Penrose Annual 1958

This is one of my favourite secondhand book finds this year - Volume 52 of the Penrose Graphic Art Annual from 1958. I bought it from the same market as the King Penguins I posted about a few months ago, & it's in nearly perfect condition! I can't quite remember how much I paid for it, but it was something like $28 - a super-duper bargain. I would love to collect more of these, particularly the late 1930s through to 1960, but they can be a little pricey. One of the best things about this book is that it's stamped on the front endpapers with "Hardwicke Knight Collection". Upon doing a little Googling, I found out that Frederick Hardwicke-Knight was a New Zealand author, photographer & collector who died in 2008 leaving behind a lifetime's treasure trove of amazing stuff. I feel honoured to own one of his books! You can see the man himself & some of his incredible collection here. How interesting!

Film Noir Typography

I love old movies, particularly Film Noir. Here are some screenshots from DVDs in my collection - all of these are great films. In other news... I've finally succumbed to the inevitable - yes, Facebook. I've had a page for ages, but never updated it. I've now spruced it up & created a Magic Jelly page too, where I'll link to any major news & updates that I write about here on my blog, as well as post some other random bits & pieces. If you haven't had enough of me already, come & say hi...like me...be my friend...or subscribe! You'll find me here, & my Magic Jelly page here (I'll update my sidebar & footer to include my Facebook links soon).

Finders Keepers

I've just finished working on a poster & postcard design for The Finders Keepers' Melbourne Art & Design Market being held in April. As sometimes happens, the direction I initially took was shelved, in this case it was in favour of a collage-based design. I'm rather fond of my first attempt. As I was working on it, I realised that it reminded me of the spine & endpapers of a Little Golden Book, which inspired me to write a post about them a few weeks ago. In other news, I'd like to thank all the lovely people who've been emailing me via my new contact page lately. Firstly, thank you for helping me test the contact form, but also, thank you so much for writing such nice emails - they've been so encouraging & inspiring!

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One more thing before I go... I'm working on a new project called 2by4 to get the creative juices flowing. Every day (or maybe most days - no pressure!) I'm going to make at least one little image on paper measuring 2x4 inches. I want to be totally free in terms of the kind of paper I use, as well as the subject matter, media, style & technique. Sometimes it can be rather daunting to start work on a big blank page or wood panel or canvas, but a little 2x4" snippet is a much friendlier prospect. Then, when I have a whole stack of them, I'll make collages from them - it should be fun! I'll make sure to post some of my little 2by4 piccies on my blog as I go along.

Top: Poster design. Bottom Left: Postcard design. Bottom right: First version of poster.

Some of My Favourite Script Fonts

Some of you might already know about my sister Josella's wonderful site Tack-O-Rama, but for those who don't, it's a treasure trove of retro fonts, design & clipart, & you must visit it at once! She not only has free samples of her clipart for y'all, she also sells large-format & scaleable images individually & a collection of all 714 images.

Jo & I were talking typography the other day, & I was looking at the new additions to her font archive including some lovely, lovely new script fonts. I'm about as fanatical about script fonts as I am about circus fonts, so I felt it was time to post some of my old favourites, & some of my new favourites courtesy of Tack-O-Rama.

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Script fonts bring bags of vintage charm & glamour to your design projects. I've used a few of them right here as part of my blog design (which is not particularly glamorous, but I hope it's a little charming!). Some of them will come in handy for the holidays, don't you think - for very festive cards, tags, labels & invitations? I hope you love them as much as I do!

Please note: The fonts marked with an asterisk in the list below are for personal use only, but the rest are free to use in commercial projects; but just to be sure, please read each individual designer’s licensing agreement.

From the Archives: Mirror Writing

Thank you to the people who've entered my Haiku contest so far - so many beautiful poems! There's still time to enter if you're interested. I thought you might like to see this fabulous example of mirror writing on a postcard I have from 1908. People used to find ingenious ways to make their correspondence difficult for the postman to take a peek at, including writing backwards, upside down, & even leaving secret messages beneath the stamp. Bottom left is the right way around version, & the mirror image on the right. How amazingly clever Minnie was to master the art of writing backwards in cursive!

My Favourite Circus Fonts: Round #2

A long time ago I posted a list of some of my favourite typefaces of the circus/carnival/sideshow/wild west persuasion (which you can take a look at here). Since there are so many fabulous fonts to choose from, I thought I'd post some more for your typographic pleasure! The fonts marked with an asterisk in the list below are for personal use only, but the rest are free to use in commercial projects; but just to be sure, please read each individual designer's licensing agreement. (By the way, the pointy hands are actually part of the Joe Clement font - the left & right angle brackets). I shall be posting a list of some of my favourite vintage & script fonts soon too.

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I hope you have fun using these in some of your projects!  :)

And here are a couple more beauties...

  • Tightrope (Lost Type Co-op)
  • Nelma (Lost Type Co-op - .eps & .ai format only, but a beautiful display typeface)

Rummaging Pays Off Yet Again!

Well, I set my alarm for an indecently early hour on Saturday morning (& promptly snoozed through it) because it was the opening day of an annual secondhand book sale, held every June long weekend, that I never miss. Arriving an hour later than desired with two friends, we set about struggling through the dense throng of rummagers in the hopes of getting our grubby hands on some coveted treasures. Side note: Coincidentally, the three of us were wearing fair isle jumpers (or sweaters, if you like to call them that) & so inadvertently set a new book sale trend. We're thinking next year everyone will be resplendent in fair isle, but by then we'll have moved onto houndstooth or paisley or something.

These book sales are brutal. Secondhand book collectors are a particularly aggressive breed. After jostling through the masses, feverishly (& rather possessively) stooped over trestles piled with dusty books, I finally unearthed a few bargains that made the struggle worthwhile. Actually, it was my friend Mark who found this little beauty for me.

My Favourite Circus Fonts

I collect fonts of the Circus/Sideshow/Carnival/Wild West ilk. I tirelessly trawl the depths of the internet to find them. Here are 12 of my favourites, & I've spared you the trouble of searching for them...

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