16 posts categorized "Illustration"


Life Watch - a play time adventure




Everything started with a term that I had never heard: “Gap Year."


Jill Allemang decided to drive a blog called notabackpacker.com, with the aim to take a Gap Year 30 years late and without stopping work. She would develop activities that she still wanted to do and share them on the blog. For that, we needed a good plan, good organization and an image on the blog that explained this all.


I realized the fun part had just started.


We needed an image that reflected the whole blog; so, during our conversations, the words became a draft and the draft became an image. I drew a clock because time was present in all of our discussions. I added “career,” “finance” and “age” as our key words because, as Jill said, these were the reasons to take a gap year now.


For me, everything in life has a reason. In this image, I created a reason for every small detail. I chose 6:45 – sunrise in Zürich during the winter. From this choice came new words on the clock arrows: “opportunity” and “decision.” I think that each sunrise means the opportunity of a new day, opportunity to do better, and the opportunity to make decisions about how to take opportunities, when and if it makes us happy.


We also talked about the idea of turning back time and added the backwards arrow in underscore because time doesn’t return, but the desire remains. From this same desire, we added an arrow in the opposite direction that represents the future.


As my Grandfather says, “stopping is dying.” I added the play button because, to live, we need to move, to feel, and to be humans – for that no pause button exists.


Combining technology and our minds to improve the Life Watch visual, we gained essential help from our designer, Elizabeth Hitchman, who embraced the project with the same passion as us. With small steps together, we created perfect harmony because, with Elizabeth, the Life Watch became our beautiful design, a real image with a purpose.


When I look at this image, I say to myself – I only have time to try, time to go forward and, most important, to be happy.


* Warmly invited as a guest blogger, Patricia Vila Nova brings high levels of creative energy to every project she engages in. 


Illustration & exploration


September has happily begun with not-too-distant summer memories of places visited and joyfully explored. Prior to my trip to Spain at the beginning of August, l discovered the exuberant map 'Barcelona, Spain' illustrated by Farida Zaman via the web platform 'They Draw & Travel'. Syncroncity at its magical best! Especially since it was just a few days before my flight that l caught sight of this colourful city guide.

Founded in 2011, by brother & sister (design and illustration team, Studio SSS) , Nate Padavick & Salli S. Swindell, 'They Draw & Travel' - younger sibling site to the delicious They Draw & Cook',  is a pure celebration of illustrative maps and travel.

l adore the concept of reflecting the places we love through the visual voice of map illustration. Inviting artists from around the world to illustrate their unique perception of the places they have visited or perhaps even places where they live, Nate and Salli have opened a new window for us to discover and explore, and above all, generated inspiration to record our own travels through map-making.

Having fell under the charms of the incomparable, yet equally compelling Barcelona, and southern region of Andalucia, (2012) the maps (Barcelona, Spain, Farida Zaman / Andalucia, Spain, Benjamin Bay) will long keep aglow the warmth of these places visited.

l warmly invite you to submit a hand-drawn map of your favourite places to the TDAT website, or perhaps have a simple browse as inspiration for your next port of call. l for one, feel inspired to continue drawing, traveling and cooking!


Fresh air for the creative eye


Founded by wife and husband team, Anna & Nathan Bond, Rifle Paper.Co knows no visionary bounds. Starting out as a small stationary business in 2009 their design journey has rapidly, yet intuitively developed into a global "lifestyle brand" with products galore.

Anna has taken her creative talents to heights of visual impact that packs a stylish punch. l'm impressed how original illustrative pieces have been translated and adapted for different mediums, from gift-wrapping to phone-cases, proving a pattern can travel a visual path with distance.

Two collections which have been picked up on the Looking Glass radar are the recent collaborations with French illustrator, author, and photographer Garance Doré and Lauren Conrad of Paper Crown. Featured above, both give a compelling nod to glamour from a different perspective, a pure reflection of their own unique style.

"We strongly believe life's personal stories and moments are best told through the gift of a handwritten card or note". With this ethos, it's no wonder Rifle Paper.Co are growing their stationary roots and branching out to wallpaper and other homeware products...be sure to check out the carefully crafted gift guide and the enchanting 'Puffin In Bloom' book collection.

A welcomed breath of (visual) fresh air for the creative eye.

*Special thanks to Jill Allemang of jallé GmbH for bringing the Rifle Paper Co. brand to my 'Looking Glass' attention.


"Carrier of valuable messages"


lt was through printing talent Rita Nicolussi that my introduction to the communicative charms of Le pigeon voyageur was made. A collaboration (based in Switzerland) between Rita and illustrator Naomi Baldauf, the classical form of high-end stationary is richly celebrated hand in hand with creative illustration and extensive exploration of print production techniques.  Their passion for creative ideas and printed form is widely reflected in the attention to detail.

l've had the immense pleasure to enjoy a couple of printing conversations with Rita Nicolussi concerning some of the projects created via the Le pigeon voyageur collaboration...the phrase "eyes light up" springs to mind.

In recent months, l was most fortunate to attend the annual printing Messe in Frauenfeld, Switzerland. While visiting Rita Nicolussi and the Le pigeon voyageur exhibition stand, l came across these beautifully illustrated Christmas tags. The Snowman imparticular caught my attention, closely followed by the Owl, Baby in a shoe and the Mushroom man. l find they make not only lovely gift tags, but also appear rather pretty as a tree decoration. The Snowman has certainly found a new home on my tree.

Le pigeon voyageur retains the pleasure of receiving a hand-written note, and truly is a "Carrier of valuable messages".


Welcome to Flow - an exhilarating paper playground



l was introduced to the creative charms of Flow by artist friend Sandra Ondraschek, who on a trip to Edinburgh wrote, "I thought of you as I picked up a copy of 'Flow' (magazine) and wondered if we had talked about it?". lt was early morning when l read her e-mail, yet l felt immediately compelled to discover this sparkling jewel for myself...

Pure delight swept over me as l set out on my journey and explored my first port of call - the Flow app. Smiling to myself, l read the editors note to the tapping sound of the typewriter - just lovely! The attention to each (imaginative) detail was a wonderful start to my design day!

Founded by Creative Directors, Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst, Dutch-based Flow magazine celebrates its fifth anniversary and l have a feeling it will continue to flow for many more years to come. 

Published eight times a year and with a recent international launch, (English copy being published twice a year) Flow is a visual feast, offering inspiration, insights and solutions for paper lovers. A paper playground which brings enjoyment to me on a daily basis, especially since purchasing the Flow Weekly Notebook, and the delightful 'Book for Paper Lovers'It's pure joy to plan my agenda, write letters and cards utilizing these two gems as a source of visual creativity. 

Welcome to Flow, a gloriously vibrant hub of paper innovation, a positive energy field which lights up the path of inspirational creativity!

* Photographs: 'Flow Book for Paper Lovers' by Elizabeth Hitchman


Dot-to-Date your way through the year



What a wonderful way to spend the calender year, plotting your way through British made 'Dot-to-Date'a playful piece, designed by Dan Usiskin. Each design takes a well-known London landmark and invites you to join the dots in your choice of medium. Perhaps you may feel inspired to brighten up Nelson's Column with an array of coloured crayon derived dots, or for the tactile stitcher, weave colourful threads to join up the dots on the London Eye?

l like the idea of taking an object which helps navigate our schedules, and customizing each month with a moment of creative expression. This calendar will surely enrich the working space.

Dan tells me that due to the global success of the Dot-to-Date London Edition, he has plans in the artistic pipeline to create a World Edition...watch this space...


Tales of far-away lands & adventure

La-Casuni atelier

"La Casuni" is a world where fairytales and imagery of far-away lands leap off the page and enrich the imagination. Born and raised in Rosario, Argentina, Valeria Cis has created a space that merges her talent for illustration with childhood memories of engaging story-telling.

l am captivated by the bold, colourful, surreal style of Valeria's drawings. And l smiled when l explored the "La Casuni" website. An inviting, delightful space which reflects the fairytale themes with such delicate, whimiscal enchantment.

l can clearly see why the "La Casuni" atelier has generated much global success within the creative realms of illustrating children's books.

And l do feel a sense of excitement when l glance through the many online platforms which Valeria Cis has joined - sharing her richly illustrative tales of far-away adventure.

Be whisked away...


A picture paints a thousand words

Copyright © Sarah Maycock, 2012

It was whilst reading an online article in relation to the Virgin Short Film Awards, that l came across talented artist, illustrator and designer, Sarah Maycock. The article presented pieces of work by various illustrators, and it was the poster for the Short film 'Without Saying' directed by Paul Dingwell that caught my creative eye.

l find Sarah's authentic style of illustration heart-stirring and richly expressive in the way that the brushstrokes dramatically create a scene. Looking at this particular watercolour illustration, l can instantly feel nature's elements, with the sea lashing against the harbour wall, and the wind causing the couple to huddle together to keep out the cold - a moment of tenderness, perfectly reflecting the title - 'Without Saying'.

Naturally, this then led me to explore Sarah Maycock's website. And what a pleasure to behold! From the broad brownish form of the bear to the elegant fine lines of Virgina Woolf's portrait, each piece with its emotive brushstroke style tells a story. 

Sarah describes her work as "quite chaotic", and feels the best piece of advice given by a tutor was "if l put one thing in there, that is really crisp and looks like l've done it on purpose, then the whole thing will look like l've done it on purpose, and not sort of just fallen over near the paper".

l completely agree, leading me to believe that this train of thought creates an illustrative style that is truly her own.


Let's Make Some Great Art

Copyright 2011 Marion Deuchars 

In creative collaboration with Laurence King Publishing, talented illustrator Marion Deuchars has designed a book which fills my sketchbook heart with pure joy!

Let's Make Some Great Art  ( Kritzeln Zeichen Kunst ) is a drawing playground for children and adults, which in my mind enables us to keep young at heart. This book allows the imagination to run wild - inviting the inner artist to simply have fun making art.

From playful fingerprints, to exploring the technique of artists like Jackson Pollock, l believe realising one's own artistic expression can open up a whole new world - this book offers such a journey in creative abundance.

l warmly invite you to sharpen your pencil and make your mark!


Up, up, and away...


Whether it be Dorothy attempting to make her way home from the land of Oz, or the 1956 David Niven film based on Jules Verne’s classic tale ‘Eighty days around the world’, l do find something rather romantic, and adventurous, when it comes to thinking of the hot air balloon.

Freya Cumming has beautifully captured this sense of nostalgic romance and escapism through her vibrant screen print work. The muted colours and choice of pattern screen-printed onto a white canvas generates a sense of adventure reminiscent of bygone days.

Freya’s balloon illustrations also takes me back to a childhood memory of a warm summer’s evening, when l was fortunate enough to view a hot air balloon festival - Layer upon layer of balloon shapes, set against a backdrop of an urban landscape.

The screenprint ‘Above it all’ captures not only this memory, but it also  creates a rich sense of juxtaposition - below, grey lines of architecture, and above it all, a sea of colour. Which in my mind harks back to this idea of adventure & escapism.

Screenprinting is a technique that l hold dear to my creative heart, as l fondly recall learning this craft at Edinburgh College of Art, and so l was thrilled to come across Freya Cumming’s work - an imaginative combination of printing technique and subject matter - created with such artistic flair!

l warmly invite you to be taken up, up and away by Freya’s screenprinted hot air balloons.