Saturday, 21 October 2017

Wine Working Woman

For our next image in the grapes and wine series lets jump forwards to the Renaissance.

Francesco del Cossa painted this about 1460 and most probably was part of a series of panels originally in council chamber in Ferrara. It has also been attributed to Cosimo Tura, and is now in a Berlin Museum.

Its been called Polyhymnia or Allegory of Autumn but importantly its an excellent example of a young woman worker depicted with grace and strength pausing from her work tending vines.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Grape Pressing - Roman

While researching Maenads and Satyrs I keep finding images of Satyrs and Silenoi pressing grapes but not Humans in Greek Classical but no human workers until I added Roman as a search parameter.

Even then I got several images of cupids pressing grapes but finally I found this image.

Its part of a larger mosaic showing activities linked to various months of the year.

The ancients seemed to have used much shallower vats then modern winegrowers. 

I'll be sharing more images of this activity over the next few blogs showing how depictions of workers changed over the centuries.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Wine Pressing from the Tomb of Nakht

#wine #winemaking #winepress #egyptianpainting #tombofnakht

One of the oldest known paintings if not the oldest I've found so far of grape growing and harvesting.

also of interest as it shows ethnic diversity in ancient egypt with two blonde greeks or northerners or two older egyptians with  sun or aged bleached hair ? and the egyptians having coloring and hairstyles that are NOT all identical!

As I'm doing Dionysus over on my metousia blog I thought I might take a look at images of grapes and wine growing and making in other cultures.

Next time some roman imagery.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Digital Ink Inkscape and Inktober

Been thinking about #Inktober

I usually don't have time to do a daily drawing but for those of you who prefer digital ink here's a couple of  rough sketches / ideas for using #inkscape

After you select the pen tool set it to dip pen this was done by finger on a touch pad kinda rough but you get the idea ?

Add one of the ink texture filters for a wet paper effect ?

INK whether its digital felt tip or pen enjoy playing with it !

Saturday, 7 October 2017


This is a smaller lower resolution version of my newest #redbubble design

Copyright Julie Vaux 2017 

To see this and other designs visit

where you can buy this on stickers and clothing and gift items!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Ornate Capitals Experiment

I have been experimenting with merging and editing two different font variants of a basic letter form to create a new ornate capital.

Needs more tweaking with nodes and paths but could be a useful shortcut for developing fonts ?

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

I have scarves !!!

#fashion #scarf #design #julievaux #redbubble

Just a reminder that many of my designs are also available printed on scarves and other items !

Copyright Julie Vaux 2017 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Origin of Art Deco

In case you thought it was just an urban legend ...

Here's the poster for the exposition that give this 1920-30s style of design its name 

Yes it really was called Arts Decoratifs but note the poster states it was also a show of industrial art and stresses Modern on the second last line of the text.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A Reminder and a Logo

Do you think its time to me to redo or update this logo design yet? Do visit my sites!? Send feedback on which site you think the logo works best on ?

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Flapper

#Theflapper  #cover #life #artdeco #butterfly #illustration

Ever wonder about this image?

While searching for butterfly images I keep coming across copies of it and so decided to track down the original UNEDITED source.

Its a LIFE magazine cover!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Another great SF book cover

# bookcover #SF #threecolorrule 

Another great example tho my photo taken with the mobiles not so good is this elegant cover for The Rise and Fall of D.OD.O. Just 3 colors black yellow white ! and a reference on the cover as to how  Schrodingers Cat leads to time travel and science battling magic! 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A Good Read and a Great Cover

#titanbooks #jameslovegrove #cthulhu #bookcoverdesign #sherlockholmes

I know this came out last year but my library's copy went walkabout and only recently was returned!

This book's cover is an excellent example of cover design for the following reasons:

1) Appropriate to the fusion of the two genres as this book combines skilfully the Holmes and Cthulhu mythos.

2) Typography An Art Noveau look for the font but note the modifications so that the curls turn from tendrils to tentacles!

3) The three color rule works ! The green contrasts with the white and black 

4) Its a wonderful balanced layout of the various elements that makes a clear statement  about the book's contents.

Finally its a great read as well thanks to James Lovegrove's knowledge of both genres! 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Artists Statues and Ethics Some Questions to Consider

#historywars #confederatestatues #columbusstatues #statues #captaincook

MY LIST of the ETHICAL QUESTIONS we should ask ourselves about this

Artist Designer or Sculptor

Whether you think Statues of Colonial Founders or Confederate Generals or other Public Figures should stay in place or be torn down HANDS UP if you have EVER thought AAARGH thats an ugly statue they could have done better.

However The REAL issues should be

to replace or contrast existing monuments

OTHER issues should be

Can we respectfully rephrase and change existing inscriptions to show that

One person or culture's Hero is Another's Villian?

Should we be creating monuments at all?

Are we creating a focus for memory or a propaganda image?

If the propaganda image is of a legend whoever it is has some artistic merit  should it remain in place?

Then there's the issue of whether we are creating an IDOL OR A ICON for those of us who follow certain theologies and creeds?

Is it a greater sin to leave certain statues standing or is it a respectful tribute to create an image?

Whether its Captain Cook Governor Macquarie Christopher Columbus Lenin Mao Robert E. LEE  Sherman or Grant an Amerind Chieftain Cecil Rhodes an Oppressed Native or some Sports Star
how do we honor them with art?

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Three Suns

Three Suns created and edited with #inkscape  #demo

I started with a circle with stroke set for orange and then added filters

How to take this further? I suggest an orange object with irregular edges to suggest flames making it a bottom layer and then grouping or merging the two?

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Italo-Byzantine ChiRho

From the same church as the prior post an example of a #ChiRho #italobyzantine style #mosaic #lettering

I have not cropped this to emphasize the lettering because I want you to be been to see and study how the letters fit into and onto a band of ornament as part of a curved mosaic surface.

It also shows a good color balance in the composition and layout.

Think about how a similar color layout might work in print or on the web for a title or header or poster. I think you might have to strengthen the greens for modern mediumand maybe darken the blue or strengthen it?

You don't have to do a ChiRho ... you can experiment with other letters! Initials maybe?

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!