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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 / fashion exercise book by frances moffatt

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fashion excersise book - front cover
today i’m reviewing fashion exercise book* by frances moffatt, essentially a colouring book for creative, fashion loving adults. sounds good so far! this brightly coloured (neon orange) book is full of 192 pages of images to colour and create on, as well as patterns interspersed throughout. even the front and back covers have things to do, which i think is rare for this kind of book. it is litterally packed to the brim with fun!

fashion excersise book - pattern
fashion excersise book - eye catching print
other than not being a fan of neon colours (not that it really matters in this case) i absolutely love this book, and if you’re anything like me, you will too. it has so many prompts for ways to make your own mark inside of it. for some reason i wasn’t expecting it, but the pages are like the pages in colouring books you have when you’re little. but that makes sense, right? i imagine you could use different types of media and even watercolour but nothing too watery.

fashion excersise book - black and white pattern
fashion excersise book - sparkle!
fashion excersise book - back cover
honestly, before i was sent this book, i hadn’t heard of frances. i think that’s fun sometimes though, to discover a book by someone you don’t know because you can’t be biased or don’t really have any expectations. i like that this is a book for anyone, from artists and creative types, those interested in fashion and even children and teens that are keen for some markmaking!

i am totally an advocate for books that are interactive in some form, and encourage or inspire you to be creative, and fashion exercise book definitely has all those features.

if you want to see inside the book a little more and learn a little about frances, here’s an interview, and videos here, here, and here.

* this was sent to me to review, but as always, all opinions are my own.

book review / abc by brian wildsmith

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abc by brian wildsmith
todays review is brian wildsmiths ABC. well, perhaps not a review as such, more me expressing my love for brian wildsmith. i’m not sure if it’s rare, but i’m having trouble finding it online, so if you want a copy i’d say keep an eye out in charity shops and bookshops, or one may pop up on amazon or ebay. his other books such as animal gallery are (a bit) more widely available.

this is essentially just an animal abc book, but it’s made more special by wildsmiths beautiful paintings and energetic style. i think this book was originally made in the 60’s, but could easily fit in with any childs – or adults – book collection now. each page has a painting of an animal corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. l, for example, has a lion.

alphabet by brian wildsmith
cat by brian wildsmith
cat CAT by brian wildsmith
the actual animals depicted are nothing new when it comes to ABC books, but it’s brians style that brings pure magic to this book. his wonderfully textured and colourful paintings are a thing of beauty. i also really love the colours he uses – both in his paintings and the colour choices for the text pages. it just works. i’m not sure why the words are spelled out in caps too, maybe to reinforce the spelling?

zebra by brian wildsmith
horse by brian wildsmith
although this is a childs book it most definitely will appeal to some adults too, namely those who are into art and illustration and/or ABC books. if you ever find this book, snap it up! it will be a treasure forever. mine is a bit worse for wear as it’s a used book i bought from a library, but it will always be a favourite.

have you heard of brian wildsmith before? who is/was your favourite children’s book illustrator?

book review / pulled: a catalog of screen printing by mike perry

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pulled: a catalog of screen printing book by mike perry
today i’m reviewing pulled: a catalog of screen printing by mike perry. i remember buying this when i was in the throes of a screenprinting phase back in college. i still love screen printing of course, but i haven’t done it in ages. i would love to do some ‘proper’ screen printing (as in with exposures) but it’s not something i can afford currently. it’s so fun though and something i LOVE doing.

anyway, this book is still a good fix years later when i need a bit of screen printing goodness in my life. the book is compiled by mike perry who’s an illustrator himself. i have a couple other books of his which i may review in the future too.

rachel domm
this isn’t a book that will teach you about the techniques of screen printing, but rather serves as inspiration for all the aspiring printmakers, illustrators and colour lovers out there. as with most books of a visual nature there are some works i don’t like, but for the most part there is some fantastic work in this book.

most of it is quite bold and graphic with simple colour schemes, and there are others which take more of a mixed media and textural approach, such as the work of scott massey or daniel luedtke (whose work seems to take a different form now).

pulled page numbers
maya hayuk
david maron
i love the way that the pages are numbered, like limited edition prints. very clever and fitting! i’d say that on a personal level i find this book a fantastic visual feast full of colour and inspiration. it also seems to be very well thought out in every aspect from design, to paper choice (the pages are very nice to the touch). this was the first book i bought by mike, and if he puts out any more books i’d happily buy them too.

book review / vintage pattern 1950s by marnie fogg

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vintage patterns 1950s by marnie fogg
today i’m reviewing vintage patterns 1950s by marnie fogg. in a nutshell, to me, a book like this is the definition of ‘small, but perfectly formed’.

the title explains exactly what this book is about, vintage patterns from the 1950’s. it features well known designers of the time such as lucienne day, terence conran and . patterns aside, one of my favourite things about the book is that it’s split into chapters with an introduction to each style of pattern.

terence conran pattern
kinetic patterns

i love that the introductions and captions accompanying some of the patterns aren’t dumbed down and over simplistic. they’re not in overly grandiose language, but it’s nice to see something well written in a book that doesn’t have many words.

pink pattern
lucienne day pattern

the reproduction of the patterns is fantastic, the images are bright and crisp, and despite this books smallish size, they’re just the right size. also, this book is very well constructed and the hard cover really adds to its charm. it would be nice to see it in a larger format too, but at 15.7 x 15.9cm it’s definitely not too small either.

all in all i’d most definitely recommend vintage patterns 1950s to pattern lovers everywhere. this book will inspire you in terms of colour combinations and pattern, especially if you’re a fan of the 1950’s or vintage in general.