book review – lifestyle illustration of the 50s

book review - lifestyle illustration of the 50s

to be honest i bought lifestyle illustration of the 50s on a bit of a whim. i knew i’d like it though because a) it’s a book full of illustration b) it’s a book full of illustration throughout the 50’s, and i love the style, colours, patterns and imagery from that era.

this book is huge too, infact it has 512 pages total. it’s crammed full of illustrations from the very beginning of the 50’s to the end, and as you can see from the image below, you can see which years are represented with starting page numbers.

i think this book would benefit from being a little bigger (height/width-wise), but that aside, it’s a fair size. the colour reproduction is great, and the images are clear and bright.

content page - from 1950 to 1959

1955 illustrations

50s woman in orange coat and pink scarf

there are many full page (and some double page) spreads, and a lot of smaller spot illustrations too. i think the mix of these is just right, and feels balanced well throughout in terms of layout. it’s fantastic having the bigger images, as you can really see the details like brush strokes and the details of the clothing.

besides the illustration and the fashion, one thing i really love about this book is the colour schemes within the images. i find them incredibly inspiring and they just really seem to spark my imagination. i don’t know if this is because i’m a huge fan of colours prominent in fashion throughout the 50’s – orange, pink, yellow, olive, various blues, etc ..or just because the colours look so good together that it sparks something in me.

the only thing about this book i have a problem with (perhaps less a problem with the book, and more of the time itself – but i can’t say for sure) is that there is a real lack of racial diversity represented. i would have absolutely loved to have seen illustrations of people during the 50’s coming from other ethnicities. if there was a book on 50’s fashion and lifestyle illustration made by and from the viewpoint of modern day illustrators i would hope there would be more diversity. i’d definitely buy that!

woman with white hair holding glass globe with birds in

illustration of two young girls talking

my last point aside, i’d happily recommend lifestyle illustration of the 50s to anyone that has an interest in the 50’s, fashion in general, fashion of that era, illustration get my drift. it’s jam packed full of inspiration from colour, to style, to illustration techniques, poses and much more. almost all the images are credited with their maker too, so it would be a good starting point to research some image makers at that time.

also, if you prefer the 60’s there’s a lifestyle illustration of the 60s book, too.

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  • Reply Kathryn 16/06/2015 at 14:02

    I could just look at that all day I bet. PS I like your new-look header! xx

    • Reply laura redburn 17/06/2015 at 15:36

      i keep finding amazing colour combos and pattern ideas’s full of inspo! (and thank youuuu)

  • Reply Adele @ Circus Queen 16/06/2015 at 15:17

    Such great style in the 50s & 60s! That’s why I loved watching Mad Men. This book is gorgeous.

    • Reply laura redburn 17/06/2015 at 15:36

      yes, definitely! i still have some catching up to do with mad men ..i know what i’ll be doing over the summer!

  • Reply Jess @ Along Came Cherry 17/06/2015 at 06:26

    I’m obsessed with this era after watching Mad Men, such great fashion! x

    • Reply laura redburn 17/06/2015 at 15:37

      yes! oh i love 50’s fashion so much, very closely followed by 40’s. not so keen on 60’s, but there’s some stuff i like!

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