Some of the world’s best ideas were born of doodling in the margins of notebooks. And some of the most captivating dog-centric art was born—and will stay—on the grid-lined pages of school notebooks. Because it’s French artist Jochen Gerner’s signature style, a technique he perfected when striving to capture the chromatic patterns of birds’ plumage.
The resulting collection of bird illustrations (published as a book) led Gerner to dogs: “I started drawing them when I realised that they could be sketched with a simple silhouette. It’s an abstract form, more or less vague, with more or less long hair. By simply drawing two eyes and a nose on this very graphic shape, I could immediately evoke each dog in a very expressive way. So, it became a very interesting motif for building another collection.”
Drawn with pigmented Indian ink felt pens on lined and squared school notebooks (sourced specifically from China and India), Gerner’s illustrations are intriguingly paradoxical, their apparent simplicity a ruse for detail and complexity. It’s a style referred to by some as ‘abundant minimalism’.
Gerner’s love for the simple line and the nostalgic square of a school notebook brings a unique charm to his work. It captures the spirit of dogs in a way that’s both straightforward and intricate. The unassuming nature of his medium contrasts playfully with the depiction of each dog’s character—they cheekily leap off the page in ways that defy their pared-back bones. It’s a light-hearted dance between the routine and the artistic. It’s clear that the artist finds joy and magic in the ordinary, transforming it into something quietly extraordinary.
Dogs is published by Éditions B42
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