Designer Desire: Sean Sims

Mosaic of Sean Sims designs | H is for Home

This week, we’re drawing your attention to the fantastic work of Teeside-born and Brighton-based Sean Sims. We first mentioned him in our Tuesday Huesday series way back in 2012 and he’s produced lots more great designs in the years since then.

His work ranges from children’s book illustrations, aircraft in-flight meal snack boxes, posters, greetings cards, gift wrap, magazine covers… even a jigsaw puzzle! Last autumn, he designed one of the 44 Snowdogs that were auctioned off on behalf of The Martlets Hospice.

His style is immediately recognisable – with hints of Alain Greé, Miroslav Sasek and Kenneth Townsend. No wonder we love his work!

You can get a range of his designs in his own webshop or on Not on the High Street.

Portrait of Sean Sims painting his Snowdogcredit

Image credits: Agency Rush | King & Mcgaw | Yellow House

Designer Desire: Brian Wildsmith

Mosaic of Brian Wildsmith illustrations | H is for Home

As you may know, we’re massive fans of children’s book illustrations. We have vintage books in our collection by Miroslav Sasek, Bill Charmatz and Alain Grée amongst others. One illustrator we’ve admired for a long time, but don’t actually own any of his books, is Brian Wildsmith.

Wildsmith (who died in the summer of 2016) was an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator with a large portfolio of work behind him. His books were playful but educational at the same time and covered subjects such as ABCs, birds and other animals, fables and bible stories.

In an interview for the Independent newspaper in 2010, Brian Wildsmith explained his ethos:

[Before ABC] the text was the most important thing and pictures would just accompany it, diagrammatically explaining what was going on in the words. But I could limit my text so the illustrations explained what actually happened. And not just the physical event of what was happening, but the vision of the people or the animals or the landscape around them. I was expressing in colour the wonder and beauty of the world in which we live, which had never happened before, and would have been difficult to explain in words for children.

Some of his books are still in production, however, if you’re like us and prefer vintage copies – despite them sometimes being ‘read worn’ – there are always examples available on Etsy and eBay. We’re after a 1st edition of his Animal Gallery which teaches lots of the collective nouns like ‘a corps of giraffes’, ‘an array of hedgehogs’, ‘a herd of seahorses’ and ‘a troop of kangaroos’.

Portrait of Brian Wildsmith

Image credits:

Abe Books | Amazon | Hive

Designer Desire: Alain Grée

mosaic of Alain Grée illustrations | H is for Home

In this week’s Designer Desire, we’d like to introduce you to Alain Grée (if you’ve not heard of him already, that is). Eighty years old this year (2016), Grée is an illustrator, mainly known for his children’s books and board games.

Grée is an enthusiastic sailor – he’s crossed the Atlantic on his own ships – which can be seen in his very detailed educational books about ships, boats, the sea and sea creatures.

Luckily, Grée has had a very prolific output; his books (over 300) have been produced in large numbers and in 25 different languages. This means you can find examples of his work easily from outlets such as Etsy and Amazon.

His work is still being produced by RicoBel based in Ghent, Belgium who own the rights to his works. Button Books, based in the UK, stock a large stock of his early-years books, activity sets and flash cards.

Here’s a short film of the designer himself talking about how he created his books.

Image credits

Alain Grée | Sam Smyth | Flickr | Pinterest

This is Cape Canaveral

'This is Cape Canaveral' blog post banner

Vintage This is Cape Canaveral book with other titles in the series by Miroslav Sasek | H is for Home

We’ve just made a new addition to our collection of This is… books.

Vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book with cup of tea

It’s always a treat to make a brew and settle down with one of these gorgeous books for ten minutes – especially one we’ve never read before.

Vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book cover

Our new arrival is a first edition copy of This is Cape Canaveral dating from 1963. Later versions of this book were called This is Cape Kennedy and most recently, This is the way to the Moon.

Astronauts illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

As always, fabulous illustrations by Miroslav Sasek leap off every page.

Vehicle checkpoint illustration from 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

It’s a pleasure to share them with our readers – existing fans and perhaps a few new converts too.

Cameramen illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 They’re insightful and very witty…

International newspaper headlines illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 …and full of wonderfully observed detail.

Rockets illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

They’re beautifully drawn and capture the era perfectly.

Mercury Control Center illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

They also have a real sense of optimism about them.

'Welcome Back' illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 We picked up this copy for £5 which was a real steal for a first edition.

Cape Canaveral gift shop illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

It’s always nice to get a bargain…

Satellite dish illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 …and perhaps added just an extra tiny thrill as we thumbed through the pages!

Space available illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

We always buy the early editions and really love our little collection – Cape Canaveral makes it 11.

Pile of vintage 'This is...' books by Miroslav Sasek

A few more to go yet though – there are 18 in the series in total!

World Dolls Series: Spain

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Vintage World Dolls Series: Spain book cover

We’ve reached Spain – and the end of our journey in the World Dolls Series.

World Dolls Series: inside Spain book cover

Just to recap for any latecomers, this charming set of children’s books written by Irene Dark has taken us on a trip through twelve European countries – our doll hosts guiding the way. The books are wonderfully illustrated by a variety of artists. For this final edition it’s the turn of J. Sirr from the Birmingham School of Design.

Map of Spain

Carmen & Juan are taking care of us in Spain. They scrub up well don’t they?

Juan & Carmen, dolls from Spain Juan & Carmen in their Flamenco dress

As the book says, “Spain is a land of hot sunshine. a land of dance and song”.

Street musicians in Spain

We’re barely off the coach and we’re shaking our stuff to the percussion band!

Carmen's house

We’re staying in a traditional Spanish house which is very pretty. Girls in the beds, boys on mats on the floor!

Working in a vineyard

There’s more farming to do – we’ve done our fair share on this trip! It’s grapes, olives, cork and pigs here in Spain.

group of pigs

We’re not complaining. We like earning our keep – and what better way to experience life in each country? And it’s not as if it’s been work, work, work – we’ve skied, skated, sailed, swam, danced, shopped & gone sightseeing.

men on mules

We’re getting all misty-eyed now – what a journey we’ve had. Wonderful sights and lovely people (dolls).

Siesta time in Spain

But all good things must come to an end – and what a beautiful place to rest and reminisce. We’ve sold the coach and have bought a couple of donkeys. We’re staying in Spain for the foreseeable future.

Beach in Spain

You’ll find us here on the beach with our jug of Sangria – staring out at the blue sea & sky. The odd swim to cool off, a light lunch perhaps. Let us know if there’s anything urgent.

                      GONE FISHING – H IS FOR HOME x

World Dolls Series: Norway

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World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

We’ve reached Norway in our World Dolls Series – a much-anticipated destination after a tough couple of weeks in Russia and a long trip over.

Front inside cover from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

 There are great illustrations by Frank Bird for this edition.

Asa and Karl, Norway national dolls from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Our guides are Asa & Karl – a colourful, friendly pair with an unmistakable spring in their step.

Lapp and teepee in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Karl is a Lapp and hails from the far North so we head there first – the coach has a few more miles to do yet!

Lapps in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Karl shows us the traditional way of life in Lapland and we meet the lovely reindeer.

Lapp child with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Then it’s back down South…

Fishermen in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

…where we take in the picturesque fishing harbours and get stuck into some cod.

Fishermen and cod in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Sightseeing in Oslo follows…

Asa, Norway national doll from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

… and some serious R&R in the surrounding forests and on the ski slopes.

Ski jump with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

We’ll be naturals before long – we don’t want to get shown up by the local 3-year-olds!

Skiers with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

The long, hard graft of that Russian farm is a distant memory.

Mountain village with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

We just about squeezed the coach onto the ferry for a trip down the fjords. Simply stunning!

Fiords in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Thanks Asa & Karl – our spirits are refreshed.

Asa and Karl, Norway national dolls from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Hopefully we’ll make a trip to Norway in the real world one day – and we pray it looks like Mr Bird’s illustrations!