When it comes to design, the golden ratio is mostly bullshit. Though designers sometimes use it, there’s just no proof people prefer that precise spatial ratio in their buildings, interfaces, or art. But that’s not to say the golden ratio doesn’t exist: it’s all around us, especially in nature’s Fibonacci spirals, which you can find everywhere from the curve of a nautilus to the whorls in a chamomile flower.
For years, Venezuelan artist Rafael Araujo has been the undisputed master of golden-ratio art, meticulously hand-illustrating examples of the Fibonacci spiral–a geometric curlicue based upon a sequence of integers which describes the way things tend to grow in the natural world–without using a computer. His style lies somewhere between da Vinci’s Renaissance fascination with nature, and the geometrical patterns of Escher at his best. His work is usually beautifully and vibrantly colored, but for his latest illustrations, Araujo wants you to color the Golden Ratio yourself: like many artists, he’s getting in on the adult coloring book craze.
Now on Kickstarter, The Golden Ratio Coloring Book contains over 20 new illustrations of the Fibonacci spiral in nature, as seen in the flight patterns of butterflies, the growth of a seashell, and more. There are also meticulous representations of geometric patterns which don’t usually exist outside of a computer, as well as a few drawings of designs informed by the golden ratio: for example, the floor tiles at Spain’s Alhambra palace.
According to Araujo, each of the illustrations was designed from scratch for The Golden Ratio Coloring Book, because his existing work was simply too complicated to make for good coloring. Even so, the images are so intricate you’d think a computer must be involved. But Araujo works like the geometricians of old: All of his drawings are made at a drafting table with a compass and protractor. The work is incredibly arduous–Araujo says a single drawing can sometimes take him 100 hours–but the results are undeniably spectacular. And now they’re just waiting for you to make a riot out of them with your Crayola.
You can preorder a copy of The Golden Ratio Coloring Book on Kickstarter for $20 here.