book review: picture this, how pictures work

Last month I finished Picture This: How Pictures Work. Written by Molly Bang, it’s a brief book about composition in design that describes our reactions to various design elements. I liked it very much because it’s clear and easy to read. I gained many insights from the author’s experience, including how color, shape, and placement on a page impact our perception of images.

One principle that I found interesting was this: “space implies time.” To demonstrate this, Bang shows the following two images.

From the first image, she observes that the closeness between the two figures (victim and attacker) could imply that they’re merely having a chat.

When in the second image, there is more space between the two figures, one has “more time to be scared. . . To put it in purely formal terms, there is more tension in the picture because the objects are ‘on edge’ at the two poles of the page, separated from each other by the vast, diagonal empty space cutting through the center, but associated and drawn together by color.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

what’s the name of this flower?

Recently we had lunch at Cafe Gratitude. The food was super yummy, and something else struck me: this beautiful flower they had on their tables.  We’d never seen anything like it.  Does anyone know the name of this flower?

Anyway, I was inspired to create this repeat pattern.

Leave a comment

Filed under surface design

Inspiration from BHLDN

Today I found inspiration from a website I discovered via the Wiley Valentine blog, which my friend Laura Pauli recommended to me yesterday: it’s called BHLDN. Beautiful clothing and accessories aside, the brand has a unique way of styling their pieces.  One photo in particular, of the Twirled Sweetheart dress, caught my eye, so I decided to paint this little watercolor of it.

Here’s the original photo.

Here’s my watercolor.

1 Comment

Filed under watercolor

happy nowruz!

Happy Nowruz!  Today many people are celebrating Persian New Year which occurs on the first day of spring. It is a festive time of the year filled with many wonderful rituals such as seeing family, friends and neighbors; setting up a traditional table setting called the “haftseen”; and jumping over fire, which isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. 😉 Since many of the traditions celebrate our connection to nature, I thought I’d write about a design object that derives its beauty from the natural world. This pretty wooden pendant I found the other day on Supermarket is handmade in the Bay Area of reclaimed wood by Tinkering Monkey. I loved the perfectly imperfect stripe pattern of the wood grain so much that I bought one for myself.

Speaking of wabi sabi style, I can’t help but think of Japan and this artwork from illustrator Tatsuro Kiuchi.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

madpattern p1 template 2.0

Recently, Matt Handler sent me a preview copy of his MadPattern p1 template 2.0. Already a big fan of his original set of templates, which are made to be used with Adobe Illustrator, I was eager to give his latest version a try.  Here’s one of the patterns that resulted.

If you haven’t downloaded the MadPattern templates yet, I really recommend you give them a try soon. Then you can join the Flickr group and upload your creations, which then appear on the MadPattern website gallery as a seamless pattern.

Leave a comment

Filed under surface design, textile design

mustard yellow and cornflower blue

Mock ups are so much fun!  I did another one starting with my roses custom fabric design below.

Here’s the result with the roses fabric in cornflower blue on the lamp shade.

Many thanks to Favaro Jr for letting me use his beautiful photograph as a starting point.

Leave a comment

Filed under surface design, textile design

tweed turned hoodie

Recently, I discovered the work of Serbian textile designer and painter Bernat Klein through wikipedia and this site. Bernat provided designs to haute couture houses in the 1960s and 70s and later had his own line. I find his use of color so beautiful. Wish I could find more than just these three samples of his tweeds.

Taking color inspiration from the first of these three fabrics, I created this repeat pattern.

I wondered what it might look like on a hoodie, so I found this photo on Flickr . . .

. . . and did a little work in Photoshop to come up with this below.


Leave a comment

Filed under textile design