Interview: 1000 Impossible Sketches from Nigel Sussman

Nigel Sussman sketchbook 9

Nigel Sussman has a passion for sketching, so much so that his online collection of work just spilled over to 1000 sketches – and if you figure he’s been doing this since 2008, that’s nearly a sketch a day for 4.5 years! We fell in love with this San Francisco-based illustrator, painter and muralist’s uniquely whimsical style of illustration, often featuring complex and impractical machines. He’s created an “Automated cat entertainment machine (A must-have for the neglected/pampered feline),” an ever important and practical “perpetual coffee machine,” and perhaps the very best, a “cool armored robo sushi cat.”

While plenty of people attempt (and fail) a 365 day art project, Nigel has been doing these sketches almost daily for over 4.5 years, always on the same identical 7 × 10″ wire-bound sketchbook. We caught up with him to see what keeps him sketching, how he finds inspiration, and what he’s learned over the span of such consistent fun.

A Patterned Remix of Fashion Photography

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I’m having trouble getting over my awe at these incredibly hip photography/pattern remixes from Alana Dee Haynes. In each image she takes an already smart photograph and uses her talents with a pen to make them even better. Fields of bubble-like circles, webs of netting, and Insa-esq ribbons of horizontal lines fill the walls behind her subjects or jump right onto their skin. The contrast between detailed photograph and her bold linear additions is striking.

Artist Uses a Marker to Turn Her Dad Into a Superhero

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Just in time for Father’s Day comes this hilarious photo series by Giulia Pex. The Milan, Italy- based photographer and illustrator wanted to show the world how she sees her dad- as a superhero! She captured photos of her dad standing on the roof, riding his motorcycle, weed whacking the lawn, and ripping off his button-down shirt, then added in whimsical illustrations to make these not-so-super events much more magical. With a Superman emblem on his chest to save the day, a bat mobile ride-pimping, a cape, and some tricked-out add-ons for his motorcycle and lawn tools, Pex’s dad goes from normal guy to courageous comic book hero.

Rooms Illustrated Using Their Descriptive Words

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Modern Mantra is a highly unusual series of 18 drawings from Swedish artist Thomas Broomé. Using Indian ink on white paper he creates home interiors completely from written words describing the objects he draws. In this way the words simultaneously describe what they visually depict. In the case of his piece called Bedroom, the flowing sheet covering the bed is built up of repeating versions of the work “BED,” while the pillows are similarly created using only the word “PILLOW.” Each repeated word is distorted and placed in perspective to accurately represent the object it symbolizes, and besides those found in the words, no lines are used.

Smart, Strong, Beautiful: An Elephant Art Collection

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With the most massive brain on Earth (proportionally), elephants are known to be one of the most intelligent species. “In addition, elephants are able to learn new facts and behaviours, mimic sounds that they hear, self-medicate, play with a sense of humour, perform artistic activities, use tools and display compassion and self-awareness” (Andrews Elephants). They are strong and beautiful, a symbol of luck and happiness in the East and reliability and pride in the West, which makes it no wonder that so many artists have chosen this creature as their subject.

A Bizarre World of Morphing Forms

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It’s a strange world where, from one moment to the next, nothing familiar is quite as it seems. Warm handshakes turn into mingling horses before our eyes; slicing into a frosted cake is shockingly like slicing into a brain; and what appears to be a sailing ship from above, is actually a stout rhinoceros down below. Some are amusing combinations and others will disturb, but each of these fanciful drawings are fascinating to explore and decipher.

Styro-Art Masterpiece Found At Auto Shop

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What do you do while you’re waiting for your car to be serviced? Read a magazine? Play games on your phone? Call somebody? One anonymous man just doodled on a styrofoam cup with a ballpoint pen, but by the looks of it, this is not the first time he has done something like this. Covered in chain links, designs, cartoon characters, and words in negative, it’s mind-boggling how he got his hand into the inside of the cup to draw with this much detail. He left the impressive cup behind with important messages for all those who see it, which thanks to redditor SquishyMcPhee is now close to a million people.

Animals Oddly Combining with Objects

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Marcin Schleifer has a talent for combining dissimilar objects into a whole which almost makes sense. His art sees giraffes grow smokestacks for necks, fish sprout gun stocks for tails, a cat having its middle whittled away like wood… it’s all rather unusual. Using either cues from our culture, or simply the shape of the objects themselves for inspiration, he draws them together into images which are intriguing, comic and sometimes even disturbing.

Black Ink & Bits of Gold: Cosmic Images by Helen Vine

helen vine … little mummy ladies

Helen Vine is an illustrator living and working in the UK. Her work is mainly done in black ink, with some accents of color & gold. Her style conjures up the mystic properties of life, and things that fascinate her; death, life, decay, beauty, power, & want. Each of these themes are sprinkled throughout her illustrations; at once comfortable, & terrifying – sometimes in the same moment. Geisha’s stand or sit in deep thought, turned inward, or calmly taking in the scenes around them. Others look like they’re spewing rivers of the blackest blood from their mouths. This young illustrator is well on her way, already with many out-of-this-world cosmic illustrations… and each one is a treat.

Architecture from the Fantastic World of the Future

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If you live in almost any city around the world for very long, you’re bound to see a new skyscraper fill the skyline, slowly rising to impressive heights by the methodical assembly of cranes perched on its peak. Architectural firms are now so adept at creating these massive structures that even complex examples like London’s new Shard can seem to spring up overnight, surprising you one day as you round a familiar corner and glance skyward. In a way, our modern world isn’t that far from the towering worlds we have here, imagined by the Belgian master of comic art, François Schuiten.