January Design Books

This month two design books I treated myself too are ones which I have been lusting after for quite a while! They are Graphic Design Rules 365 Essential Design Dos & Don’ts and Papercut Owen Gildersleeve. As someone who is obsessed with all things paper craft this book has been in my Amazon wish list for quite a while and I’m now really happy to have a copy. The Graphic Design Rules is a book which I  borrowed from the library whilst at University and found it to be really interesting and witty, so that made me want to have it in my collection of design books.

books2I liked the fact it didn’t take itself too seriously but also gave valuable advice. I’ve found myself flicking through it every time I design something now, just to double check if I might have forgotten or missed things. Having the book split up into the different sections is also handy as it makes for easy reference if your stuck on a particular problem or are unsure about how to do a certain thing. (For me the type and typography section has been very useful, especially the rule Thou shall not exceed a character count of 80 per line in a measure! For when my brain refuses to remember). Just incase your thinking of purchasing  the book yourself and want more information on what it includes the different sections are: Type and Typography, layout and Design, Colour, Imagery and Graphics, Production and Print and The Practice of Design. (so basically everything thing you would want information on when designing).


Chrissie Macdonald

Paper cut is such a beautiful book. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the cover just draws you in (its so fun!) Each paper crafter which is featured has an in-dept interview about their design process and influences, so you get a much deeper understanding of what drives them to create in the way they do. I always find it interesting to see how designers and illustrators started their careers and what made them take a certain path. I think this makes you look at their designs in a different way and have a greater appreciation. There is a great selection of paper craft illustrators from around the globe, so its exciting to read about how paper craft fits in with the illustration “scene” in different places and how their craft is fits in.




Weekly inspiration – Zim & Zou

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Sorry I’ve been gone for a while, I was having a short break. The blog posts will definitely now be more frequent! My love for paper-craft just keeps growing. How amazing is the work of design studio Zim & Zou. They use hand-crafted objects to make these amazing installations.

Check out my full inspiration post over at Illustration Friday.

Just keep Going

For my Blog post today I thought I would Write about one of my older pieces of work. I like to call this one The Green Collage (inventive I know). This was for a project whilst I was at University to create an illustration in response to the colour green, so the brief was very open. The first thing this conjured up in my mind was the Wizard of Oz and the Emerald city and I had this idea of making my own Emerald city out of objects, little gem stones and jewellery but this wasn’t translating well when I started to build my set design. Unfortunately, that happens sometimes when you have an idea in your head and then it doesn’t translate well on paper (or camera in my case). This shows that carrying on with a project that isn’t going right can be beneficial in the end. So If your working on a project that isn’t going your way don’t give up easily!


Instead, I decided to go with the idea of a Green garden, filled with whimsical objects. I quite like the idea that its creating a setting in the mind of the viewer and they can create their own little story from looking at it. I think I like this illustration as the composition is different from how I normally work. I like how I divided the piece into blocks and added the leaf elements at the edges. I would definitely like to explore working in this way again.

I think its always important to play around a bit when your creating a project and see where it can take you, rather than sticking to a decided outcome (unless thats required) . So sometimes a project that your not keen on can turn into a project you end up liking!

Have you had a project like this that you initially didn’t like? Let me know how you reached your final design in the comments below 🙂

Where I create

Trying to keep my desk nice and organised at the moment.


My desk area

I really love looking at what designers and illustrators desk areas look like (I’m a bit nosy and plus it gives me tips for my own) and what tools they use to create their work. I thought I would do my own little feature on this for my blog. This is my desk area at the moment, after I’ve recently given it a bit of a spruce. I love busy patterns and anything thats a bit girly, as you can probably tell from the photograph. I’m also very happy with my recent purchase the cup you can see in this picture was only £1! When I’m working I always make sure I have plenty of cup of tea breaks so I can use all of my favourite mugs. I always have a box of tissues on my desk too as I always seem to have a runny nose!


The journals I’ve purchased recently


A bargain from Wilkinsons

inside journal

The inside back cover has a space for keep sakes

I’ve recently purchased some new journals to help me be a bit more organised. I love the colour of the pink journal above, the one below it I got from Wilkinson’s for £1.50, a bargain. It has a days of the week planner, an area for notes, shopping lists, to do lists and an area at the back for receipts and keep-sakes. I think it will be a nice addition to my desk, I’m also looking forward to planning my work in my organiser, so I know what I’m doing on each day, rather than having it spread around on bits of paper that I can never find.


My favourite go to books.


Good magazines for inspiration


Mollie Makes and oh comely

My favourite magazines always offer lots of inspiration, I keep a stack of them in the shelves of my desk. I love to read oh comely when I’m having a break from doing my work, its full of really great articles and I always find myself becoming peaceful whenever I read it. Its a great stress-reliver. I think its great how each issue also has a different theme, they also have great illustrations in each issue often with many interviews as well. I also love to read Mollie Makes as it always offers a lot of inspiration and crafting ideas. Computer Arts is a very interesting read, it offers interviews, tutorials and self-help articles. Its great when they do issues such as the self-promotion one. Also on my shelves are my favourite go to books; Becoming a successful illustrator, Collage (illustration cut and paste) and The fundamentals of illustration. These provide helpful tips on how you should create your own process for working, how to generate ideas and everything else you might need to know on how to be an illustrator. The collage book is a really interesting book to look at too, collage is one of my favourite forms of illustrations and one that I use a lot myself, so this book is very handy.


My box of cut-outs

Also stacked in the shelves of my desk are my box of paper-cut outs. This box has all the images that I have ever used in my set design illustrations. Including a pair of roller-skating legs … This is a box that I can come back to when-ever I need a certain image, for example some trees or a photograph of a bag. I would eventually like to expand this collection into different storage boxes with different labels for each thing Ive collected. But I think thats a big project for the future, for now I’m happy with my box.

I would love to see what your desks look like and what inspires you, leave me a comment below with a link to your work areas!