Landscapes that never were

Spent some time on the beach at Gordons Bay.  The rocks are incredible.  Like landscapes.

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Nameless Girl gets coloured

I’ve managed to add colour to the Nameless Girl’s story that I’m working on for the Co/Mix show.  They came out rather different from one another, but still intriguing.  Here is the first one:

And the second one:

The Bright Lights in Wynberg

We went to the Mardi Gras carnival on Saturday night. Has it really been a year since the last one? It’s great –  warm summer evening, kids running around, loud techno music, the clanking and churning of the rides, the people screaming, and above all the coloured lights flashing and strobing everywhere.

These pictures came out great, blurs and all.  I’m still not brave enough to take my big camera to events like this, but the cell phone has its uses…

The Ferris wheel was smaller this year:

Coloured lights and the strange imagery: More

Feet and Flowers

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the  Haltadefinizione site – an Italian site that hosts extremely high resolution images of famous artworks.  These are works I’ve only seen in tiny prints in books, and here you can see every little crackle and brush stroke.

At first the images seem a little soft, but they get sharper and sharper as you let them download.  The interface allows you to pan around and zoom right up to the paintings, and the “full screen” button expands the images to fill your entire monitor.

I’ve always loved Botticelli’s Primavera – but now I have a whole different view of it. (And these images are a lot smaller than the version on the Haltadefinizione site, so they will fit in my blog.)

Just look at all the lovely feet:

I love these gorgeous toes among all those leaves and flowers 🙂


Procrastinating with Personas

I’m always finding ways to waste time online, especially when I have a lot of “real” work I’m supposed to be doing.  Creating Firefox personas fits the bill perfectly.  It involves a little bit of creativity and results in eye-candy.  Plus, I get to apply some of my patterns!

Forest Mirror

In case you dont know, a Firefox persona is a sort of “theme” you can apply to your browser.  It appears in the background to your toolbars.

Mermaid Hair More

Ernest in the Wild West by Ermanno Libenzi, illustrated by Adelchi Galloni

When I was a child, we had a book called Robin and the Pirates. You could spend hours pouring over it, and each time you would find something even more exciting and alarming.  I think my sister has got that book, but luckily I found another by the same author and illustrator:  Ernest in the Wild West written by Ermanno Libenzi and illustrated by Adelchi Galloni. He is capable of working in a remarkable variety of styles, as you can see from this page.


It has all the qualities I loved in Robin and the Pirates:  pages crammed full of deliciously scary pictures, funny and edgy and really quite surreal.  Not your average children’s book at all. More

Drogman by Stepan Zavrel

Every time I write about a book that I read when I was a child I want to say “my favourite”.  But Drogman has a special place in my heart. The story is magical.  Its romantic, with scary bits and a clever heroine.  It takes place mostly underwater which is something that has always fascinated me.    I particularly love the range of underwater colours, and the way the bleeding blobby ink style lends itself to watery scenes:bit2

The illustrations are simply stunning.  I cannot really give even a glimpse of them here, as every single page is a huge sumptuous double page spread.  Ive had to crop out little details just to give an idea.  More

Franklin Stein by Ellen Raskin

I found this lovely bright little book by writer / illustrator Ellen Raskin.  It was published in 1972:


I’m fascinated by the illustration style which seems to be planned for the way the book was printed.    I love the way the colours are separated and overprinted to create other shades, and how the black  line ties everything together: More

Wonderful Life by Helen Ward

I’ve found another writer / illustrator:  Helen Ward.  I have quite a few of her books already, but they are all illustrated by Wayne Anderson so I never twigged.  I found Wonderful Life at a book sale and promptly bought two copies.


It is the story of a little creature, an Ift called Snutt.  Snutt is an explorer and a dreamer who travels through space finding life all over the universe: More

Patterns from Drawings

I’ve still got the pattern bug bad – this time, I’ve been creating repeating patterns from my own drawings.


These are all generated from a drawing of a rather sad looking young man in elaborate uniform: More

Design Indaba 09 || Day 2 || Dai Fujiwara

Dai Fujiwara, the creative director of Issey Miyake was one of my favourite speakers at the Design Indaba.


Although his English was  broken, this seemed to help rather than hinder his ability to communicate.   He charmed us with his self deprecating and oddball sense of humour. More

Glimpses of January

I’ve have a new hobby: taking unimportant pictures.  Just whatever catches my eye.  Its sort of soothing to look over them.  I want to see if I can create collections for every month of the year.

These are glimpses of January.


My favourite one is of a fun fair at the Waterfront. More

Stories Without Words – An Ocean World by Peter Sis

Some books touch your heart.  ” An Ocean World” by  Peter Sis is one of these.  It tells a simple and powerful story about a whale’s search for friendship and love.   Apart from the writing on the postcard on the first page, the entire story is told through the images- the evocative watercolour marks and the muted colours. We meet the whale for the first time in baby picture that has been turned into a postcard:


On the back of this card we can read a message from Peter Sis to his children: More

Telling a story with colour: Jaap Tol

This is a book that I loved as a child;  “Het vroutjie van Stavoren”  which means “The Lady of Stavoren” written by Maryke Reesink.  This book tells a story with words but also with colours,  the wonderful illustrations of Jaap Tol.

Jaap Tol’s paintings let colour run into colour in great splodges.  The pages seem saturated and stained.  We meet a young spoiled rich girl who has all the clothes and dolls and toys a girl could want – but is still unsatisfied.

She grows into a spoiled and self centred woman who owns more ships and houses than anyone else in the city of Stavoren.  She is still unhappy and sends out one of her captains to find “the most precious thing in the world”. More

The circle of death and life illustrated by Spirin

What makes a good subject for a children’s picture book?  I see so many similar books on the bookshop shelves.  Clear happy pictures, short happy stories.  “Once There Was a Tree”, written by Natalia Romanova and illustrated by Gennady Spirin,  could not be more different.  As a foretaste, here is a page number:

You can read more about Spirin at this page. He is described as being “like a magician, using his paint brush as a wand.” I hope these scans of the books do justice to his work.  I was once lucky enough to see an exhibition of his original paintings.  They are breathtaking. More

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