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Albert Aquino Mid-century Illustration

November 30, 2015

Hello again from my weekly blog. I’ve just been putting the finishing touches to this and have been updating the images after the weekend Craft Fair.

I knew you’d want to see it !  This is how my stand looked, a good spot for me, with the ledge behind, for my bigger framed prints too!

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Scott Millar from GAO-Industries (who I’d met in the summer) had some new wonderful bird head/coat hooks on show, and a couple of his new Brown Bears too. Sarah Malone (one of the organisers) had her beautifully crafted, Japanese inspired, ceramics on show.

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Freestyle embroiderer Rachel Nettles had a fabulous stall, packed full of inedible home grown goodies that she had embroidered and fashioned into recognisable vegetables. Good enough to eat ! certainly good enough to buy : )

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The show was a great success and there was a constant stream of people from 10am when we opened until 5 when we closed. Many thanks to the organisers (Sarah and Jo Lavelle ) and to everyone who popped in and said hello, or bought something from my stand. Such enthusiastic customers certainly made the day race by lol.

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Great designs as ever from Juliette Hamilton, she makes such beautiful animals.

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I was very tempted by a lovely knitted hat by Clare Wright from Love and Clare, but oddly my head always stays warm even when it’s freezing outside. Maybe I’ll commission a neck warmer instead ! We had a great chat about dogs and I can see some in Clare’s designs.. there’s no escape once you own one lol

Onto this weeks post.

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There is little to be found about the American artist Albert Aquino, apart from the fact that he worked in the 1950’s & 1960’s illustrating Children’s Books and Magazines. I believe did some illustrations for the New Yorker and Humpty Dumpty Juvenile magazine. He also was the illustrator for a few children’s books, amongst them the classic tale of “The Old Man and the Tiger” featured at the end of this post. I love his fun and enthusiastic style.

Here’s a cookery book called ‘The Home Meal Planner’, I love the simplistic colour use and the pencil quality to the shading.

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I discovered a few of his cartoons online, I wonder if this was early or later work ?

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His children’s illustrations are punchy and fun.

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Thanks to Wardomatic for this leaflet about Fire prevention.

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Meet Arty the Smarty.

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And finally this not-so ferocious little Tiger.

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Superb work, as usual if anyone knows any more information, then please share the details.


Fishink Cats and Dogs in a Christmas Bazaar in Sale, Manchester on 28th November.

November 23, 2015

Welcome to my weekly post, and I want to start by saying a big vote of thanks to everyone who left me a comment, a ‘like’ or a warm thought after my 1000th post. The response was very much appreciated and your comments made great reading. Ironically there were nearly 1000 page visits that day too ! Hurrah.

Apologies for being soo British but the weather this week has been dreadful. Autumnal, wet ‘n’ windy, in true November style. We have been truly soaked so often, that the dog is starting to worry about going outside for fear of drowning lol. I caught this lovely image of dad and son passing my window, which did make me smile.

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I’m taking part in a Christmas Fair organised by the Sale Arts Trail team, that is on, in Sale, this Saturday (28th November). For those of you who are local, you can find it here (Map) at The Manchester Life Centre, 235 Washway Rd, Sale, Manchester, M33 4BP between 10am and 5pm. There’s a great cafe and free entry too.


I will be showing some new work (featured below) alongside around 30 other designer-makers, selling  jewellery, ceramics, glassware, artwork, illustration, knitwear, willow, photography and much more! So do come along and say hello.

These framed illustrations below, range in price from £40 (for a 10×8 inch frame) to £50 (for a 10×12 inch frame) and are all unique work, hand drawn and collaged by myself. I can make items for commissions too if you have something else in mind, contact me to discuss.  More options available on the Fishink Website for some great quirky Christmas gifts.

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I rather enjoyed making these chirpy cats and dogs, what do you think ?

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Birds and trees are still popular requests in my work. The Fox illustration was inspired by the Autumnal weather we’ve been having lately, here in the UK, with leaves blowing everywhere.

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I am also selling Christmas cards, which are also hand printed and collaged. They are £10 for a pack of 10 (plus P&P) so do let me know if you would like to place an order.

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Fishink Christmas Cards 2015

For those of you who have asked me, I’ll have some more of the popular hand-made stamps with me too, just £5 each.

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Hope to catch up with you on Saturday, do stop by and say hello. Have a great week everyone, stay dry… drip dry! and don’t forget to comment and share my blog. Thank you and after getting to the top ten last year, I’ve just entered the UK Blog awards for the 2016. Watch this space as I’ll be asking for you to vote for my blog again in the next month or two…. exciting times ahead readers : )


My 1000th Fishink blog Post !!!

November 16, 2015

WOW, now I am officially old, 1000 blog posts old to be exact !  Who would have thought, way back in 2010 that I would reach this milestone and still be enjoying and exploring my illustrative ride ?

I must say that it has been a real privilege to create Fishink Blog and to bring you all of the stories and illustrations over the last five years. Thanks to all the hundreds of artists who have given me permission to do this. I’ve really enjoyed working with different publishers to help promote books that I adore, liaising with fellow illustrators and creative folk at fairs, shows, exhibitions or simply over a piece of cake and a coffee. It has made my five year ride simply speed by. I have gained new friendships, both on and off line and so I most of all want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s been on my journey with me, either part of the way or throughout the entire ‘Thelma and Louise’ Fishink road trip ; )

I must also confess, that the truth in writing a blog, is that it can be both incredibly frustrating and rewarding at the same time. The hours are long.  Posting three times a week, doing all the research, finding/assembling the images and setting up the Q&A sessions, all takes up a large percentage of two to three days work. All just purely for the love of writing and sharing my appreciation of the arts and all things creatively visual.

Most importantly it would be great to have more people commenting. Perhaps everyone is getting as busy as I am or perhaps my readers don’t all speak English but when you can sometimes almost hear that on-line, ether-made, tumble weed blowing around amongst the silence of your blog posts, then I sometimes crave a little more audience participation lol.

But generally, (thankfully), those times have tended to be few and far between. They completely pale into insignificance when I get a random comment from some mid-century illustrator’s son or granddaughter that I’ve featured, telling me how proud they are to see their relative’s work on my pages. It’s a joy to feel that by writing about them, that their work is almost reborn to a more contemporary audience, who may not otherwise have ever come across their illustrations. That is such a wonderful feeling, and I feel so lucky to be instrumental in making that happen.

Or when that one shy person (who never, ever, normally comments) steps out of their comfort zone to declare how much they have enjoyed viewing something I’ve created, or how a post has somehow reminded them of happy times from their youth. I like how a reader’s thoughts on a post agrees (or even disagrees) with my own. These times are what a blogger, like myself, dreams of.  This I feel, is what keeps us all engaged, alive, happy and energised to go on creating more.

Some figures from the blog show that it now has around 16,000 views per month. That I’ve featured over 9,500 collaged pictures over the last 5 years and there are over 700 of you who receive a daily email and another 1000 followers on my Fishink Facebook Page, 900 on Pinterest and a further 400 on Instagram … all pretty impressive for a small art blog. This year, I was delighted to be one of the top ten runners up for the UK Blog Awards and also when artist Mark Hearld, included my blog in his top five on-line reads. Praise indeed.

With that in mind, readers, I feel that I have reached a time in my blogging life, when I see a need for me to branch out into other artistic areas. During the last year, I felt that my time had been so overly-stretched and realised that in order to try and accommodate and continue all the things I love doing, that something had to change.  I concluded that we can only maintain very intense periods in our creative lives for so long, before something has to give way and make room for fresh and exciting events to happen. After all, it’s how we enable ourselves to grow and encourage the discovery of the ‘new’, to re-nourish our own creativity.

So on reaching my 1000th post and in an attempt to create some new space in my life for fresh creativity, I’ve decided to reduce my blog-posting to just once a week. I don’t want the blog to fall away completely, but neither can I afford to keep working for three days a week just for the love of illustration alone. I hope that this will be a happy solution for all.

I’ve decided to concentrate this post on a retro reminisce, featuring some of the posts that stand out in my memory as ‘top times’.  Either for the artist the post celebrates, the times they represent or just because the work is pretty dog-darn amazing !

Hope you also enjoy the look back in time with me….. do let me know : )

For the contemporary painters I wish to recall the work of Mary Sumner,

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Este MacLeod, 

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Clive Hicks-Jenkins 

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and the almost ‘too many to count’ posts on modern day favourites like Angie Lewin,

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Mark Heard and Emily Sutton.

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Modern day ceramics by Ramp Ceramics

Claire Loder

Claire Ireland

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Makoto Kagoshima

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Makiko Hastings

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and more retro work from Lisa Larson

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Aldo Londi

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Jonathan Adler

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and Baldelli.

Baldelli cat

Mid-century Illustrator-wise my favourites are still Helen Borten

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Mary Blair

Roger Duvoisin

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Bernice Myers

Abner Graboff

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More present day would be Benji Davies

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Jon Klassen

Laura Carlin


and Chris Haughton

Of course there are many, many, MANY more and these are just a few who spring instantly to mind. I will share some more favourites over the coming weeks. Please let me know if you like my selection or if you have other posts that you remember more strongly and for what reasons.

Lastly a vote of thanks to my core contributors, you know who you are and your comments have kept me going over the years and have been very much appreciated : )  Look forward to hearing from you over the next 1000 posts, thanks for being on this journey too, it’s good to have like-minded friends all over the globe : ) Happy 1000th to you all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Dale and Betty Maxey Mid century Illustrators

November 13, 2015

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It’s a good two years since I last posted about the wonderful work of author and Illustrator Dale Maxey. I’ve had quite a bit of feedback and comments from yourselves but alas after another two whole years, I still really know very little about him. These first illustrations were taken from a book called ” The Wild and Woolly Animal Book “.

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I love how his backgrounds are just dark shades of the same colour on a lighter wash, very effective.

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He wrote and illustrated a great many titles.

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Some better known than others !

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I’d never heard of ‘Preep’ before, The Little Pigeon of Trafalgar Square, but as I can find reference to at least two other Preep titles, I’m guessing he was quite a popular character.

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Beautiful pencil illustrations, movement and perspectives here.

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Then a Fishink Blog reader Andrew got in touch. He loves children’s illustration from the days of his youth (like me) and also discovered I had mentioned Dale’s work previously. He offered to send me some images from ‘Fidgit.. is a great hairy beast’ … so I jumped at the chance, and here they are.

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Such a wonderful book for colour, pattern and fun.

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I can only imagine that Dale had a great time drawing all of these creatures who in turn interact with Fidgit the mouse.

Just look at these amazing and slightly psychedelic backgrounds.

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Dale manages to create such cheery and endearing characters, I think his work is a complete joy to look at.

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Even though I somehow imagine Mr and Mrs Maxey to be American, Dale’s wife Betty, was working on Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ series of books, which I’d imagine were a very English piece of childhood nostalgia for many of us readers today. Dale also did a book called ‘Seeing London” so perhaps they lived in the UK after all. Here’s some of Betty’s work.

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The Enid Blyton images were nearly always about simple line drawings, showing events that were happening in the text and of course bringing the characters to life by giving them all a recognisable face.

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There were many adventures to be had….

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…places to discover and check out, treasure to be found and of course, baddies to encounter. Usually with heavily scarred or angry faces, just to make them scarier than ever! lol

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Betty also worked for magazines. Here’s some 1969 work for the serial ‘Wistaria Street ‘ by Jane Anthony, for Woman’s Realm magazine. This is much more detailed than her work above and uses more shading and tone.

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With the fame from the Enid Blyton books, Betty’s work also worked well for Noel Streatfeild and some of her well-known seventies books for girls.

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A talented couple for certain. Many thanks to Andrew for the Dale Maxey images and your time in contacting me and photographing them for everyone to share, very kind indeed. If anyone knows any more about this fascinating pair, or perhaps you have more of Dale’s work I’ve not covered here already, then please do let us know.  Many thanks. Do tune in and help me celebrate my 1000th post on Monday too ! Whooop !!

Mid Week Mix

November 11, 2015

Since about 2008, I’ve been collecting images from the internet that have caught my eye. Way back then, I wasn’t so diligent in keeping records as to where images came from, or who had painted, photographed, illustrated or indeed created the artwork in the image. So I apologise in advance for their lack of referencing, but to be honest, it was purely about seeing groups of imagery together, that for whatever reason, I enjoyed. As I have managed to amass quite a few of these ‘collaged sheets’, I thought I would share them with you, in the hope that they may also provide some inspiration to you the readers, from their shape, colour, texture or out and out randomness : )

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Just an exciting one more post to go before reaching my 1000 th ! I can hardly believe it myself : ) Have a great week everyone and see you on Friday.  Do let me know your thoughts and which images catch your eye for whatever reason.

‘Ark’ the Royal College of Art Journal from 1950-78.

November 9, 2015

Mid last year the Royal College of Art’s Critical Writing in Art & Design students produced a celebratory book exploring the College’s historic and influential visual arts journal, ARK.

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Ark: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950-1978, is a wide-ranging anthology of articles and images from the College’s long-running ARK magazine, an influential presence in British cultural life.

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There’s a great variety of eye-catching covers, predominantly from the 50’s and 60’s.

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Quite a few of the journals seem to use geometric or graphic themes to add that extra “POP”.

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These two covers are amongst my favourites.

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On a related but totally separate note, whist doing the research for this post, I came across this beautiful collage-illustration from the very talented Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Always great to be reminded just how rich and textural his work is.

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A quick vote of thanks, to the very talented Illustrator Colin West, for bringing “Ark Journals” to my attention in the first place.

Ilonka Karasz Design Pioneer in the Arts

November 6, 2015

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Ilonka Karasz (1896-1981), was an American designer and illustrator known for avant-garde industrial design and for her many New Yorker magazine covers.  Born originally in Budapest, Hungary, the oldest of three children. One of her younger sisters was the fashion designer and textile artist Mariska Karasz with whom she collaborated on a variety of projects.

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She studied art at the Royal Academy of Arts and Crafts during a period when the reigning aesthetic owed much to the Wiener Werkstätte and was one of the first women to be admitted to the school. She emigrated to the United States in 1913 as a young woman and began to make a career for herself in New York City.

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In 1914, Karasz co-founded (with Winold Reiss) the European-American artists’ collective Society of Modern Art, and shortly afterwards she was commissioned to create advertising for the department store Bonwit Teller. For a few years in the late teens she taught textile design at the Modern Art School.

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Karasz was the founding director of ‘Design Group’, a firm of industrial designers, craftspeople, and artists. From the 1910s to the 1960s, her designs—inspired equally by folk art and modern art—found their way into a wide variety of textiles, wallpaper, rugs, ceramics, furniture, silverware, and toys. Between 1916 and 1918 she won several prizes (and gained visibility) for textile designs entered in competitions run by the fashion magazine Women’s Wear. As early as 1918, she was being called “one of the best designers of modern textiles,” while by 1950 she was considered one of America’s leading wallpaper designers, known for experimenting with different methods for transfer and layering of images. In the 1950s, she was one of a handful of artists selected by the aluminium manufacturer ‘Alcoa’ to experiment with the use of aluminium for wall coverings.

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Karasz ventured into a number of unusual areas connected with textile design and production. She was known as a pioneer of modern textile designs requiring the use of the Jacquard loom, and she became one of the few women to design textiles for planes and cars.  In the late 1920s, Dupont-Rayon Company hired her to help improve the texture and feel of rayon and generally raise the production standards for this then-new material.

In 1920, Ilonka married Dutch chemist Willem Nyland, with whom she had two children. They built a house in Brewster, New York, where Karasz lived for most of her life and which was featured in a 1928 spread in House Beautiful magazine. The couple lived in Java between 1929 and 1931, where Karasz complemented her eclectic mix of modern and traditional furnishings with murals that paid homage to the surrounding tropical foliage.

Here’s a few of her book covers.

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Karasz’s exploration of furniture and silverware was most intense in the late 1920s and 1930s. Her furniture was often rectilinear and strongly planar, inspired by the European De Stijl movement; she also designed a number of multifunctional pieces. In 1928, she was included in a European-American exhibition put on by Macy’s department store in New York, alongside such prominent designers as Kem Weber, Bruno Paul, and Josef Hoffmann.

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In another 1928 exhibition, organized by American Designers’ Gallery in New York, she was the only woman given responsibility for designing an entire room, and in fact she designed both a model studio apartment and a nursery. The latter is considered possibly the first modern nursery designed in America, and Karasz followed it up with several later nursery designs pragmatically featuring convertible furniture and washable fabrics. She also tried to incorporate elements that would help very young children learn, such as colour-coded knobs on dressers.

Less well known are the numerous maps she created, mostly for books but also as magazine covers and there’s an interesting post about this here.

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Her Twelve Days Of Christmas has a lovely folk art look to it.

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Karasz began painting covers for the New Yorker in 1924 and continued up to 1973. She had a total of 186 New Yorker covers across those six decades, many of them featuring lively vignettes of daily life viewed from above and drawn using unusual colour combinations. She also created covers and illustrations for avant-garde magazines—including Bruno’s Weekly, Modern Art Collector, and Playboy: A Portfolio of Art and Satire—as well as for children’s books such as ‘The Heavenly Tenants’.

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I think these illustrations are amongst my favourites. Such amazing detail.

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Karasz died in 1981 at her daughter’s home in Warwick, New York. The year after she died, the New York gallery Fifty/50 mounted a solo show of her work. In 2003, a retrospective of her paintings, prints, and drawings entitled “Enchanting Modern: Ilonka Karasz, 1896-1981,” was mounted by the George Museum of Art. Several dozen of her drawings and sample books for wallpaper, rugs, and metal-ware are in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum.


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