An Illustrated Trip Down Memory Lane…

The latest exhibition to land at House of Illustration is Ladybird by Design, an exhibition that features over 120 of the original illustrations from the Ladybird titles, and celebrates 100 years of Ladybird books.

Visitors are given a unique glimpse into not only the iconic artwork from popular titles such as Shopping With Mother, Ladybird ABC and People At Work. But also find out how this affordable book series became such a memorable part of so many generations’ childhoods.

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A key learning resource and source of fun and entertainment for many children, the attention to detail and observation into everyday life is both stunning and enthralling.

With topics from ‘How it works – The Hovercraft’ to ‘The Gingerbread Boy’ in the Well-Loved Tales series there wasn’t a subject that the Ladybird books didn’t cover.

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Shopping With Mother, Illustrations by Harry Wingfield

In ‘Shopping With Mother’ comforting scenes of everyday life see impeccably dressed Mother and her equally well-dressed children visiting all the different shops on a high-street, a day typical of a time before the advent of the supermarket. We see the family visiting the butchers, the florists, and the chemist in what looks like an idyllic portrait of family life, and domestic duties.

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Ladybird ABC, Illustrations by G. Robinson

The ABC books are equally beautiful in the detailed and precise, almost photo realistic illustrations by G. Robinson. All of the objects are set on a boldly coloured background with simple friendly text to accompany.

DSCF1355The extremely popular series was incredibly affordable and due to the highly economical method of printing. The format of the books was developed in response to the paper shortage of the Second World War.

All 56 pages of one book were printed on a single sheet of paper, measuring 30 x 40 inches. This sheet was then cut and, folded and bound. Using this design the illustrations would appear on the right page with the text appearing on the left. This method of printing made the books very affordable for consumers.

Because of this method of printing Ladybird books were accessible to the masses.

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The Well-Loved series were the staples of my child hood. I fondly remember having this edition of Little Red Riding Hood in particular as a child.

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People At Work in a Big Store, Illustrations by John Berry

I also love this artwork from ‘People At Work in a Big Store’ by John Berry. It’s almost documentary illustration. I was fascinated to see how tenderly Berry illustrated seemingly mundane objects such as stacks of cardboard boxes inside a warehouse, and packs of wrapped meat rolling down the assembly line. Ladybird Books revealed an exciting world of labour and commerce. Of domestic objects and duties and also classic fairy tales.

If you do fancy a trip down memory lane, the exhibition runs until 27 Sept 2015 and is open 10:00am – 6:00pm

Bright Colours and Bold Shapes at The Serpentine

I recently took a visit to The Serpentine Pavilion in Londons’ Kensington Gardens to see this years summer installation. I was fortunate that my visit was on a pretty decent summers day, meaning I got to see the vibrant colours in all their glory.

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The installation is a creation by architect duo selgascano who have worked on many projects in their native country of Spain, but currently have several international projects in the making, The Serpentine Pavilion being the most recent instalment.

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The installation makes for a really interesting space. The different colours and shapes create differing moods and lights at every angle. Each corner I turned being a new experience of colour and light.

And it came as no surprise that this particular installation was quite popular with young families. Children were running in and out of the different maze-like entrances and staring at the colourful bands of fabric stretched over frames.

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The clever use of semi-transparent and iridescent materials created a kind of overlap effect which meant that as I walked through the structure, what I was seeing was constantly changing.

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Moving to the outside of the structure added yet another perspective. When stood looking in from the only ‘window’ in the installation I could view layers upon layers of different colours and shapes gently receding like waves into the distance.

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I highly recommend seeing this years offering at The Serpentine Pavilion, especially if you can make it on a sunny day. It’s a real feast for the eyes. And if you’re also looking for a feast for the belly there is even a little Fortnum & Mason’s tucked away in one corner of the sculpture.

Admission to The Serpentine Pavilion is Free.
The exhibition is open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm, and runs until 18 Oct 2015.

Lisbon Story

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I was recently fortunate enough to take a short trip to Lisbon (the cheapest city in Western Europe according to The Guardian), staying in the Santos region of the city.

I was surprised by how culturally diverse and beautiful Lisbon is. There is so much to do in the city, and one could easily spend a good week there, only getting to know a small area. I was also taken back by how friendly and helpful everyone we came into contact with was. I had tried my best to learn a bit of Portuguese before hand but I kept getting it confused with my fairly limited Spanish! Fortunately near enough everyone we met had a pretty good grasp of English and was always really happy to help.

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Our first evening and morning was spent exploring the local area, and part of the central area, and just taking in all the sights. We also unwittingly toned our leg muscles with the incredibly steep hills that Lisbon is so well-known for!

One of our priorities was getting to a beach (being British and all). So we took a short train ride from Santos to Sao Joao, which has a beautiful coast line that in the month of May is fairly quiet. The beach was well-served with a couple of reasonably priced snack bars that looked out to the sea. It is no exaggeration when I say that here I had the best tuna sandwich I have EVER eaten!

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And then the last sight-seeing stop for our short trip was the beautiful ‘paradise’ town atop a hill of Sintra. There was so much to see in this town, we only caught a small glimpse of it’s beauty, but what we did was breathtaking.

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On our last night we received a recommendation for an amazing fish restaurant called Zapata. We were not disappointed. On the menu were regional fish dishes amongst others, very simply cooked but extremely tasty. We went for a local grilled white fish which came with boiled vegetables and potatoes, simple but so, so tasty! I only wish my own boiled veg could turn out that good back home!

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And then the return to London. With this view it was hard to leave. But fear not Lisbon, I will be back! xo

Sandals + Socks

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I went to a very interesting and informing Studio Sessions, hosted by Emma BlockKarolyn Schnoor and Lilly Taylor at the weekend.

The Studio Sessions are run by Emma Block and Stacie Swift, both successful illustrators working in the industry. They offer insights in creating a creative business, most specifically the business of illustration. Stacie was unable to attend on this occasion as she unfortunately was unwell but Emma found some great people to step-in.

I often feel like I need to have a good variety of subjects in my illustration repertoire, but there are always a few things I continually gravitate towards, mainly food (not just in my art, I LOVE eating!), and also beauty and fashion.

Emma and Karolyn both touched on how you should draw what you really enjoy and are passionate about, so feeling free to do that my mind went to work thinking about all the images I could create.

I’d seen a few fashion posts of late that were talking about mid-season dressing, that difficult time when it’s too warm for a coat but too cold for no outwear at all. And socks and sandals seem to be a bit of a ‘thing’ for SS15. I myself have not tried this trend yet. Living in London I find I very rarely wear heels, as much as I would like to. It just ain’t practical when you’re running for a bus!

But I guess that’s the great thing about creating an illustration. I can still be part of the action, even if i’m not exactly partaking! And I also get to be a fashion designer. I can create shoes, garments and accessories that are an amalgamation of all the things I love.

New Year, new shop!

The end of 2014 was a busy one with lots of unexpected but exciting projects that hopefully I will be able to share on my blog in the near future.

I’m now very pleased to share my Etsy site where I will be selling a selection of greetings cards featuring my illustrations. I hope to keep growing the range throughout the year and hopefully expanding into different products as well. I can see some of my illustrations working well on tote bags and other accessories so stay tuned for that!

You can visit my all new Etsy shop by clicking here

New work!

I’ve been working on a few new things of late. I’ve mainly been developing some greetings cards illustration that will soon be available to buy online. I’ve also finished another self-initiated book cover to accompany the Bridget Jones’s Diary cover I did earlier in the year. I love drawing girly accessories and adding a bit of humour along the way.