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Reviews of creative books. Illustration, photography, fashion, textiles and more. If you are a publisher or book author/creator, and would like to work with me, get in touch!

book review – lifestyle illustration of the 50s

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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 ..you 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.

book review – animal fair

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animal fair by alice and martin provensen

as a huge fan of alice and martin provensen, i am so happy that i own this! i had been looking for a copy of animal fair by alice and martin provensen on amazon, realising i’d have to settle (happily, mind you) for a newer version when i suddenly decided to look on ebay. and boy, am i glad i did! i found this original 60’s version and although it’s not in the best ever condition, i absolutely love it. it’s almost a3 in size too, so i get to truly revel in the wonderful illustrations.

endpapers from animal fair by alice and martin provensen

animal fair

birds in animal fair by alice and martin provensen

if you’ve not heard of alice and martin provensen, they are an american couple who illustrated many books, some of which they wrote too. their style is instantly recognisable, and i’d say very of its time. animal fair features stories and poems by the couple, interspersed with the odd illustrated game.

this, along with their other books have such an overwhelming charm, and i don’t know whether that’s due to their delightful illustrations or their kind and warm way of writing. i hope over time to collect more original book editions too.

are you a fan of vintage/illustrated books? i would love your recommendations!

fun animal guessing game

animal fair illustrated by alice and martin provensen

book review – print and pattern geometric

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print and pattern geometric by bowie style
well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? i’ve wanted to bring back book reviews for some time now, but other things just kept getting in the way. most of the time these posts will be reviews, but from time to time it may be more of a ‘i love this book and i want to show it to you’ type post.

i love books so much, especially visual ones to be used for inspiration. i’d love to make one myself some day, but that’s another story.

so anyway, i’m bringing back the book reviews, every other week as before. we’re starting back with print and pattern geometric by bowie style.

geometric illustration by alexander purdy
pattern by edu barba
this book appeals to my senses for many reasons, but mostly because of the patterns (..obviously) and how colourful and varied it is.  looking through the book there’s so many different kinds of geometric pattern to feast your eyes on. there’s a lot of retro style patterns, vector patterns, hand painted patterns ..you name it, it’s there.

the book is well laid out and easy to navigate. each designers section is in alphabetical order, and titled with their initials, fittingly portrayed with geometric vector letters. it adds a special touch, and i think it’s very unique. their full name is listed, as well as sites and shops, and below that each designer has a little bio.
esther cox
blue and white pattern by jessica nielsen

print and pattern geometric is nice and weighty, being 303 pages long and promises to be relevant and inspiring for many years to come. i think this is the best of the print and pattern books so far, and i hope any that come in the future are as good as this. regardless, i’ll be buying.

even if you’re not an textile designer, illustrator or pattern maker yourself, i can highly recommend this book to fill your heart with colour and pattern.