Illustrations by Marina Munn

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Some­times, there’s an image — an aha moment of sorts — that makes me go, “yes, I will fea­ture this per­son on Brown Paper Bag.” The above pic­ture by illus­tra­tor Marina Munn was it for me. A cosmo cat! Wear­ing a space hel­met! How great.

Marina lives and works in Lon­don, and cre­ates slightly odd illus­tra­tions of fig­ures and plants. I’m always attracted to awe­some shape design, so I was imme­di­ately drawn to that, as well as the strange char­ac­ters that star in her compositions.

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Everything Nice: Ben Javens & a Parkin Recipe

ben javens

I love bak­ing, and I espe­cially enjoy mak­ing things that I’ve never tasted before. So, I’m super excited to share Every­thing Nice, a Brown Paper Bag series that com­bines sweet treats and illus­trated prod­ucts (two of my favorite things!).

I’ve teamed up with Dave and Sally of To Dry For and Beast in Show for Every­thing Nice, and I’m high­light­ing some of the awe­some illus­tra­tors that they work with. The UK-based busi­nesses pro­duce things like tea tow­els, mugs, and cush­ions that are bright, col­or­ful, and will totally brighten your day.

For this project, I chose 3 illus­tra­tors whose work I admired, and then I asked them what their favorite baked good was. Through­out the course of Every­thing Nice, I’ll make their sweet treat and show you how to do it, too. Plus, you’ll see their work in action.

IMG_6297 The tea towel is by Lucie Sheri­dan, and the happy-looking mug is by Ben Javens.

I’m excited to share the first install­ment of this series. Ben Javens is an awe­some illus­tra­tor who cre­ates happy, bold images. He also enjoys parkins, a sponge cake from North­ern Eng­land that uses molasses, gin­ger, oat­meal, and more.

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Now, I’ve never made (or eaten) a parkin, and being from the US, I had to do a lit­tle research on medium oat­meal and golden syrup. The recipe is below. I hap­pen to have a kitchen scale, so the it made the mea­sure­ments for it easy peasy. I’d highly rec­om­mend one (because I suck at conversions).

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Parkin

Prep time: 15 min­utes | Cook time: 1 hour
Source: BBC Good Food

  • 200g but­ter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 85g molasses
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g medium oatmeal
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger

1. Pre­heat the oven to 160C/320F. Line a 9 inch-square bak­ing pan with parch­ment paper. Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.

2. Melt the syrup, molasses, sugar, and but­ter in a sauce pan until the sugar has dis­solved. Remove it from the heat.

3. Mix together the oat­meal, flour, and gin­ger, and stir the dry ingre­di­ents into the syrup mix­ture. Then, add in the egg and milk.

4. Pour the bat­ter into the pre­pared pan and bake it for 50 min­utes — 1 hour. Of course, this depends on your oven. Mine took right around 50, although I checked on it after 45 min­utes. The cake should feel firm and look a lit­tle crusty on top.

Once cool, wrap it in parch­ment paper and foil. The BBC rec­om­mends keep­ing it in wraps for 3–5 days before eat­ing because it’ll become softer and stick­ier the longer you leave it. Mine? I lasted a day.

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Per­fect for some couch time and books!

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ben javens

Beast in Show makes Ben’s babushka mini cush­ion. They also pro­duce the Bernard book by Rob Jones.

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The next install­ment of Every­thing Nice will be in a cou­ple of weeks! Stay tuned.

Kitiya Palaskas’ Craft-Based Pizza (+More) Designs

Kitiya Palaskas

Kitiya Palaskas is a craft-based designer who cre­ates play­ful, col­or­ful objects. Amy first intro­duced me to her work via Insta­gram. And, I was hooked! They are fun, felt and crepe paper-centric objects and pen­dants. I love how she takes these mate­ri­als beyond birth­day party dec­o­ra­tions and trans­forms them into delicious-looking designs that caught the eye of com­pa­nies like Etsy, West Elm, and many more.

Check out her blog for works in progress and to see what Kitiya finds inspirational.

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Happy Holidays! Festive Header Illustration by Hiné Mizushima

Hiné Mizushima

It’s the last new header illus­tra­tion of 2014! If you look at the top of the page, you’ll see part of this fes­tive arrange­ment by crafter Hiné Mizushima. The delight­ful image fea­tures small objects like pep­per­mints, a snow­man, and ever­green trees. This isn’t the first of Hiné’s col­lage pho­tographs that have caught my eye. Camp­ing, New Years, and sci­ence are just some of the other ones she’s made.

I talked to Hiné about her pic­ture in a short interview.

Loca­tion: Van­cou­ver, Canada
Web­sites: www.hinemizushima.comwww.flickr.com/photos/sheishine, and  www.hine.etsy.com
What was your dream job when you were 7 years old? I wanted to be a girls’ Manga artist, really!
Your pro­fes­sion now: Needle-felter / Slow Crafter / Illus­tra­tor / Pup­pet Stop-Motion Ani­ma­tion Video Artist
hine2What’s your favorite thing to make? Octo­pus, squid, slug, etc…
How did you cre­ate your illus­tra­tion? Was it any dif­fer­ent than your reg­u­lar process? For minia­ture col­lages, there is usu­ally a theme, so I look for minia­ture items which fit the theme. I look in my minia­ture col­lec­tion boxes and at felt stuff that I have already made. Then if I needed them, I make more hand­made items from felt/fabric/paper/wood, and buy more plastic/wooden minia­ture items from online shops & local stores. At the same time, I choose the back­ground color. And then I com­pose all the items on the back­ground, and pho­to­graph it! It’s much sim­pler than my felt sculp­ture process.

Hiné Mizushima Where do you find all of these delight­fully small objects? Have you always been a col­lec­tor? I’m not a col­lec­tor, but I have always liked small vin­tage things. Ever since I started work­ing on stop-motion video jobs for They Might Be Giants, I have been con­sciously col­lect­ing small things which I might use in videos. I usu­ally find small objects at Japan­ese online shops, or on Etsy, or when I travel. So recently, when I started this kind of illus­tra­tion (minia­ture col­lages), I already had lots of small objects!
Do you have any excit­ing projects on the hori­zon?
Yes! One of them would be a com­mis­sioned adver­tis­ing project for a big non-profit orga­ni­za­tion in US. I have been mak­ing a minia­ture col­lage which I will pho­to­graph. They will use it for posters, web­sites, etc. The other com­mis­sioned project is for a cool mak­ers’ lab/cafe in Tokyo. For that one, I can make a ‘thing’ with some beau­ti­ful recy­cled dried flow­ers that they will pro­vide, and I can use their laser cut­ting machine & 3D printer for mak­ing any­thing I want (I send them my Illus­tra­tor data, they send me back the actual items). Then they will exhibit my fin­ished art­work at their lab. And I just got a new book cover design job yes­ter­day!

Thanks, Hiné!

Two Hungry (Knitted) Birds by Clare Sams

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I have a pen­chant for faux ani­mals placed in the real world. So, I’m dig­gin’ these two knit­ted birds by Clare Sams - she made a seag­ull and a pigeon snack­ing on chicken and chips! I’m impressed by her abil­ity to cre­ate these tiny, believ­able forms that I wouldn’t mind cud­dling with.

Do you enjoy every­day, knit­ted objects as much as I do? Then check out this com­fort food by Jes­sica Dance!

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Sara Goes West (for Thanksgiving)

It’s Thanks­giv­ing here in the US, and I’m faaarrr away from Bal­ti­more and soak­ing up the sun of south­ern Utah! I’m tak­ing this oppor­tu­nity to recharge and bake a pump­kin pie. I’ll see ya’ll on Monday!

In the mean­time, check out my roundup of illus­tra­tors to fol­low on Tum­blr and Insta­gram.

Col­lage Scrap Exchange par­tic­i­pants: I’m about halfway through send­ing my match emails! If you haven’t received yours yet, hang tight. You’ll get your partner’s infor­ma­tion by the end of next week. Thanks for your patience!

Portraits on Portraits on Portraits: Collages by B.A. Lampman

B.A. Lampman
One of the best things about run­ning the Col­lage Scrap Exchange is all of the new work I’ve seen. I never knew about B.A. Lampman’s col­lages until I match­ing her up with some to exchange their paper scraps. It’s awe­some! She com­bines vin­tage paint­ings, draw­ings, and mag­a­zines into strange, mul­ti­fac­eted por­traits. Boys and girls morph with ani­mals and dec­o­ra­tive prints to form some­thing that’s cool, con­tem­po­rary, and a lit­tle eerie.

Most of these works are avail­able to buy.

B.A. LampmanBA-tigerBA-yellow-boyBA-themonster BA-the-king BA-swimmer BA-LH BA-girlBA-Alberta1BA-child-bride

15 of My Favorites From “The Sexy Calendar”

Andrea Tsurumi

Andrea Tsu­rumi

The other day I was intro­duced to The Sexy Cal­en­dar, a Tum­blr that’s run by illus­tra­tors Maëlle Doliveux and Andrea Tsu­rumi. It’s described as a “beef­cake cal­en­dar for the broad-minded,” and it doesn’t dis­ap­point. “Sexy” means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, and Maëlle and Andrea explore that idea in a num­ber of crazy ways. Some illus­tra­tions are totally bonkers, in terms of its sexy sub­jects,  while oth­ers more “con­ven­tional.” Occa­sion­ally, the duo has other tal­ented friends help out, but its mostly their work.

The Sexy Cal­en­dar isn’t updated daily, but they do post at least sev­eral times a month. I’ve cherry-picked 15 SFW-ish (some might be bor­der­line, sorry!).

Look­ing for more Tum­blrs to fol­low? Check out my list of 20 illus­tra­tors on Tum­blr!

Andrea Tsurumi

Andrea Tsu­rumi

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Andrea Tsurumi

Andrea Tsu­rumi

Andrea Tsurumi

Andrea Tsu­rumi

Andrea Tsurumi

Andrea Tsu­rumi

Andrea Tsurumi

Andrea Tsu­rumi

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Maëlle Doliveux

Intimate Still Life Illustrations Are More Telling than Portraits

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Babeth Lafon is a Berlin-based illus­tra­tor who cre­ates inti­mate still lifes fea­tur­ing makeup, travel items, and acces­sories. They are styl­ish and con­tem­po­rary, and based on her sub­ject mat­ter, it’s no sur­prise that Babeth has worked with clients such as Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, and L’Oréal.

In gen­eral, I really enjoy these types of still life images because they are more telling than por­traits; objects go beyond phys­i­cal appear­ance (looks can deceive) and com­ment on someone’s lifestyle. So, they are con­cep­tu­ally more inter­est­ing, and these illus­tra­tions are beau­ti­ful. I love her color combinations.

(Via Brown Paper Bag sub­mis­sions)

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Friday Roundup: 20 Illustrators on Tumblr You Need to Follow

I love it when illus­tra­tors keep regularly-updated Tum­blrs. It means that I’ll prob­a­bly fol­low their work much more closely, par­tially because I scroll through my Tum­blr dash many, many times per day — when­ever I have an idle moment, really.

Do you use Tum­blr? If so, here are 20 illus­tra­tors for you to fol­low (link is in the cap­tion)! In addi­tion to post­ing their fin­ished pieces, some of them also post prod­ucts that they pro­duce and in-progress shots. Happy Friday!

Tweet at me with other illus­tra­tors on Tum­blr that you follow!