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My research and finds in the world of surface design. I focus on illustration, fabric, pattern, and printed fashion.
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    That's Mine! by Michel Van Zeveren
    Published in New Zealand by Gecko Press

    I've had it said to me a million times in my life: "Be careful what you wish for". Here the lesson is for a little frog who finds an egg. 'Aha...that's mine', he claims. But other creatures in the mighty jungle also covet the mysterious treasure: "...ssssmine," says the snake. "Ack...ack...ack...actually, it's mine," says the eagle. "...tis mine,' says the lizard, and a fight ensues. But then in a sudden twist, no one wants it:

    That's Mine! by Michel Van Zeveren

    The story ends with an unexpected double twist completing the tale with humour. The illustrations are expressive and have a distinctly hand-drawn look that I think children find very appealing. This book is a hit with my three-year-old girl, but better suited a slightly older child (advertised as suitable for 4+, I would say that is spot on). This is a charming book told with clarity; another goodie from Gecko Press.

    That's Mine! by Michel Van Zeveren 
    Published by Gecko Press (NZ) 1 February 2012
    Origin: Belgium
    Ages 4+,  36 pages
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-27-1 (hardback)
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-28-8 (paperback)
    About the Author/Illustrator
    Michel Van Zeveren was born in Belgium in 1970. He studied animation (wanting to be the next Walt Disney) before discovering the joy of children's book illustration. He lives in Brussels, Belgium with his wife and daughter.

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    Beautiful Bobo Choses; the Spring Summer 2013 collection is well conceived and beautifully executed. Can fresh fruit and vegetables be a super-fun theme? Bobo Choses makes it so. Meet Jean Gustav - gourmet elephant, and friendly neighbourhood grocer. Everything in his shop is fresh, healthy, and organic. Be inspired by this funny collection of colourful prints and comfy cuts.

    Bobo Choses Spring Summer 2013 Collection

    Bobo Choses Spring Summer 2013 Collection

    Bobo Choses Jean Gustav Large Fit Tee Spring Summer 2013

    Bobo Choses 3 Veggies Large Fit Tee Spring Summer 2013

    Bobo Choses Milk T-Shirt Dress Spring Summer 2013

    Bobo Choses Lemons Overall Spring Summer 2013

     Bobo Choses Lemon Body Spring Summer 2013

    Bobo Choses Pear Body Spring Summer 2013

    Bobo Choses Mr.Cook Sweatshirt Spring Summer 2013

     Bobo Choses Herrings Bloomers Spring Summer 2013

     Bobo Choses Spring Summer 2013 Collection

    Bobo Choses Spring Summer 2013 Collection
    Available at Noeuf.

    If you are interested in purchasing something from the range or viewing more of the collection, you'll find a great selection at Noeuf. Or you may like to visit the Bobo Choses website and shop.

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    One of my favourite reads on the net over the past week is an article over at The Design Files about creative partnership Rowena Martinich and Geoffrey Carran. The Melbourne-based artists have recently launched  Martinich & Carran - an amazing collaborative project that sees the artists' two very different painting styles, complementing each other brilliantly, on products for the homewares market.

    Paintings by Geoffrey Carran 

    Paintings by Rowena Martinich

    The Rose Painting (below) was the pair's first collaboration, and was reproduced onto fabric by Michelle Francis from Frankie & Swiss. This striking result inspired further collaboration and the creation of the Martinich & Carran brand.

    Rose Painting by Geoffrey Carran and Rowena Martinich

    These outrageously gorgeous and unique cushions are the first pieces to emerge. The cushions are printed with natural pigment dyes on organic cotton/hemp and have feather down inners. More importantly though, they feature Geoffrey Carran's paintings on one side and Rowena Martinich's paintings on the other. The marriage of styles makes a great impact; the two complement each other beautifully. 

    Sulphur Crested Cushion by Martinich & Carran

    Sulphur Crests Cushion by Martinich & Carran

    Joseph Banks ii Cushion by Martinich & Carran

    Gough Cushion by Martinich & Carran

    Male Gang Gang Cushion by Martinich & Carran

     Cocky Landing Cushion by Martinich & Carran

    Grooming Cushion by Martinich & Carran

    Rowena and Geoffrey's story has a delightful romantic element too. I encourage you to read the article over at The Design Files where author Lucy has presented a lovely account of the couple, their art, and their meeting. You can also view more of the artists' respective art practices by visiting www.geoffreycarran.com and www.martinich.com.au. The website for the pair's collaborative work is over at www.martinichandcarran.com.

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    Today my inspiration comes from the Valentino Spring 2013 Couture Collection. It is extraordinary; no question. It is not just the final product that inspires me, but the story behind it:
    In a fascinating review by Tim Blanks, it is said that it took 850 hours to embroider an organza jacket and skirt, and that is only one example of the incredible artisanal effort that has gone into this collection. It does not surprise me; the intricacy and beauty of the garments is astounding.

    Valentino Spring 2013 Couture

    Valentino Spring 2013 Couture

    Valentino Spring 2013 Couture

    Valentino Spring 2013 Couture

    Valentino Spring 2013 Couture

    If you love fashion, or are looking for inspiration, this is the collection to pore over! You can view the Valentino Spring 2013 Couture collection at the Valentino website or over at Style.com. Both sites offer close up views of the breathtaking details. Don't forget to read the review which offers insight into the inspiration behind the collection. 

    Designers: Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli
    Photography: Marcus Tondo/InDigital  GoRunway

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    Eeek...sorry for that gap in posts! I've been busy with some client work, but just so you know I'm still around and still scouting out some of life's most stunning surface pattern designs, here is my favourite image from Alice + Olivia Fall 2013:

    Alice + Olivia Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

    I'm in love with the wallpaper as much as I am the skirt! See the entire collection over at Style.com.

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    Hello friends and fellow designers!
    If you regularly visit Kitty as a Picture or my other blog Go Benny Go, you will have noticed that I have not been posting much in the last few weeks. There are many reasons why: I have had client work to do, I have been working my way through module three of The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, I have young children to care for, and I have also been very unwell. Being ill has made me realise that I need to spend more time with my family and not let this precious time with my little ones and my wonderful partner slip by. I want to savour every precious moment.

    "Let Us Enjoy This Fleeting Moment" Omar Khayyam
    Illustration by gobennygo, Copyright gobennygo 2013

    The image above is part of a mini-collection I did while working on the Ecourse. Those who have followed my blog will have seen the artwork before; I have just changed the colour to Emerald- the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2013. If you are considering doing Beth and Rachael's surface pattern course I can tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was worth every cent and more! I loved it and have made some very dear friends and learnt a heap. I am very grateful to Beth and Rachael for the wonderful artistic journey it has been for me.  

     I am going to take a break from Kitty as a Picture now and spent some precious time with my family. I know I will be back because I am inspired by so much in life and I absolutely love to share it. I just don't know how long I will be away; It may be days, it may be weeks, or it may be months. But I will be back, I promise! Please, treasure the people you love, and treasure every fleeting moment with them.
    Love Brenda X

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  • 03/25/13--20:04: Back on Monday April 1
  • I'm enjoying a break from blogging at the moment; some quiet time to focus on family. I'll be back from Monday 1st April.

    P.S Love the fabulousOrla Kiely Spring Summer 2013 collection! 

    Come Fly With Me Scarf 
    Orla Kiely Spring Summer 2013

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    Kicking off again (following a short break) with some enormously inspiring images courtesy of surface pattern designer Veronica Galbraith. Twelve of her designs have been featured in Texitura, the print design trend magazine.

    Texitura Printing Design Magazine, Issue 49

    Texitura is well established with a history of over thirty years of publications in pattern trend prediction. It is created by a group of trend forecasters based in Spain, with two issues a year - in January and July.
    Surface pattern designer Veronica Galbraith is one of the artists featured in the most recent edition, and she has kindly allowed me to share these images with you. Veronica's designs are featured under three key print trends - the first: Bloom Bloom (big florals in vibrant colours.)

     The second: UFO-ture (alien nature environments.)


    And lastly: Re-Play (reuse and recycle.)

    Texitura features the contributions of designers from all around the world. It also includes palettes and Pantone references, and a CD-rom with over 200 vector files. Visit the Texitura website to purchase a copy of this issue, or visit Veronica Galbraith's blog Pitter Pattern to learn more about this talented designer.

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    My inspiration today comes from illustrator Steve Simpson whose creativity is apparent in every detail, right down to barcodes.
    "Barcodes grace almost every product we sell. Considering how much package real estate they command, why shouldn't they be more fun?" he says. 
    Too right! Steve's examples of illustrated bar codes certainly add character and sophistication to the overall product packaging design:

    Snappy Flossers

    Snappy Flossers

    Chilly Moo frozen yogurt

    Chilly Moo frozen yogurt

    Chilly Moo frozen yogurt

    Mic's Chilli BBQ Sauce

    Mic's Chilli Sweet Chilli Sauce

    Whitebeam album (CD)

    Whitebeam album (CD)
    From WIP VooDoo Pets

    If this idea appeals to you, Steve has generously given away some tips on how to achieve the best result when illustrating a barcode. You'll find those tips and more images of Steve's work over at his Behance portfolio.

    Originally from Manchester, England but now firmly based in Ireland, Steve Simpson is a freelance illustrative designer working in the areas of packaging design, illustration and art for children’s books. 

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    This morning I am excited by these stunning stationery items designed by Amy Butler. Amy's designs are a constant source of inspiration for me; the colour and detail in her work shows incredible skill and talent. 

    Cameo Stationery Set by Amy Butler

    Sticky Note and To-Do List Set + Eco Journal, by Amy Butler

    Journal made with recycled paper, by Amy Butler

    Stationery Set featuring note cards and envelopes, by Amy Butler

    Portfolio of sticky notes, sticky flags, and to-do lists; by Amy Butler

    These items are available to pre-order at Chronicle Books and Amazon. Indulge yourself!

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    Thanks to Nataly at Chocovenyl for sharing these super-cute Dress-Up-Doll wall stickers with me. They are by Adolie Day - a French artist who has designed for Kenzo and Catmini, published books, exhibited in Bon Marche Paris, Galeries Lafayettte and more. 

    Dress-up Dolls Wall Stickers by Adolie Day
    Dress-up Dolls Wall Stickers by Adolie Day

    The Dress-up-dolls can work like a puzzle - swap heads and legs, mix them up and match the pieces. There are eight dolls in total: Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Fairy, Ballerina, Princess, Cat Girl, Mouse Girl and of course Super Girl! You'll find them at Chocovenyl, You may also like to visit Adolie Day's blog to see more of her work, or learn more about her via her US agent Lilla Rogers.

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    I've been unwell lately and I feel like I have completely lost my mojo! I need a lift, so I have the work here of two talented ladies that I recently worked through The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design with. With these inspiring images I hope to kick-start some of that wonderful creative energy that I had before I got sick. Thank you Laura Escalante Mora and Trina Esquivelzeta for being a source of inspiration!

    Laura Escalante Mora

    Trina Esquivelzeta (Surface Hug)

     These ladies are just two of the wonderful, supportive and talented friends I made during the course. The network of girls that I have linked with and shared work and resources with was one of the many highlights of the online course, and probably the most surprising. It is the obvious place for me to start in my search for inspiration this week. Thank you girls!

    Be sure to check out more of Laura's beautiful work at her Behance site, and you'll find more of Trina's stunning florals over at the Surface Hug blog.

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    Apologies to my regular readers for the infrequent posts; I need to focus my energy on my health and my family at the moment. I expect it some time before I have time to resume a regular schedule, so please bear with me!
    Today I am delighted to bring you a very special find from Gecko Press:

    BANG by Leo Timmers is an extraordinary book; it is original, clever, funny, and expertly illustrated. Leo Timmers' illustrations have a beautiful painterly quality and are enormously detailed. Quirky characters and vintage-style elements add charm, while humour is carried throughout the story and subtly in the details. 
    Perfectly described as 'a big, happy accident', the story follows one hapless driver after another and their hilarious collisions:

    As each new character enters the fray, there is a hilarious new twist to the chaotic chain of prangs and mix-ups. Young and old will enjoy spotting the very funny results of each collision, told through pictures alone.

    At the climax of the book the pages fold out so that the entire scene and happy conclusion can be appreciated with maximum impact. It is quite simply the most beautiful and delightful book I have seen this year. Well worth the extra investment for hard back, this stunning picture book makes a superb gift for pre-schoolers; you'll find it over at Gecko Press.

    BANG by Leo Timmers
    Published by Gecko Press
    Ages 3+
    228 x 258mm 48 pages
    IBSN: 978-1-877579-18-9 (Hardback)
    IBSN:978-1-877579-17-2 (Paperback)
    Published 17 May, 2013

    About the Author/Illustrator
    Leo Timmers was born in 1970, in Belgium. At the age of 12 he started drawing comics. Trained in Graphic Design, he illustrates for Belgian magazines and papers as well as illustrating picture books.

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    So sorry! Sadly, I have had to put Kitty as a Picture blog on hold. I hope to get back to blogging one day when time allows, but at the moment I must focus on my family, my health, and my own design work. Thanks for visiting! X

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    Now that I am feeling well again, and life has slowed down a bit, I have been asking myself when or if I should resume blogging. Then last week a truly delightful book arrived in my letterbox and I absolutely can't resist sharing it. So, Kitty as a Picture is back, and kicking off with The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (which I can assure you is anything but boring!)

    The Boring Bookby Vasanti Unka

    The Boring Book opens with a book (an adorable lift-the-flap insert) that is said to be so boring it sends everyone who attempts to read it to sleep. (Adults, do take the time to read the text in the lift-the-flap book - it's hilarious and very clever.)

    The Boring Bookby Vasanti Unka

    This book is sooooo boring that even the words themselves are fed up. They are tired of standing around in rows, and instead begin to play and be creative. Then one day they skip right out of the book to freedom and begin to get up to a little mischief.

    The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka

    At first there is much fun and excitement, but then things start to go awry. The words need to be reined in; there is just too much confusion. So what happens to the words? Can they still have fun? Inspire? Play?

    The Boring Book concludes in the most surprising and delightful way, and the book appeals to me on so many levels. It is a unique story idea with a valuable message for children about the joys of creative word play. As a book-lover, occasional creative writer, and parent I am super-excited to have discovered this book and what it has to offer my kids.
    The artwork is lively and expressive, well suited to the story. And, the illustrations incorporate pattern - my passion. Add some lift-the-flap elements and you have my idea of the perfect children's book. The Boring Book is cute, quirky, and totally lovable. Thank you Vasanti Unka and Penguin Group (NZ), I'm smitten and so is my daughter!

    The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka
    IBSN: 9780143505754
    Published by Penguin Group (NZ)

    November 2013
    Imprint: Puffin
    Format: Hardback

    32 pages

    About the author

    Vasanti Unka is a designer and illustrator based in Auckland. She is the illustrator of The Bean's Story, which was a 2008 Storylines notable book, and Hill & Hole by Kyle Mewburn. Hill & Hole was shortlisted for the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It won the LIANZA Russell Clarke award the same year and was also the first children's book to win the Gerard Reid Award for Best Book at the PANZ Book Design Awards.

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    I adore the fresh, exciting palette Tove Johansson uses in her design. Her new collection - The Kalas Collection - is lively and invigorating with her signature graphic look, unique geos, and eye-popping colour.

    Tove Johansson - The Kalas Collection 2013

    Tove Johansson - Candy cushion

    Tove Johansson -  Candy Round cushion, Girlang cushion (right), and Clover cushion (bottom)

    Tove Johansson - Jigsaw cushion

    Tove Johansson - Collage cushion (left), Collage cushion dark (right)

    Tove Johansson - Clover cushion (left), Papillon pillow (right)

    I love the way Tove balances out busy patterns with a few very carefully considered simpler designs such as the Clover and Papillon pillows above, and my absolute favourite the Candy Round cushion. I was trying to think of a way to describe how I feel when I see design that makes me excited like this; I came up with 'heart-soaring'! It gives me a little rush of adrenalin and energy. It makes my heart soar. Thank you Tove! 

    Be sure to visit Tove's website and store for more information. 

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    Award-winning illustrator Binny Talib has put together the most delightful and amusing advent calendar suitable for iPhones and iPads. It's a no-brainer at the bargain price of ninety nine cents ($AU). I am naughty (one of those open-presents-early kind of girl!) and have had a bit of a sneak peek before my children get their hands on it, and I can say with absolute conviction that my kids are going to love it!

    Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)

    The calendar features this lovely street-scape (below) with a surprise game or activity for each day leading up to Christmas. It is beautifully illustrated, super-cute, and made me giggle. 

    Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)

    Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)

     Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)

    I am so excited to be able to share this with my kids; how wonderful that the magic of Christmas can start already. Tomorrow December is here, and in my family we will be venturing out to find a beautiful Christmas tree for our lounge room. The lights, the decorations, the music, the joy on those little faces...oh yay! Let the countdown begin!

    Purchase the Binny Talib Advent Calendar at iTunes or at Google Play. Keep up to date with Binny's news over at her blog and website.

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    Talented designer Sanna Annuka has had a busy year working for Marimekko, but has recently found some time to put together these wonderful Christmas screen-prints:

    'Inari'- designed and hand-printed by Sanna Annukka

    'Kainuu' - designed and hand-printed by Sanna Annukka

    She says the designs are based on much-loved regions of Finland. Kainuu is home to the great Oulujärvi, Finland's fourth largest lake. The design depicts a wintry scene of forest covered islands amidst icy waters and under the watchful gaze of the moon. Inari, in Finnish Lapland, is a majestic terrain of fells and lakes with heart stopping beauty. During the summer months the sun never dips below the horizon and late at night it smoulders with sublime golden light.

    Both prints are limited editions of only forty, and are available to purchase online now at her website.

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    I am so excited to show off some New Zealand talent today, with the most adorable book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins. It is a co-publication between Gecko Press and Whitireia Publishing to celebrate the 20th anniverary of the Whitireia publishing course. A Book is a Book is a very special creation for book-lovers, and that is me. I love books, and I love this book.

    A Book is a Book celebrates books and reading. It is a treasure for people like me who cherish the whole experience of books - the story, the illustrations, the format, the feel, the typography, and the layout of a carefully considered book. 'Carefully considered' is exactly what A Book is a Book is. Like all books from Gecko Press, you can practically feel the love that has gone into the creation - from the writer to the artist to the publishing choices. A Book is a Book shines in all areas. It is a sweet contemplation by poet Jenny Bornholdt about books and the delight they can bring. The illustrations by Sarah Wilkins are a perfect fit in a delicate but vibrant, painterly style. The small hardback format and cream pages give it a stylish and subtly vintage feel. The quality construction of the book itself and the surprising details (a different image underneath the dust-cover, and a beautiful bookmark that came with my copy) are noticed and appreciated by book-lovers like me. The more I look at this book, the more I love it. There is so much talent in this lovely little county of mine!

    Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

    Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

    Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

    Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

    Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

    You can purchase A Book is a Book over at the Gecko Press website. It makes a gorgeous Christmas gift!

    A Book is a Book
    Written by Jenny Bornholdt
    Illustrated by Sarah Wilkins
    Gecko Press and Whitireia Publishing
    Published 1 November 2013
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-92-9
    180 x 120mm, 40 pages, Ages 4+

    About the Author

    Jenny Bornholdt is an acclaimed poet. In 2005-06 she was the NZ Poet Laureate, and received the 2003 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. Jenny lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

    About the Illustrator

    Sarah Wilkins has worked as an illustrator in Australia, New Zealand and France. She won the LIANZA Russell Clark Award for Illustration in 2003. Sarah currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

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    Browsing Print and Pattern blog the other day, I fell madly in love with a new Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar, and couldn't resist sharing it here. The colour palette is so vibrant and energetic, I just can't stop looking at it!

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar, 11"x17"

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - January

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - February

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - March

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - April

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - May

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - June

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - July

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - August

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - September

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - October

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - November

    Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - December

    I also popped over to the Rifle Paper Co website to browse their 'New' category and found plenty more to get excited about:

    Rifle Paper Co Herbs and Spices 2014 calendar

    Rifle Paper Co - Botanical desk calendar 2014

    Rifle Paper Co - Botanical desk calendar 2014 Pages Jan-Apr

    Rifle Paper Co - To my Valentine...Flat Note

    Rifle Paper Co - Botanical Rose iPhone 5c Case, Inlay

    Rifle Paper Co - Citrus Floral Tin Recipe Box

    Rifle Paper Co - Midnight Garden Tin Recipe Box

    Rifle Paper Co - Holiday Plaid Gift Wrap

    The saturated colour and strong contrasts, combined with vintage-style florals, give me such a lift. Such happy designs! Grab yourself or a friend a 2014 calendar or recipe tin from Rifle Paper Co and be inspired the whole year round!

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    Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

    I have a very special book on my bookshelf - The Bear and the Wildcat written by Kazumi Yumoto and illustrated by Komako Sakai. I urge you to read it because it is profound and beautiful. It is a joy now to share with you another book illustrated by Komako Sakai: Hannah's Night.

    Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

    Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

    Hannah's Night tells the story of a little girl's quiet adventure (in the safety of her home) on a wakeful night when everyone else in the house is sound asleep. It is an elegantly simple story that I found very evocative - it took me right back to my own childhood. I remember there was a kind of magic when routine was broken or something out of the ordinary happened; also how exciting those small snatches of independence were as I grew up. Now as an adult, I feel a certain kind of magic when I get up early and venture out for a walk or run while my house and most other households are still sleeping. Whatever that magic is, Komako captures it beautifully with her exquisite, textured illustrations and simple language. There is a ton of atmosphere, and a lovely peacefulness about this book.   

    Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

    Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

    Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

    As a parent I find Hannah's Night a pleasure to read time and time again; as an artist I am awed and inspired. What a lovely creation. Thank you Komako Sakai, and thank you Gecko Press. It really is a gem.

    Hannah's Night is a lovely Christmas gift idea for last-minute shoppers (you can purchase over at Gecko Press). Pop back in a few days for another awesome Gecko Press publication.

    Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai
    Published by Gecko Press, 2 August 2013
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-55-4 Paperback
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-54-7 Hardback
    255 x 210mm
    32 pages
    Origin: Japan
    About the Author/Illustrator

    After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Komako Sakai worked at a kimono textile design company. She is one of the most popular children's author/illustrators in Japan. 

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  • 12/23/13--01:26: 100 People by Masayuki Sebe
  • Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

    Merry Christmas everyone! This will be my last post of the year, going out with the most excellent book 100 People by Masayuki Sebe.

    I loved 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe, and I love 100 People even more. Yesterday my four-year-old daughter was quietly engrossed in this book for close to an hour - some kind of miracle for her during this exciting lead-up to Christmas. A whole hour of peace; I could hardly believe my luck! But seriously, this book is pretty awesome.

     Illustration from 100 People by Masayaki Sebe
    Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

    Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

    Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

    100 Things is a look-and-find book, a bit like a Where's Wally?for little ones. As well as the ten characters the reader is asked to seek in every spread, there are suggestions for stacks of other things to find. The illustrations are packed with funny characters and amusing interactions making it impossible to get bored. The large format is ideal for young ones, and the bold, graphic style makes 100 People appealing for kids and parents alike. In fact, this book is now right up there with my favourites for kids (and mums). It's coming camping with us this summer holidays; hours and hours of entertainment in one slim and sturdy volume. Genius!

    About the Author/Illustrator

    Masayuki Sebe was born in 1953 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in craft. He is much-loved for his brightly coloured, humour-filled illustrations. He is especially well-known for his activity books, including Dinosaurs Galore and 100 Things (both from Gecko Press).

    100 People by Masayuki Sebe
    Published by Gecko Press, Oct 2013
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-86-8 (Hardback)
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-87-5 (Paperback with flaps)
    Ages 4+   300x245mm  24 pages
    Origin: Japan

    I wish you all a wonderful, safe and happy Christmas season. See you in the new year! 

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    Hi there! Happy New Year to all. I've enjoyed a wonderful, extended summer break, and now I'm delighted to kick off this year with a new collection from my all-time favourite children's fashion label Oilily. The energy, detail and quirks in Oilily's designs are a constant source of inspiration for me, and today I have enjoyed browsing their newest designs. I hope you too will be energised by their 'Dutch Orient Collection'

    Oilily Spring Summer 2014 - The Dutch Orient Collection

    To see the world, Oilily says we need only to voyage to the Netherlands. The Dutch Orient Collection is inspired by a time in Dutch history when tough sea captains and brave sailors ventured to the Orient, and other distant lands, and returned home with beautiful things - spectacular flowers, herbs, precious stones and fabrics that filled the country with fragrance, colour, and flavour.

    In the Dutch Orient collection you'll find  typical Dutch colours, prints and designs - but with a twist. There is a hint of the exotic, and a rich variety of motif, detail, and technique. True to Oilily's signature, attention is paid to quality and craftsmanship; it is easy to see the care and consideration that has gone into each piece.
    The collection consists of two parts. The Spring collection is primarily based on the colours of the Dutch national flag: red, white and blue. In the Summer collection the palette has been expanded with the addition of exuberant colours, such as bright pink, yellow and green.

    Oilily Spring Summer 2014 - The Dutch Orient Collection

    Oilily Spring Summer 2014 - The Dutch Orient Collection

    There is much more to see in this lively collection, so pop over to Oilily Shop USA for a closer look. It is a particularly easy site to navigate, with excellent imagery that very quickly conveys the essence and mood of the new collection. Be inspired! I am.

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    Being a mum of two under fives I have the pleasure of reading many children's books. Sometimes I find the books pitched at preschoolers are just too chaotic and complicated, too complex for a little mind. Fortunately, there are some very engaging books that stand out for their clarity and simplicity. Pom and Pim by Lena and Olof Landstrom is one of these breaths of fresh air to me.

    Pom and Pim are an adorable pair just going about their day happily in the warm sun when they take a sudden fall. Bad luck.
    ...Or is it?

    This cute tale explores the surprising ups and downs Pom and Pim experience throughout their day. What appears to be good luck is possibly bad, and what presents as bad luck has a happy twist. 

    The illustrations are super-cute; the soft watercolour style gives them an appealing delicacy while the darker inked line-work adds definition and boldness keeping the design modern. I think the style captures the character and personality beautifully.

    Pom and Pim is a charming book. A compelling story told in fewer than a hundred words, it is perfect for kids just learning to read. It is also ideal for reading aloud to smaller children. Another stunning publication from Gecko Press!

    Pom and Pim by Lena and Olof Landstrom
    Published March 2014
    Gecko Press
    Ages 1+
    218 x 195mm
    32 pages
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-88-2 (Paperback)
    ISBN: 978-1-877579-66-0 (Hardback)
    Origin: Sweden

    About the Author and Illustrator

    Lena Landstrom was born in Sweden in 1943. Illustrator Olaf Landstrom was born in Finland in 1943.
    Lena and Olaf are husband and wife, and have collaborated on many children's books. They live in Stockholm, Sweden.

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    Sadly, Kitty as a Picture blog has come to an end, because I simply cannot find the time for it. I need to focus my energy on my own design work and blog. You can find me at Bren Michelle, where I showcase some of my designs, and share my thoughts, inspirations, books I love, and more.
    Thank you to all my readers; thanks to everyone who has taken the time to comment or to send me kind emails expressing your enjoyment of Kitty as a Picture; and a huge thanks to all the wonderful artists, designers and publishers who gave me permission to share their incredible designs, illustrations and publications.
    To finish I'd like to share a little of my work. If you like it, please join me over at Bren Michelle.

    Design by Bren Michelle

    Design by Bren Michelle

    Design by Bren Michelle

    Design by Bren Michelle

    Swan Collection by Bren Michelle