Amanda White’s Cut Paper Collages of Writers’ Houses


Do you like lit­er­a­ture, poetry, and col­lage? Then you’re going to enjoy the work of illus­tra­tor Amanda White. The Span­ish cre­ative spe­cial­izes in depict­ing the homes of British writ­ers, and she does so with orig­i­nal cut paper col­lage. I love the com­bi­na­tion of tex­tures and col­ors that bring these places to life in ways that a paint­ing couldn’t. Amanda explains why this series is per­fect for her:

Writ­ers’ houses seem to have taken over my cre­ative life right now and for the fore­see­able future. They sat­isfy my crav­ings for Eng­land, my love of books and writ­ers, my pas­sion for archi­tec­ture and land­scape and my finick­ety inter­est in his­tor­i­cal research (which prob­a­bly dates back to my the­atre design train­ing all those years ago). And the means — recy­cling old mag­a­zines — allows me to indulge my over­rid­ing fond­ness for pattern.

You can pur­chase these images in her Etsy shop.

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Interview: Kirsten McCrea Talks Papirmass & Work + Life + Art Balance

Kirsten McCrea is the cre­ator of Papir­mass, an afford­able art sub­scrip­tion ser­vice that she runs with her hus­band, Jp King. Each month, they thought­fully curate the pair­ing of con­tem­po­rary artists and authors and gen­er­ally make the mail more fun! There’s a print on one side and a writ­ing on the other. So, after you’ve fin­ished read­ing, frame the print and hang it on your wall!

For those play­ing along at home, I’ve teamed up with Kirsten to bring you the Col­lage Scrap Exchange. Let’s get to know her bet­ter — read the long­form inter­view below!


Tell us a lit­tle bit about your back­ground and how you came up with the idea for Papir­mass. What was your ini­tial inspi­ra­tion for it?

I founded Papir­mass after grad­u­at­ing from art school mov­ing from Mon­treal back to my home­town. I was struck by the lack of access to excit­ing, con­tem­po­rary art (that is so easy to take for granted in large urban cen­tres). I was also work­ing mul­ti­ple jobs and had absolutely no free time, so I wasn’t able to make it out to the art events that were hap­pen­ing. I wanted great art to come right to my doorstep, and as an artist, I of course wanted it to be fairly afford­able. I Googled ‘afford­able art sub­scrip­tion’, and when noth­ing came up I knew I had to cre­ate one.

In the 5 years since then Papir­mass has mailed over 45,000 art prints to peo­ple around the world! Each print fea­tures art on the front and con­tem­po­rary writ­ing on the back. It has moved with me back to Mon­treal, and now to my cur­rent home in Toronto.


 You started Papir­mass in 2009. How many dif­fer­ent artists have you fea­tured dur­ing that time? How do you decide who/what makes it into each issue?

By the end of this year we will have pub­lished the work of over 100 artists and writ­ers! Each issue fea­tures a dif­fer­ent pair­ing of art and writ­ing, so it can be a chal­lenge to find works that res­onate with each other. We work well in advance, select­ing pieces based on qual­ity and wait­ing until we find the right artis­tic or lit­er­ary match.

We have an open call for sub­mis­sions, but with me being an artist and Jp King (our lit­er­ary edi­tor and my hus­band) hav­ing a back­ground in Cre­ative Writ­ing, it’s also excit­ing for us to approach the long list of cre­ative peo­ple we admire to ask them to participate.

Con­tinue read­ing

Michelle Summers’ Nebulous of Gingerly-Drawn Designs

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Michelle Sum­mers is a ceramic artist liv­ing in Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota. She dab­bles in dif­fer­ent artis­tic media like paint­ing, draw­ing, and jew­elry, and you can def­i­nitely see the influ­ence in these phys­i­cal objects. The multi-layered designs fea­ture gingerly-drawn por­traits of peo­ple and birds, in addi­tion to non-representational shapes. Each piece feels like a neb­u­lous or stream of con­scious­ness; it reminds me of all of the things that I see every­day and how their mem­ory floats in and out of my mind at any given time.

Michelle has an Etsy shop (although at the time of this writ­ing it’s tak­ing a lit­tle break) and a blog. Visit them both!

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Colleen Tighe: The Newest Illustrator of BPB’s Header Picture!

colleen tighe

I’m delighted to share the newest header pic­ture for the Brown Paper Bag. Colleen Tighe, a Brooklyn-based illus­tra­tor, has cre­ated this gor­geous illus­tra­tion of girls play­ing with mar­bles. I love the tex­ture and sub­tle nature of the image.

Leran more about Colleen and the illus­tra­tion below. As always, the work is for sale in the Brown Paper Bag shop as a 4″ x 6″ print — per­fect for fram­ing! Grab one before they’re all gone.

Loca­tion: Brook­lyn, NY
What was your dream job when you were 7 years old? I wanted to be an artist, nov­el­ist, and vet. I’m at least one of those, and I live with some­one else’s dog, so 1.2/3 isn’t bad.
Your pro­fes­sion now: Hope­ful illus­tra­tor and a cus­tomer ser­vice email robot on the side
What’s your favorite thing to draw? Oh hm, I’ve always had a thing with hair, I love draw­ing hair, and I like draw­ing sim­ple repet­i­tive pat­terns on things. I’ll end up doo­dling lit­tle flow­ers and leaves over every­thing.
How did you cre­ate your illus­tra­tion? Was it any dif­fer­ent than your reg­u­lar process? No dif­fer­ent than my usual process. I do a sort of pho­to­shop col­lage now, where I’ll block in the image on Pho­to­shop with flat col­ors and cre­ate the shapes of the peo­ple or objects, and then I go back and add in tex­tures I’ve scanned in and brushes I have in Pho­to­shop, and then I’ll add the lines and defin­ing fea­tures last.
You men­tioned to me that you were inspired by the Mar­garet Atwood book titled Cat’s Eye. Can you describe what that story is about and how it influ­enced your illus­tra­tion? Cat’s Eye fol­lows the life of a woman named Elaine from her child­hood to her present day life, cut­ting back and forth from the past to the present. It focuses on a lot of things, but espe­cially women and their friend­ships. I found the most inter­est­ing parts were of her child­hood. Elaine has a manip­u­la­tive and abu­sive best friend, and it shows how weird and dis­ori­ent­ing it is as a child to expe­ri­ence that, and how intense toxic friend­ships can be. This illus­tra­tion was inspired by that rela­tion­ship, and Cat’s Eye comes from the cat’s eye mar­ble Elaine car­ries with her, so that’s where the mar­ble cir­cle came from.
Do you have any excit­ing projects on the hori­zon? Cur­rently I don’t! I’m doing another Mar­garet Atwood inspired piece for the sec­ond vol­ume of Ladies of Lit­er­a­ture, a great zine, that will be com­ing out I think some­time in early 2015. Besides that, I grad­u­ated from art school in the spring and I’ve been try­ing to let myself get really inward and exper­i­ment with my stuff pri­vately to try to fig­ure out what I want to do with­out the pres­sure of show­ing it on the inter­net or to a group of peo­ple. I would actu­ally love to con­tinue on this theme of young girls and games, though, and cre­ate some more pic­tures based on that.

Friday Roundup: 17 Illustrations from #Inktober

Are you famil­iar with #ink­to­ber? If not, it’s a fun cre­ative exer­cise that chal­lenges artists and illus­tra­tors to com­plete one ink draw­ing a day for the entire month of Octo­ber. I kept see­ing the hash­tag crop up on my Tum­blr, Twit­ter, and Insta­gram, and so I started col­lect­ing some of the draw­ings that I liked. Here are 17 of ‘em that were com­pleted dur­ing #ink­to­ber.  There are, of course, tons and tons more images that were tagged, and these are just some of my favorites. Search any num­ber of social net­works and you’ll pour through so many drawings!

This sounds cool, right? Any­one is wel­come to play, so if you missed it this year, keep it in mind for 2015.

And happy Hal­loween! Are you dress­ing up in a cos­tume? If so, as what? Check out my Hal­loween round up from last week. There is some adorably spooky stuff on there.


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

laura knight

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.


Sign ups are now CLOSED! If you missed out on sign­ing up, don’t worry. The Col­lage Scrap Exchange will be back!