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Graphics

A while back (December 2013 to be exact) the British Library released a million free images onto their Flickr page… a million! For free!

These images are taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books, were digitised by Microsoft who gifted the scanned images to the British Library, who in turn released the images into the Public Domain with the rights to use, remix and repurpose however users wanted. Which was pretty nice of them.

Some illustrations are beautiful, some downright bizarre but there’s also a whole selection of old maps too. I’ve had a hunt through and picked out some of my favourite images, particularly from their album of Children’s Book Illustrations.

If you take a liking to any of these pics just click on each to access it in its biggest format or explore the other million illustrations to discover your own hidden gems!

Image taken from page 118 of ‘When Life is Young: a collection of verse for boys and girls’ by Mary Elizabeth Dodge, 1894

Image taken from page 118 of 'When Life is Young: a collection of verse for boys and girls'

Image taken from page 62 of 'Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children ... Illustrated by A. B. Woodward' Image taken from page 18 of 'Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children ... Illustrated by A. B. Woodward'

Images taken from pages 62 (left) and 18 (right) of ‘Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children … Illustrated by A. B. Woodward’ 1897. It’s striking how much that left hand image of white horses charging in atop wild waves reminds me of the infamous Guinness advert.

Image taken from page 187 of ‘When Life is Young: a collection of verse for boys and girls’ by Mary Elizabeth Dodge, 1894

Image taken from page 187 of 'When Life is Young: a collection of verse for boys and girls'

Image taken from page 63 of ‘Verses for Grannie. Suggested by the children … Illustrated by D. A. H. Drew’ 1899

Image taken from page 63 of 'Verses for Grannie. Suggested by the children ... Illustrated by D. A. H. Drew'

Image taken from page 206 of ‘The Bab Ballads, with which are included Songs of a Savoyard … With 350 illustrations by the author’ by W. S. Gilbert, 1898

Image taken from page 206 of 'The Bab Ballads, with which are included Songs of a Savoyard ... With 350 illustrations by the author'

I couldn’t resist this fantastic caricature of some Scots from the Bab Ballads. 118 years since this was published and yet on most days you’ll still find a Scotsman wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes somewhere along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile or Princes Street. Or, as was the case on my walk home this Friday, jamming on the bagpipes while accompanied by a percussionist on a full drum kit.

All in a kilt, naturally.

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Recitethis screenshot

I’ve been meaning to post about www.recitethis.com for ages – this site started up last summer and is an exceptionally cool tool for turning quotes, expressions or personal mantras into visually interesting images. It’s oh so simple to use, although may take a few attempts to render the image as it does seem to get stuck on ‘Connecting 0%’ if you’re an Internet multi-tasker (so, top tip: give it your undivided attention for a moment or two). Your creation can then be shared on a variety of mediums including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, or can be downloaded for your own use.

I had a little fun with some Ogden Nash quotations, a hilarious genius if ever there was one.

Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker
Ogden Nash happiness
Ogden Nash parsley
Ogden Nash panther
Ogden Nash waxed the floor
Ogden Nash weaker sex

For a huge range of examples, check out Pinterest for SO MANY Recite This generated images, including a good mix of inspiring and hilarious expressions.

I’d love to hear if anyone has a go themselves!

All Hallow’s Eve has arrived, which means that it’s time for ghosts and ghouls and tales of horror.

To celebrate, I’ve created this series of postcards with a theme of ‘love horror’, pairing classic horror films with beautiful love songs, like a strange blind date that doesn’t quite work.

love horror the birds close to you

love horror jaws somewhere beyond the sea

love horror the shining crazy

love horror carrie lady in red

Anyone interested in printing these as postcards can click on each image to get it in full resolution, or can download as printable postcard pdf, with colour matching stamps and details of the film and song and everything.

Download: The Birds / Jaws / The Shining / Carrie

I’d love to see if any get used anywhere – drop me a note in the comments if so!

>>> This is post 31 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 and therefore marks the very end of this month of blogging festivities! Congratulations everyone who took part! <<<

magical starburst

These brilliant vintage-style circus themed backgrounds were created by Ciara Panacchia and are available to download for free in 36 colour combinations from Design Instruct. You can select just the colour combo you like best, or get the whole set in one handy zipped file. You could create much more exciting projects from these backgrounds than these here magical words! She’s also got a selection of vintage paper textures to download too – most definitely a resource to bookmark.

ta da starburst

PS It’s not a trick, it’s an illusion.

>>> This is post 30 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

This amazing foxy photo was captured by photographer Richard Peters and was recently commended in the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The Atlantic posted a few of their favourites, including this one, with a mesmerising description of how it was captured:

Photographer Richard Peters sat in his car and from a distance watched the fox hunting, just enjoying the performance. He was in Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, and there was snow on the ground. The fox was listening for rodents under the snow, then leaping high to pounce down on the unsuspecting prey. It was too far away to photograph, and so when it disappeared and suddenly reappeared, on a snow bank level with the car window, Richard was taken by surprise. “It was already in pounce position, and I barely had time to lift the camera before it leapt up into the air almost clean out of my field of view. I managed to get a sequence of the leap, but I love this quirky image best, which gives a real sense of just how high these wonderful animals can jump.”

Makes you appreciate how much patience must be required to be a professional wildlife photographer! And just how much magic you would see.

Richard Peters jumping fox
COLOURlovers Jump Foxy Jump

This photo provided inspiration for a new pallet of wintery colours – a lovely combination of icey blues and creamy browns.

>>> This is post 28 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

Flicking through some old comic books recently I spotted some seriously cool backgrounds within the DC Superman Anniversary Issue 400 from 1984. The story is written, illustrated, lettered and coloured by the amazing Jim Steranko. Set in the future after Superman has passed away, it is totally bleak in places but has some beautiful illustrations of the universe.

This site dedicated to the work of Steranko shows the full story and all its illustrations in glorious colour and detail, but I am quite enamoured with my own faded, ‘vintage-textured’ pages. These are a few of my favourite sections:

comic book background superman 0

comic book background superman 1

comic book background superman 2

The middle one has already proved inspirational, forming the basis of one of the tags I’m creating for the giveaway I announced earlier in the month – and which is still open to entries by the way!

giveaway tags inspired by superman

>>> This is post 26 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

So, it’s my final day in Dublin, and a Friday, so what would make more sense but a Guinness themed post?! This is shameful to admit, but I’ve never actually drank a Guinness. I’m hoping to rectify that TODAY in the birthplace of the drink itself. If successful, I will of course report back once I’m home in the land of the Scots. For now, though, a super quick review of the wonderful Guinness advertising over the years.

The advertising executive S.H. Bensonand artist John Gilroy were responsible for creating these seriously iconic drawn posters in the 1930s and ’40s. I’ve seen some of these as framed prints, coasters, magnets, postcards, notebooks and more…

My Goodness My Guinness
Guinness for Strength

Since then Guinness has continued its advertising mastery with a series of award winning and breathtaking TV campaigns. Surfer has won SO many awards, tops all of those ‘best 40…’ lists, and has probably changed the way most people view a dramatic breaking wave today. More recently, Tipping Point featured a giant Rube Goldberg machine made of dominoes, suitcases, bread, paint tins, medical accessories, furniture, tires, musical instruments, mattresses, rusty cars, bales of hay, books and more running through an Argentinian town. Rumour has it that one single advert cost £10 million. Which is a lot of Guinness!

>>> This is post 19 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

Irish tricolour

Part two of my scheduled posts from Dublin, and a super quick study in colour. The origins and colours of the Irish tricolour are grounded in the history and politics of the country, but its fascinating to see how often these two vivid colours appear in nature… Read More

This weekend I stumbled upon and spent a long time playing around with a seriously brilliant website, Tack-o-Rama, which features free clip-art and a huge, I mean HUGE selection of free to use fonts.

What struck me most is not the brilliant categorisation of the fonts by style, or the ease of using the site (both very true though), but just how many of the fonts were symbols – aka dingbats. So many potential uses are springing to mind already… I’ll keep you posted if any make the transition into reality! This is a-b-c-d in a small selection of different fonts available from Tack-o-Rama. Hover over each image for the name.

Bicycles font
Xeppelin
AllHands
Birds
Avain

>>> This is post 15 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<