We found this product designer while perusing This Is Colossal the other day. Marcel Dunger‘s jewelry has such a unique style with its mixed media construction. He “fixes” broken pieces of wood by filling them with a colored bioresin, and then cutting the shapes with a machine. The resin reaches its full color potential in the sunlight. The individual pieces are then used to create beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry like necklaces, rings and earrings. The end result is really cool, unique jewelry that make you feels like you are wearing a piece of art (because you are).
It is no secret how much we love the work of Lydia Nichols. Without even realizing it, we feature or share her work all the time. But, we never took the chance interview her on the blog! So for all of you wondering why she loves drawing cute little critters all the time, or how she landed on her unique illustration style, it is all here.
Lydia is the definition of a Designostrataur. She has both a design and illustration background that she marries together perfectly in her work. Her work has garnered a lot of attention and clients like Chronicle Books, Hasbro/Playskool and Bloomberg Business Week. And just recently, she has started selling her new line of greeting cards in her shop called Doodle Dandy. Lydia explains them as, “…little mail-able art pieces which means they can be both decorative and functional—a win-win!”. You should pick up a few here!
Now for some words of wisdom from Lydia:
Q: You have been a huge inspiration to us for so long. Your ability to draw incredibly cute and fun characters out of such simple shapes is something you have mastered. What is it about drawing characters that makes you love drawing them so much?
A: That is so very kind of you to say since you’ve been an inspiration to me as well! My two favorite things about anthropomorphizing and drawing cute critters is 1. the challenge of breaking complex figures into simpler shapes (with whimsical linework, of course) and 2. infusing those shapes with personality so that they have a life to them. It’s like solving a happy puzzle of shape and line and the end result is a little illustrated friend! (I wish life was sort of like Mary Poppins where animated illustrations populated the world along with us and that’s how I feel when Illustrating!)
Q: Stylistically, your work is very unique. How did you land on your personal style? What practices or influences helped you arrive to the quality of work you produce today?
A: It took years of experimenting with my own work as well as learning to understand and accept the difference between work I like to look at (inspiration) and work I like to make. In college I would look to extraordinary artists and draftsmen like Sterling Hundley or Gary Kelley and think, I want to do that. Eventually I realized that I just want to admire them! For one thing, I can’t be them and for another, they already exist! So I took time to figure out what, exactly, I found most interesting and fun about illustration without the pressure of creating “perfect” finished illustrations. It turns out that large swathes of color and shape get me really excited as does the added detail of linework and pattern. I let folk art, printmaking, mid-century design, vintage packaging, etc. inspire me, but I also just let myself be myself and stopped sweating about how trendy or cool it was. I use to worry that drawing cute things would pigeonhole me, especially as a female, when I also wanted to branch out into editorial. Once I stopped worrying, my work became better and more unique!
Q: Tell us about your new line of Doodle Dandy greeting cards! We are all so excited to you started making these. (insert your own shameless plug here:)
A: For a while now, I’ve wanted to produce some real, tangible goods (beyond prints) and cards just seemed like the perfect object! They’re little mail-able art pieces which means they can be both decorative and functional—a win-win! Also, I just adore mail so this is another way for me to express that.
Q: You do something more artists need to be better at, self-promotion. How has generating your own side-projects enhanced your work? Do you have any advice for artists who want to get better at self-promotion?
A: Haha, I certainly try, but it’s tough to manage client work and self promotion work. Any moment I find myself in a lull or in between jobs, I try to take advantage of that time by working of self-initiated projects. It lets me experiment and try new things (visually and process wise) as well as pursue ideas that I’ve had on the back burner. All those random doodles are given new life when I’m able to finish them up and use them for self-promotion. This process, in turn, allows me and my work to grow which means (hopefully) my client-driven work improves too. My advice is pretty much that—take advantage of any nugget of free time that pops up and, of course, actively harness the power of the interwebs. I try not to get too distracted by the internet, but setting aside a small chunk of time each week to see what my peers are up to and to post my own work really helps with exposure and staying relevant!
Q: Many designers/illustrators are torn between the idea of going on to complete an MFA or not. How has your MFA experience benefited your career?
A: This is tough question that I think is ultimately a really personal decision! Do I think one needs an MFA? No. But for some people, like myself, it’s an awesome experience! Two years of time to play within a tiny, thriving community of other illustrators/designers was so super rad. It was more about the process and experience than the degree I wound up with, though an MFA definitely helps with pursuits like teaching. Between my new and lovely group of friends/illustrator/designers and all those self-initiated projects, I walked away feeling like a more well-rounded artist.
On a street in Melbourne, nestled behind the Lygon Italian district, is a bar and restaurant that looks like it could fit in during any time. The Town Mouse branding is very loosely inspired by “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse” done by Melbourne based design studio A Friend of Mine. The city itself served as the largest inspiration for the branding, with type that mirrors Melbourne’s grid and the view from the tops of skyscrapers.
“Through the details of our execution painterly highlights hark back to a bygone era of hand-crafted signage adding warmth, while the jaunty angle of the typography and glow-in-the-dark business cards allude to the party atmosphere in the bar. The signpainted doorstep, and windows gilded in shades of gold leaf, will wear with age and grow in character — and we’re sure The Town Mouse will do the same.” said A friend of Mine about The Town Mouse Branding.
It’s all of the little details that really set this branding apart. And the custom typography set in gold and hand-painted ads a lot of charm and authenticity to the restaurant. I also love that the branding works well with the overall architecture and interior design of the restaurant itself, so the two relate to each other and fit well as awhile instead of just being stagnant elements. Check out more of the branding below, and if you get the chance to visit this restaurant in person, tell us how it is.
Like most two-year-olds, our little guy loves Mickey Mouse. In an effort to appease his constant refrain of ”watch more Mickey Mouse,” I looked up some videos on Disney, and was pleasantly surprised by the artwork in the new Mickey Mouse and Friends. Evidently, I was not the only one who likes the new direction, as they won two Emmys last year, Jenny Gase-Baker, Background Paint and Joseph Holt, Art Direction, for the Mickey short “Croissant de Triomphe.”
The background artwork looks like mid-century style illustrations done on watercolor, and the color choices are vibrant and beautiful. Even if you don’t have a little one, or don’t like Mickey Mouse, the backgrounds can stand on their own as great illustrations and animation. The videos are art directed by Joseph Holt, and the background painting, award-winning team is Jenny Gase-Baker, Rae McCarson, Chris Roszak, and Narina Sokolova. I personally like the episode that won the Emmy “Croissant de Triomphe“, and the recent World Cup related episode “O Futebol Classico” best, but they are done in the same illustration style and feed on nostalgia of cartoons past.
The art of tattooing is pretty insane to me. After a month long Ink Master binge on Netflix, I have been blown away by what his possible to permanently paint on skin. To further blow my mind, I stumbled into this gal’s artwork. Look at these colors! I thought for sure they were just body paints at first.
Sasha Unisex is a Russian tattoo artist who has a really unique, new school style. She is known for her bold, opaque colors and minimal to no line work. Some of my favorite work of hers is her geometric animal designs. What makes all her tattoos even cooler is how she paints each design in watercolor before she does the tattoo. Though, honestly, I think her work looks much better on skin.
If you are looking for art for your office (or home) we stumbled across this great Etsy shop, PatentPrints, that turns blueprint style patents of your favorite toys and inventions into really fun posters. The posters come printed on a variety of canvas styles, including chalkboard and parchment. What a fun mixture of education and art! We just might be picking one up for the studio ourselves.
We are really digging this geometric illustration by design and illustration studio MUTI. The limited color palette and geometric elements really make it a dynamic piece. These illustrations were created for Bspirit, Brussel Airlines inflight magazine, to show the development of the Ivory Coast from rural to a thriving infrastructure. It was featured in the May issue of the magazine. Check it out below.
Window displays are supposed to catch the eyes of passerby’s and bring them into the store. Some businesses try to do this with bright sale signs or their best products, but French manufacture Hermès hired Zim & Zou to create a different type of window display, sure to catch attention. This display, called The Fox’s Den, is a beautiful hand-made art installation for the Hermès in Paseo de Gracià (Barcelona). We have featured French duo Zim & Zou (Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann) before for their SXSW Film Festival work, and like that piece, the painstaking attention to detail and overall aesthetic of The Fox’s Den is nothing short of impressive.
The craft in this display is incredible. Each object was made by hand from leather or paper, which is fitting since Hermès specializes in leather goods. Every little piece of the fox’s body is made from cut pieces of leather, even down to the smallest details. I also love the juxtaposition of the fox living in such a well-furnished home; it reminds me of the film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, which had a similar effect. The orange and purple furnishing against the custom blue wallpaper brings such contrast to the display as a whole, making it one that would definitely get a double take.