10 Amusingly Illustrated Idioms from around the World


In grad school, Lisa and I always enjoyed teach­ing our Mex­i­can pal Eduardo dif­fer­ent Amer­i­can idioms; the things we say and don’t give a sec­ond thought can really befud­dle some­one who’s a non-native speaker. In fact, these Idioms of the World totally con­fused me! Well, con­fused me and made me laugh. Some of them con­jure hilar­i­ous imagery, and my per­sonal favorite is, “not my cir­cus, not my mon­keys.” It basi­cally means “not my prob­lem” in Polish.

Hotel Club cre­ated 10 images that illus­trate dif­fer­ent idioms in Por­tuguese, French, Russ­ian, and more. (Via Mash­able)

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Laura Knight’s Elegant Ink Drawings of Staffordshire Figures

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I posted the above illus­tra­tion on my Insta­gram (@brwnpaperbag) recently, but I like it so much that I had to share it here. British graphic artist Laura Knight painted these por­traits that are inspired by Stafford­shire Fig­ures, a pop­u­lar tchotchke for some­one to have in their home.

I’m famil­iar with these types of things after hav­ing vis­ited many antique stores with my mother and woo­ing over them. Laura explains their appeal to the blog Spi­tial­fields Life. “They were on everybody’s mantle­piece and everybody’s dresser. They are a vivid back­ground, deep in our mem­o­ries of home. There wasn’t a kitchen with­out a piece of wil­low pat­tern or a mantle­piece with­out a piece of Stafford­shire,” she says.

Do you/did you have any­thing like these fig­ures grow­ing up?

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Collage Scrap Exchange: There’s Still Time to Sign Up!


If you’re a reg­u­lar reader of this blog (and I hope that you are!), then you’ve prob­a­bly heard about the Col­lage Scrap Exchange I’m host­ing with Papir­mass, a mail art sub­scrip­tion ser­vice. In short: it’s a super fun art con­test where you can make cool col­lage art and win awe­some prizes!

This is geared towards those work­ing in col­lage, but any­one is wel­come to par­tic­i­pate (as long as they are will­ing to fol­low the guidelines!)

How it works:

  1. Sign up to par­tic­i­pate in the Col­lage Scrap Exchange (CSE) with the form below.
  2. After Novem­ber 15, we’ll match up col­lage partners.
  3. You’ll pack­age your scraps and mail ‘em via snail mail to your partner.
  4. Once you receive your col­lage partner’s pack­age, make a col­lage using both of your scraps! Theme: New Landscapes
  5. Turn in your fin­ished art­work before the Feb­ru­ary 15, 2015 deadline.

Win a prize pack­age worth over $250!

  • $125 cash prize
  • 2 free sub­scrip­tions for Papir­mass
  • Get your work pub­lished in an issue of Papirmass!

Project theme: New Landscapes


  • Sign up until Novem­ber 15, 2014
  • Art­work must be received by Feb­ru­ary 15, 2015

All are wel­come to par­tic­i­pate, so please pass this along to a friend! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Countless Ceramic Beads Make Up One Incredible Whole

fenella elms

British artist Fenella Elms cre­ates ceramic art­works that are com­prised of intri­cate, meticulously-placed porce­lain beads. They are con­structed intu­itively, mean­ing that there’s no for­mal plan for their com­po­si­tion. The var­ied ori­en­ta­tion of the pieces result in a chang­ing per­spec­tive depend­ing on your van­tage point.

So, how does Fenella do it? The indi­vid­ual ele­ments (and there are so many!) are joined to a sheet of porce­lain with slip. Then, the entire thing is fired to make one sin­gle piece.  You can affix them to your wall for dis­play; I bet any one of ‘em would look stunning!

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Friday Roundup: Let’s Get Excited for Halloween!

Inspired by yesterday’s paper mask post, here are some Hal­loween images to get you excited for the hol­i­day! Ghosts, ghouls, were­wolves, and more. Oh my!




Lee Jacqui... The cutest Instagram!

Jacqui Lee… The cutest Instagram!

And… check out Katy Horan’s spooky print, Lucy, which is avail­able in the Brown Paper Bag Print Shop. It’s based off the char­ac­ter of Lucy from Bram Stoker’s Drac­ula:


Need a Halloween Costume Idea? Crankbunny to the Rescue!


Hal­loween is right around the cor­ner! So, if you haven’t fig­ured out a cos­tume, now is the time. Maybe you pre­fer to go a min­i­mal­ist route and don only a mask; don’t worry, I’ve got you cov­ered. These illus­trated paper pop-up masks by Crankbunny (AKA Norma V. Torayaare per­fect! They come in three designs — a bunny, cat, and devil — and fea­ture intri­cate details and implied tex­ture. A rib­bon secures the mask to your beau­ti­ful face.

Every­thing is made by Crankbunny. Noth­ing is out­sourced and she does all of the design­ing, cut­ting, and assem­bling. The imagery is inspired by the whimsy found in vin­tage ephemera and mechan­i­cal toys.

There’s a lot more to see in her shop. (Via Lustik)

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Allyson Mellberg Taylor’s Alluringly Grotesque Portraits on Ceramics

Allyson Mellberg Taylor

I’ve been a fan of Allyson Mell­berg Taylor’s draw­ings for sev­eral years now, but only recently real­ized that she cre­ates illus­tra­tive ceram­ics, too! Her slightly grotesque por­traits have made their way onto vin­tage din­ner plates where the sub­jects have pim­ples, two heads, and talk in leaves.

I can’t help but be reminded of the graphic novel Black Hole by Charles Burns when I look at Allyson’s work. If you aren’t famil­iar with that story, it’s about teenagers in the 1970’s who con­tract STDs and develop out­landish things such as tails and weird growths. Like these plates, the comic is slightly unnerv­ing but unde­ni­ably alluring.

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There’s a Palpable Energy to Miroco Machiko’s Painted Animals


In some works of art, you can tell that the illus­tra­tor has really attacked the image. Not in a bad or destruc­tive way, of course, but there’s a pal­pa­ble energy left on the page. That’s how I feel when I look at the illus­tra­tions by Miroco Machiko. The loose, painterly style fea­tures dif­fer­ent crea­tures in abstracted ways. We see every brush stroke and pen­cil line, which adds to the finished-sketchiness of each image. It’s not over­worked but gives us enough infor­ma­tion to visu­ally put every­thing together.

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