How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… There are certain books that make me jumpstart this blog again. How could I not share the beauty of these drawings, the craftsmanship, the large-format perfectness of this limited edition?
Fitting that I happened to be in Amsterdam when I came across this book by Dutch artist Raymond Lemstra. I have been following him on Instagram for some time now, pressing “like” on every drawing he posts. This is part of Nobrow’s Big Mother series where they let an artist showcase their finest work on big A3 size (11.69×16.53 inches) pages.
The scale of these drawings is satisfying. They are printed at almost the size of a human head, so coming face-to-face with his characters feels like a genuine introduction.
In a Juxtapoz interview Raymond said “When I draw portraits of fictional characters for example, I’d imagine the subjects have spent their whole morning getting fresh haircuts and dressing up in order to look their top best for the big event of being frozen in time.” With abstracted faces inspired by primitive art, you can tell that Raymond is embodying these characters as he’s drawing them, taking time to carefully pencil shade their clothes, depict the shine in their comb-overs and render in the finest sartorial details.
In that informative interview Raymond also talked about his simplified facial features “…I also like to play with the human urge to recognize life in inanimate objects. Like how people recognize faces in facades of houses or animals in clouds. In my portraits I replace facial features with geometric shapes, which makes the viewer recognize a certain emotional charge in these otherwise impersonal shapes. The parts that seem more true to nature enforce this perception of the simplified parts. It’s interesting that all we basically need are two parallel dots and a line underneath to make us identify it as a face. It somehow points out how self-centered we are, but also reveals a beautiful imagination that is part of us all.”
The book is a limited edition of 2000 so get one while you can, right here.