup of tea on a tiny shelf, that are strange but homey.

And these are a few of my sketches from this project so far. I’m having fun playing with this effect!

cat's pjs dollhouse



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lucy in the snow

lucy in her bearsuit

This drawing is from a photo of Lucy in Ohio in late December. We were walking in a snowy valley to a covered bridge. Although she had her thick bear suit on and she was tucked half way inside my coat, I was worried she would freeze. Judging by the picture, she was fine.

I haven’t had much success trying to draw her while awake because of her baby-like tendency to move constantly. Does anyone out there have any good tips for drawing babies on the move?

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Exquisite Nonsense

While reading 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast, I came across a post about an Israeli artist, Gabriella Barouch, and her illustrations for a book of limericks by Edward Lear. (If you don’t already know, I’ve been working on illustrations for a version of The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear.)

Barouch ManWithA Beard

There was an Old Man with a beard, / Who said, ‘It is just as I feared! /
Two Owls and a Hen, / Four Larks and a Wren, /
Have all built their nests in my beard!’” —Edward Lear

I’m mesmerized by her style, which marries nonsense and scientific illustration with exquisite results. Apparently she is mesmerized by Edward Lear. Here is her portrait of him.

Barouch EdwardLearPortrait

What an excellent beard. No birds to be seen, but the portrait is complete with a crazed cat, which I assume was dreamed up by Barouch.

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Filed under inspiration