Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It's been 4 months since Christmas and I was missing the miserable weather, the weight gain, the stress and the expense so much that I thought I'd cheer myself up by drawing some bits of holly and a snowman!
The added bonus is that Christmas ALWAYS sells.  It's great to have a well-rounded portfolio with birthday cakes, Valentines hearts, sweet little animals etc - but you can almost guarantee a Christmas sale if you get the recipe right - a recognizable palette and familiar imagery with a little fresh twist.  I LOVE designing for Christmas.  I'd happily do it all year round.  Since everyone's been saving up their pennies for a big splurge at Surtex I thought I'd get some Christmas designs sent out beforehand and try to tempt them.  That's my cunning strategy so don't tell anyone!

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Prize for being a Tigerprint Competition Runner Up!

Look what I got in the post.  Was a bit mystified at first as couldn't remember ordering this from Amazon but then it all clicked into place.  Who loves inventive Typography?  Those folks at Tigerprint!  It's my prize for being Runner-Up in their Male Pattern Competition!  Have started to read it and, while I can appreciate that a book on the history of fonts might not be everyone's idea of a good read, it's actually really interesting - just read the part about the horrible creep Eric Gill, of Gill Sans fame!  Who knew that a typographer could be so repugnant.  You want to know what he did now don't you!  Well you'll have to read the book! (or you could look it up on Wikipedia I suppose).

Monday, April 8, 2013


Okay - attempt number 3 at the Tigerprint competition.  Last time I got shortlisted so this time I'm hoping I'm in with a chance. The theme is Male Send - i.e. something blokey.  I liked the word 'dude' because it looks like a simple geo in itself so I added it to some blokey motifs and used a contemporary menswear palette.  I'll be honest - I was actually thinking of young Harry Styles when I drew those bowties! Wish me luck!!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Garbatella

I spent Easter this year lying in bed mainly sweating.  I was struck down with a flu type thing on Wednesday and didn't get up until Saturday. On Sunday there was a feast at Nonno's, which was another day spent indoors, and by Monday I felt like a goldfish swimming around a tiny bowl.
So off we marched to visit The Garbatella in Rome and take a few photos.  My husband was born in this neighborhood and took me there last Summer for the first time - and I was blown away!
It was built in the 1920s and was based on the model of the British social housing of that time - blocks of housing surrounding communal gardens.  The original inhabitants were laborers from rural villages so they tried to incorporate rustic, medieval architectural features into the housing blocks or "lottos" as they were called.  The combination of the "modern", social aesthetic with the old, rustic one creates one of the most unusual neighbourhoods I've ever seen.  The other element that adds to the "film set" quality of the housing is the general state of disrepair.  Most of the walls are grey, showing barely a trace of the original paintwork, graffiti (largely political) is everywhere, rusting air conditioning units hang under ornate balconies.  It appears to be a lost world of low-rise houses amidst a typical urban sprawl of high-rise apartments.  It's still inhabited by blue-collar Romans who've passed the leases down through generations.  Washing still hangs from every building but gentrification is also evident in the odd carefully stripped door and strategically placed Bougainvillea.  Some of the houses have already been renovated with a charmless, yellow stucco but I imagine that over the next few years the whole thing is going to be transformed - not necessarily for the best.  As unshaved men in wife-beater vests hang out of netted windows smoking (yes - really.  I'm not making this up), Prada-wearing iphone-users amble beneath the magnolia branches.  I'd love to buy a property there but it's already way out of our reach!