Lottie Loves.....

Oooh I'm very excited today to be featured on the fabulous Lottie Loves blog! 

Lottie Loves is written by the very talented Charlotte Rivers - you may not think you've heard of her, but I'm sure most people will know the book 'Reinventing Letterpress' which was written by Charlotte, and was enormously popular!  Charlotte has also written a number of other books from magazine design and packaging, to logo and poster design.

Each week Lottie Loves profiles and interviews various creative people - and this week it's me!  You can head over to read about my creative background, workspace and daily inspiration etc.  Please excuse the not-so-hot pictures of me working..... must remember to brush my hair in future for photographs!!  See the interview here:

A big thank you to Charlotte for including me and my work in her interview series, I'm very flattered indeed :)

Charlotte also has a website, and another very cute blog called Little Lottie Loves charting her own pregnancy and journey into motherhood, as well as featuring some very cute design orientated products for little people!

Birthday weekend

 My big stash of reference books and some of the latest UK and Australian magazines!
Fab patterns on the inside of envelopes from Kikki K 
Lovely floral patterned wrapping paper from The Wrapping Paper Co.
 'Acanthus' by William Morris and William De Morgan c.1876

 'Seaweed' by John Henry Dearle c.1901

'The Merchant's Daughter' by Edward Burne-Jones c.1864

It was my birthday over the weekend and I had a lovely time catching up with friends and being very spoilt.  I received a big pile of art and design reference books, as well as a stash of UK and Australian home and interior magazines!  I always love having a pile of books and magazines to flick through, so these should keep me busy for a while!

I had some gifts wrapped in this fab wrapping paper from The Wrapping Paper Co, and I'm also loving the patterned inside of envelopes from Kikki K - so much fun to open up a plain envelope and find such happy colours and patterns on the inside!  Very cute.

And how lovely are these stamps from Royal Mail.  The stamps are from a collection called Morris & Company - and feature some of William Morris' designs, as well as some of the most significant designers who worked with the company, founded in 1861.  I was much inspired by William Morris whilst studying Textile Design - his designs are timeless, he created the most amazing intricate repeat patterns, and his design philosophy 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful' is a good one to live by!

Designers in Britain - 1947

Advertising posters
Some things don't change after 60 years; posters advertising the benefits of eating vegetables daily for good health, and a current topic about growing your own food rather than shipping in overseas produce.  

Packaging design - I love the stylish simplicity of the graphics used for the butter and biscuit packaging (no nasty product images, primary colours or gimmicky advertising slogans!)
Beautiful script, fonts and embellishments used in these advertisements for women's shoes and apparel shops 

Decorative fonts
Fabulous examples of current domestic furniture!
Some time ago I picked up two old English design books from a second hand shop .  The books were part of a series about Designers in Britain, compiled by the Society of Industrial Arts in order to review the commercial and industrial design being produced in Britain at the time.

This first book showcases the commercial and industrial design from post-war Britain in 1947 and is divided into themes covering posters, advertising and the media, book illustration and cover jackets, packaging, illustration for publicity, lettering and domestic furniture etc.  It's fascinating to look at the designs and graphic arts from this period - not only for the style of the designs and illustrations, but also what was being advertised and publicised at this particular time. 

I'm also captivated by the hand-drawn aesthetic across all sectors of design.  This was a time before the use of digital photography and desk-top publishing, so pretty much everything was created by hand from scratch.  The majority of posters and advertising material, book jackets and illustrations were all created as hand-drawn artworks.  No CAD technology or digital equipment to speed up the process - but painstakingly created with pen and ink.  However, far from being naive or simplistic, I think the designs created in this style are beautifully decorative and often quite sophisticated in comparison to some of today's commercial design. 

Space designs


I'm sick :(  I've caught a cold and now developed bronchitis so I'm moping around feeling very sorry for myself.  The good thing is its given me the chance to clear out some of my files and have some time to get organised!  Whilst sorting out some of my files I came across this space design I created a while back.  The design is for a boys bedlinen range with a space theme, with the final product being a mix of printed fabric and applique details.

The design was created on the computer, but I deliberately kept a 'hand-drawn' feel to the design rather than wanting it to look too computer generated.  It was a really fun design to work on with robots, space monsters, rockets, planets and coordinating star motifs, and the images above show some of the designs in development.

Well, I'm off to make myself a hot lemon and honey and back to bed I think!   

Fruity sketches

Strawberries painted with inks and watercolours, with the inside of a bank envelope and map pages to also create a collaged strawberry!    

More map pages to create collaged apples along with the letraset transfers.
I've been playing around with some 'experimental' sketches and combining watercolour, inks and collage elements into the sketching process.  It's been really fun to let go and not think too much about what I'm drawing, but just to let my hand do the talking so to speak! 

None of these sketches were mapped out first or roughly sketched in pencil - I simply dived straight in with paintbrush and paints, and started quickly drawing what I saw in front of me.  I was trying not to spend too much time drawing or perfecting the fruity props, but to just quickly layer inks and watercolours and keep things simple.

For the collage elements I used a mix of old map pages, the insides of envelopes and any scrap patterened papers or fabrics that suited the subject matter.  I also bought some letraset letter transfers, and used these to add the names of the fruit - I like the combination of 'formal' and structured lettering against the washy fluid sketches.

Happy sketching!

My first mothers day!

 Card and envelope from Kikki K



 'Modern Vintage Style' by Emily Chalmers

Wow, I've just had my very first mothers day! Whilst not yet officially a mum, at nearly 7 months pregnant I don't have long to go before I will be one!! 2011 is turning out to be a big year for me, I celebrated 10 years of living in Australia a few months ago, then me and Mr B celebrated our 14 year anniversary last week, and in a few months I'll be a brand spanking new mum - eek!

No doubt lots of big changes ahead (one of them being to make my house a little more baby friendly) and its quite overwhelming to think of the responsibility of being a mum, without the support of family around me. Anyway, I received a lovely card and book to celebrate my first (almost) mothers day!!

The card is from Kikki K - how cute is the graphic retro inspired kitchen theme, with a coordinating patterned envelope to boot! And I got a great book called 'Modern Vintage Style' by UK stylist Emily Chalmers (owner of the fabulous London boutique Caravan) - full of inspiration images, style ideas, and gorgeous house shots of people living with modern vintage style. It shows great examples of how to mix modern pieces with vintage elements, with lots of colour, pattern and personality. I love it :)

A brighter start to the week

I'm feeling a little brighter and more positive about the start of this week.  I've finally received some very overdue payments, and I'm making progress with the faulty melamine plate design which should be being re-made this week.  I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed it can be re-made without the fault, and I'll have it in my hot little hands soon!

In light of this good news I set up a photo-shoot session last week to photograph the plates in preperation for organising a website and on-line shop.  Here is a sneak preview of the hand-painted floral plates.  Best of all I get to eat the left-over props :-)