Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Inspiring Reads: Kate Spade, Things We Love

Front cover

I received my copy of Kate Spade New York: Things We Love a couple of days ago. Not being a major fan of Kate Spade it was a bit out of the ordinary for me to purchase the book. However I was lucky enough to have a look inside the book before buying and also read a few reviews which made my decision for me.

The book is hardback and quite large- more of a coffee table book rather than a read on the train kind of book. First impressions are that the book screams of quality. The front cover is colourful and glossy and the pages are edged in gold.
For those looking for a history of the brand or how to become a designer etc this isn't the book for you. There is minimal text and the majority of text is favourite quotes etc that relate to each chapter. The book is more of a visual journey through the brand's inspiration.

Chapter from the book

Each chapter is introduced with a bold image and colourful page insert. The images that make up each chapter are completely varied, some are old black and white photographs, some are from fashion shoots while others are objects or drawings. Its a bit like an upmarket, super organised sketchbook.

If you are a designer or artist I highly recommend this book. The rrp of £25 is a little steep but you definitely get your moneys worth in the quality of the images and overall design of the book. Its a book that I know I will definitely have a flick through when i'm in a bit of a creative rut or before designing a new collection of works.

Images from the book

The book is available from Amazon for around £17.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Paperfolk Likes... Quirky

The last couple of  Paperfolk Likes posts have been focused on patterns that I find to be inspiring. With this one I decided to focus on quirky images and artworks that I have been storing away. One of the aims of Paperfolk is to try to create unusual designs that always start their life as illustrations. I'm always looking for new characters, compositions and fantastical places that will eventually become a new product.
I have always been inspired by Japan because of the use of colour and attention to detail (especially with packaging). The Paperfolk pinterest boards are always full of Japanese products and artworks.

The images above have inspired me greatly. Although I always create my own works I find that looking at other works helps to get me to the right place mentally so I can produce my own designs.

More Paperfolk Likes posts coming soon...

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Paperfolk Likes...Stripes

The second post in my Paperfolk Likes series is on my next favourite design... Stripes! I love stripes because they are so simple yet create a huge impact. Unlike other patterns stripes always seem to come back into fashion and can be worn by anyone of any age. I love combining stripes with shapes and bold colour to keep designs fresh and youthful.

The collage above is a selection of images that I have found to be inspiring when i'm trying to create a collection and i'm faced with the dreaded white page in my sketchbook.

More Paperfolk Likes posts to follow soon...

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Paperfolk Likes... Dots

I'm spending some time at the moment creating new products for Paperfolk which will be ready for the shop in the next couple of months. While my Etsy shop has been closed I've taken the opportunity to have a think about the brand and the things that inspire me most. I'm always on the lookout for inspiring images and constantly research online. I have pulled together a selection of some images that I have inspired me and help me get out of a creative rut.

Dots of any description are a main part of the Paperfolk design process and I often use them to create shade and texture to try and avoid illustrated pieces looking too flat. As you can see from my origami bear brooch below I can spend quite a lot of time (and ruin quite a few pen nibs) dotting some drawings!

Paperfolk Origami Bear Brooch (www.paperfolk.co.uk)
I'd love to hear what inspires you or if you have any good dot images to share. All of these images and more can be found on the Paperfolk pinterest board.
More inspiration boards will be coming soon... 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Inspiring Reads: The Crafter's Guide to Papercutting

Like a lot of folk I have been inspired by Rob Ryan and decided to try my hand at papercutting. Having never done papercutting before I thought it might be a wise move to pick up a book so I went for The Crafter's Guide to Papercutting by Emily Hogarth.

This is a good introductory level book which is split neatly into easy to reference chapters. There is an introduction to the history of papercutting before moving on to the Tools of the Trade section as well as an important section on how to cut paper correctly so that you still have your fingers left at the end of your project. The majority of the book is made of various projects of different difficulty levels including greeting cards, tags, bunting etc. Although the designs may be a bit on the 'folksy' side the main advantage is that they offer a novice the opportunity to see what types of designs may work for a papercut as well as showing how to layer cuts to create depth. Once you have the hang of it you can go ahead and create your own designs but in the meantime there are a handy supply of templates at the back of the book which can photocopied to your hearts content.

Happy Birthday Edward Gorey!

Scrap Irony cover (book now out of print)
I have abandoned my original post for today when I realised that Edward Gorey is celebrating his 88th birthday today! Most illustrators and fans of dark humour in their artworks will be aware of Gorey. I first discovered his work while still at artschool and was completely inspired by the scratchy, Victorian-esque line drawings as well as the macabre yet humourous stories and poems that accompanied them.
"My mission in life is to make everyone as uneasy as possible, I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that's what the world is like" - Edward Gorey
Gorey's alphabets or The Gashlycrumb Tinies are an example of his ability for us to enjoy other people's misfortune and feel a little uneasy about it. The Gashleycrumb Tinies is an alphabet of illustrations but instead of the usual A is for apple we instead have a series of ways that children have met their end. I love this book because its a traditional format of the alphabet illustrations, usually aimed at kids but in this case its completely for adults.
Images from The Gashlycrumb Tinies
If you fancy delving into the world of Gorey, a good selection of books can be found online at Amazon or Forbidden Planet. Some books are out of print but they do crop up now and again second-hand on Amazon. The Gashlycrumb Tinies is well worth the £5 I promise!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Inspiring Reads: The Fir Tree

The story of the Fir Tree was written by Hans Christian Anderson and has been given a makeover by artist, Sanna Annukka ( sanna-annukka.com ). The book is clothbound with gold foil design and beautiful typography especially considering it's price at £8.99. Annukka's illustrations are geometric and scandanavian in style which suits the story well. Every section of the book has a change in colour palette which is reflected in the typography of the first letter of the chapter as well. The change in colour palettes isn't messy or confusing because the style of illustration keeps the continuity. I particularly love the simplicity of Annukka's work and her use of pattern to break up the flatness of the work, allowing her to use dark colour palettes without becoming dense. This would be a beautiful present for a child or adult- it's worth it for the artwork alone.

I believe the edition has now sold out according to Sanna Annukka's website but it is still available through Amazon.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Inspiring Reads: The Art of Spirited Away

I've been working my way through a lot of books over the past couple of months but with lots of things going on I haven't had a chance to write a piece for the blog.
The Art of Miyazaki's Spirited Away is an official publication from the Studio Ghibli Library. At first, I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed that the book didn't include the other films but even after flicking through briefly I understood why there is a separate publication for every Studio Ghibli film. There's justsimply not enough space in one book to include every film and keep the quality of the publication as high as it is. 
For fans of the film the book outlines the ideas and symbolism behind the film (as told by Hayao Miyazaki in the introductory chapter). There are other books out there that give you an overview of Studio Ghibli film content but most of these are not official publications so its great to hear from the creator.
We are then introduced to each character in the film along with glossy colour images of sketches and watercolours related to that character. There are quotes from the animators to give an insight into what they were trying to achieve with each animation in relation to the personality of each character. As well as character introductions there is also a focus on the locations throughout the film such as the Woods (at the very beginning of the film) and the various areas of the Bathhouse. A nice touch is also the inclusion of the film script at the end of the book, for those who maybe want to do a bit more research or as a reminder of key moments throughout the film.
For me the most interesting section of the book is the introduction by Miyazaki. He shed light on sections of the film that I may have overlooked and the intentions of the film are very different from American animations that we are all very familiar with.

(Above) Images from The Art of Miyazaki's Spirited Away

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the film and for the artwork. I took a trip to Tokyo for my honeymoon two years ago and I always regret not making it to the Studio Ghibli museum. Unfortunately tickets are limited and we didn't buy beforehand so we missed out! Oh well, it just means we have to go back...

The book can be purchased online at Amazon and Forbidden Planet for around £16.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Daily Drawings: Raindrop Girl

This is a sketch for a series of greeting cards that i'm working on for the shop. Not sure about adding colour yet- maybe in the background. I've used a black fineliner (0.05 nib) so that I could get all of the detailed pattern in the bubbles without looking blotchy.

Daily Drawings: Antler Girl

This is a character I have played around with in various forms. I wanted to try something quite linear with splashes of colour to get an idea of what it would look like if screen-printed in the future. As usual, I have used watercolour and black fine-liner. Don't think i'm going to get sick of the watercolour paints anytime soon!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Daily Drawings: Y'all gonna make me lose my mind

This is actually a drawing for my husband for valentines day. Ssh! lets try and keep it a secret...

Daily Drawings: Dj Girl

A quick sketch for a planned embroidery work on raw linen. The sketch is watercolour and black pen. I think I will try a few different combinations of experimental instruments along with different characters before selecting a final version for big stitch!

Daily Drawings: Bear & Ninja Couple

Thought I would experiment with some drawings of couples for my new collection research. This drawing has been completed with watercolour and black pen. I couldn't decide whether to ink the background in a colour so I've just left it for the moment- I might go back to it later or if I decide to re-draw as a finished piece.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Daily Drawing: Girl with Headphones

This drawing was completed in black fineliner and watercolour. Its quite a minimalist piece of work for me in terms of the final look but the majority of the work went into the fine dots in the hair- all completed by hand!

Daily Drawing: Candy Girl

This is a quick watercolour drawing of a character, Candy Girl. I've been exploring a few new characters over the past few weeks and i'm just at the stage of trying them out to see which ones will work well together. Once I've decided on the final set i'll complete final illustrations for all of them.

Daily Drawings: Legs and teeth in hammocks

Sorry I've been a bit slow with the daily drawing posts of late. I just had a baby at the beginning of the week so I have a good excuse!

This drawing was completed using watercolour and black fineliner. I was trying to use a combination of pattern created in watercolour (like with the stripes on the lower hammock) along with pattern created in pen with no colour added (like with the fine dotted texture on the teeth).