Drink your milk! in Sweden

When the top image arrived as a thumbnail in my inbox, I though it was a digital illustration. On closer inspection, the entire scene has been constructed and stitched in 3D! Jakob Westman, an art director for the Swedish ad agency Kärnhuset sent me a detailed description to share with UPPERCASE readers:


This August a new set of milkbar posters will be released by (Swedish dairy company) Arla featuring characters from British Felt Mistress (Louise Evans & Jonathan Edwards).

Jakob Westman, Art Director at Swedish ad agency Kärnhuset says:
"I've known about Jonathan and Louise's work for a few years and have always been on the lookout for an excuse good enough to get to work with them. And the Arla poster series seemed like the perfect match! I'm a big fan of illustration, and that's how we approached this. Or like illustration deluxe. There's been a healthy interest in crafts and textures in graphic design and illustration the last few years, and a big boom in retro-photography with apps like Hipstamatic and Camera+. We wanted a surreal (non-retro) look and we were very keen on having the handmade look come through.

I get such a kick from seeing the textures and the wires, to see that it's NOT 3d-generated, and that there are a bunch of imperfections in there. I also get a kick from the scale of it, that we were able to work with actual props. The candles on the cake are actually burning, the balloons on the ground are real and the clasps on the farmer's dungarees are actual full-scale clasps. That's something you don't get with CGI or traditional illustration and it brings a whole other level to the final poster and makes it so much fun to look at."

The posters are displayed on milk dispensers (milkbars) in Swedish schools and lunch restaurants. Since the posters are on display for 4–6 months one of the requirements have been to come up with designs that lend themselves to new discoveries on the nth viewing. This was also the reason that Kärnhuset turned to German eBoy and their sprawling cityscapes for the first sets of posters, followed by fun and elaborate illustrations from British TADO.

The project with Felt Mistress started with a brief from the agency with a description of what they thought could take place in the two posters. They also pushed for the characters to not be too cute or cartoony, but to be more monster-ish in their appearance. Something Felt Mistress was more than happy to comply with. The agency also requested a very trippy and non-literal color-scheme.

After discussing with Louise how the characters should look Jonathan then made a first round of sketches which were approved after a few very minor tweaks. "Yeah, it worked out really well." He says. "We tried to push the weird colors and make the characters a bit out there. Something that comes pretty natural for us [chuckle]. This is also the first time the felt characters have been used as illustration and not as expensive toys in a hipster flat or office. I've always thought of what we're doing as illustration. That they'd be able to tell stories in editorial or advertising contexts."

Once the illustrations were approved by the client, Louise cut patterns, picked out fabrics and started stitching it all together. "The cow took some thinking to work out." Louise says. "They wanted her to look good both on her feet and sitting down. And Jonathan had cheated a bit and not thought about the mechanics. Fortunately we were able to make a setup with a hook that allowed for the cow's head to be re-arranged. Also it's always important to me when making clothed characters, like the farmer, to use actual clothing fabrics rather than felt – I used denim and checked cotton for the farmer's dungarees and a shirt with real buttons and fastenings. I think it's details like this that really bring a character to life."

The finished characters (11 in total) were then shipped to Stockholm where the whole set – including flat cut-outs of clouds, trees and buildings – was built up and photographed by Daniel Lundkvist.

"It was also great to see what the photography was able to add" says Jakob. "The photos I'd seen previously of Felt Mistress' characters had been more documentary and I think we were able to make them a bit surreal and trippy while still having the handmade qualities show. It's been really rewarding to see how everyone involved have taken something already great and made it even better!"

Client: Arla Foods
Agency: Kärnhuset
Art Director: Jakob Westman
Illustrator: Jonathan Edwards
Character design and construction: Felt Mistress (Louise Evans and Jonathan Edwards)

Featured Stockist: Modern Love

Modern Love, an UPPERCASE stockist in Frenchtown New Jersey looks absolutely gorgeous!

Type Tuesday: You're Just my Type

Cards and wrapping paper from Nancy & Betty Studio
By now everyone is well aware of my fondness for typewriters! Thanks to Hannah for introducing me to her company, Nancy & Betty Studio.

"Nancy & Betty Studio is a small stationery design brand, created by Hannah Bidmead. After studying Fine Art (BA) Hons, Nancy & Betty Studio was created and is now based in our studio in Canterbury, England. Inspiration also comes form the simple and often quirky things, involving subjects such as typewriters and Polaroid cameras – beautiful, functional objects. We like simple graphics and strong colours, with a nod to retro themes."

Featured Stockist: Little Drom Store, Singapore

Thank you to Dawn who was recently in Singapore and came across UPPERCASE books in The Little Drom Store.

If you have a shop and would like to stock the magazine, more information is available here.

Together at last

The dottie angel book as photographed by its wonderful author, Tif Fussell. Read about Tif's reaction to the book on her blog!

Thanks, Mom!

The dottie angel book has many extra little details that make it very special—and labour-intensive. The stitched scalloped-edge postcards adhered to each cover had to be stitched by machine. With a print run of 3000, that's a lot of stitches! Over 3km of stitches, actually!

Thank you so much to my mom and to Paige for taking on this arduous task. Mom stitched her way through 2200 postcards, so chances are high that the book you order will be her stitches on the cover.

Above are some images of my mother's workspace which is just off the family room. The sewing area is designed to fold up and fit behind a closet door, but I can only recall a handful of times when it has been completely stowed away. Which is a good thing because my Mom always has a project in the works.

She recently put up a flannel wall so that she can view her quilts in progress:

Below is a hand-hooked rug that she made. It is one of my favourites; I like the graphic design and use of black.

My Dad holds up a recently completed quilt (he's got quite the wingspan!:

Finley admires some flowers:

Thank you again to my skilled, talented and hard-working mom.

Featured Stockist: Athenaeum Boekhandel

The Amsterdam bookstore Athenaeum has posted a review about UPPERCASE on their website. They even made this video flip-through of the current issue #10!

(Google translate here.)

For those of you looking for issue #7, they have it listed in their shop.

Creative Reuse of the magazine

UPPERCASE reader Jennifer Hoyden sent in this image of envelopes crafted from the magazine. She writes:

"You may already know this, but issue #9 made superb envelopes. I was just flipping through my copy and several of the pages literally begged me to turn them into envelopes. A few others were easily coaxed to sacrifice themselves. Many thanks for a great, fast gift to give my friend next week. At this rate, my subscription is going to pay for itself."


The Art of Suhur

I am always interested to know how the magazine inspires people. When Mustaali Raj, an avid subscriber and regular visitor to my studio, mentioned that issue #9's exploration on how food inspires creativity led to a photo project with The Western Muslim, I was curious to see more.

"Of all the meals eaten during Ramadan, the Suhur (the pre-fajr morning meal) is the most diverse amongst Muslims all over the world. We thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be interesting to see what others are eating? And we did just that. The Western Muslim is presenting “The Art of Suhur”, a photo album on our facebook page showcasing suhur meals."

Mustaali has sent in submissions for almost every open call! We published his matchbox labels, but alas didn't have enough room to include his pet portrait in the current issue. So behold, Cuddles, the pet cockatiel:

Thanks, Mustaali!

Type Tuesday: typewriter ephemera

I'm on the hunt for typewriter-related papers, packages, photos and memorabilia! Above is a recent purchase from Agent Obsolete. Check out their Etsy shop for more retro finds. If you have any good leads or have your own collection of typewriter things you'd like to share, please let me know!

dottie angel: sample copy!

I spent the weekend at my parents' in Saskatoon, and the printer fedexed some preview copies of the book to me there. It looks fantastic, it feels great (so many pages! the curved corners! the textured cover!) I am thrilled with the result. Here are some photos taken outside on the patio.

Currently, the stitched cards and fabric labels are being attached to the covers. Next, the glassine envelopes of goodies will be shrinkwrapped with the book (for protection in transit) and then it is off to all those kind folks and bookstores who preordered the book.

The big mailout occurs this week, so the last day for preorders is Monday, August 22 at midnight, then the database must be compiled and closed. Orders on or after August 23 will be shipping from the fulfillment warehouse in September. Order your copy here!

The book, Tif and I will be at The Creative Connection in St. Paul this September, and the official launch is September 30th at Assemble Gallery and Studio in Seattle. Mark your calendars... we hope to share the book with you in person.

Subscriber: Vanessa Boer

A peek into Vanessa's studio

Vanessa Boer is a self-proclaimed "illustrator and maker of things." She has a diverse portfolio of creative offerings which include commissioned pet portraits (below), illustration, an etsy shop with prints and interesting chimes made from vintage pencils, as well as styling and custom prop-making for magazines such as Real Simple and Women's Day.

We featured six pages of pet portraits submitted by our readers in the current issue (#10) of UPPERCASE.

Pretty talented bunch of readers, don't you think? To subscribe, please visit the online store.

Live the Language

In ,

The Resale Right

A History of the Title Sequence

A History Of The Title Sequence from jurjen versteeg on Vimeo.

Jurjen Versteeg is a young Dutch creative designer based in Rotterdam. Focusing on motion graphic design, animation and visual effects for film, television and web, with a main interest in title design. 

Type Tuesday: white on black

Scout's Honor Co.Dana TanamachiJon Contino{From Design Work Life, pinterest}

Type Tuesday: Off Book

Featured Stockist: Here Gallery, Bristol

Here Gallery is hosting an exhibition of work by Aine Venables from August 16 to September 24. They also stock UPPERCASE magazine!

Featured Stockist: Urbanic, Venice, California

For Los Angeles, there's Urbanic Paper Boutique:

Tucked away by the ocean of Venice Beach, Urbanic Paper Boutique offers a sophisticated collection of unique cards, stylish papers, modern gifts, office accessories and custom stationery. Urbanic is located in the upscale and eclectic shopping district of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and and is frequented by design lovers and event planners throughout Los Angeles.

Our stylish pup looks quite at home!

Urbanic recently hosted a Pinterest meetup:

Featured Stockist: Much Ado Books, Alfriston UK

There's a lovely bookshop in Alfriston that looks like the ideal bookstore. The kind that Glen and I wish was just down the road and around the corner from us... Thank you to Nash and the kind people of Much Ado Books for stocking UPPERCASE and our books!

Much Ado Books
New, Old & Antiquarian Books for all Readers and Collectors
8 West Street
Alfriston, East Sussex
United Kingdom

{photos from Flickr: RobertFrost1960, Mr Ush, Brightondebs, and a happy customer, inset}