Archive for March, 2016

Hirameki – book review

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

By Peng + Hu

Published by Thames & Hudson ISBN 9780500292488

Review by Vicky Stylianides


The concept of Hirameki is based around the idea of interpretation, to prompt creativity rather than dictate it. Peng + Hu discovered Hirameki – ‘brain wave’ or ‘flash of inspiration’ in Japanese – when they saw a cow with a splotch that looked like a famous film star. They realised that even the tiniest blot could be easily turned into something brilliant.

intro 2

Instead of colouring in between the lines, the reader is asked to draw them. The seven steps are Minimalism, Collections, Variations, Additions, Combinations, Interactions and Freestyle. The progression from Minimalism to Freestyle works towards the building skill and confidence.

blue + red

The elusive fear of the blank page can cripple us all, yet Hirameki offers a solution / encouragement. The colourful and fluid blots are a breath of fresh air amongst a sea of adult colouring books filled with intricate patterns and black lines.


Some pages offer more help than others. Step 2 focuses on collections – cats for example. Personally,  it restricted my view of the blots, which I assume is the point, however, there are only so many cats I can draw before they all blend into one and I turn into a crazy cat lady.


Its openness makes it accessible for all ages, with the option to keep it light hearted, doodling bunnies and flowers, or going with the Rorscharch-esque blots to delve into the deeper psyche.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Drawing People – The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

Archi-Doodle: An Architect’s Activity Book

Finding 50 Fridas

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

17 March – 3 April 2016 Open daily Mon-Fri: 10-6pm Sat-Sun:10-5pm

The East End Prints Shop, Fount London, Railway Arch 359 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RN


East End Prints join the Women’s History Month celebrations with an exhibition inspired in the life and work of Frida Kahlo. Drawing, Mosaic, Street Art, Painting, Printing all mediums are involved.

Considered one of the Mexico’s greatest artist, Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyocoan, Mexico City, Mexico. She grew up in the family’s home where was later referred as the Blue House or Casa Azul.Life experience is a common theme in Kahlo’s approximately 200 paintings, sketches and drawings. Her physical and emotional pain are depicted starkly on canvases, as is her turbulent relationship with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, who she married twice. Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits.

Frida Kahlo’s fame has been growing after her death. Her Blue House was opened as a museum in the year of 1958. In 1970s the interest on her work and life are renewed due to the feminist movement, since she was viewed as an icon of female creativity.

Linda Kitson’s iPad City – exhibition

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

New Digital Prints of London and Cambridge

29 March – 9 April 2016 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday

The Coningsby Gallery 30 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 4RJ

Linda Kitson’s new show is composed entirely of a new series of digital prints created on the iPad.


Kitson’s work first drew significant public attention when, as Official War Artist, she accompanied the British Task Force to the Falkland Islands.

Subsequent ventures, such as those to Canada and to Thailand, produced suites of drawings that still had an aspect of reportage. Kitson also had successful exhibitions of landscape drawings, generally produced as she describes it, by “clinging to the side of a mountain” in France and Italy.

She has also illustrated for the Folio Society, works by Camus and St. Exupéry.

Offset 2016 Dublin

Thursday, March 24th, 2016


Dublin’s premier creative festival returns to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for three days of talks. The line up includes Stephen Kelleher, Rothco, 4 Creative, Mr Bingo, Seb Lester, Una Burke and many more.

Ticket prices range from €110 – €250

Find out more here

Bob The Artist – Book Review

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

by Marion Deuchars

Published by Laurence King ISBN 9781780677712

Review by Marianna Madriz


Bob is a blackbird no different from anyone else, except he has very skinny legs. Everyone around him teases him, mocking his walk and calling his legs “puny”. He tries a number of ways to change his appearance: over feeding, exercising, disguising himself… but it isn’t until he goes to an art gallery that suddenly the greatest idea hits him. It is one that doesn’t quite involve changing his legs, but rather adding something else on to his beak. The result? A stream of compliments from all characters, and a heart-warming finale.

Bob the Artist is the latest book by AOI Patron and highly acclaimed illustrator Marion Deuchars. Known for her best-selling Lets Make Some Great Art book series, Marion has inspired children and adults across the globe to be fearless, and to find joy in being playful and creative. This, in a way, is one of the lessons encountered within Bob the Artist, but it’s also a story about self-acceptance, confidence and finding comfort in being different. It’s a tale we are all very familiar with, but not in the way Marion depicts it.


Her characteristic hand lettering guides the reader to meet each character and learn more about Bob’s woes and achievements. Each drawing feels spontaneous and effortless, confidently presenting each spread and inciting the reader to turn the page.

You might recognise Bob, or even Cat. These are characters that have been spotted before in Let’s Make Some Great Art, in Lets Make Some Great Fingerprint Art, in posters for Do The Green Thing, in an exhibition of Deuchars’ work at Cass Art Kingston. Like her calligraphy, her characters are also becoming icons across her body of work.

Young ones will rejoice to be a part of this world, and their parents will doubtlessly enjoy being a part of it with them too. Whilst children might not be able to differentiate a Matisse from a Pollock, they will fall in love with the brush strokes, the characters, and its lingering positive lessons.


We wanted to find out more from Marion herself, so we asked her some questions:

This is your first picture book. What challenges did you face and what did you learn in the process?

I think the first time you do anything it sometimes feels easier because you don’t know all the rules and you jump in feet first.

I came up with some strong visuals quite quickly for Bob and a very rough story line. At this point I’d say it was image led. I had Bob in yoga positions for example before I integrated it into the story.

Once I started trying to write the actual story, however, I found it much more difficult. I was asking lots of friends for advice and receiving so many mixed responses that as a result I went along to a short course at City Lit called Writing for Children run by writer Lou Kuenzler. It was a fantastic short course (I’m now doing the longer one) and it really gave me the confidence to take this story and character further and complete the book.

It’s never too late to learn and I feel a complete novice in the world of picture books but I always like a new challenge. I’d like to develop a few more ideas that have been hiding in sketchbooks for a long time.

What do you want your readers to learn from Bob?

I’d like them to be inspired like Bob rather than learn some moral lesson. When I was writing the story I was tapping into those fears and doubts one has as a child. They seem so important at the time, they are life defining. Liking yourself and feeling confident are very important life skills and we should nurture those from a young age, they can take you far.

Who is your favourite artist?

Oh that’s always a hard question. I don’t have one favourite artist. I’m continually enthralled with the work of Matisse, Klee and Calder. I suppose the playfulness in their artwork is something that I aspire to.


You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats

I Am Henry Finch

Bologna Children’s Book Fair – EIF Programme of events

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

The Italian illustrators association, l’Associazione Autori di Immagini (AI), and the European Illustrators Forum have a stand at this year’s Fair. AOi recommend that you go and say hello if you’re at the fair, check out the events they are holding, and join lots of illustrators for the Illustrators Dinner on Tuesday 5 April.

Monday April 4

10:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio Review with Marcella Brancaforte (Illustrator, author, art director for ‘LIBRIMMAGINARI’ and teacher)

11:00 Stand – FREE CINTIQ-WACOM! Come and try the new Cintiq 27QHDTouch, the Cintiq 22, the Intuos tablet and the other Wacom products.

12:30 Stand – WELCOME! – AI’s welcome presentation

13:30 Stand – Florence School of Comics: presentation of Illustration Master ‘IMPRONTE DI VISIONI’

With Teresa Porcella (Scuola Internazionale di Comics – Firenze).

14:00 Stand – LIVE WACOM PERFORMANCE – That’s the way I like it! – Sumiti Collina

14:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio Review with Morena Forza

16:00 Stand – INK 33 – Etching and printing workshop.

Ink 33 is a printing laboratory for artistic printmaking for illustration and graphics. With: Enrico rambaldi (illustrator and Ink 33 printmaker), Annalicia Caruso (Printmaking Master).

17:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio Review with Roberta Angaramo (children’s books illustrator and author)

Tuesday April 5

09:00 Stand – FREE CINTIQ-WACOM! Come and try the new Cintiq 27QHDTouch, the Cintiq 22, the Intuos tablet and the other Wacom products.

10:00 Stand – We Are Müesli

10:30 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Clara Battello (Art director at Battello a vapore)

11:00 Stand – The Author’s job – The value and price of Illustration

With Paolo Rui – AI professional advisor + and another tbc

12:00 Stand – Presentation of illustration competition “WE ARE THE FUTURE” Diritti a Colori 2015 – Fondazione Malagutti

With Giovanni Malagutti – President, …

12:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Federico Mariani

– X-Ray Portfolio review with Marco Goran Romano (Illustrator and co-founder of Sunday Büro)

13:30 Stand – Florence School of Comics: presentation of Illustration Master ‘IMPRONTE DI VISIONI’

With Teresa Porcella (Scuola Internazionale di Comics – Firenze).


14:00-16:00 Hall INTERMEZZO – near the main entrance

Meeting with EIF delegates

All Illustrators associations are welcome to join us in an informal meeting.

15:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Andrea Musso (illustrator, comics artist and author of ‘Il gatto killer’, founder of INCHIOSTRO FESTIVAL, teacher at IED Torino)

15:30 Stand – Lucca Comics & Games presents X ‘Lucca Junior 2016’ competition – open to illustrators and comics artists

With: Sarah Genovese – Co-ordinator for Lucca Junior, Livio Sossi – Jury President, Paolo D’Altan – illustrator and ex AI President

16:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Silvia Razzini (Art director at Pearson Italia)

17:00 Illustrators’ Cafè

Presentation of Italian Illustrators Annual 2016 – dedicated to the work and person of Sergio Toppi

With: Ivo Milazzo (AI President), Francesca De Martino (AI Board member and Annual project manager), Fausto Lupetti (Publisher).

20:00 Dinner at Ristorante Rosso San Martino – The 5th ‘Illustrators-Only’ Dinner Party

Piazza San Martino 3/B – 40126 Bologna Tel 051 262620

Wednesday April 6

09:00 Stand – FREE CINTIQ-WACOM! Come and try the new Cintiq 27QHDTouch, the Cintiq 22, the Intuos tablet and the other Wacom products.

10:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Andrea Bayer (illustrator, graphic designer and art-director, AI Board member)

10:00 Stand – The Author’s job: “Copyright and free-market”

The principles of the Copyright Laws and their ‘loose interpretation’ by clients; awareness, compromise or acceptance of the free-market meat-grinding rules.

With Raffaella Pellegrino (AI legal advisor), Lisa Frühbeis (IO-EIF), Sally Cutting (APIM-FADIP-EIF) and Paolo Rui (AI-EIF)

11:30 Stand – Salis

With Paolo D’Altan and another tbc

12:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Marcella Peluffo (Illustrator, Visual Designer and Art Director, founder of studio Container)


14:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Barbara Vagnozzi (children’s books illustrator and author)

15:30 Stand – PROJECT ERNEST EGG the adventure hunter: a great adventure thanks to crowdfunding

From character creation to picture book designing to video-screen transposition.

With: Stefano Bosi Fioravanti and Francesco Polizzo

16:00 Digital Media Hall 32 – Seminar room: PubCoder Masterclass: Create your interactive picture books easily, organised by PubCoder in collaboration with AI and BCBF.

With Daniela Calisi (Evangelist)

16:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Marco Mercatali (Art Director at ELI – La Spiga Secondary School and Adult Textbooks Multimedia)

16:30 Stand – Florence School of Comics: presentation of Illustration Master ‘IMPRONTE DI VISIONI’

With Teresa Porcella (Scuola Internazionale di Comics – Firenze).

16:30 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Cinzia Battisel (illustrator, author specialised in children’s books and animation)

17:00 Illustrators’ Cafè

The Author’s job: “Authors and rights in Europe (and elsewhere)”

An overview on the state of the progressive decadence of the relationship between authors and the marker and proposals for a better and fairer environment for all parts.

With Lisa Frühbeis (IO-EIF), Sally Cutting (APIM-FADIP-EIF) and Paolo Rui (AI-EIF)

Thursday April 7

09:00 Stand – AI BOARD on DEMAND – AI’s Board members and staff are available for a discussion on the association and its activities

10:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Simone Frasca (children’s books illustrator and author, character and social campaigns designer)

10:30 Stand – Florence School of Comics: presentation of Illustration Master ‘IMPRONTE DI VISIONI’

With Teresa Porcella (Scuola Internazionale di Comics – Firenze).

11:00 Stand – X-Ray Portfolio review with Marco Mercatali (Art Director ELI – La Spiga Secondary School and Adult Textbooks Multimedia)

Tiz and Ott’s Big Draw – book review

Monday, March 21st, 2016

By Bridget Marzo

Published by Tate ISBN 978-1849763103

Review by Derek Brazell


We all know that most kids love to draw, but if they need a bit of encouragement, Bridget Marzo’s book, which revels in mark making, will certainly help them.


The two characters, Tiz and Ott (a cat and donkey – created in Marzo’s spontaneous line) draw and paint their own environments throughout the book, from a brick house through a wildly painted storm to a crash land in sand dunes. ‘How will they get out?’ is the slight story’s moment of intrigue (with a page flap to emphasise it). But this charming book isn’t really about story, it’s about the love of putting a brush or pencil to paper, and all the endless variations those movements can produce – for little and grown up hands.


Along with easy instructions on how to replicate the sweet characters, Marzo also includes a handy spread showing a host of different types of marks – splodge, dashes, twiddly, crinkle – which I think kids should find really useful as starting points for their own pictures as well as inspire new approaches to using their materials. A great way to kick start some image making.


You may like these reviews:

The Big Adventure of a Little Line

School of Art

When All Hell Breaks Loose – exhibition

Monday, March 21st, 2016
An Illustration Exhibition by Bat Country Collective & Friends,

Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8DA


Bat Country Collective and friends bring a range of imaginative responses to the theme ‘When Hell Breaks Loose’ with new series of prints and illustrated objects.

The London and Stockholm based illustration group share a love of dark humour that they use here to investigate forces brewing beneath the surface of everyday life.

Bat Country Collective is Åsa Wikman, Karin Soderquist, and Ashley Amery. They are joined by fellow illustrators Lucy Kirk and James Swain.

Where’s Warhol – Book Review

Friday, March 18th, 2016

By Andrew Rae and Catherine Ingram

Published by Laurence King ISBN 9781780677446

Review by Vicky Stylianides


Andy Warhol, iconic artist, instantly recognisable, the perfect man to spot in a crowd.


Studio 54

Where’s Warhol is a perfect blend of fact and fiction – visually exciting and historically accurate. Each page is a spectacle, as Warhol travels back to some of the most momentous events in art history. Along the way, Warhol is joined by a whole host of familiar faces, and as any self-respecting celebrity would, name-dropping is essential. It’s just as much a game of who’s who, so if you’re not in it, you’re just not that famous.


Warhol visits Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, witnesses the Execution of Marie Antoinette, makes an appearance at the Bauhaus school and parties with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1980s New York. Paul Klee, Salvador Dali, Anthony Gormley, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, and many more, grace the pages, all connected to the scene in some way and at some point in time.


It’s not too difficult to find Warhol; on average it took me 2-3 minutes on each page, the real fun lies in finding his famous friends. Celebrities are hidden within the crowds, with cameos from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna. A topless Vladimir Putin is spotted asserting his masculinity, mid fight with Japanese president Koki Hirota, amongst many Judo fighters, at the Kodokoan Judo Institute.

Back guide

The end pages contain a chart for each scene and a mini essay, dissecting it to reveal characters and hidden narratives within. Each character in the chart has visited the scene at some point in time, from Pink Floyd in Pompeii, with their flying pig balloon to the armed police shutting down the Bauhaus school, and a crowd of bickering cardinals in the Sistine chapel.

Back guide shark

The charts are a great way to end, incredibly useful and informative. I found it interesting to read about the link between person and place. The Garden of Artistic Delights is a wonderful amalgamation of Damien Hirst’s shark is a fish out of formaldehyde, surrounded by Picasso’s Sunflowers and Duchamp’s Urinal – and Yves Klein is seen jumping into the void, as you do. But with the help of the chart, it all makes perfect sense. However, I found myself going back and forth to cross-reference, which disrupted the flow of the book.


For an entirely visual book, Where’s Warhol creates a lot of buzz and conversation. On my own, I found myself being a bit impatient trying to find an unknown amount of people, but it’s a lot more fun to do it with another person or in a group. Everyone has knowledge of different things, and each age group might know something different, or spot something that others wouldn’t. It’s light-hearted fun for all ages.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Panorama Pops

Man meets Woman

Reportager: Relections 25.4.16

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

From our friends at Reportager:

We (Reportager) are looking for Artists to be a part of Reflections 25.4.16, an innovative new cross-media storytelling project, focusing on Nepal in the year since the April 2015 earthquake. We have personal interviews from individuals in Nepal, just waiting for artists to bring their stories to life.


On 25th April we are launching our website and having an exhibition in the Prestigious Patan Gallery, Durbar Square, Nepal. We are searching for 20 portraits to go with our stories (paint, sculpture, mixed media or digital work).

What we’re about:

Reflections website will be a new platform for telling real stories. Focusing on the lives of people in Nepal in the year since the earthquake, we want to promote and share stories of active positive change from individuals and community groups, and highlight the importance of these grassroots activists in improving the world.

We will use the exhibition, website and book to promote art and artists, local and international. We will use real journalism as a tool for positive change in the world.

Details of how to enter here