Matt Sewell's Spotting and Jotting

Spotting and Jotting, the illustrated ornithological world of Matt Sewell is a must for all discerning birders. I like birds, (did I mention that?) and the last few weeks have been great for birdspotting with siskins, chaffinches, bullfinches, blue tits, great tits, dunnocks, magpies,wood pigeons, redpolls and blackcaps coming into visit. These colourful garden visitors make strolling into the kitchen for a cup of tea that bit more exciting. The Spotting and Jotting shop celebrates the most colourful garden visitors with hand-painted birds, colouring books and Spotting and Jotting kits.


That's not all, at the magnificent Caught By The River Matt posts a bird of the week (an excellent selection so far). The extraordinary waxwing is shown above.

Colonel Windpipe's Musical Brigade

Colonel Windpipe's Musical Brigade will blow you away! A collaborative project from uberkraaft and Lesley Barnes, this merry band of mischief makers (including Morris Buckfast on maracas and Brigadier Anton Rupee on drums) has already marched right into my heart.

Illustrators are invited to submit their own band members and the collection of merry misfits is growing by the day. I haven't seen illustration this exciting for a long time. It deserves to be turned up to 11.

The Beat owl greeting card from Konnie Kapow Portrait Embroidery by Gentry Illustration No Place Like Home gocco print by HelloJenuine
Brownie Camera Keyring Bottle Opener by Cut Copy Create Leather bookmark from Lesley Barnes Tunnock's Teacake Owl Digital Print by Nikkimade

The idea of Folksy Fridays where you pick your favourite Folksy items for the week is really taking off, so here are some talented Scottish ladies (at least I think they are Scottish and ladies) who can be found on Folksy. From left to right: Konnie Kapow, Gentry Illustration, Hellojenuine, Cut Copy Create, Lesley Barnes and Nikki Made.

The A4 Draw

The A4 Draw may be of interest to illustration fans. A £4 ticket buys the chance to win an original A4 piece of artwork by established artists and graphic design students from South Essex College. There are entries from Rob Ryan, Gemma Correll, Amy Blackwell and many more, all detailed on the The A4 Draw blog.

Funds raised will help the BA (Hons) Graphic Design group to fund their graduate exhibitions this summer at the South Essex College graduate show, New Designers and D&AD New Blood. Tickets are available from The A4 Draw Folksy shop. Winners will be drawn at random in early March.

Wil from Ghost School in the Sunday Herald

Nation in a scuzzy notebook, is a great interview with Wil from Ghost School in this week's Sunday Herald. His sketches look amazing and it's great to hear the stories behind them. And I even get a wee mention, which was a nice surprise. Wil has put it all online so you can read it if you go large on Flickr (page 1, page 2).

What I wore today by Gemma Correll

The What I wore today (drawings only) Flickr pool is an illustrated antidote to the rash of fashion blogs that show deeply fashionable people and their wardrobe remixes (What Katie Wore being a prime example). The whole pool is full of really fantastic drawings of normal people, their sad faces and their slouchy clothes. Hooray!

It was started only last week by fab Norwich-based illustrator Gemma Correll who is collecting her entries in a blog. There's a great interview with her on The Red Door Gallery blog - I like these sort of interviews that ask people about their influences and their workspaces and that sort of thing. I can really see Grandma Giles in these drawings but would never have made the connection without Gemma citing Giles as an influence.

I live here

I Live Here is a new service from We Live Here (Sheffield-based artist Jonathan Wilkinson) that lets anyone have their house or favourite building reproduced in inimitable We Live Here style. I've bought a few of his ready-made prints already (Get Carter Car Park, Billy Liar House, Tinsley Cooling Towers) and they're really great. Worth keeping in mind for Christmas...

Himlayan poppies by Dee Beale

Lovely Gocco prints from British printmaker Dee Beale. I love the Himalayan poppies above, and the fab Nordic hares below. Dee also has a blog with some nice finds on it.

Red hare by Dee Beale

Ball comparison

Flip Flop Flyball is a welcome new addition to the Flip Flop Flyin' family, combining Craig's love of baseball and infographics. I couldn't care less about baseball but still loved looking at these. A comparison of different sizes of sporting balls is strangely compelling, as is ballpark orientation and velodrome steepness. Factual and pretty. Excellent work.

'Birdwatchers' at Cape Canaveral

I did a bit of work on another one of my other sites This is M. Sasek earlier this year. It had fallen into disrepair so I've cleaned it up and added a news blog and a Twitter feed. There’s still a bit of work to do but it’s definitely easier to follow.

There's already been a fair bit of action this year with This is Greece out in February and This is the Way to the Moon (which was This is Cape Canaveral originally, then This is Cape Kennedy) out on 1 June in the UK - a must for Cold War kids everywhere.

For anyone not familiar with M. (for Miroslav) Sasek there's a lot more detail on the website. If you haven’t seen the This is... books it’s worth seeking them out. There are 18 in the series and they're all delightful in one way or another. Sasek's style has been hugely influential and he's often namechecked by big names in illustration and animation. It's easy to spot echoes of his work all over the place which makes his books feel classic rather than dated.

Update: buying the books

In case it's not obvious there are links to Amazon US and UK on the page for each title. Alternatively, the This is M. Sasek US and the UK bookstores have all the books for sale under one roof. They're also for sale in a lot of good book shops but I'm not sure how many places carry the whole range. Amazon usually do good deals if you buy a few titles together.

Tunnocks Teacakes drawing

Thanks to Will for pointing out hwayoungjung's drawings of iconic British products. There are only two Scottish things so far - Tunnock's Teacakes and Tunnock's Caramel Wafers. This set could be enhanced by some Irn Bru, Walker's shortbread, Abernethy biscuits, Highland Toffee, Edinburgh Rock, Lee's Macaroon and a Scotch pie.

Gold nuggets

There are many English products though. The notes are fabulous. See assorted biscuits for example - "my English Expert assures me for the English, these swim in everyones collective consciousness". Indeed.

Airside calendar 2009

If you're stuck for a Christmas gift, or just want to treat yourself check out the Airside 2009 calendar. I've bought one of these every year for I don't know how long and it brightens up my desk no end. There's a great illustration for every fortnight. The Airside website is a good guide to the house style.


Andy Tuohy, of Poster Moderne fame has a new exhibition at McCarron's of Mercatoria, 68 Norman Rd, St.Leonards on Sea. It's on until new year.

The exhibition features pictures of Hastings, St.Leonards on Sea, Battle, Rye and Bexhill on Sea (De La Warr Pavilion). Andy often paints seaside towns and has some great pictures of seaside buildings in the south-east of England. Something lovely to brighten up the winter months.

Anthony Burrill owl

The owl quotient has been a little low this month so here's a lovely one from Anthony Burrill. He has a prodigious output of all kinds of smart stuff, nicely shown off on his blog. The owl isn't particularly typical, but I couldn't resist.

This way down

Most of his work is very, very simple but still really striking. One to watch.


Lovely linotypes and screenprints from James Brown at General Pattern (via It's Nice That). He also works as Jim Laurence and keeps everyone updated on the General Pattern blog.

Edwyn Collins' birds

Edwyn Collins has an exhibition of drawings of British birds showing at The Smithfield Gallery in London until 15 November 2008.

He was an illustrator for Glasgow Parks Department before finding his calling as a top pop star. Since suffering a brain haemorrage in 2005 he has learned to draw again using his left hand. As part of his rehabilitation he drew a bird a day and the results are shown here. What a lovely man.

Oranges and lemons

Following the selection of his Elephant Man poster as a finalist in the Chicago International Poster Biennial, Richard Ardagh's new Oranges & Lemons letterpress posters are a limited run of 130 and were set and printed by hand. The first in a series of collaborations with Graham Bignell at New North Press, they are available from Nelly Duff, Columbia Road E2.
I don't normally reprint promo text from emails but this is a lovely thing and the blurb says it all. More about Richard at Elephant's Graveyard.


I found The Map That Came To Life while scouting about for Ronald Lampitt. He illustrated my favourite Ladybird book Understanding Maps and this is in a similar vein, but even better. Published in 1948 it tells the story of John and Joanna, stuck at their uncle's for 4 weeks during the summer holidays. He sends them out into the open countryside with only an Ordnance Survey map for comfort.

The Map That Came To Life

As they wander along it explains what the markings and symbols mean. Learning about OS maps was one of my favourite things at school - I could look at maps all day. This is a really exquisite combination of fact and decoration. I love the cleanness of it all and the beautiful bright mid-century colours. Oh, and the ragged edges around the text. Nice touch.

The Map That Came To Life

I'd love to tell you all about Ronald Lampitt but can't find out too much about him. He did a few travel posters, a few Ladybird books and some other prints, mostly architectural in nature. There are some more pictures from the book in this Flickr set. Happy trails.

Update: Thanks to Daniel Weir for pointing out that scans from the whole book are available on The Alphabet of Illustrators. I'd forgotten about that site - it's very good, if a bit idiosyncratic in the way it's laid out. There's a short bio and some other Lampitt bits and pieces.

Clifford Richards, he's good

I got some lovely badges at the Museum of Childhood, of a cat and a lion. I like lions. I hope they're going to take over from owls as this season's ubiquitous cartoon animal. Anyway, they're by Clifford Richards, who did a lot of lovely work in the late 60s/early 70s including some great stuff for Paperchase when it opened. His "slotties" (cardboard animals that slot together, like the panda above) really remind me of being a little kid in the 70s. I had a little cardboard sea lion who balanced a cardboard ball on his nose. It's funny how unexpected things can trigger such a vivid memory. I really remember the feel of the cardboard, and the way the paper was coming away at the edge of the ball. I used to love fitting it all together. So, Clifford Richards, lovely paper things available from his website and the V & A Shop; nifty robot mugs from The Big Tomato Company.

Dish of the day

Present & Correct who made the wonderful Alphabet of endangered species have done it again with a really smart set of classic cafe notecards. 4 different designs celebrate great British dishes in a fitting old-timey way. There are other items to coo over in their new shop.

Ladybird: Make your own vase

Ladybird Prints is truly a wonderful thing, selling prints of illustrations from classic Ladybird books. There's a huge selection from different eras, all nicely organised. My favourites are the mid-60s non-fiction books like Things to make and the How it works and Science and Space series. There's something for everyone at only £7.50 a pop (via The Lark).

Andy Tuohy - FolkestoneAndy Tuohy - Ashford

Andy Tuohy's Poster Moderne exhibition celebrates the forthcoming high speed Kent rail link in the style of classic LNER posters by Tom Purvis, Frank Newbould and others. They show old things in a new light. Or is that new things in an old light. On at Georges House Gallery in Folkestone from Feb 23 to March 5. Nearby Rennie's Seaside Modern has similar mid-century delights for your enjoyment.

Daphne Padden travel poster

Allison at The Lark has posted this great set of vintage British travel posters by Daphne Padden. She's got a wonderful quirky style and they're so of their time, in a really nice way. Her style looks very familiar but I'd never heard of her before. Anyone know any more?

Gateshead Get Carter car park

We Live Here from Sheffield make wonderful art prints, t-shirts and accoutrements featuring risky modern buildings. The prints feature Owen Luder's Get Carter car park in Gateshead, soon to be demolished apparently, Sheffield's Egg Box, New Roxy Disco and Cooling Towers, remaindered from a long gone power station. If you like these, wait 'til you see the memorial Sheffield Castle Market Greasy Spoon Mug.

Sheffield Castle Market greasy spoon mug

Deep joy. Thanks Simon James for the tip (via Creative Review blog).

James Bond Pan paperbacks

Hot on the heels of those fab Beatles stamps, James Bond is next to be commemorated by the postal service (thanks Lucy). The stamps out in January 2008 show 4 different editions of 6 Bond novels. It's a tribute to James Bond and classic book cover design rolled into one. Although they're all mighty fine I have a fondness for the Pan paperbacks - classy and schlocky at the same time. Biorhythm who took the picture above links to the extensive Pan Paperbacks Collectors website which has lots of cover galleries and a brilliant interview with two of the cover artists Sam "Peff" Peffer and Pat Owen. Good to know that they always read the books before designing the covers.

An ABC of endangered species in the British Isles

Here's a lovely thing. An ABC of endangered species in the British Isles arranged in a very beautiful A2 wallchart. This is the handiwork of Present & Correct, a design company from Kentish Town. £1 for every one sold goes to The National Trust, for new hedges and dormice boxes.

Wimbledon automata

These are rather lovely. Cardboard cutout Wimbledon figures from The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre Shop. There's a great selection of movable figures, all for only £2.95 a pop. The Many Expressions of Mr Face looks like another winner.


I'm very sad to hear about the death of Charley Harper (via The Skinny). It's easy to sum him up, as a wildlife illustrator with a very distinctive, geometric style but that doesn't really do him justice. I heard about him via the illustrator Bill Wray who applied his style to Dexter's Laboratory. I saw it and was hooked. He does for wildlife what M Sasek did for travel. I was lucky enough to get one of his exhibition posters which hangs in my living room (behind the old movie lights in this photo). I enjoy it every single day. It's got lots of things that I like - ladybirds and primary colours and geometry and white space. I think it's perfect. So I am genuinely sorry to hear about his passing, but glad that in times like this the web rallies together.

Marconi interior

Oriana interior

Why don't all holidays look like this? Two photos from the gorgeous Mid Century Ship Interiors flickr set which is pulled together from vintage postcards and brochures. See also Mid Century Travel, also from Bonito Club. There's a world of classy design within.

Cozy Tomato

It's been a little short of Japanese retro-style illustration round here lately, so let's put that right. Here's a big sunshine burst of it from Koji Tomoto aka Cozy Tomato. I got one of his(?) postcard books in New York and very dinky it is too. The website is all in Japanese (apart from the intriguing "Welcome to Balls!" opening gambit) so no details, but the pictures are lovely. Have a look.

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