Saturday, 19 August 2017

An Italo-Byzantine Mosaic

#italo-byzantine #mosaic #doves #holyspirit

I'm sharing this as an example of the following

Doves as symbols of Holy Spirit
Italo-Byzantine art
Interesting layouts
Hey its Sunday in my time zone!

Its from the San Clemente Basilica in Rome

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Rooster Art in the West

I've been posting a lot of rooster and bird related art over in my  Technozi blog by various Asian artists but Europe had its specialist bird painters too. Here's a fine 17th century example.

The composition is an interesting balance of horizontals and diagonals in the background with angles creating depth contrasting with the rounded curves and stronger colors of the chickens in the foreground.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Durers' Stork

#durer #drawing #stork

Durer's best known Animal painting is probably his depiction of a #european #hare but he also drew other animals and birds. He was a meticulous master of linework as well as color with skills that made him successful as a engraver and printmaker as well as a painter of portraits and religious works.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Pompadour by Boucher Some Comments

On top of everything else I nearly smashed my hand in a door but ... not my typing hand

okay double or triple glyphika this week if I have time to make up for the gaps in posting

so why a portrait of Madame Pompadour by Boucher ?

One) Pompadour was a patron of the arts who supported the creation of French porcelain amongst other things.

Two) This is a quite awesome portrait WHY?

A) great diagonal composition B) Exquisite color balance C) Hidden or not so hidden messages

The message is not in the medium (Oil Painting) but in the details.

Notice what it tells us about Madame Pompadour

She was a mistress of style and fashion who could make a pink and bluegreen floral dress with frills and truffles work and even look sexy. Think about that diagonal composition and the placement of the pink frills down the front.
Note how she is not only holding a book but the mirror BEHIND Her shows not an image of her admiring her own reflection but that the rest of her room  has more books in a cabinet and not a view of her bed and then theres the table next to her with the drawer open to show with a quill in an inkpot ready for use.

You can download this from multiple sources. Do study it carefully to learn more.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

aaargh sick

Sorry folks I've been sick off and on for the last week with the sort of minor ailments that tempt one to overdo things so one is sick one day and better the next but not fully recovered

stomach bug upsetting my blood sugar levels wattle pollen allergy leading to sinusitis sniffles mild flu or pollen reaction ... generic weird aches and twinges

I'm functioning on green tea and boringly sensible soups brown rice etc since anything much spicier sweeter or stronger makes me sick again

maybe by the weekend I've have the energy and inspiration to make a decent post

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

John's Eagle

10th century AD Egmond Gospels St Johns Eagle.

Features of interest and worth studying

Combining circles with squares  Use of split lines Color Composition

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Carolingian Word ART

#carolingian #wordart #manuscript #centaur

A charming page from a 9th century Ad manuscript in which the letters have become the illustration !

Maybe this will give you ideas for modern word art?

Saturday, 15 July 2017

A Flemish Book of Hours

Here's a double page from a Flemish Book of Hours that demonstrates several aspect of European culture in the Middle Ages:

ONE) Fantasy Illustration is not a recent innovation

TWO) Other scripts then "GOTHIC" were used.

THREE) Interaction of Illumined Manuscript and Techniques used for larger paintings
Note the use of shadows.

FOUR) Use of workshops there seems to be at three separate "hands" involved on these pages! Possibly four if the calligrapher wasn't one of the other artists.

Or just enjoy the images without analysing them!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Bilingual Coptic Arabic manuscript

A bilingual manuscript. #coptic #arabic

The byzantine influence is very evident in the header ornament and cross and you can see the influence of Greek uncial scripts on the Coptic lettering and the skill of all the scribes involved as the Arabic letters balance surprisingly well with the Coptic.

One thing I have noticed about Greek and Coptic Byzantine manuscripts is a tendency to not have marginalia but use ornamentation on headers and page dividers.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Scribes as Apostles and vice versus.

There seems to have been a meme amongst Manuscript Illuminators of depicting St.Mark as a Scribe.

Here's a gallery of some of the images I've found so far

I do wonder if any of these were "selfies" by the scribe / illuminator ?

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Renaissance Book Binding

#books #bindings #renaissance #antiquebooks #italianrenaissance #andreamategna

While looking for images of St. Mark I found this painting by #AndreaMategna which includes an image of a bound book.

Search Wikipedia for StMark and follow the links if you want a copy but for those of you who are busy here's a cropped closeup of the book.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Bane of Colored Backgrounds TWO

I often see people using tonal contrast in footers and header bars on websites.

Please think about size and tone as well as color.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Bane of Colored Backgrounds and Text.

This is on my mind after trying to print out a badly designed and coded printable pdf on a printer low on toner. Some people still try to put text color on color Backgrounds and ...

Whether its a printable pdf version of a css/html coded webpage or you are just picking out a template for a web page or blog please consider this image below. Size is also a problem with text color and readability which is why I have posting the same image twice in two different size settings.

Full marks to everyone who noticed pale gray which I still see being used on some printable pdfs actually make the text look fuzzier at both sizes and all three colors! People try to remember some people make have printers set on black and white! Orange looks good on a screen but in print if the printer is low on colors ...?   If you have a color printer try printing this out in color and in black and white to remind yourself or students about the need to to think about vieiwing sizes and how a document needs to work on screen and on paper.

I may do another text showing text colors in different popular font sizes.

Remember your design may be appearing on a mobile, tablet, laptop, large screen, or paper, on a standard A4 page or a poster? Test color and size.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A Reminder I'm on Patreon

Enjoyed my Inkscape Demos?

Visit Patreon and get more freebies or claim low tier rewards that are just one dollar !

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Comma - A sampler.

The comma takes to be be misused in Modern English either by being under or over used.

While its rarely used in Titles I though a sampler of how it looks in a LARGER point size might be a useful reference? Yes I did insert a space before the comma so the comma is easier to see. Its not visual irony or bad punctation.

Enlarged commas might also be useful on posters for creating vector objects as backgrounds?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Edwardian versus Kunstler

Another comparision demo #inkscape #fonts #edwardian #kunstler
My comments below

Very very similar but I think the Edwardian works better than the Kunstler?

Both of them need clearer stronger Zs?

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Greek Lettering - Mosaic Versus Manuscript

Here's two closeup of the lettering of the word MARK or rather MARKOS contrasting how lettering for mosaics and manuscripts differs in "WEIGHT"

This is a closeup of a Byzantine mosaic.
Note the Lunate Sigma and the style of the Alpha. 

Now consider the handwritten letters on this manuscript page and how the letter coloring matches the illustration of the saint writing.

Study how material medium and location influence the layout of the lettering and the shape and weight of letters.

One set on a slightly curved surface made up of smaller tiles and the other written in ink on a tinted background on vellum.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Mark and Manuscripts

#stmark #illuminedmanuscripts #illustration

Here are three different approaches to depicting #SaintMarkEvangelist in Illumined manuscripts on parchment.

A semi abstract Celtic approach from the Lindisfarne Gospel

yet byzantine manuscripts use other styles

and finally from the Grand Hours of Anne Duchess of Brittany

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Here are some modern fonts clearly influenced by hand writing.

Given how similar I and J are in some fonts and calligraphy styles I hope my choices are show how emphasizing the top bar made it easier to distinguish the two letters?

Do also check my prior post on J letter forms please?

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

I to J sampler

Here's a sampler crafted suing #inkscape showing I and J forms and the relationship between them.

I hope the forms and fonts I have selected show how a simple lengthened pen stroke for emphasis may be started the idea of a separate J letter? I've tried to contrast fonts clearly inspired by handwriting with nib pens to related more modern print fonts.

There will be another post on the related topic of how I think the top cross bar forms of upper case J in many modern fonts developed.

Saturday, 20 May 2017


Here are links to THREE of my NEWEST DESIGNS and they are available on things that are NOT #stickers Too ... like #phonecases or #studiopouches or #tees and stuff


A closeup look at the eyes of an alien intelligence

A Mighty Tree even more awesome on posters !

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


#inspiration #logo #typography #inkscape

Three designs and my comments on the progress and design.

1) Still not happy with flames filter ... on a larger scale you can see the outlines of the letters showing thru the layers with the gradient and the flame filter thinking of a redo with just gradient over torn edges maybe for a flame effect? Does it express the idea that Inspiration be be like fire?

2) Light but Elegant Good for a Book Cover?
     A simple edit of fill and stroke colors and stroke size
But too formal for some contexts?
Maybe also good for pamphlets or workshop posters?

3) A bit retro hippie? Does reflect concept of Inspiration as something fluid and not quite fixed while still having crisp clean edges ?

4) For my fourth idea you'll have to go to
where its set  as an early access $1 reward. You can also get a freebie if you visit there!

Saturday, 13 May 2017



the IPA uses these and other symbols for "R"sounds

r alveolar trill Scots Welsh 

R uvular trill Swedish and Norwegian

ɾ tap or flap alveolar Portugese Spanish Italian 

Do you know which ones represent the R sounds in your language or dialect? Its actually more likely to be the tap / flap alveolar which seems to be the most common sound.

Modern English has a R sound with a symbol like an upside-down r called the Alveolar Approximantɹ  

There's also a symbol for a sound used in German French and Portugese.    ʁ

Do designers need to know linguistics?

Well yes a little for what if you were working for a community that uses one of these and wants a multi-lingual text say for a poster?

Or you are a graphic designer / typographer asked to help edit a linguistic text book? 

Something to think about?

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Two New Typographic Works

#typographicart #australia #ostraya #visualpun #inkscape

Hey people here's two new typographic works in contrasting styles!

Copyright Julie Vaux  "Youse say Ostraya" 2017
First a piece with texture filters playing on the depiction of Aussies having "rough" accents and our tendency to avoid palatalized final sounds in everyday conversations.

Copyright Julie Vaux "Winged O" 2017 
Second a piece demonstrating how Inkscape can be used to turn letters into objects and (semi)abstract shapes.

Both these designs are now available on Red Bubble on tees and stickers and other great stuff!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Aussie R and YA : A Personal View

You may or may not have seen #IPA #symbol charts before.
After I post the charts I'm going to discuss what those symbols mean to an actual speaker.

What you thought I was French Canadian or British?
Some people just don't read profiles!?

You'ld think given our multi-ethnic and multilingual population we might have more deviance form British or American English perhaps towards Irish or Scots English or sounds from Italian or Greek or Cantonese or Serb-Croat but no.

The melting pot effect has given us the sounds about and an accent allegedly NON RHOTIC.

We have an initial R  but R at the end of the words and syllables in works like park or lurker tends to merge with other sounds.

To native speakers who have NOT studied linguistics it sounds like a final R to us but an R sound that changes vowels to a full rounded longer sound. Frankly to me it sounds like a lot of other dialects of English are far more NON RHOTIC especially the dialects used in some of the Southern states of the USA! I have wondered why despite having many people, adults and children, who are bilingual in a variety of languages that have far more palatals than English, like Italian, or Vietnamese, that we have SO FEW!

The most notorious example of this is AUSTRALIA which tends to be pronounced formally as OSTRALEEA or informally in the broadest Aussie accent as OSTRAYA.

Its the whole rounding thing again with R at the start of a syllable also effecting sounds that follow.

If you're trying to describe Australian English without using IPA symbols I would suggest you type "arh"to emulate that rounded lengthened sound and not "AH".  

I tend to shift from formal or informal rhoticisms depending on context and who I'm speaking to  or what I'm reading aloud, and I sometimes apparently stress my "R" to the point of sounding less Australian for various reasons with one of them probably being a grandmother who had a Glasgow Scots English accent and speech therapists teaching a standard closer to British than Australian English.

We do have an R but it tends to fuse with other consonants and vowels! 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

"Gender free" THEY General or Singular?

#THEY and what good grammar and good design have in common


Last week I blundered into a discussion of the usage of THEY as a singular pronoun and argued unsuccessfully AGAINST it and had people claim I must be a "white patriarchal ...." etc etc etc

Yes I know English lacks UNgendered pronouns but most of the usages cited of THEY by others who claims it is and can be SINGULAR actually are not.

My issue with using UNgendered pronouns is one of SEMANTICS and AMBIGUITY  also the use and abuse of concepts like "binary constructs".

The problem overlooked is that biological or social gender is NOT the only binary distinction or contrast of many pronouns. A lot of cited examples of "singular" usage or "notional plurals" that I saw during my research could also be described as usage of they their and them as GENERAL forms.

The GENERAL versus SPECIFIC contrast is equally important in English.

Lets look at this sentence.

Alex brought THEIR laptop to work.

A certain type of theorist states that this colloquial usage is not just okay but wonderful because its gender free!

I don't care what biological or social or sexual gender Alex identifies with however ...


Using THEIR instead of his her or this or that ONLY tells us Alex brought a laptop to work not who owns it or for what purpose. Alex could have been repairing or fixing some one else's laptop and brought it to work to return it to the owner.

THEY is a PRONOUN used to describe NUMBER often in a GENERAL context.

Anyone can claim they have no gender or they were alone but one is not many?


is paradoxical which is fine and useful in some contexts but if you want to be more precise you could use this or that or not?

So what has this to do with DESIGN?

I've noticed the following parallels.

White Space / Punctuation
Rule of 3 / minimizing use of non primary clauses
Minimal adjective / adverbs / Minimal use of ornament

Complex structure in paragraphs requires grammar to convey meaning

Complex detail on an object requires organised pattern

Now I'm pushing the parallels further into speculation

Prounoun agreement is like Color Harmony?

Using the right word is like using the right medium or tool?

Saying THEY THEM THEIR is singular or a valid replacement for SINGULAR forms is a matter of context. Your friends and personal acquaintances may know its your personal style and preference but other people are going to be thinking WTF are they being so vague ?

Your choice: Ideology or Information?

Design parallel: Insisting THEY is singular cos you say so and its deconstructist, post-strucuturalism, or  genderfree, is like telling a customer despite them asking for an original print or drawing that they will be sent a digital copy of a file or vice versa.

THEY may be evolving towards becoming a GENERAL pronoun but please don't confuse GENERAL with Singular?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Inkscape Demo Tiger Fur Filter

#inkscape has a #filter in the #overlay menu called #tigerfur
Here's my test of it!

Starting with a orange square seems to work best and it seems to work on a small scale but this one looks like it would require some extensive further edits to look like real fur of any kind!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

OM in several scripts

#om or #AUM in several #scripts.

All of these scripts have some partial relationship or link to the #devanagari script or closely related derivatives thereof. Except the Chinese which is there for contrast.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Easter Sunday

#eastersunday #resurrection

I have seen many paintings of the resurrection but still after all these years I think this is one of the best ever created! Grunewalds Isenheim Altarpiece

Don't forget tho it functions as part of a larger altar piece 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Saturday, 8 April 2017

That Josh Davidson Guy

Its Palm Sunday when a carpenters son from Galilee entered Jerusalem so I'm thinking this works for this Sunday and next Sunday.
Share it!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Easter Ideas Two

#easter #superhero

Feel free with mess with people's heads with this!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Easter Ideas One

Here's an idea for an #EasterSunday theme #card design

Yes this is NOT hand brushed or inked or watercolor on paper
This was created in #inkscape

Take a stimulated "handwriting" font thicken the the stroke make it the same color as the fill
then in this case apply the rough and glossy filter since I thought it best matched the font
but do try your own font and filter combos!

However if your church does not have anyone who's a calligrapher or typographer and the local graphic designers are all booked up doing weddings or whatever INKSCAPE IS YOUR FRIEND !

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Inkscape Demo Gouache Oil Painting filters compared

#inkscape #comparison #gouache #oilpainting #filter

The Gouache filter in the Textures submenu still seems to be the most useful filter for digital painting in #inkscape

What i probably should do next is compare Inkscapes Gouache to Gimps Oilify ?

Saturday, 25 March 2017


This will also be available on my #Patreon site for you to download and use!

If you don't want to right click here or want to link to my patreon please visit and use this link

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Todays #inkscape #filter #demo is a comparison of Gold Splatter to Gold Paste

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Qbist on Gimp

If you're looking to create strong #geometric patterns with #gimp you might consider experimenting with the #qbist #filter as a starting point.


Some hints : Combine filters Think about XY co-ordinates. Don't just pixelize or shift or oilify.

Rainbow Bridge Copyright Julie Vaux 2017 

This is Rainbow Bridge one of my latest designs on

It started as an image generated by Qbist in Gimp.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


#inkscape #lent #memo #ecard #typography

If you saw the A on Paper post I was testing new effects and papers for this.

Share it with a Catholic or Protestant friend who practises a traditional Lent?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

A on paper

#paper #texture #inkscape #filter #julievaux

This weeks experiment changing the colors just slighting and then adding just one filter to try to get an ink soaked into paper effect. It seems to work best if you change the color to a VERY dark brown!

I've taken the epaper oblong I created for the bottom layer and saved it at the bottom of the image for you to crop off and reuse. Again if you're looking for a paper effect combining Texture with Distort works with most colors in #inkscape

If you want a smoother texture you'll probably have to export to #gimp and do more edits.

Start in Inkscape though. I 've seen some small scale textures made in Gimp that work on web pages for banners or small areas but used for a complete a4 page or larger ...

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

K.I.S.S. and Jokerman

Inkscape #jokerman #font #demo

What to do with all those ornamental Fonts that come with Windows 10?

Heres one demo of 2 simple edits

I am rather glad though there are few English words with J and F ? 
A bit more thought should have been given to the top cross bar in the J?