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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!

100 years of colour | book review

books by

100 years of colour | book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

book ℅ octopus publishing

100 years of colour – £14.99

100 years of colour by katie greenwood is a book showcasing art, illustration and design throughout the last century that looks at colour usage in the past 100 years. that alone sold me, but when i actually received and looked at the book? oh. my. heart eyes emoji!

this book goes through each year in each decade from the 1900’s until 1990’s and shows images that were made, popular or had some impact within that time. next to each image is a colour palette comprised of the main colours within the image, repeated to show different combinations, and underneath that the RGB codes if you wish to use these colours within your work. CMYK is at the back of the book.

100 years of colour | 1920's

100 years of colour | 1969 colour palette

100 years of colour | russian illustration

the book is well designed, and laid out in a way that’s easy to navigate. i love the banded strips on black throughout the book in particular.

each decade starts of with a short essay on significant events that happened within that decade, and how they have an effect on colour use in art and design.

the images chosen for each year aren’t necessarily the ‘most important’ of that time, but they are representative of colour usages and styles within these times. it’s pleasing to flick through the book and see how colour usage changes, and how certain colours always seem to be there, whilst other colours (or colour combinations at least) are a bit more cyclical.

it’s interesting to think that had the author only chosen images that were most popular at these times – rather than perhaps ones that are more standout to artists and designers – would this book be completely different, and maybe more indicative of colour trends?

100 years of colour, a book review

100 years of colour

100 years of colour | 90's colours

who really knows, but there are probably other books out there that have taken very popular images throughout art history (mona lisa for example) and studied colour usage throughout the decades in a much more in-depth manner.

what i see this book as being, is one for inspiration, and in particular one that can help you come up with some interesting and varied colour palettes for your work. also, there were quite a few artists and pieces i’d not seen before, so on that viewpoint, it will actually indirectly help me learn more about them.

if you’re a designer, illustrator or artist looking for some colour inspiration (in a way you can directly plug into photoshop or illustrator, too) this book very well serves its need. i’ve picked it up and looked at it SO many times already, just for a burst of colour. however, if you’re looking for something more in-depth in terms of colour theory or are researching colour usage throughout history, i’d still recommend this, but more as a supplement to other books.

overall, if you love colour and illustration, i think you will enjoy this!

peter blake | book review

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peter blake book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

books ℅ tate publishing

peter blake (modern artists series) by natalie rudd – £14.99

peter blake, for me, is one of those artists whose works i either love or have some seemingly unjust dislike. i don’t know why and can’t explain it. i do LOVE his collections though. that speaks to my heart and soul as someone that is a bit of a hoarder and loves to collect.

peter blake self portrait » cardboardcitiespeter blake book reviewjasper johns - peter blake book review

this book has a good variety of his work in, and the images seem to be well produced with good colour and sharpness. the commentary is interesting and plentiful, and this (and the images) cover his work from the 50’s up until mid 00’s. the work within is in (roughly) chronological order, but does kind of vary from this. it doesn’t take away from the experience of the book.

zsa zsa gabor - peter blake book reviewpeter blake collections - book reviewpeter blake » cardboardcities

being a collage artist myself, i’m naturally drawn to his collages, which i am (mostly) very fond of. it’s his paintings i’m not hugely keen on. i just don’t ‘connect’ with them in the same way that i do his other work. this is of course completely personal and doesn’t change my view of the book. as i said, it has a good variety of all the different media he uses.

overall if you’re a big fan of peter blake, just want to research his work a bit, read some interviews and learn about him in general, or want to learn about an artist that extensively uses many different media, i think you’d like this book, and it’s definitely worth having in your collection.

puffin childrens book reviews

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pass it on by sophy henn - book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

all books ℅ puffin books

pass it on by sophy henn – £5.99

this is basically joy and gratitude in a childrens book, which, in my eyes, is always a good thing.

i don’t care how old you are, you need to read this book.

‘pass it on’ is essentially about finding happiness in the small things in life. which, really, are quite big and very important when you think about it.

the illustrations are as wonderful as the story, and i just love the colours and textures too.

as a 29 year old woman i felt touched by this book, and if i’d read it as i child i just know it would have been an instant favourite, and i honestly think it could have had quite an impact on me.

when you see something terrific...

pass it on by sophy henn

splash a smile and pass it on

pass it on by sophy henn - book review



max at night - book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

max at night by ed vere – £6.99

max is now a recurrent character in ed vere’s books, and in this title, he needs to say goodnight to the moon before he can go to bed. of course, that’s not as easy as it sounds…

the story is delightful and heart warming and i could easily see this becoming a favourite bedtime book for little ones.

i adore the bold, graphic illustrations and the colour choices here are fantastic too. i really like how you get a sense of how tiny max is compared to the world he lives in ..a thing i’m sure we all identify with.

i often find myself wanting to do a illustrated story about ava (my cat) and the adventures she gets up to and this book is fantastic inspiration on how to do it right.

max at night - book review

book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

max at night, a book review



chimpanzees for tea - book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

chimpanzees for tea by jo empson – £6.99

this is totally a book i would have LOVED to have read as a child, and it really reminded me of books i did actually read as a child. i’m sure as soon as you’ll read this you’ll recognise the format of the ‘shopping list’ game, but this has definitely put a fun, whimsical twist on that. if like me you’re easily distracted you’ll be able to identify with vincent, the young boy who’s been given a list by his mother.

as i was reading this i couldn’t help but hear the voices of the characters in this book. it feels alive! the beautiful illustrations help bring it alive even further and you really do feel like you’re being carried along with the story.

fun for children and adults alike!

a childrens book review

chimpanzees for tea book review


book review » cardboardcities

a book review of chimpanzees for tea by jo empson