Welcome to the weirdly-elegant, exaggerated world of Spanish-born illustrator Iban Barrenetxea. Though his use of texture and muted palette makes his works look like they were made by a contemporary of John Tenniel or Edward Gorey, they are in fact modern works of art. Rather than using pencil and paint, Barrenetxea in fact creates his gorgeous illustrations digitally. He does things with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop that I can only dream about.
Though he trained and formerly worked as a fashion illustrator, Barrenetxea prefers to work on book illustrations. His spin on children’s classics like Snow White, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and his work on more adult books by the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and Henry James are all moody and whimsical and jaw-droppingly beautiful.
Acknowledging that he can be easily distracted, Barrenetxea likes to fully immerse himself in a single project at a time, trying to limit his surroundings and cultural references to things that inspire his current project. That must be a lovely way of working!
“If I illustrate Dickens, I only read things from the Victorian era. If I branch out, I get interested in other things.”
You can explore the wonderful world of Iban Barrenetxea on his website.