Monday, December 22, 2008

Melissa Gardner's Blog...check it out!

Mel's an incredible designer and the spreads she does for blanket are always some of my favourite. And now, with her blog, she gets to really show off her artsy, crafty skills as well! It's a great blog full of inspiration, cool things Mel has found and her own beautiful art on display.

I especially liked her summary of The Dieline, which is one of my favourite blogs ever and a constant inspiration in my work as a packaging designer!

Also, check out Mel's OTHER talent at Nushka Dolls, incredible Russian Babushka dolls that Mel handpaints...and sells! I love them so much and am always ducking back to this site to see the new little ladies she might have popped on there...I love alina!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Mad Men, Wrong Fonts

Currently, I am finding it very hard to go to my job because I just wish to sit around all day watching Season One of Mad Men, an amazing show about the 1960s fictional advertising agency of Sterling Cooper. It's classy, classic and ever so addictive! The work that the show's designers, writers and the costume & props department have put in is UNBELIEVEABLE. It's so realistic...almost.

But I think what has increased my enjoyment of the show even more is this blog by the Mark Simonson Studio. It details ALL of the mistakes the show's creators and designers have made when it comes to the fonts used. Now here's a man who knows a lot about fonts! How could Mad Men have concentrated so hard on getting all the women's hair so perfectly right, but then used Zapfino (only created in 1992) in one of the fictional ads?

Of course, it does not make me love the show any less, but it DOES add an interesting dimension to my watching. If you can, (and if you haven't already) grab Mad Men from somewhere. It really makes one appreciate one's Mac!

:) Caitlin

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Amelia's Magazine - LAST ISSUE!

What a blow! Issue 10 will be the FINAL issue of Amelia's Magazine!
This is very sad news - not just for artists but I think for magazine publishing in general. Thankfully Amelia's Magazine will continue online, with an updated weekly mailout.

Issue 10 features over 300 pages of inspiring creative content; fashion from Fred Butler, Mark Liu, howies, Carin Wester and loads more up and coming talent: music from thecocknbullkid, Sportsday Megaphone, North Sea Orchestra, La Roux and much more; fresh new art including Sarah Baker and Jon Elliott; illustrations on the theme of Everything is Connected.... and 100 pages on Amelia's trip to India.

Don't miss out on your last chance to get a copy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shillington College open their new Manchester College!

And speaking of Shillington College... they are about to open their new Manchester College!

Not only is Shillington College a great supporter of Blanket Magazine but most of the designers working on Blanket either teach or were students at Shillington College (including me!) - and I think you will all agree that we know a little about design!

So if you are interested in a career in Graphic Design then why not go to the Open Day and check them out!

Open Nights!
Thursday 4th December (tonight!) and Friday 5th December
6pm at Level 5, No 1 Portland Street, Manchester.

For more info go to:
~ Bec

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pecha Kucha...

I am heading to the Brisbane Powerhouse tonight to see Tanya Ruxton (my lecturer at design college and one of the original founders of blanket!) participate in a Pecha Kucha night (more on what the heck that is in a second...)

Tanya is an amazing designer and a constant and continuing inspiration to her students (past and present!). She and her equally talented designer husband Tim run Rumpus Design, a little studio with BIG ideas.

Tonight, she's going to talk about being a lecturer at Shillington College, design and herself! The catch? She's only got 6 minutes and 40 seconds (and 20 powerpoint slides) in which to do it!

And so we come to the details of a Pecha Kucha (it's Japanese for "the sound of conversation" by the way). Each speaker has 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide and so a grand total of 400 seconds in which to teach and entertain their audience. It's been a worldwide success and it will surely be coming to a city near you soon.

I am looking forward to seeing all 10 speakers tonight in an event that only goes for 1 hour 40 minutes. Now that's short and sweet!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Helen Dardik

Helen's "Orange you lucky!" blog is beautiful (a reflection of the lady herself, it seems).

Hope her "party people" help you end your weekend with a little smile...

A Book By It's Cover

Books are such an amazing medium for and inspiration to design, so being able to hit one blog and see so many beautiful tomes is such a pleasure!

In this blog by Julia Rothman you can see amazing children's books, art & design books, handmade books & much much more. Julia usually also posts the story of the book design or where she found it.

Judge this blog by it's's lovely!

Blogging about blogs is ok, right?

It's a lazy and sunny Sunday afternoon here in Brisbane and I am doing one of my favourite things...going down the rabbit hole that is the Internet to admire other people's blogs.

My friend Emma got me on to this one, which I am starting to become addicted to on a morning and afternoon tea-ly basis...Ryan Blogs Coffee.

The name says it all, really: Ryan writes about every single coffee that he drinks every day. It might sound like the past-time of an obsessive compulsive who lives with his Mum and meticulously records the number plates of cars parked in his street, but Ryan actually seems like quite a cool guy. Apparently (and this is according to my friend Emma, a font of knowledge on these things), Ryan is part of the band The Cat Empire...hmmmm, don't quote me on that.

Anyway, while he waxes poetic on his coffee, Ryan also talks about music, movies, TV, youtube, 80s television ads, cool places in his neighbourhood etc etc. A funny, cool blog. I think I would like to have a coffee with Ryan sometime...

xx Caitlin

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My List of (more than) 5 Hot Spots in Brunswick, Melbourne!

Our Wallpaper competition has inspired me to list my favourite hot spots in my old haunt of Brunswick, Melbourne. I couldn't narrow it down so I have 10! If you're ever in Melbourne make sure you check out Lygon Street and Sydney Road in Brunswick. This list is making me very homesick ; (

1. Monk House Design (102 Lygon Street, East Brunswick, Melbourne)
A gorgeous little boutique full of fabulous clothing and accessories by Melbourne designers (see Precious Porcelain - gorgeous porcelain brooches)

2. Sugardough (163 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, Melbourne) 
A beautiful Panificio & Patisserie shop which serves dainty baked goods on vintage china. It smells and tastes delicious!

3. Rumi's (132 Lygon St, Brunswick East, Melbourne)
Lebanese style food. I was first introduced to Persian Fairy Floss here! And even though they are Lebanese they have Turkish Delight - or should it be called Lebanese Delight? Either way it's my favourite!

4. Atticus Finch (129 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, Melbourne)
Sometimes I like to be posh. At Atticus Finch I can sip Tempranillo while snacking on duck pate. You don't get much posher than that!

5. The Alderman (134 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, Melbourne)
The Alderman has a great little backyard for a quiet beer. Or a glass of red in winter by the cozy warm fire. Dogs are also welcome ; )

6. Lulamae (Shop 151 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Melbourne)
A cute boutique run by the sweetest girls on the planet! (I bought a fabulous bright tangerine winter coat here - which unfortunately burnt in my car accident. Luckily when I rang Lulamae they were able to track me down a bright orange one instead! Thankyou!)

7. Thalia Thai (82 Lygon St, Brunswick, Melbourne)
The cheapest and best Thai food around (especially the Pad Thai!) It also has a quirky, friendly chef who waves to you when you come and go.

8. Small Block (130 Lygon St, Brunswick, Melbourne)
Good leisurely breakfast spot (which is a nice way of me saying that the service is really slow) It didn't manage to deter me though as I kept coming back for the Asian pork omelette with chilli jam! I like the vintage petrol signs on the wall as well. I want my walls to look like that too.

9. Gallery 696 (696 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Melbourne)
Run by the lovely Toby and Melika this is a fantastic shop, gallery and art space. You will be introduced to some of the most talented emerging artists around - and you might also find some lovely art to take home (or even a Blanket poster and badges!)

10. Black Hearts & Sparrows Wine Purveyors (131 Lygon St, Brunswick, Melbourne)
Obviously as a designer I base the quality of the wine or beer on the quality of the design on the label. You really can't go wrong here.

If you want to share your list of hot spots make sure you enter our Wallpaper competition!
(please include in your email your: Name, City and Country of Residence and your list of 5 Hot Spots!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Digby & Iona's new website!

Oh Aaron Ruff from Digby & Iona, can I please be you when I grow up? Just like you, I will work in my glass encased studio creating mystical, quirky jewellery that makes other people think of far away lands, strange adventures and dreaming...

Hmmm, I may have to just settle for interviewing you in the December "Past & Present" issue of Blanket and haunting your brand new website. I see that you deliver to ALL international marvellous. Maybe it's because it's Movember and all I see lately are gentleman sporting grandiose lip ticklers, but I want one of the Phileas Fogg necklaces so, so badly.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blanket Guest Blogger: Erin from Design for Mankind

We were delighted to have the lovely Miss Erin from Design For Mankind to be our very first Blanket guest Blogger. With so much inspiration surrounding her everyday we asked Erin what inspires her?
Erin: Gracious. This is one of the hardest questions for me to answer, because I feel so inspired by so many different things! But, if I had to choose, here are my top five inspirations, along with a few reasons why I think they're totally awesome:

1. Libraries

I love the smell of old books, new books and well, books in general. Although I have to admit, art/design books smell the best.

2. Rain
I love to write during a thunderstorm. Although I don't have a tin roof like in the movies, I still feel like I'm a bit of a star.

3. Portland
As in Portland, Oregon. OK, I've never been there. But because of aforementioned #2 and the bustling art community, I feel like I would love it. I often close my eyes and pretend like I live in a tiny bungalow there. Portlanders--- do they even HAVE bungalows in OR?

4. I.D. Magazine
I get so excited when this goodie arrives in my mailbox every two months that I have my own night dedicated to the action. I call my husband, scream "It's I.D. Day!" and he brings home Chinese food as I devour every inch of those beautifully laid out margins. It's quite possibly my favorite day of the bi-month!

5. Photography
When I'm feeling low on inspiration, I browse Flickr and choose some favorites depending on my mood. It's a fun game for me to play, and sometimes I have to 'unfavorite' my picks and wonder what exact state of mind I was in when I chose that, but most of the time, I love my favorites forever.

Past & Present Influences?

The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse

When I was younger I had this painting up on my wall of the 'Lady of Shalott' by John William Waterhouse. Over 10 years ago when I was last in London I missed seeing it because it wasn't out on display. But while I'm in London I thought I would go to the Tate Britain and see it (I checked this time and it was on display).

It was such a joy to finally see it and because of the upcoming Past & Present issue it made me think about the influence other artists have had on my life and how it has shaped what I do now.

So I thought it would be interesting to find out what artists or paintings have influenced other people in their lives and why?

Leave your comment below so we can all share ; )

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bec's Picha Book...

In honour of our fearless leader and editor Bec flying out today to start her new life in Manchester, I thought I would post some of her glorious artwork.

Now, this is some of her younger work, but I think you'll agree that she shows a natural flair for colour palettes, alignment, hierachy and general aesthetics (and spelling!)

If you want to see more kid art from blanket artists, look out for our "Drawings you did, as a kid" spread in the "Past and Present" issue of blanket, out December 1st. We're looking forward to many broccoli trees, smiling suns and surfing pirates!

Safe journey Bec, Manchester is going to be inspired by you!

xx Caitlin

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Be cool. Read 4000.

Or 3000. Or 2000. Depends where you live and therefore what you want to know about your city.

But what you SHOULD know about these cool weekly snapshots of Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney culture (get it, it's to do with postcodes! yes, someone else had to explain that to me...), is that they are BRILLIANT.

Get info about beautiful places to eat, shop, drink or watch other people who are very talented at music, art or similar. Discover things you didn't know about your very own backyard. Enter competitions and win cool things. And generally just feel better about how involved you are in the subculture of your town.

Subscribe to the one that suits you (in preparation for a trip to Melbourne at the end of the year I am subscribed to Brisbane's 4000 and Melbourne's 3000. I am so hip on everything now) and it will be delivered to your inbox on Thursdays, just in time to plan the weekend.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Highway to hell...

My car on fire... (I had saved my camera from the car so I took these images)

Stopping traffic... literally!

When I decided to start up the blog again, the intention was to give people an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. I never thought it would be this dramatic... posted recently about how my Dad and I had been working really hard to assemble all the Blanket Posters ready for our fundraising effort for Blanket. Well, only two days later, with more than 350 new posters ready to go, I loaded up my station wagon with boxes and set off down the highway for the two-hour drive to Melbourne. I was over half-way when my car started to decelerate quickly, the instruments on the dashboard flapped weirdly and a blue warning light flashed on. I pulled to the side of the road and then noticed smoke streaming from the bonnet. I leapt out of the car and flagged down passing motorists. Although one man produced a fire extinguisher, it was no good - the car was quickly ablaze and, within 15 minutes, was reduced to a smoking shell.

Firefighters extinguishing the car...

My car being taken away on a tow truck
You can see from the pictures how lucky I was to get out without any injuries. I was grateful that passing motorists stopped to help me, managing to save some of my belongings from my car before it all went up. Luckily for me, the first thing I saved was my laptop, which contains all of Blanket (and therefore my life!) As my hard drive was also in the car, I would have lost everything. Unfortunately I couldn't save the boxes of Blanket posters, as we were concerned the car would explode. Sadly they just fuelled the fire even more : (
Although I lost a few possessions, and all the hard work by Dad and myself, I'm lucky that I was able to save anything at all.

The aftermath... 

...and all that was left of my Blanket Posters : (
For a few days afterwards, I was in shock and feeling sorry for myself. This was a major blow and setback for me, especially as the posters were meant to be used as a fundraiser to help me continue producing Blanket. 

A couple of days later, I woke up to find 
a huge pile of folded posters. My Dad had been up for hours folding them!! The sight rallied me and we spent the next couple of days folding and glueing more posters. It was a great chance for us to bond as we sat chatting and assembling the posters and it made me realise how lucky I am to have such a supportive family.

So I'm happy to say we are now we're back on track for our Blanket fundraising effort - the posters will be available in the shop to buy - so if you love Blanket then please support us by buying a poster (and rewarding all my Dad's hard work!)
~ Bec

Artist Profile: Jon MacNair

"The Harpooners" Jon MacNair 

I spoke to emerging artist Jon MacNair, winner of last issues re_action, about his intricate and beautiful illustrations.

Can you tell us a little about the image you submitted?
I submitted a drawing entitled "The Harpooners." It's part of my most recent body of work that includes a bunch of ever-evolving characters, mostly animals or animal/human hybrids. As with most of my work, there's a narrative quality to it that seems to hint at a story, but it's never entirely clear what that story is. I like to think of each work as a little vignette or scene that you're getting a glimpse at. 
With this particular drawing, I wanted to convey a sense of adventure and mystery. I kind of imagined that the harpooners were on the hunt for sea monkeys, giant human sized ones. To the right of the boat you can see the tail of some aquatic creature. Is it a big fish? A mermaid? Or could it be the elusive, giant sea monkey? You decide.

Where do you get your inspiration for your artwork?
It's a real conglomeration of miscellaneous sources. Lately I've been really interested in Early Netherlandish art. I find the compositions, colors and meticulous handling of details really beautiful. A few years ago I became very intrigued by illuminated manuscripts and medieval tapestries and that is still a source of inspiration for me. Of course I love surrealism and symbolism and the artists of those movements like William Blake, De Chirico, Max Ernst and Henry Fuseli. As an illustrator I am inspired by the books I grew up reading as a kid. I love the work of Chris Van Allsburg, Tasha Tudor and Lane Smith. I'm also slightly obsessed with classical music by Russian composers and Russian animation.

Do you have recurring themes in your dr
I definitely have themes in my art that seem to keep popping up. I'm not sure how conscious I am of this while I'm working or how well I can describe them, but the condensed list would probably be: disguise, birth/death, night, silence, isolation, danger, the shifting of power, and the parasite/host relationship. Really, I'm more interested in figuring out why I'm drawn to exploring these particular theme 
and ideas, and what they reflect about me as a person.
Do you have a favourite drawing you have done?
I tend to get bored with my art pretty quickly after completion, so I usually like my most recent work the best. Right now I'm still liking a drawing I did called "The Mountains Wept for Her" which is loosely based on the death of my two cats.
"The Mountains Wept for Her" Jon MacNair
You recently set yourself the task of posting a new piece of artwork everyday for one year. What did you learn from this experience?
I decided to start up an art blog after being inspired by illustrator Martha Rich's "Freedom Wig" blog where she posted a painting a day for one year. I knew it was going to be a challenge for me because at the time I was sort of in a creative rut. I thought that if I got into the habit of drawing daily, it might help me stay out of those slumps and give me a inspirational boost. It was hard in the beginning because I was starting out by being in a rut, but as I kept going it got easier. I took some pressure off by reminding myself that the daily entries didn't have to be masterpieces and that it was more just about the act of drawing. I gave myself little exercises like doing blind contour drawings, which I hadn't done since freshman year of college. Some days it was hard to find the time to draw or even post the entries, so there were times when I got a little backlogged, but I always made up for those entries later. As time went on and I found that more people were looking at the blog, I got even more inspired to keep going. The feedback was positive and I felt almost an obligation to keep drawing and creating so those people would have something to look at. By the end of the year, I was actually feeling a little sad that it was almost over, but I was also feeling accomplished and somewhat relieved. It had been a very time consuming challenge, but it re-ignited something in me and I didn't feel the threat of creative slumps like I had in the beginning. I still post stuff on the blog occasionally, but I've really become enamored with the online art communities on Flickr. I've been exposed to a lot of amazing work on that site and have made many contacts. The response to my work has been wonderful.

Check out more of Jon's illustrations at:
~ Bec

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mini Munny Madness

In our last issue you might have noticed that David Self (our web_sights writer) was travelling through America on his magical mystery tour. Well, he's back now...and he bought PRESENTS!
Here's mine. It's tiny, it's white and it's from New York baby! He's (it's?) called a Mini Munny and he's a blank canvas for all your wildest drawings dreams to come true upon.
It actually seems to be a pretty big phenomenon in the US, with the Munny website (where you can buy your blank Munny and then display him, talk about him with other Munny aficionados and even download clothing patterns should you want to dress your Munny up for that special occassion) showing that amazing artists like Tara McPherson have put their stamp on the little man/thing...
So, I am debating how to work my magic on him. I have an obsession with enormous circus ringleader-esque moustaches at the moment (and who doesn't?), so that's a pretty good start. Sharpie at the ready...

- Caitlin

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Not a pretty face... 2

You might have seen in the latest edition of Blanket Magazine the photo story 'Not a Pretty Face' that my husband, John and I, completed back in 2004. Well while John has left to go to the UK before me we decided to start another edition.
Each day I have taken a photo in Australia while he takes a photo in the UK. My photos are basically taken around my parents house as I am staying with them before I leave for the UK. Not very exciting I know but it's challenging to try and come up with a good photo.
John on the other hand is making me very jealous with all his photos of London! It's only fair really as last time it was me who was traveling around Cuba while he was in Melbourne.
If you want to check out some of our photos you can see our flickr site:
~ Bec

Blanket Badges!

I must be crazy! At the last minute I decided that we needed to have some more Blanket badges in the store. So with less than 2 weeks to go before my big move I've been busy preparing to get some more badges printed. A big thanks to Paul from who has very kindly agreed to rush them through for me! And a special thanks to all the amazing re_action artists I contacted who have agreed to take part! I can't wait to see them all packaged and in the Blanket store... I will let you know when they're up!
~ Bec

The Production Line!

So the rush is on... I have only a few days before I move overseas to the UK and I have hundreds of posters to fold, glue and pack before I go! It makes me want to cry every time I look at the big pile of posters and how many more I have to assemble. Thankfully my Dad helped me out the other day folding them while I glued. It made the process a little faster - even though I had to keep stopping and showing Dad how to fold them properly (he kept folding them the wrong way!). I now have 6 boxes packed and ready to go for our Blanket fundraising effort... phew!
~ Bec

Monday, October 20, 2008

Welcome to the Blanket Blog!

Yes it's back again! The Blanket Blog was on hiatus for a while as I was completely overwhelmed by running Blanket magazine by myself - but thankfully I have lots of lovely contributors who help me out now so I thought it was time to bring it back!
Mostly it will be updates on what's happening in my Blanket world. Hopefully you will enjoy having a little insight into what happens at Blanket. We also aim to bring you the latest and greatest in art, design and photography so we will be including any upcoming exhibitions, artist interviews and folios, websites, products and basically anything else that takes our fancy! We might even have a few guest bloggers to inspire you!

If you would like to contribute to our blog you can email: editor(at)
~ Bec