Python's Party

I picked up this fabulous childrens book at a second hand shop a few weeks ago as I couldn't resist the wonderful illustrations.  Python's Party was originally published in England in 1974 and was written and illustrated by Brian Wildsmith.

Python's Party tells the story of a sneaky Python living in the jungle. Python is feeling hungry and all the jungle animals are hiding from him...... so Python decides to throw a party to lure the animals out! The animals can't resist a party and decide to attend and perform party tricks. However, Python saves his party trick until last and lures all the animas into his mouth!! Luckily Elephant tramples by saves the animals by stamping on Pythons tail.
The illustrations are worth buying the book for - even you don't have any children to read the book to!  The book is still available today under the new title 'Jungle Party'.

Tinkering with branding...

I've been tinkering with some ideas for branding and fonts to update my Lucy King Design label.  I'm really keen to develop some of my own products featuring my illustrations and designs - and if I can ever get something off the ground with this I'll need some kind of branding.

The current Lucy King Design image is fine for freelance work - but for product branding it is a bit plain and impersonal don't you think?.....

I've got no idea if I will ever be able to develop my own product range, it's been something I've wanted to do for a while but I can't ever seem to get passed the idea stage.  I have lots if ideas, but find the whole notion of dealing with manufacturers and having to sell my own products quite daunting!
I started off by quickly sketching a few ideas on paper and then progressed to Illustrator.  I looked at different typefaces and whether to go for something hand-written or graphic.  I liked the idea of incorporating the crown as a logo as this relates to my surname and also links in with the Me Old China image.... but not really sure if this is working. 
I looked at some of the branding that I find appealing - and I'm very much drawn to logotypes.  (A logotype is a brand name without the addition of a logo or symbol, so the treatment of the font or colour becomes the actual branding). 

I like branding styles that are classic and sophisticated, but that are also simple and not too formal.  I'd really like to try and achieve a look that is smart - but also has some personality and isn't too formal.  It's been very hard to find a good balance of all of these elements and create a look that I think suits me and my work. 
So this is what I've got so far..... I've narrowed it down to 3 main fonts that I like, and have started to explore subtle differences with the introduction of italics, upper and lower case, and incorporating grey as well as black. 

What do you think?.... I'd be keen to get peoples feedback on any likes / dislikes to the above.  I'm not a graphic designer so it's not my area of expertise - feel free to be honest as I have no-one to share my ideas with here and I'm struggling to get any perspective on the designs.

Whilst I was expoloring different typefaces I found a few great font websites which I thought I'd share... The first is Logo Design Love which has some great logo examples and design resources, Fontscape which is a font directory with typefaces handily categorised and also ables you compre many different typefaces on the same page (very handy!) and lastly My Fonts which allows you to type in a word and then see it across all the different font types.  They also have great categories to search such as retro, modern, 1930's, antique etc.  It's fun!

Daylesford day-trip

I had a day-trip to lovely Daylesford on Sunday and finally visited the fabulous Mill Markets which has been on my must-visit list for a while!  The Mill Market is full of vintage and retro second-hand treasures covering everything from furniture, crockery, clothing and books.  It's a great place to spend a few hours rummaging and I can highly recommend a visit! 
I also discovered another great second-hand and antiques place called 'Daylesford Temple Antiques'.  I picked up a few bits and pieces from here - including a $10 box of china plates!  I was pretty pleased with myself as there was a great selection of plates inside....
I loved the old backstamps on the plates too.  The backstamps really form part of the appeal of the old plates for me - I love how they were so decorative and represent the year of manufacture.  You sadly don't get this level of detail or decoration on new plates which is a real shame I think.   
Lastly I visited the gorgeous shop Lark.  Such a cute little shop and full of beautiful patterned vintage-esque inspired products.  I couldn't resist the vintage plates wrapping paper (see above) but sadly they'd sold the last roll of the vintage coffee pot wrapping paper.  Ho-hum - I'll just have to go back another time to buy it!  Lark has a very cute blog here

If you're planning a trip to Daylesford there is a list of second-hand and antiques shops here.  Daylesford also has a regular makers market on Saturdays.


I thought I'd share another great reference book I got for my birthday a few weeks ago.  I love getting reference books as presents - and my partner Mr B always chooses me great ones!  The book I got this year was Wallpaper: The Ultimate Guide, by Charlotte Abrahams.

It's a great book covering the history of wallpaper, profiles on key wallpaper designers and manufacturers (both historical and current) and loads of reference imagery. 

Wallpaper has always been popular in the UK, but I noticed when I moved to Australia it wasn't something people really had in their homes.  It does seem to be getting more popular however, especially with the development of more contemporary designs, textured papers, and wallpaper being used as features - rather than papering whole walls.
The book shows some great examples of how you can use wallpaper in different ways - and some people have been really bold with their choices of patterns and colours.  I particularly love the bold retro patterns seen above, and how single strips of different wallpapers have been placed side by side to create a striped-effect feature wall in the childrens room.
I love the use of the architectural-style green geometric paper in the hallway above, and great use of wallpaper placed inside the cupboard - very cute!
Wallpaper: The Ultimate Guide can be bought on-line through Amazon but if you're in Melbourne I'd recommend getting it through the excellent Metropolis Bookshop in the city.

Ink & Spindle - open studio

I had the pleasure of visiting local print studio Ink & Spindle at the weekend, run by the very talented duo Lara Cameron and Tegan Rose.  I went as part of the Creative Women's Group which brings together women working in creative industries and establishing small businesses to share information - and best of all be inspired and learn from other women setting up or running businesses within the creative field.

Working from home and trying to develop a small business can be isolating and a little lonely at times, so it's great to have the opportunity to get together with other creative peeps and learn how they have set up a design business.

After the talk Lara and Tegan had an open studio session where they gave a yardage screen printing demonstration - you can find details of open studio dates on their blog!

Exposed screens ready for printing, and above the fabulous Young Husband building
Ink & Spindle set up their boutique screen printing studio in 2008, with the aim of specialising in high quality and environmentally-friendly textile printing for designers and independent labels. They work from the fabulous Young Husband Wool building in Kensington, hand screen-printing their designs and creating ethical as well as a sustainable range of textiles.

Lara and Tegan hand printing on their 10m print table - but hand screen printing also means hand cleaning screens!

Some of the cushions and fabrics designed and hand printed at Ink & Spindle.
Images courtesy of the Ink & Spindle website

It was a great experience seeing Lara and Tegan hand print their designs in their fabulous studio (very jealous of their studio environment!!) and to hear about how they set up Ink & Spindle, including their great environmental commitment which is very inspiring.

I can highly recommend visiting one of their open studio sessions - dates and details on the Ink & Spindle blog and also check out the Creative Womens Group blog for future meetings.

The Willow story

It was my birthday last week and one of the gifts I received was this gorgeous little book called The Willow Pattern Story (by Allan Drummond).  I love the Willow pattern, and as a child I grew up eating from Willow patterned plates.  This book outlines the story behind the Willow design, and is full of really cute hand-painted illustrations to accompany the story.
Willow plates depict a Chinese temple, bridge, distant island and a willow tree as the essential components of each piece. Also in the pattern are two birds in flight, their beaks kissing in mid-air symbolizing the spirit of eternal love. The Willow plate contains the heart and soul of this lovely legend with a tragic ending.
The Willow Pattern book gives a detailed account of the story (of which there are many variations) but this is a condensed version of my favourite;
Long ago, in the days when China was ruled by emperors, a Chinese mandarin lived in the magnificent pagoda under the branches of the apple tree, over which droops the famous willow tree and in front of which is seen the graceful lines of the fence. The wealthy mandarin had a beautiful daughter named Hong Shee who had fallen in love with her father's humble secretary, a man named Chang. This made her father cruel with anger, he dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart, and imprisoned his daughter in the little house just visible on the left of the temple. One day she escaped and the two lovers raced over the bridge pursued by her father to a waiting boat. They reached the boat, escaped and sailed away to a distant island where they took refuge in the little wooden house. However, the mandarin father pursued and caught the lovers and was about to have them killed when the gods took pity on them and transformed them into a pair of doves. The birds are seen gazing into each others eye’s and the spirits of the two lovers live on to this day.
I also thought I'd share the very cute wrapping paper the book was wrapped in!!  It features the adorable collage-style illustrations by Catherine Campbell.  Catherine's illustrations are very feminine and slightly whimsical, and I love the girls on the wrapping paper with their paper-doily skirts, newsprint tops and sailor outfits - too cute!  Catherine has an Etsy shop and a blog if you want to see more of her work.