Surreal art (drawings, paintings, and sketches)
What is surreal art?
Surrealism is a genre of art that has a dreamlike quality to it. Surreal art can be very strange, or even shocking.
That definition sounds vague—but the genre itself kind of is vaguely defined. There’s a whole lot of room for variety within it.
Most surreal art features scenes that include a combination of the familiar and the strange. You also often see a lot of odd flowing shapes in some surreal artwork. It can be hard to put your finger on the exact components that make a piece of art surreal … but when you see it, you know it.
Here are a few different types and styles of surreal art from my own work.
Automatic drawings: a type of surreal art
Automatic drawing, also known as automatism, is a type of surreal artwork where you pull from amorphous thoughts from your subconscious. It’s a very meditative style of drawing, and all kinds of weird forms often emerge. I explain how to go about the process in this article.
Here are a few examples of automatic drawings from my library of work.
Other galleries of automatic drawings
Here are some places you can dig deeper into the automatic drawing sub-genre of surreal art.
Organic Form Drawings
This is a continuously-growing collection of biological-looking shapes made with colored pencil. Currently there are over 70 drawings in the collection.
Here, I lay out the process of creating an automatic drawing (showing examples along the way of various styles of automatism).
Imaginary creatures: a frequent surreal art subject
Very often, surreal art features imagery that resembles something that isn’t animal, plant, or human—but is alive. Strange dystopian creatures from the imagination show up in all kinds of surreal artwork.
Here are a few creatures found in mine.
Other galleries of imaginary creatures
If you’re curious to explore more surreal creatures and monsters, here are a few places to look.
I’ve compiled all my creature artwork into one place, and you can explore it all here.
Scratchboard art gallery
Nearly all of my scratchboard artwork features monsters as the primary subject matter. You can take a look at them all here.
Strange landscapes: another type of surreal art
In traditional art, you often see beautiful landscapes featuring mountains, oceans, and valleys. Surreal landscapes are a little different—often they feel almost alien, like they come from another planet.
Here are a few examples of surreal landscapes from my work.
Other galleries of surreal landscapes
Want to look around at other surreal landscape art pieces? Here are a few places to get started.
Lest More Navigate
Lest More Navigate is a surreal art collection that has been displayed at several venues across the US. It features a good amount of surreal landscape work.
Much of the work I created in 2013 features surreal landscape imagery.
Other surreal concepts
Automatic drawings, imaginary creatures, and surreal landscapes cover a lot … but they definitely don’t cover all that you find in surreal art.
Much of other surreal artwork features people in strange situations, humanoids who aren’t entirely human, or odd dreamlike situations that are hard to pin down.
Here are a few other examples of this kind of surreal art.
Explore more surreal concepts
Here are a few places where you can continue exploring other surreal art concepts.
Drink of Death
The Drink of Death is a seven-piece black and white painting series. It doesn’t feature surreal creatures, landscapes, or automatic shapes … yet it still qualifies as surreal.
Most of my sketches feature surreal art concepts. Be warned: most of my sketches are also quite creepy. ;)