As a teenager growing up and living in Venezuela, architect and illustrator Rafael Araujo became enamored by the intelligent patterns found in nature, particularly after learning about Phi – otherwise known as the Golden Ratio.

The ratio, which equals 1.618 and is represented by the Greek letter ϕ, is commonly found in nature as natural objects have a tendency to grow in spiral patterns; where the ratio of the amount of turn from one spiral to the next is precisely the Phi measurement. Also referred to as “Phyllotaxis”, this growth pattern is found in everything from the nautilus shell and plant leaves to the proportions of butterfly wings and tree branches.

As a natural-born illustrator, Araujo wanted to capture this natural beauty with complete accuracy, and for the last 40 years, he has been sketching Phyllotaxis-inspired illustrations by hand using the bare minimum: a pencil, a compass, a ruler and a protractor.


Because of the tediousness of his geometrical accuracies, it can take him up to 100 hours to create the linework for just one composition, as seen in these time lapses:

YouTube video

YouTube video

For those of us without the patience to recreate complex geometries found in the natural world, we can, at least, enjoy a small part of Araujo’s illustration process with his new Golden Ratio Coloring Book.





Featuring a series of 20 Araujo drawings printed in black and white, this insane coloring book is the result of multiple requests for Araujo to create full-sized black and white prints to color:

Thankfully, the decision was left to keep the construction lines for each of his illustrations – a component that not only holds onto his unique illustration style but can also be used to further teach Phyllotaxis and the foundations of mechanical drawing in context.

If you want to get as close as possible to this mechanical drawing master at work, you can get a copy of the book for just $20 (shipping included) over at Kickstarter.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.