Monday, 31 December 2012

Belle & Boo's Twinkling Christmas!

Last Christmas I treated myself to two little 'Belle & Boo' metal tins. If you know me, you will know I have a random love of metal tins, and despite the fact I didn't have a use for them, I just knew I had to have them. At the time I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting Belle or her adorable bunny rabbit Boo, so I thought no better a time than today. 

Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Original Snowman and his new friend The Snow Dog!

The Snowman has got to be one of my all time favourite christmas films. Not only does it bring back fond memories of Christmas as a child but it gives me that warm and humbling christmassy feeling without a doubt every single year. Raymond Briggs first published the original story of The Snowman in 1982, and it is perhaps his best-loved creation so far. The beautifully drawn illustrations tell the enchanting story without words and really capture the true magic of Christmas.

“... One winter's night, a snowman comes to life and a magical adventure begins..."

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Whimsical Christmas Cards by Lost Plots!

Last Christmas I was delighted to stumble across the stunning illustrations of Lisa Robson when visiting a vintage market at Leaf, a quirky and independent cafe. Lisa is a Liverpool based designer and illustrator who creates under the name of 'Lost Plots'. Her beautifully hand drawn and printed selection of greetings cards and postcards were a must have for me! Below are a selection from her Christmas range, Lisa also has a stunning selection of other narrative designs available to buy online. 

'Reindeer Friends'
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas Everyone!

I get soooo excited at Christmas, so I could not resist sharing a few festive photographs with you. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas filled with sparkles, laughter, mulled wine and surprises!

Beautiful wrapping paper courtesy of Marks & Spencer and TK Max

Our beautiful decorated tree before Daisy pulled it down!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Amy Casey's Home Sweet Home?

Today I thought I would share the wonderful architectural creations of Amy Casey with you. I was instantly captivated when I spotted Amy's work when I was doing my usual inspiration collecting. The creative concept and attention to detail in these works of art are fascinating, they look soooo realistic!

"Cities are fascinating creatures that I am just beginning to scratch the surface of." Sourced

Amy Casey was born in Pennsylvania and currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she studied. Amy clearly takes significant inspiration from her surroundings and observes things very closely. I strongly believe things like this shape the person that you become. Just imagine living in a world like this! "The work and organisation that goes into a city's creation and evolution, the constant shifting, adaptations and sometimes hidden history are things I like to think about.

Dangling, 2008
"I am consistently fascinated by the resilience of life and our ability to keep going in the face of sometimes horrendous and ridiculous circumstances."

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Exciting new 'MOYO' magazine! Issue 2

Today is a very exciting day for you fellow designers as it sees the second issue of MOYO, the world’s first online magazine dedicated to surface pattern design! I am delighted to say I have been part of this creative team once again by sharing my insights and experiences on a recent trip to the beautiful city of Rome! This bumber issue is packed with interviews, design briefs, colour challenges, art reviews, student showcases, design tips, inspiration, trends and more, this free resource will be published quarterly as promised, and you can read and download the inaugural issue here!

Below is a sneak peak at a few inspirational pages! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A Little Luxury from Fromental!

I thought it was time for a little luxury! Fromental produce luxurious handmade wallpapers and fabrics to add elegance to prestigious interiors. Their exclusive wallpapers show significant oriental and historical influence but with a contemporary twist. Traditional hand embellishments including handpainting and hand embroidery are applied the the surface of Fromental's wallpapers resulting in these stunning and timeless creations. I can only dream of owning such works of art, so sharing a selection of my favourites below will have to suffice for today.


Cherry Blossom (detail)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Blossoming Botanicals by Sandrine Bihorel-Hauquiert!

I was delighted when I stumbled upon the decorative work of Sandrine Bihorel-Hauquiert, a very talented French painter. Sandrine's stunning paintings are very accurate botanical studies that capture delicate florals busting open. I love the exquisite richness to the colours she uses, combining moody ruby red, navy blue and chocolate brown with bolder shades of magenta, lemon and coral.

The gold scalloped edgings and geometrical tilling repeats throughout her backgrounds add quirkiness and further exquisiteness. Sandrine's work has a charming vintage feel, I could imagine them on a grand scale taking pride of place in a traditional stately home. Just stunning I am sure you will agree!

Pivoine Grand Jour

Friday, 23 November 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Justine Aldersey-Williams

Today I would like to share with you the coloufrul work of Justine Aldersey-Williams, an enthusiastic surface pattern designer and illustrator with a BA (Hons) in Printed Textiles/Fashion from John Moores University, Liverpool.

I love the simplistic nature of Justine's work, she delicately combines solids shapes and silhouettes with fine line work and texture to create interesting layered designs. Justine's feminine colour palettes beautifully reflect her whimsical approach to surface pattern design. "I am inspired by being outside and am renowned for having a child-like appreciation for nature. My creative style is light-hearted, naive and nostalgic." Sourced

Monday, 19 November 2012

A Collaged City by Susan Osborne!

I have decided to start saving for another foreign city break to combat the winter blues that are arriving with all this rain. So I thought I would share Susan Osborne's creative collaged paintings of famous cities around the world with you. I've started with Rome as I was lucky enough to visit the stunning city this summer and fell in love with it.

Rome, Italy

Friday, 16 November 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Mel Smith

Today I am introducing new and emerging design talent which has become a regular addition to Creative Sketchbook:

Mel Smith studied at the University of Wolverhampton and since has been working as a freelance designer for the greetings and wallpaper industry.  

Mel has a modern graphic approach to surface pattern and her delicate lace like designs have got to be my favourites, they are almost kaleidoscopic! I've always been a lover of vintage lace and the feminine colour palettes Mel uses really define the fine detail captured. Below are a refreshing and vibrant selection of Mel's most recent designs for you to enjoy!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Beautifully British Wallpapers by Lizzie Allen!

I have been a lover of Lizzie Allen's quirky prints for a while and I think they are a real statement offering something very different. Lizzie clearly takes significant inspiration from her surroundings and home in the city of London. Her designs contain humorous images and themes that give her work a charming and distinctive feel, appealing to a niche area of the wallpaper market.  Everyday life is beautifully captured including Her Majesty's soldiers marching, city skylines, distinctive red buses and old fashioned telephone boxes to name but a few.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Autumnal Tones by Abigail Borg!

Autumn has got to be one of my favourite times of year. I love the crisp bright mornings, rustling leaves beneath my feet and stunning natural autumnal shades. Abigail Borg's beautifully hand drawn wallpapers seemed perfect to share with you on this typically British morning.

Abigail's love of botanical art is evident through these stunning hand drawn illustrations and remind me of a country garden. I love the vintage feel to her work, the stunning combination of subtle yet quirky colours compliment her detailed work. Abigail cleverly incorporates organic line drawings with traditional patterns to create unique and recognisable designs.

Polka Polka Fabric

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Meet My Little Daisy!

I am sooo sorry for my lack of blog posts, work commitments and the arrival of a new little companion have taken up all my spare time. Sooooooo I thought it was about time I introduced you to our new little kitten 'Daisy', she is an adorable 14 week old, grey and white tabby bundle of joy. She has had a rough start in life and has not been very well at all but you will be pleased to here she is now full of life and loves nothing more than playing, scampering about and snoozing on my knee.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Lizzie Rose Hughes

Today I am introducing new and emerging design talent which has become a regular addition to Creative Sketchbook. Lizzie Rose Hughes' country life inspired designs instantly grabbed my attention when she exhibited at New Designers 2012. Lizzie has recently graduated from the University of Leeds with a First Class Ba (Hons) in Textile Design.

As you know I am a lover of our feathered friends and Lizzie's delicate hummingbirds are rather intriguing. "The designs i produce focus on keeping a fluidity throughout, to encourage the viewer to follow the lines of the design and ultimately recreate the natural environment of the birds and foliage." The mutual botanical colour palette used throughout this collection beautifully compliments the fine detailed illustrations. "I take my inspiration from 19th Century Design, I focus on creating a contemporary take on this historical style of design. "

Monday, 24 September 2012

Laura Laine's Luscious Ladies!

I just had to share the edgy fashion illustrations of Finnish Laura Laine with you. I love how her delicate illustrations are created predominantly in black and white, which gives them a dramatic affect. The feminine figures in her fashion illustrations have elongated elegant legs, long dramatic sweeping hair and slender, graceful twisting figures. The fine attention to detail in her drawings is captivating, single strands of hair, ruffles, fur, petals and feathers add intriguing textural qualities adding to the uniqueness of her work.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Natalie Alexander

Today I am introducing new and emerging design talent which has become a regular addition to Creative Sketchbook: 

I was delighted when I found these bright and summery florals in my inbox just as the autumn season is slowly creeping in. I hope they enlighten your day!

Natalie Alexander is designer from Yorkshire with a love of the traditional design methods of screenprinting and letterpress. "I would describe my style as contemporary with a raw element. I like my designs to have a slightly unpolished appearance and really enjoy working with bold colour palettes." It is this unfinished and rough layered look that I think is particularly successful in Alex's designs. "My designs are a fusion of ideas including screen-prints, photographs and drawings. I use lots of colour and layers to give my work interesting depth and movement and finally digitally manipulate them." 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Emma Ball's Beautifully British Summer!

Since our British summer is sadly coming to an end, I thought a little reminiscing was needed. This summer has been a very busy one for me, and I was lucky enough to spend a week in the South around Devon and Dorset with friends and family. It reminded me of just how naturally stunning our country really is and at times how we take it for granted. Therefore I just had to share the beautiful watercolour work of Emma Ball with you as she manages to capture our British coastline and seaside resorts in such a delicate and intriguing way.

Emma's watery designs include striped deck chairs, patterned beach huts, coloured rowing boats, and cute puffins to name my few of my favourites. I love how Emma also includes loose hand written words and phrases on her designs, they add a little extra quirky character.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Isobelle Ancient

Today I am introducing new and emerging design talent which has become a regular addition to Creative Sketchbook. I couldn't resist contacting Isobelle Ancient after she exhibited her collection of intriguing little creatures at New Designers 2012. Isobelle has just graduated from the University of Bath with a Ba (Hons) in Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors.

I love Isobelle's contemporary take on traditional folk art by creating little unique mixed media creatures. Isobelle collects and hand picks things, often vintage pieces to combine with paper mache, recycled paper and hand embroidered stitches which result in whimsical and curious animals with a distressed and rustic feel. "All my items are painstakingly handmade, from the smocked bodies to the tiny ceramic bead eyes, as I feel you can't beat the rustic naive appearance of hand made items, and the use of found materials adds to this too, there is always something really charming about them."

You can imagine each of these animals to have their own quirky personality!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Sculptural Origami Like Wonders by Richard Sweeney!

Today I am sharing Richard Sweeney's amazing sculptural creations with you. Richard studied Three Dimensional Design at Manchester Metropolitan University after discovering his love and natural talent for sculpture. I am fascinated by the smooth and flawless finish of these unique structures that contain interesting curves, layers, creases, folds and shapes.

Icosahedron II , Paper Sculpture 2006

I would love to have a selection of these hanging from my ceiling, if only!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Victoria Robinson

Today I am introducing new and emerging design talent which has become a regular addition to Creative Sketchbook. Victoria Robinson's country life inspired designs instantly grabbed my attention when she exhibited at New Designers 2012. Victoria has just graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a Ba (Hons) in Textile Design.

Victoria's collection below is called 'Country Pursuits' and her inspiration was taken from the North Yorkshire moors and the rugged English countryside. Originating from North Yorkshire myself with a family upbringing deeply rooted in the countryside, I just fell in love with Victoria's choice of traditional imagery with a modern and fresh approach. Victoria cleverly combines strong hand drawn game birds and natural foliage with an innovative colour palette of mustard, aubergine, raspberry and stone providing a contemporary twist.

This collection beautifully illustrates and captures English identity through a broad range of techniques including digital print, hand print and jacquard to create a versatile and appealing collection. I can't wait to see what Victoria creates next!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Exciting new 'MOYO' magazine! Issue 1

Today is a special day in the design industry… it sees the launch of MOYO, the world’s first online magazine dedicated to surface pattern design! I feel soooooo honored to be a part of the team! Packed with interviews, design briefs, colour challenges, art reviews, student showcases, design tips, inspiration, trends and more, this free resource will be published quarterly, and you can read and download the inaugural issue here!

This magazine has been several months in the making and I am thrilled to share it with you. ‘MOYO’ (pronounced mo-yor) is from the Japanese for ‘pattern’. ISSUE ONE August 2012 This premiere issue includes an exclusive interview with hot new design talent Louise Tiler, a designer diary from Rachael Taylor, an art review by myself and a design brief for you from Japan! Read it here!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Alice Skipp

Today I am introducing new and emerging design talent which has become a regular addition to Creative Sketchbook. Alice Skipp's bold and fresh designs instantly grabbed my attention when she exhibited at New Designers 2012. Alice has just graduated from Swansea Metropolitan University with a Ba (Hons) Surface Pattern Design, specialising in Printed Textiles for Interiors.

I love the dramatic effect and unique imagery Alice incorporates in her contemporary prints. "I would describe my work as joyous, colourful and celebratory." Mostly Alice's work is informed by personal narrative, with her most recent collection 'A Piece of Home' taking inspiration from the elements that make home a special place: fond childhood memories, familiar patterns and objects, in particular her families colourful collection of retro ceramics. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Bookshelf: Flower Fairies of the Spring: A celebration by Cicely Mary Barker

Today's feature on the 'Bookshelf' was another treasure given to me by my mum that she spotted with her eagle eyes in a charity shop. I have always been a lover of Cicely Mary Barker's flower fairies since a child and I thought it was about time I shared her beautiful creations with you.

Cicely produced an extensive range of stunning fantasy fairy, elf and flower illustrations in her life principally using watercolor paint with pen-and-ink to capture this delicate detail. "I have always tried to paint instinctively in a way that comes naturally to me"sourced. Below I have selected a few of my favourites from this book and included the beautiful little poems too!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Twirling Water Colours by Jessica Doyle!

I really like the simplicity of the shapes and structure of Canadian Jessica Doyle's work. Reminiscent of an underwater sea life she uses both loose and detailed line work to capture quirky and interesting detail. Whimsical creatures feature in Catherine's portfolio of designs and handmade papers are her interesting surface of choice to work on.  Enjoy!


Day Dreams

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

If Walls Could Talk by Catherine Bertola!

I spotted the work of Catherine Bertola at the 'Walls Are Talking' exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester a couple of years ago. As I wondered through rooms of wall coverings, ranging from traditional to contemporary I saw Catherine's installation through a little window in the corner. Catherine's exhibit was an intriguingly small room with walls covered in an usual overlapping floral design wallpaper. It almost looked like a 3d paper sculpture was tumbling down the wall and onto the floor, twisting and turning on itself. The colours used were very tonal and muted and what amazed me was that Catherine used ash from her own fire to achieve the colour and print.

Scratching the Surface

Scratching the Surface (detail)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Sweet Treats by Wayne Thiebaud!

Wayne Thiebaud is an artist that my students particularly like exploring, so I thought I would appeal to your sweet tooth and share him with you.

Interestingly Wayne was born in Arizona, moved to live in California and spent several years as a professional cartoonist at the Walt Disney Studios before moving on to teach art himself. His interest in everyday objects and celebration of popular culture is evident throughout his paintings that excitingly capture delicious looking cakes, sweets, cupcakes, pastries, lollypops, ice cream, pies, donuts and sandwiches to name but a yummy few.

Assorted Cakes and Tarts

Sweets and Treats

Friday, 10 August 2012

Emerging Design Talent: Katie Allerston

Today I am introducing new and emerging design talent which has become a regular addition to Creative Sketchbook. I was instantly drawn to Katie Allerston's unusual and contemporary designs exhibited at New Designers 2012. Katie has just graduated from Somerset College of Arts and Technology with a Ba (Hons) Interior Textiles and Surface Design after previously studing 3D Design.

Katie's work really stood out to me personally as it was intriguingly different from anything else I saw at the exhibition. Her collection took direct inspiration from nature by capturing patterns, colour and unusual qualities and oddities that Katie found. Through the use of photography, digital print and laser cutting, the link to nature is clearly visible across all three collections that incorporate printed designs through to innovative manipulated surfaces and structures, all of which use natural materials.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Bookshelf: Maw Broon's But An' Ben Cookbook

Today I am sharing a cookbook with a difference ...  Maw Broon's But An' Ben Cookbook has got to be the most creative and visually appealing cookbook I have seen. It is crammed full of family home cooked food and personal recipes that have clearly been collected over time and passed down from generations that date back to 1940. However the way it has been presented, to me, is what makes it so special. Every page is bursting with jokes, pictures, cuttings, photographs and good old fashioned hand written recipes and comments. There is memorabilia tucked into the pages including hand embroidery, dried flowers and postcards and aged effects have been added to the pages like coffee cup marks, old sellotape, stains, staples and curled edges which make this look like a real scrapbook cookbook.

It sounds silly, but I actually haven't read any of the recipes, this unusual book purely serves as a creative visual resource. But if you do treat yourself, please recommend some of the recipes. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Beautiful and Distinctive Work of Alphonse Mucha!

I am delighted to share Alphonse Mucha with you today, he has got to be one of my favourite artists of all time and well over due a feature on Creative Sketchbook. As I am sure you are aware, Mucha is a well known Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist from the Czech Republic. Mucha has a very beautiful and distinctive style across a wide range of paintings, illustrations, advertisement posters and postcards and I just can't get enough of his work.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Swirling and Whirling Out of Control with Melinda Hackett!

Melinda Hackett is a very talented abstract painter who was born, lives and works in New York City. Melinda's stunning work is just how my head feels sometimes, swirling and bursting with too many ideas and thoughts that kind of clash and complement each other. “One of my purposes in making paintings is to transport the viewer to a necessarily foreign place, where nature can be experienced without knowing it fully, and where reality is communicated through the senses.”


Monday, 6 August 2012

Antiqued Geometrical Patterns by Louise Despont

I have been meaning to feature the work of Louise Despont for a while after stumbling across her work whilst I was blog browsing.  Louise's work is highly graphical and technical in structure, combining precise straight lines, angles and shapes with softer circles and curved lines. The use of graphite and coloured pencil creates a soft and muted effect enabling the details from the original paper to remain visible. I particularly love the subtle and antiqued colour palette Louise uses, apricot combined with apple green and charcoal really complements the old book pages and graph papers used with their aged and torn edges.  Louise must spend hours and hours accurately measuring and drawing out her designs, which results in beautiful and eye catching geometric patterns.


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Blooming Marvellous Pretty Designs by Caroline Pratt!

Caroline Pratt was also recommended to me by an ex-student, she clearly knows my creative taste very well. Of a lover of all things birdie like I just had to include this quirky budgie pattern flooded with textural qualities, geometric shapes and bold colours. Caroline's line drawing have an imperfect hand drawn style that combined with her blocked screen prints provide a beautiful contrast.

Various techniques are used within Caroline's work, particularly traditional printmaking methods but incorporates drawing, collage, paper-cutting and digital manipulation too, which all makes for a very versatile portfolio."Usually the starting point for my prints, is the humble fine liner and a sketchbook, I can keep myself amused for hours!"

Monday, 30 July 2012

Sketchy Scribbly Fashion Illustrations by Antoinette Fleur!

Antoinette Fleur was kindly shown to my by one of my ex-students and i instantly loved her loose and sketchy style! Antoinette is a French artist who specialises in fashion illustrations and portraits. Her dynamic sketches are full of layered and colourful line work that looks like rather speedy drawing.

Her illustrations contain subtle, elegant and fluid lines that express a great sense of movement and energy, adding a quirky slant to her beautiful feminine portraits. If only I could doodle like this!

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