Tip: have a look at Fishink blog

Sometimes others do what you would like to do. And they do it so well that, in stead of trying to compete with them, it’s better to give them the credits and point people to their work. There is this blogger, Craig, who has created the “Fishink” blog, which is packed with nice stories about artists; illustrators in particular. There is the odd piece of ceramics now and them, or a peek in a gallery, or art fair, but mostly it is about visual artists.

His articles are concise, and well written. They contain the information you need, without being bloated, or pedantic. His posts are packed with images. Often he refers to a publisher, like in his recent article about Edward Bawden, where he refers to the precious Mainstone Press.

For me Craig’s blog is a regular source of inspiration, and his extensive list of links to artists and online resources is a real treasure trove. It must take a lot of time and research to build such a great collection of stories, and references. So, if you love art, especially the art of illustration, don’t hesitate, but go over to Fishink and enjoy.

Craig’s charming work at www.fishink.co.uk (reproduced with permission)

And yes, before I forget. Craig is an illustrator/designer too. I really like his funny colourful quirky style. If you’re interested, see for yourself.

New Colour Themes

From time to time I take stock of the colour themes that we carefully create with the use of Adobe Color CC (previously called Kuler). I started using Kuler years ago, and now, after the integration of the applications into the Creative Cloud I still have all my themes right there, at my fingertips, from the first attempts onto the latest themes. Nice.

There is magic involved in mixing and matching the right hues, values, and saturations of the colours. Do they live together? Do they clash? Do they create a harmony, calm, energy? So many memories and associations are intrinsically connected with colour. Like the scents that sent Proust into the past, colour can transport us, change our mood, evoke something we thought we forgot.

Turning the colour wheel, and finding the right theme is invigorating, and intellectually stimulating. But, finding a fitting title is just sheer fun. From the mundane, to the ridiculous, from the serious, to the childish, I think I have exhausted the whole spectrum of possibilities. Now I sometimes create a theme, just for the fun of having to think up a title later.

I picked a couple of themes from the CC colour library I created over time and made some colour theme samples in Illustrator to accompany this post.

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by Michel Leiris, the writer, surrealist and former director of the Musée de l’Homme (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by the movie by Jaques Tati (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by the view on Brussels from the EU building Covent Garden (Place Rogier) (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by the recent trend of Mid-Century Modern design (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by the view on the Eemshaven industrial port in the North of the Netherlands in February (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by nature on a summer morning (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by an eclectic mix of elements in a doll’s house, from hand-made to off-the-shelf toys (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by the people and market stalls in a small streets in Assisi (Italy) (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by murals in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (Italy) (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by English lithographs of Egyptian temple interiors (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by berries on a tree in our garden in Autumn (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by my own illustration of surreal priests on old paper in sepia an purple tints (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by glass bottles with ground pure pigments I used to mix oil paint (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Inspired by a visit to monumental houses in Perugia (Italy) (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
I couldn’t find another title, and came up with this one (©Eelco Bruinsma)

 

Colour theme created by Eelco Bruinsma in Adobe Color CC
Again inspired on the Eemshaven (Groningen, NL), but this time at dawn on a hazy winter morning (©Eelco Bruinsma)

Salut!

bottle pattern created in Adobe Illustrator CS6
Bottle pattern created in Adobe Illustrator CS6

Faced with the task of quickly creating a repeating pattern I used Adobe Illustrator CS6 to create a group of wine bottles. Working in Illustrator can force a person into delivering very clean, almost clinically clean, work. So you have to choose your tools deliberately to break free from this pulling force.

Since I went for a loose, woodcut-ish look, I exclusively used the blob-brush. With a very small variable linewidth this brush can give a very nice ‘hand-carved’ effect. Creating the repeating pattern was a matter of seconds with Illustrator’s pattern tool. I used a hexagonal distribution and created some extra white space with invisible shapes.

Wine bottles, grouped
The original set of bottles

“Typograaaaa….aah!” by Bruno Bronowski – 1 – Cover

Found this strange and smudged book on the market last september. The toothless bookseller told me that the subject of the book was ‘saving the world by typography’, well … I wonder how that works. The design of the book, and its subject, typography, appealed to the paleographer and book historian in me. Disciplines I thought I had long laid to rest were rekindled in an instant. The text of the book is strange, and at times apparently inconsistent. It seems to meander around the central theme, another book with illustrations, depicting characters in iconographic settings that seem both esoteric, and teleologic (= directed toward a certain goal, or final situation). My research into the author of this book, and the book to which he refers in the text, or the origin of the historiated alphabet, has hitherto been largely unsuccessful. I will post images from the book in a series of post over the next weeks. In this post the cover, and title page.

typograaa_cover
Cover of the book “Typograaah! …” By Bruno Bronowski.

title page
“Typograaah!” Title page

 

 

Display font

typoniconographica-I-rood
typoniconographica-I-rood

I’m currently working on a thematic alphabet. It will be multi-colored. This is the first elaborated version from a pencil sketch. The letters are based on fairly traditional forms, but not on an actual existing font. In my next post the whole progression from sketch to colored image. Every character will have a nickname, like the ‘n-neopathétique’ here. I use Adobe Illustrator CS5.

letter n using negative space
letter n using negative space

Colour

happy colour swatches
a selection of happy colour swatches

thoughtful coulour swatches, made in Adobe Kuler
thoughtful colour swatches, made in Adobe Kuler

When working on illustrations it’s easy to forget to save the colour schemes you invent on the go. That’s how I discovered the real advantage of Adobe’s online tool ‘Kuler’. It’s also great fun to use the colour samplers and try to compose a strip of 5 colour patches, or swatches. The limitation of only 5 colours, and the feeling that there should be some sense to the composition brings it very close to composing a haiku. This form of poetry which only allows for 3 sentences with 5, 7, 5 syllables, used for the description of seasonal observations, needs a disciplined and focussed approach. So does the invention of a strip of 5 colours accompanied by a name that makes some sense.

Cartoons in Progress – size matters

Just 2 cartoons for a education oriented project revolving around the world wheat and the bakery, accompanied by the initial sketches.

baker with mixing bowl
baker with mixing bowl, sketch

baker
Baker with mixing bowl, cleaned up illlustration

baker at work
baker at work

baker_at_work
Baker at work, final illustration

bakker in werkkleding 2
baker with corrected hat

After inspection by the client the long hat, which suggests a cook, rather than a baker (I must admit that I missed that one), I went into the Illustrator file and adapted the hat. Lowering some control points, tweaking a few Bézier-curves, and there you have it, a hat that floats between a beret and a long cook’s hat.

baker with stick
working baker with corrected hat

First Moonfrog Studio blog banner

The first run of a banner for the Moonfrog Studio blog. I designed the font some time ago because I was unable to find a font which combined the rond endings without a serif, or something similar on the M. Some day I may take it into Fontographer and create a complete font around this, but for now these characters will do. I created a whole array of banners, but it will take me some time to scale them so that they exactly fit into the heading-dimensions allowed by the WordPress-them.

Edit: a new WordPress-theme forced me to some minor tweaks.

I’m still working on the frog that will complete the design. Frogs are elusive little creatures though. I can’t decide which style to apply. Slick, cartoonish, sketchy, black & white, strong colors …. Ahrgh!

Banner – first rough pencil sketch

Never without my small sketchbook I have been sketching letters for days (was most productive while half watching “All the Presidents Men” on 13th STREET channel, a movie that despite its origins in the typerwriter era is still very watchable, except for the somewhat hasty and sloppy wrap-up) and finally ended up scribbling something I can use for my still very much unfinished website. After importing it into Illustrator the typography will be placed on separate layers so that the hidden C and L can be nudged a little to the right. Still have to decide whether to make it grungy in Photoshop & Painter, or clean in Illustrator.

banner for ABCultuur website - pencil sketch
banner for ABCultuur website - pencil sketch

It’s very non-web 2.0.