Minimalist illustration: saying more with less

When I got back into drawing and first started illustrating, being an adult, I would gravitate a lot towards black and white illustration. “Minimal illustration” as I like to call it.

Around 2016 I was juggling between my job, my business and my last semester in college; during the long commutes from one place to the other, I would bring a sketchbook and a black pen with me to draw, in some sort of comic-esque way, whatever would happen that day. I committed to doing this every day in order to challenge myself and see if my days were actually all the same as I thought. That’s how my project “Mis días en Papel” was born.

Mis días en papel by Wan Raitelli

I’m convinced that this lightweight set-up (plain sketchbook, black liner) was perfect to show the highlights of my day on the paper. I don’t think at that time my illustration style was so polished and the composition on the paper was neat, however, both didn’t matter that much; what was really important there was the message: hey Wan, look, not all your days are the same and this is fun and you’re drawing.

 It was really fun and I got to carry this minimal illustration style to my travels. Documenting my Chile Adventures in 2017 with a Moleskine and a few liners was indeed the best way to draw quickly without losing the essence of what I wanted to register.

my chile adventures

Nowadays I do the same in my sketchbooks when I go outside or draw coffee shops. I have done a bunch of illustrations in color, in different media, and with different tools yet my go-to style when it comes to documenting is most of the time the minimal one.

My “minimal illustration” set up

This is a bonus section, but I just want to link some of my favorite materials I’ve used over the years. Again, you don’t really need much and you probably don’t need any of the things you find down below, tools don’t really make an artist.
FYI: the sketchbooks are affiliate links, which mean if you decide to buy them clicking on the links, I receive a tiny commission 🙂

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