Tag Archives: illustration

Mother’s Day Gifts as Unique as She

valuable mom letterpress bill  by afavorite on Etsy

I know you’re the type of person who lets your mom know how much you appreciate her every day of the year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something a little extra special for her on Mother’s Day. Now, the best gifts always take into account the interests and tastes of the recipient.  If I look at all the mom’s I know I can see how fascinating, stylish,intelligent, talented, fun and ultimately individual they all are. That’s why I’m recommending you ditch the bath salts and the flowers and try to think up a gift that speaks to who the mom in your life is when she’s not on mom duty. Here are a few ideas just to get you started.

My Mom’s a Film Buff…what should I get her?

How about a set of famous film director wall-hangings or coasters from Retrowhale? The Coen Brothers, Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese and all the big guys are represented so you can pick out your mom’s top four favourites. This gift would be a perfect compliment to her Criterion collection of Blu-rays.

My Mom’s a Rock Star… or she just wishes she was

Kim Gordon bassist and front woman of Sonic Youth probably holds the title of “coolest mom in the world.” At almost sixty years old is still  rocking out on stage and releasing albums. If you think you’re mom has the makings of rock royalty why not spring for guitar lessons. Bonus points if you get her a vintage Les Paul as well.

My Mom’s Got Great Taste

Nothing would be more perfect for Mother’s Day than this summery yellow dress from online shop-du-jour Filly. Made from buttercup-coloured cotton viole, this dress is classic while still being modern. If I could have this pretty frock hanging in my closet I would be one happy mommy indeed.

My Mom’s got a Sense of Humour

Welcome to Hicksville Trailer Palace and Artist Retreat in Joshua Tree, California. Part trailer park, part hipster resort, at Hicksville you can rent one of nine theme decorated trailers. If your mom’s idea of a perfect getaway is sipping Pabst Blue Ribbon by the side of a pool or wielding firearms at the BB-gun range, then this may be the perfect mother’s day getaway for her.

My Mom’s a Traditionalist

Love & Victory makes beautiful custom charms that would be stellar gifts for a new mom or a mom with small kids. How it works is you send them a picture of your loved one and they create a one-of-a-kind silhouette that you can hang from a necklace or charm bracelet. Beautiful, classic and personal, this jewellery makes for a wonderful keepsake, and a loving reminder of why she doesn’t get enough sleep anymore.

Cooking with Pictures: Art in the Kitchen

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

Caramel & Sea Salt Truffles by Katie Gamb

I just discovered the amazing They Draw and Cook which combines two of my favourite things; fantastic illustration and food. Their website features illustrated recipes that you can search within by ingredient, type of cuisine, illustration style or even country of origin.  Here are just a few that looked both incredibly tasty and wonderfully rendered. The Caramel and Sea Salt recipe submitted by Katie Gamb (above) is one of my favourites. The salty-sweet craze that is making the rounds in culinary circles is definitely a trend I can get behind. Katie Gamb’s work is beautiful and you can see more of her drawings on her website.

This Pizzelle recipe by Kristen Nohe makes me want to track down a pizzelle press. The directions look easy to follow and I love her drawing style and colour choices.  Nohe is a professional illustrator and textile designer from Maryland. I’ve just started following her blog and its great place to start if you want to see more of her work.

This handy Vegetable Stock recipe by Nate Padavick is also beautiful to look at and easy to follow. I think this illustration would also be lovely hanging on a wall in the kitchen.

This Linguini with Grilled Tomatoes and Feta Cheese recipe by Tomek Giovanis is a cooking comic with adorably drawn characters. Go! Go! Chicken!

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a whole recipe binder or recipe box full of these illustrations? If you’re feeling creative you can also submit your own illustrated recipes to the site.  I think I might just have to get my art supplies out and give it a try. They Draw & Cook also holds an annual competition where you can submit recipes that feature a specified ingredient. This year it was figs, so if you’re into figs there are no shortage of recipes that might strike your fancy.

Speaking of the intersection of art and cooking have you seen the new Ikea cookbook? It’s called Homemade is Best and each recipe is accompanied by a beautifully styled photograph by Carl Kleiner/ Agent Bauer of the ingredients and the finished product. The making of the book was apparently inspired by high fashion and Japanese minimalism.


Fina kanelbullar

What a lovely way to cook.  Unfortunately “Homemade is Best” is only available in Swedish, so I’ll have to develop my foreign language skills before I can attempt any of these recipes, but in the meantime the pictures are pretty enough just to look at.

Posted in Design, Food | Tagged , , ,

Wowza! Wallpaper!

Image courtesy harlequin.uk.com

My thoughts about wallpaper formed in childhood in various grandparents’ basements (not just my own – those of friends too).  I remember yellowed paper with baby blue velour curlicues, a creepy creepy forest scenery – surely both were en vogue at some point.  Yes I loved wallpaper too: each weekend I had a sleepover at my grandparents’ house, before we drifted off to sleep we’d give our grandfather our order for breakfast; in the morning after the grand meal he and I would leaf through an old wallpaper sample book he had and I’d choose the material he’d make my crown from.  It’d be further decorated with ribbons and stickers.  Those mornings I was sure I was in heaven.

So surprise, surprise (maybe less for you), when I discovered wallpaper could be very fashionable on walls, rather than heads.  The choice is astounding and the images, patterns and effects are remarkable.

If you’re looking to update a space and considering wall treatments, wallpaper has come along way from my basements of yore. With well known artists designing prints, to wow-factor graphics and even those that invite personalization by you and your guests, wallpaper is cool again.  Here are a few that grabbed my attention:

Texture Done Right

Tom Haga, a Norwegian photographer and designer is behind the Concrete Wall wallpaper collection available for purchase from his site. This trompe-l’oeil series is truly remarkable.  These are based on Haga’s photography of concrete and brick walls through Norway.

Carnegie Fabric’s Urban Metallic collection are created using metallic inks. These inks lend them the a subtly spectacular shimmering quality.  I love that they’re sophisticated but fun.

Just Plain Fun

Ladies and Gentleman for your focal wall, Lisa Bengtsson’s Lady of Easy Virtue.  This Swedish communications grad and illustrator has made a serious splash as a designer.  Her pretty frames wallpaper, titled “Family” can be seen in Nathalie’s post on frames from a couple weeks ago.

Riki Blanco designed The Carousel of Dreams for Tres Tintas, a Barcelona based design company.  Totally dreamy in a nursery.

Make Your Mark

“Words Spoken Quieter than Actions” by Chloe Perron is part of Rollout’s Artist Series One.   As a big endearing note leaver, I just love this.  Wouldn’t it make a great addition to a small powder room?  Like graffiti in a washroom, but invited and hopefully pleasant?

This wallpaper from Graham and Brown is so fun and inviting.  Kids can finally colour on the walls (provided they stay within in the frames of course).  Depending on how you chose to personalize it, your room could be whimsical or irreverent.

Judging Books by Covers

Books are meant to be read, and not just displayed for their good looks. But I’ve got to admit, when going book shopping, I look at the covers. Call me shallow, but after the author, a book’s cover design is the major factor in my purchase decisions.

In a roomful of books, the only way to not be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options is to breathe in the smell of paper and ink, go into a new age-y state of consciousness, and let the books call out to me. And how else can they call out except visually—using the language of colors, photography, typography, illustration, layout.


I like colors. I’m a kid like that. It’s no wonder then that I own a lot of children’s books, most of them acquired long after my official “childhood” has ended.

Cover illustration by Beth Parrocha-Doctolero

Photography and Illustration

I’m also a sucker for stunning images. Take this cover of George Orwell’s 1984. I was attracted by the dark circle nestled in the fuzzy blue one, against that expanse of white—up until I realized that it was an eye, and then it was ominously creepy, but still stunning.

That eye is creepy.


An awesome title would be a waste if it can’t be seen from a few meters away. The creative use of typography can capitalize on a word such as Swerve or Blindness, and make the book all the more grab-able.

Cover design by Adam Laszczuk

Here are a few other striking book covers I found around the web.

Image from the author's website

Cover design by Samantha Wall

Design by Lucy Ruth Cummins, photography by James Porto

A zombified portrait by William Beechley makes for a quirky, irreverent cover for a quirky, irreverent book. Cover design by Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd., and Doogie Horner.

Cover art by W.H. Chong

Cover design by Jon Gray

The Illustrated Muse – Fashion Illustration Today

Illustration rendered by Stina Persson

Image by and via Stina Persson

Fashion at its best is a combination of beauty and fantasy, and nothing epitomizes this better than fashion illustration. It’s not just about drawing amazing clothing and beautiful women, the illustrators working in the field today are skilled artists and spokespeople for what is on trend right this very second. Using cutting edge artistic techniques, and drawing their inspiration from the world around them, these illustrators give us visions of their perfect muse.

Susan Burghart

Vintage Art Nouveau style illustration

Image via Lovely Clusters

Susan Burghart is an American artist currently living in the UK  who uses vintage imagery and a combination of digital and traditional mediums to create glamorous images that have graced commercial advertisements and adorned the pages of fashion magazines.

Pomme Chan

Edgy illustration by Pomme Chan

via PommeChan.com

Bangkok born Pomme Chan is a master of illustration and design who has created work for prestigious clients from Marc Jacobs to Mercedes Benz. Using black ink drawings and splashes of colour she creates work that is sexy, edgy and immediately striking.

Kelly Thompson

Kelly Thompson's intellectual muses

Nerdy girls in glasses, holding books are probably not the first things you think of when you think of high fashion but Kelly Thompson has manifested a completely different sort of muse. Her muse is smart, understated and undeniably sensual. Thompson has had a number of sold out shows including her 2009 exhibition entitled “Bookworms Never Go to Bed Alone”.

Laura Laine

Dark, mysterious, and Tim Burton-esque

The finely rendered drawings of Finnish illustrator Laura Laine are both hauntingly beautiful and slightly sinister. Her characters appear to have stepped out of the pages of a story and her unique vision has made her popular with art collectors and commercial clients alike.

Akari Inoguchi

Dreamy images by Akari Inoguchi

image via blog.naver.com

Akari Inoguchi is a graphic designer and visual artist based out of Tokyo. Her dreamlike portraits are populated with lush plants, flowers, butterflies and tropical birds. Inoguchi has created commercial work for clients such as Vogue and Diesel and has exhibited her illustrations throughout Tokyo and New York.

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