Carlos Basabe Illustration
Illustrator in Washington, DC

Portrati Illustrations


My approach to portrait art is equal parts illustration and meditation. My goal with every subject is to capture their likeness; but also to communicate their essence. My work occupies a small space between photography and caricature.

Every human face is as unique as our fingerprints. Even the faces of identical twins grow different with age, as they collect their anxieties, traumas and experiences in every age line and scar. At the same time, faces set far apart by their features, can feel strangely similar in the way they wear their courage, fear or pride.

If you live long enough, you see the same eyes in different people.
— Maz Kanata


Only Light is a search for hope in the form of an art project. Portraits of artists and figures that inspire me and that I look to as models for the way forward. I used the series to evolve my craft as well as to explore the idea of art as activism, with many of the subjects themselves being artists who’ve used their art to elevate ideas previously at the fringe of the national discourse. 


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.



In December of 2015, I was introduced to Hamilton via its cast recording. And although I would not get to see the show live for another 2 years, I was instantly obsessed. The play, and its songs, were a distillation of many of my favorite things (history, hip-hop, show tunes, immigrant stories) executed in flawless fashion. It was a piece of art that spoke to me more directly than most that had come before and none that have come after. 

I decided to express my love for this story and my longing to finally watch it performed through the time honored tradition of fanart. 

Phillipa Soo as Eliza Schuyler

Phillipa Soo as Eliza Schuyler


Simone Manuel — Timelapse

Colin Kaepernick—Timelapse