Word + Image: Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman is both writer and illustrator and a great example of the mixing the word and the image in one single artwork.

Maira Kalman, the Word and the Image

Maira Kalman, the Word and the Image

[It’s] better if you don’t know about something before trying to do it. This blew my mind, since I’m used to learning it all and being perfect before even getting started, which is (obviously) nonsense. Perfectionists know what Im talking about.
—Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman’s TED Talk

Maira Kalman, the Word and the Image

Maira Kalman, the Word and the Image

Word + Picture: David Hockney

David Hockney’s recent work is really inspiring. Like Bowie he is not ready to let his best years behind him. This 2012 book of him is great: David Hockney: A Bigger Picture

David-Hockney-A-Bigger-Picture

These are two examples from the book of Hockney mixing the word and the picture or making the word be the picture:

David-Hockney-A-Bigger-Exhibition-Catalog--01

David-Hockney-A-Bigger-Exhibition-Catalog--02

Self-Portrait: Green Card Photograph Specifications

Green Card Self-Portrait

This self-portrait is inspired in the strict guidelines of the photographs required for the US immigration visas and green card1. I remember reading the instructions and obsessing over them when I was first applying for the green card lottery years ago.

The design is based on the actual template that the US government has on their website.

US Immigration Green Card Head Position

I added a few more guides to the original. All my illustrations are heavily based on basic, geometric shapes, so the US guidelines were a perfect fit. At some point I even thought about doing an extreme version of the template with dozens of guides to reproduce the inner geometry of the self-portrait as it can be seen in the wireframe version:

Self-portrait Wireframe

Last night we had a show and this artwork was there, and so was I. Here is this (meta)photo to add to the list of different levels of representation and symbols of symbols.

Portrait With Self-Portrait at Art Show

  1. Here’s an extract of the: Green Card Application Photograph And Head Size Specifications

    Your photo is a vital part of your Green Card application.

    You must submit two identical color photographs of yourself taken within the last 6 months of the filing of this application. The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group format. The face must be square to the camera with a neutral expression, neither frowning nor smiling, with the mouth closed. To learn more, review the guidelines on how to provide a suitable photo.

    Please be advised that Failure to comply with any of the following requirements may result in disqualification.”

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is Out for Sale

The illustrated edition of “The Fall of the House of Usher” is officially an ebook that can be downloaded from Amazon here:


The Fall of the House of Usher
—Special Illustrated Edition—

The Fall of the House of Usher, cover design

This edition has the original text by Edgar Allan Poe with 10 color illustrations, plus a bonus portrait of Poe himself. After designing many variations of the cover, the final choice was crow-sourced. Votes went to the blackletter type and the white space and simple layout of this cover.

The language that Poe uses is so full of visual references that upon reading the short story I felt compelled to do some illustrations. I wanted to draw what I was imagining in my head. Eventually I kept highlighting more and more passages of the story. I ended up with 40+ segments I wanted to illustrate. I decided to cut it down to 10 for the book. One day I might illustrate all paragraphs of the story.

This is the very first paragraph of the book that inspired me to start this project:

The Fall of the House of Usher, first paragraph

Download the Kindle ebook:
The Fall of the House of Usher
—Special Illustrated Edition—