Sunday, March 2, 2014

Join me at Bren Michelle Blog

Sadly, Kitty as a Picture blog has come to an end, because I simply cannot find the time for it. I need to focus my energy on my own design work and blog. You can find me at Bren Michelle, where I showcase some of my designs, and share my thoughts, inspirations, books I love, and more.
Thank you to all my readers; thanks to everyone who has taken the time to comment or to send me kind emails expressing your enjoyment of Kitty as a Picture; and a huge thanks to all the wonderful artists, designers and publishers who gave me permission to share their incredible designs, illustrations and publications.
To finish I'd like to share a little of my work. If you like it, please join me over at Bren Michelle.

Design by Bren Michelle

Design by Bren Michelle

Design by Bren Michelle

Design by Bren Michelle

Swan Collection by Bren Michelle

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pom and Pim by Lena and Olof Landstrom

Being a mum of two under fives I have the pleasure of reading many children's books. Sometimes I find the books pitched at preschoolers are just too chaotic and complicated, too complex for a little mind. Fortunately, there are some very engaging books that stand out for their clarity and simplicity. Pom and Pim by Lena and Olof Landstrom is one of these breaths of fresh air to me.



Pom and Pim are an adorable pair just going about their day happily in the warm sun when they take a sudden fall. Bad luck.
...Or is it?


This cute tale explores the surprising ups and downs Pom and Pim experience throughout their day. What appears to be good luck is possibly bad, and what presents as bad luck has a happy twist. 


The illustrations are super-cute; the soft watercolour style gives them an appealing delicacy while the darker inked line-work adds definition and boldness keeping the design modern. I think the style captures the character and personality beautifully.


Pom and Pim is a charming book. A compelling story told in fewer than a hundred words, it is perfect for kids just learning to read. It is also ideal for reading aloud to smaller children. Another stunning publication from Gecko Press!

Pom and Pim by Lena and Olof Landstrom
Published March 2014
Gecko Press
Ages 1+
218 x 195mm
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-877579-88-2 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-877579-66-0 (Hardback)
Origin: Sweden




About the Author and Illustrator

Lena Landstrom was born in Sweden in 1943. Illustrator Olaf Landstrom was born in Finland in 1943.
Lena and Olaf are husband and wife, and have collaborated on many children's books. They live in Stockholm, Sweden.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Oilily Spring Summer 2014 - The Dutch Orient Collection

Hi there! Happy New Year to all. I've enjoyed a wonderful, extended summer break, and now I'm delighted to kick off this year with a new collection from my all-time favourite children's fashion label Oilily. The energy, detail and quirks in Oilily's designs are a constant source of inspiration for me, and today I have enjoyed browsing their newest designs. I hope you too will be energised by their 'Dutch Orient Collection'


Oilily Spring Summer 2014 - The Dutch Orient Collection

To see the world, Oilily says we need only to voyage to the Netherlands. The Dutch Orient Collection is inspired by a time in Dutch history when tough sea captains and brave sailors ventured to the Orient, and other distant lands, and returned home with beautiful things - spectacular flowers, herbs, precious stones and fabrics that filled the country with fragrance, colour, and flavour.


In the Dutch Orient collection you'll find  typical Dutch colours, prints and designs - but with a twist. There is a hint of the exotic, and a rich variety of motif, detail, and technique. True to Oilily's signature, attention is paid to quality and craftsmanship; it is easy to see the care and consideration that has gone into each piece.
The collection consists of two parts. The Spring collection is primarily based on the colours of the Dutch national flag: red, white and blue. In the Summer collection the palette has been expanded with the addition of exuberant colours, such as bright pink, yellow and green.






Oilily Spring Summer 2014 - The Dutch Orient Collection

Oilily Spring Summer 2014 - The Dutch Orient Collection

There is much more to see in this lively collection, so pop over to Oilily Shop USA for a closer look. It is a particularly easy site to navigate, with excellent imagery that very quickly conveys the essence and mood of the new collection. Be inspired! I am.

Monday, December 23, 2013

100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Merry Christmas everyone! This will be my last post of the year, going out with the most excellent book 100 People by Masayuki Sebe.


I loved 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe, and I love 100 People even more. Yesterday my four-year-old daughter was quietly engrossed in this book for close to an hour - some kind of miracle for her during this exciting lead-up to Christmas. A whole hour of peace; I could hardly believe my luck! But seriously, this book is pretty awesome.

 Illustration from 100 People by Masayaki Sebe
Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

100 Things is a look-and-find book, a bit like a Where's Wally? for little ones. As well as the ten characters the reader is asked to seek in every spread, there are suggestions for stacks of other things to find. The illustrations are packed with funny characters and amusing interactions making it impossible to get bored. The large format is ideal for young ones, and the bold, graphic style makes 100 People appealing for kids and parents alike. In fact, this book is now right up there with my favourites for kids (and mums). It's coming camping with us this summer holidays; hours and hours of entertainment in one slim and sturdy volume. Genius!

About the Author/Illustrator

Masayuki Sebe was born in 1953 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in craft. He is much-loved for his brightly coloured, humour-filled illustrations. He is especially well-known for his activity books, including Dinosaurs Galore and 100 Things (both from Gecko Press).

100 People by Masayuki Sebe
Published by Gecko Press, Oct 2013
ISBN: 978-1-877579-86-8 (Hardback)
ISBN: 978-1-877579-87-5 (Paperback with flaps)
Ages 4+   300x245mm  24 pages
Origin: Japan







I wish you all a wonderful, safe and happy Christmas season. See you in the new year! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai


Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

I have a very special book on my bookshelf - The Bear and the Wildcat written by Kazumi Yumoto and illustrated by Komako Sakai. I urge you to read it because it is profound and beautiful. It is a joy now to share with you another book illustrated by Komako Sakai: Hannah's Night.

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Hannah's Night tells the story of a little girl's quiet adventure (in the safety of her home) on a wakeful night when everyone else in the house is sound asleep. It is an elegantly simple story that I found very evocative - it took me right back to my own childhood. I remember there was a kind of magic when routine was broken or something out of the ordinary happened; also how exciting those small snatches of independence were as I grew up. Now as an adult, I feel a certain kind of magic when I get up early and venture out for a walk or run while my house and most other households are still sleeping. Whatever that magic is, Komako captures it beautifully with her exquisite, textured illustrations and simple language. There is a ton of atmosphere, and a lovely peacefulness about this book.   

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

As a parent I find Hannah's Night a pleasure to read time and time again; as an artist I am awed and inspired. What a lovely creation. Thank you Komako Sakai, and thank you Gecko Press. It really is a gem.

Hannah's Night is a lovely Christmas gift idea for last-minute shoppers (you can purchase over at Gecko Press). Pop back in a few days for another awesome Gecko Press publication.

Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai
Published by Gecko Press, 2 August 2013
ISBN: 978-1-877579-55-4 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-877579-54-7 Hardback
255 x 210mm
32 pages
Origin: Japan
About the Author/Illustrator

After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Komako Sakai worked at a kimono textile design company. She is one of the most popular children's author/illustrators in Japan. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Striking Colour Palettes from Rifle Paper Co

Browsing Print and Pattern blog the other day, I fell madly in love with a new Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar, and couldn't resist sharing it here. The colour palette is so vibrant and energetic, I just can't stop looking at it!

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar, 11"x17"

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - January

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - February

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - March

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - April

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - May

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - June

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - July

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - August

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - September

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - October

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - November

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - December

I also popped over to the Rifle Paper Co website to browse their 'New' category and found plenty more to get excited about:

Rifle Paper Co Herbs and Spices 2014 calendar

Rifle Paper Co - Botanical desk calendar 2014

Rifle Paper Co - Botanical desk calendar 2014 Pages Jan-Apr

Rifle Paper Co - To my Valentine...Flat Note

Rifle Paper Co - Botanical Rose iPhone 5c Case, Inlay

Rifle Paper Co - Citrus Floral Tin Recipe Box

Rifle Paper Co - Midnight Garden Tin Recipe Box

Rifle Paper Co - Holiday Plaid Gift Wrap

The saturated colour and strong contrasts, combined with vintage-style florals, give me such a lift. Such happy designs! Grab yourself or a friend a 2014 calendar or recipe tin from Rifle Paper Co and be inspired the whole year round!