A look at shape design applied to graphical illustrations.

Shape play

This article discusses shape design as used in certain styles of contemporary illustration. Shape design is really a graphic design technique but it can be applied to any sort of image-making practice whether that’s graphical illustration, landscape oils, hand drawn pencil and paper, etc.

The TL;DR takeaway here is that shape design based on geometric shapes interspersed against more organic shapes is a design weapon that can be used to create eye-pleasing and modern images.

Warning. I’m going all-in with emojis today 😉

In the illustration below, I wanted to depict the power of reading and dreams in a child’s…

We all hate to look at our old work. Yuk! Blech! But as songwriters say “it’s all in the rewrite”!

Girl sketching on iPad (refactored from several years ago 🙌🏽)

As I come up close to the end of my current contract I find myself in that “what’s next” place where I need to get out and promote myself some more. I elected to finally come back here to have a look at my various illustration teardowns articles on Medium. Yikes, I was aghast at many of my older illustrations! Why had I left old work of this quality up for the world to see!? I had to do something about it…

When I used to dabble in songwriting I can recall going to a “song pitch” and a music…

An interesting use for the well-known Risograph grainy texture effect applied to Illustration

A few years back wrote an interesting article on how he achieves what he called noisy, risograph-style gradients and textures. I somehow like calling it Riso Razzle Dazzle better :-)

I was interested in using this in one of my illustrations as it’s a bit different then some similar techniques I’ve employed over the years. I’m partially writing this so I won’t forget how I did it!

Here’s the illustration:

Blowing dandelions by Rob Levin

As you can see there’s a good deal of grainy texture on the potted elements, and this was done with Stephen’s which worked like this:

From silhouettes to cartoon-styled to highly detailed portraiture — which approach is most effective for today’s online reader?

There’s no doubt that the use of illustration in online applications, products, blogs, etc., has exploded in the last couple of years (just see my other article if you question that fact).

Rob Levin

However, there are some folks that appear to take issue with the latest corporate art styles that seem to be en vogue today:

The TL;DR is that some folks think faces and figures in today’s illustrations are just “too cartoony”.

Why is this style so popular?

I can only provide personal assumptions I…

Notes on my journey into the lands of Svelte and Sapper…

d2 blob for no particular reason :-)

Read the full article at:

Although this post is mainly so that I can refer back these notes myself, maybe there will be something here that will help you in your own adventures ramping up on Svelte and Sapper.

Svelte’s key value props

  • Svelte is reactive meaning it reacts and updates the UI when your state changes
  • Svelte precompiles your code and, for most part does not “ship itself” with your deployed app
  • It’s lightweight and blazingly fast
  • Animation feels easier then other frameworks
  • Excels for rapid prototyping, speed of development, and overall improved DevUX

Full article with code examples that don’t suck ass:

Originally published at on June 13, 2020.

A Q&A interview with Illustrator Krystal Lauk on Thumbtack’s fresh new illustration style…

Wedding Planning—featured hero illustration by Krystal Lauk for Thumbtack

is a San Francisco Bay Area based Illustrator who’s done illustration branding for several high profile companies: Facebook, Uber, Google, Intercom, and The New York Times. She’s been recognized by American Illustration, the Society of Illustrators, and 3×3 magazine.

Her illustration style is modern, colorful, and naturally conceptual. I’m using naturally conceptual to describe that, while her work always has the brand story in mind, the concepts are never contrived and seem to evolve naturally. Let’s take a look at Krystal’s process behind the recent Thumbtack rebrand…

How did the Thumbtack illustration rebrand come about?

was really…

A look at some wonderful available resources on the web for those trying to learn figure drawing without access to classroom instruction…

I feel compelled to start this post by mentioning that I have not attended an Atelier myself, but would have to think that learning to draw effectively by this sort of immersion is likely the most efficient way if you have the time and budget to do so. I’m a husband and father with a full time job and life balance to consider, so I’ve had to find my own way (e.g. drawing at lunch, or just before…

Having no understanding of how Photoshop’s brush settings work, is like cooking on a stove that offers no knob to adjust the size of the flame!

Painting the Sun—by Rob Levin

Are you saying to yourself, “why should I deal with the complexity of Photoshop brushes when Kyle T Webster has already made Gouache, Oils, Manga, etc., and they’re ?” I felt that way too, but, I’ve seen the light thanks to previewing . If you’re still doubting the ROI consider:

  • Do you paint? Have you ever thought “Gee, I’d really like a simple but flexible flat brush so I can just block in big areas quickly, and there are about a thousand brushes I have to look through to find this particular…

As a resident of the Bay Area, I’m excited to present to you some of the area’s finest illustrators…

Rob Levin for Mavenlink — Centralized single source of truth design system

This will be another post with very little commentary from yours truly. There are so many talented artists to showcase, it again makes sense to let the visuals speak for themselves. Before we dive in, I’d like to give a big thanks to all of the artists for allowing me to showcase their work!

Note that I opted for a fairly wide resolution to show off the details of these gorgeous illustrations. Medium will of course scale down as expected for mobile devicies, but, you may want to consider viewing these on a large screen if possible.


From medieval scrolls to woodblock prints to modern Manga, Japanese illustration has always taken the viewer to whimsical and magical places…

illustration by Rob Levin

First off, I need to disclaimer this post by stating that I am not from Japan, so this list is certainly not meant to be comprehensive but more a subset of Japanese illustrators that happen to speak to my own aesthetic taste. For brevity, I’ll defer to for a historical overview of Japanese illustration. Also, see Google Art and Culture’s section to see some amazing historical woodblock works.

More effort was put in to curation then commentary this time around since I kept finding amazing illustrators to add. …

Rob Levin

I’m a freelance illustrator and designer based in Austin, TX. Portfolio: Commissions:

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