Cover of the book "secular and Holy in Line and Color " A journey along the length and breadth of Tel Aviv Yaffo and Jerusalem

BOOK: Secular and Holy in Line and Color

A Drawing Journey Along the Length and Breadth of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and Jerusalem.

This book includes over 100 Israel in Color drawings that were created using a freehand drawing technique on smart phone screen without which such a comprehensive project could not have been achieved.


Smartphone Drawing Technique

All the 800 paintings in this site as well as in all books are made from direct view by free hand use of an electronic pencil directly on a smartphone ( Samsung Note 20 ) screen. In the sketching phase I almost do not look on the screen. This creates a direct eye contact between the subject been drawn and my hand without mediation of my thoughts. In addition, the availability of the phone also allows me to pull it out of my pocket and to draw an instant event that I like. My studio is located in my shirt pocket.

His works are both complex and simple, fast and precise, quick but detailed, schematic and deep. The free pen strokes on the phone’s screen and the thin lines provide his illustration with a light, airy look.

… Michael’s unique technique and language deepen the special connection between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and create a bridge between them, to the point that they sometimes seem to be one city.

Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv Ido Biran,
Architect and Urban Photographer
Head of the “Tel-Avivi” Project – Urban Portrait

The Author

The author, Michael Slatkine, is a painter and doctor in physics who shares his time between painting and science. The colorfulness and light in his paintings drew on his childhood in East Africa. In recent years he has developed a Digital Free Hand Drawing technique “E-Pencil”, using a phone screen. For the past two years, Michael’s smart phone has been used to document six cities Author around the country through 800 drawings.

Golden dome and mosque in Jerusalem, with mount olives and church
A view from the roof of the “Royal Hotel” at the Jaffa Gate plaza
Old Jaffa
St. Peter's Church in Kedoumin square, Jaffa


This website and the book is dedicated to my beloved son-in-law, Erez Flekser, a Cobra fighter pilot who fell in operational training on March 12 2013 at the age of only 31. Erez is a father, a scientist and a pilot, and he trekked around the whole country.

The book is also dedicated to Lt. Colonel Noam Ron, Erez partner in their last flight.

The book is also dedicated to my dear parents, Frida and Anatol Slatkine, as well as to my grandparents, Abba and Sarah Ne’eman, among the founders of Tel Aviv.

Still Life

Where Zionism Meets Art

Recently the Zionist organization celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first Zionist Congress in Basel.

In 1898 Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl made a trip to the Holy Land with the aim of meeting the German Emperor and harnessing him to the Zionist idea. The journey was one of the most important and exhausting of his journeys. In his meeting with the emperor and in his travel diary, Herzl refers a lot to the beauty of the land and the aesthetic aspects of building the Jewish state that will be established. He repeatedly mentions the vision of building the land with beautiful cities and in particular the building of Jerusalem outside the walls so that it will be even more beautiful than Rome. Indeed, a century or more later, it can be concluded that Herzl’s aesthetic vision was not a myth and came true. Three elements stand out on the aesthetic side of building the Israel: a wonderful preservation of the rich past of the Land of Israel including the first Zionist settlements, a present very rich in action and spirit and a unique modern architecture that emphasizes the future vision for the years to come.

All these are clearly visible to the eyes of the traveller who tours the length and breadth of our country. Since in my eyes the essence of Zionism is a combination of knowing our past and its roots, the construction of a thriving  present and adherence to the vision of the future, it is easy to present all of Zionism through the illustration of each and every place in Israel. The accumulation of all the illustrations together constitute an optimistic story of Zionism from a direct perspective.

As a painter who has illustrated the cities and landscapes of Israel for a decade, I made hundreds of walking tours of Israeli cities and villages and produced 800 paintings from a direct view (not from photography) using a painting method that I developed and named E-Pencil. The drawing method is explained on this page. I collected all the paintings on this website as well as in eight books that also tell the story of the places in words and in 40 videos accompanied by music on the YouTube site “Cities of Israel – Living in a Painting“. All paintings, books and videos are available to the public and can be freely downloaded  (although credit must be given to the painter/author)