kjoo bio: I am a graphic Designer with a passion for illustration and crafts. I discovered the better material in the world, the hand made felt, and since that happened I just can’t stop to try different combinations.
I first came upon Mike O’Brien’s work at the Fenton Street Market, where a poster of his caught my eye. It was all black and white and a bold sunset orange. As is typical for me, I was drawn to the colors long before I even noticed what the images were or what the text said.
Turns out it was a poster for a concert, and although I was unfamiliar with the band, the first thought that popped into my head (after “wow, what a gorgeous orange”) was: I haven’t been to the Black Cat in a really long time.
Not only was it obvious that Mike had a great eye for color, it was also clear he’s really into music. A lot of Mike’s artwork is for concerts, bands, and musicians, and his love for music is evident in the energy of his illustrations. He loves the DC music scene and is inspired by punk rock and its DIY mentality, and it really shows, to spectacular effect.
Mike is a graphic designer with a passion for screen printing. Although he studied journalism in college, he was secretly much more interested in drawing comics for the school paper than writing articles.
After figuring out his true calling was in illustration rather than in writing, Mike found himself intrigued by the process of screen printing. His natural DIY spirit led him to experiment on his own, with zero background knowledge on screen printing, which (as anyone with a DIY spirit is familiar with) led to mixed results.
Mike eventually began collaborating with a friend Kevin Gomes, a much more experienced screen printer, who was happy to show Mike the ropes and the finer points of the process. Mike fell completely in love with screen printing, so much so that he built his own equipment! And the rest, as they say, is history.
Technically, screen printing is still Mike’s hobby and graphic design his job, but the two are so closely related for him that the lines blur quite a bit. “Graphic design is the organizational aspect of illustration – ie figuring out where to put what,” he explains. “Illustration is the raw creative aspect of graphic design – developing the imagery that then gets organized.”
Whenever he is able, Mike is creating images and using his home screen printing studio to replicate them by hand, in what he calls “an exercise in patience and tactile precision.” Although both his illustrations and his graphic design work start out as sketches in a notepad, his illustration work keeps him “grounded in the analog world.”
Visit Mike’s website to purchase his artwork, and to find out where to find him at DC area art events.
Last weekend was the end-of-summer Bank Holiday in England and school will be starting again soon. There’s still time for a picnic though (weather permitting)! I’ve put together this product showcase full of unique handmade items to make up the perfect picnic.
Spread the word about your picnic with this adorable invitation design from Paperslice. The design is customized just for you and conveniently sent via email so that you can print as many or as few invites as you need!
Why not have a breakfast picnic featuring this gorgeous “Menage a Trois” marmalade? Lyn of Marmalady has been making marmalade for years and selling at farmers’ markets as well as online. Lyn explained that the combination of Seville oranges, lemons and grapefruit is very popular as it blends the sharpness of traditional marmalade with a touch of sweetness. When renaming her products a couple of years ago, Lyn wanted to move away from bland descriptive names, so her “Three Fruit Marmalade” became “Menage a Trois” as it is the perfect marriage of three fruits!
You’ll need something pretty to sit on, of course! Instead of the traditional blanket, spread out a pretty tablecloth like this one by Ellen from Tuwhittuwhoo. The Betty Brown tablecloth was inspired by a vintage charity shop (thrift store) find. Ellen especially loves how each of her tablecloths looks so different with a change of colour and fabric pattern.
Cupcakes are essential picnic food and these sweet EAT ME cake toppers by Rowena from Crafty Pagan Design would be a great decoration! Just like me, Rowena was caught up in Alice-in-Wonderland mania and was searching to create new items that could work well for lots of occasions whilst still having a touch of whimsy to them. The cake toppers have been used in Alice in Wonderland weddings, birthday parties, book club meetings and bridal and baby showers. The toppers are fully customizable.
In England, bad weather can often ruin even the most well-planned picnic. If rain should occur, don’t fret! Move your picnic inside and decorate with bunting and food-themed artwork. The inspiration for the ‘American Foods’ picture (top) began when Kitty put a print up on Etsy of an illustration she had made with all her favourite foods, which were mainly hearty English dishes! Kitty was then asked if she could make a similar illustration but with lots of American foods, and here is the result. Kitty is now planning to explore some different countries’ edible delights too!
Heidi started making bunting earlier this year for fun and relaxation and her boyfriend Will came up with the perfect name for her new line: Good Will Bunting! Heidi decided to develop a small range and sell it through her Etsy shop, which focuses mainly on fine art prints. At the time she was preparing for a summer holiday to New York with friends and decided to make Stars, Stripes and Denim bunting as a tribute to our friends in the US and their Independence Day celebrations.
Have you peppered your picnic with handmade delights? Share your links here!
I first came across Helen Dalgairns’s bright and eye-catching work when researching a product profile inspired by my cats. I Her print of a cat basking in the sun (above) stayed with me as I thought about how it captured the very essence of most house cats. I was intrigued to learn more about Helen and her work, and to share it with you.
Helen lives in Hull, in Northern England with her husband and a black cat called Neo. Working full-time as a youth worker with the local council, Helen illustrates in her spare time, creating visual artwork that depicts her love for cats! She loves to use bold colours, patterns, vintage, nature and animal humour. “I have also recently started to introduce some human creatures into my artwork, mainly pretty ladies and their cats. The first of this new work is illustration ‘No:1 Crazy Cat Lady’ [below], which was inspired by the many crazy cat ladies out there.”
Helen says she’s always been “obsessed with drawing” and studied art and design at Hull College, with a focus on illustration, photography and textiles – sounds like a perfect mix! After graduating, Helen didn’t create much artwork until about three years ago, when she started creating and selling her work. “One day I had this creative urge, I realized I was not utilizing my creative skills to their full potential, something was missing from my life including the opportunity to express things in a visual way. I wanted to introduce some colour amongst the grey and I wanted to create artwork that made people smile.”
What keeps Helen going with her busy dual lives is knowing that her artwork is making its way into people’s homes, and particularly when she gets positive feedback on her pieces, “especially when someone shows appreciation for your vision and creations, this is very special to me. Buyers and visitors have often shown me things I have never even noticed about my work.”
Baggelboy: Artist and illustrator. At the moment I live in Cambridge a small medieval city on the edge of the world. Originally from London I came here to study illustration and found the medieval life suited me.
The linocut pictures I make come from a mixture of the fun side of our darker life and the fairy tales that Grandma used to tell us. They are firmly rooted in the tradition of Medieval woodcuts and early book printing but with a little twist in the tail. Some of these pictures will become book illustrations and others are workings for larger prints and posters.