David Johnson portraits

David Johnson portraits
I wrote about illustrator David Johnson in June of last year. At the time I particularly admired his portraits, wonderfully composed of contrasting areas of intricate line and carefully arranged open shapes.

Johnson has launched a Tumblr blog on which he is posting a series of the portraits, titled A Portrait a Day Keeps Myself Sane.

The portraits are mostly, though not all, literary figures, and Johnson is posting them accompanied by relevant quotes. The portraits also feature figures from music and other areas and include a self portrait (images above, bottom)

As much as I enjoyed Johnson’s portraits amid his other illustration, when taken together like this they are even more wonderful, with face after face revealing itself in sharply distilled contrast to the others.

Johnson has a skill for suggesting strong planes in his faces without the use of tone. The open areas take on a surprising geometric solidity, and create a firm platform on which he can arrange his playful marvels of flowing, looping, wiry, clipped, shaggy, dangling, frayed and calligraphic hair.

A visual treat every day.

Hopefully, there is a book or similar collection project lurking here somewhere.

For more, see my previous post on David Johnson.


8 Replies to “David Johnson portraits”

  1. I have enjoyed Johnsons work for a long time. It is incredible how some artists maintain a brilliant quality to their line with no or very little variety in line width. He has become a master of the quiet affective line.

  2. Yeah, I like this sort of illustration but i can’t really understand why. It just looks and feels good but I can’t … see the reason. Chances are, it’s because of its simplicity. I guess the artist used a pencil and that’s about it, right?

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