I'm in a fanciful mood today, so I wanted to post on an artist I found online awhile back whose distorted creations and moody palettes are quite whimsical indeed; Koldo Barroso.
He's originally from Madrid, but his family is from the Basque country of Northern Spain (where I lived for a year and a half!). Currently he lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife, Naomi, illustrating goblins and other fairytale creatures in his fantasy books and graphic novels. Check out his website and blog at: Making Visible an Invisible World of Magic, Mystery, and Imagination http://www.koldobarroso.com/
He just recently published a book entitled, Kooky Pets which I desperately want to read and own one day. The illustrations alone hint at the magical stories contained within. *Note, all illustrations are property of Koldo Barroso.*
Here are some samples of CD album sleeve covers he's illustrated. I love his use of silhouettes and delicate flourishes. Apparently he is an amateur musician and composer as well. It would be interesting to hear some of his samples; I wonder if they sound the way his art looks?
Koldo also creates lively character sketches with creative little stories that accompany each one.
Wonkee Di Wonkee
He was standing alone at the front door of the Girardi’s house, sleeping inside a little basket with a little handwritten tag that said: “Wonkee Di Wonkee“. And he was the cutest baby they had ever seen. The Girardi family, who had no children nor pets, were very glad to adopt him, despite the fact that they didn’t know the origin of this adorable mysterious creature. They didn’t know what kind of pet he was, they didn’t know how to pamper him, and they didn’t know how to feed him!
The Homesick Willow
This is the story of an English poet who became bored of his monotonous life and his comfortable little world. So he dreamed of running away, become a sailor and sailing the four corners of the world. And he dreamed he was a Pharaoh and knew the secrets of ancient Egypt. And he wondered how it would be to be a lark and fly far away in the summers. And then , one day while having a walk in the woods, he wished he was a tall willow tree. But what he didn’t notice is that when making his wish he was standing inside of a magic fairy circle of mushrooms. And everyone knows that when you make a wish inside of a magic fairy circle your wishes come true! So he truly became a tall willow tree.
His artistic inspiration comes from hundreds of different sources throughout the world, including a few of my personal favorites: Arthur Rackham, Jim Henson, and Edmund Dulac.
There's also something about his illustrations that remind me of the illustrations of Lane Smith (illustrator of The Stinky Cheese Man and James and the Giant Peach); however Koldo's techniques are much more refined and serpentine in line and style than Smith's.
In short, Koldo Barroso's illustrations convey the artistry, wonder, and whimsy inherent in all great fairytale books. I'm excited to see how his future projects unfold and where his wild imagination will lead us next!