Tag Archives: illustration

Meet the maker: Merrick Angle (aka Double Merrick)

23 Jan

It was a strange set of coincidences that first led me to discover the work of Merrick Angle, a British born illustrator living and working in a renovated farmhouse in France. Several years later, when Joe and I were choosing designers to work with on products for Decorator’s Notebook, I knew straight away that Merrick was the perfect person to create a screen print that would capture our nostalgic love of the great outdoors. And so our exclusive Campfire Screen Print was born!

We caught up with Merrick to find out more about his life in France, his passion for retro advertising and why one in ten of his designs stays shut in a drawer.

Merrick Angle

Campfire screen print from Decorator's Notebook

How did you come to be an Englishman living in France?

By accident really. I met my wife when she was studying in Paris. After a whirlwind courtship we got married, lived in Yorkshire for a bit, then Paris. Finally, we ended up in The Limousin because she was offered a job down here. Ten years and two kids later we are still here!

double merrick house in france

double merrick house france design sponge

Can you remember the moment you discovered illustration?

I think it has always been there. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up always surrounded by art and interesting things. I was always drawing and collecting as a kid.

Where did you learn your craft?

I’d like to say Art College, but I only really went there to meet girls. Everything useful I have ever learnt about the creative process came from my Mother, who is an abstract painter. The business side of things pretty much comes from one year I spent working for my Dad in the early noughties. My Dad is basically like Alexi Sayle crossed with Tony Soprano, but he is a sales genius. It was a crazy year, but everything I know about negotiation and running my own business can be traced back to that time.

Double Merrick kitchen design sponge

piano double merrick design sponge

How would you describe the Double Merrick look?

I usually say, scuzzy pop art. Something from an advertising hording that got propped up against a wall in a barn. It got forgotten about, all mildewed up, doesn’t really make sense in the way it was meant to anymore. Bam! You have the essence of Double Merrick.

Talk us through your design process when you work on something new…

Most of the time it starts with a ‘find’. I spend a good deal of time going round trocs and brocantes. Some things just strike a chord with you, most of the time you don’t know why, and the print is often the by-product of trying to work out “why”? I take it back home, scan it, mess around with it. When I finally get something I will put to one side for a few weeks until I can view it again with fresh eyes. This time spent “shut in a drawer” generally decides if something is worth putting out. Because my style is quite simple, it doesn’t really take me very long to complete something. Yet, I have to generate a lot of ideas to find the good stuff. For every ten pieces I do only one or two will get saved.

double merrick house in france detail

double merrick bathroom

How has living in France influenced your designs?

I was thinking about this the other day. Would it be the same if I lived anywhere else? I am not sure, really. I would still like the things that I like. Be inspired by the eras and objects that inspire me. Yet, there is something romantic and compelling about the French visual culture of the 20th century and a little of that seeps through into Double Merrick.

Describe your workspace…

My studio/office is the old dining room in our house. I was in what was the old toilet upstairs, but I ran out of space quite quickly, so I graduated to a proper office. In it there are a couple of desks (one for my computer, one for packaging up orders) an armchair for the dog, a bookshelf with all my finds on, and a notorious tin box in which I keep my stock.

What can we see from your window?

As views go, it isn’t bad. I look out over fields and a couple of cows.

Double Merrick workspace 1

Double merrick workspace 2

What’s the most satisfying part of your work?

There are loads of satisfying parts to what I do, but I’d have to say people parting with their hard earned cash to live with something I have designed. I thought it would be a feeling I would get used to, but I never have. I consider it to be the ultimate compliment… someone making the decision to make your work a part of their everyday lives.

Double_Merrick_screen_print_60_Decorator_s_Notebook_1024x1024

Merrick’s A2 Campfire Screen Print ‘Feux de Camp’ costs £60 and is exclusively available at Decorator’s Notebook.

{Room photographs ©Merrick Angle / Product photographs ©Decorator’s Notebook}

If I was a cool kid…

13 Aug

In my youth my bedroom walls were plastered in posters of the Backstreet Boys painstakingly extracted from Smash Hits magazine.

I was not a cool kid.

If I was, I might have had these…

avett brothers poster status serigraph

band of horses poster status serigraph

flaming lips band poster status serigraph

avett brothers band poster status serigraph

Cincy_Phish poster status serigraph{Justin Helton / Status Serigraph}

They’re all designed by Justin Helton, a graphic designer based in Knoxville, Tennessee who blends illustration and typography to create these hand printed poster designs. You can see lots more (and buy one) at Status Serigraph.

Oh, and please feel free to share any embarassing teenage fanclub stories below… we’re all friends here ;-)

The art (and politics) of laundry

9 Jan

I’ve used Flickr a lot less since Pinterest came along, but it’s worth remembering that in addition to photos, Flickr is home to some incredible archives. I recently came across the Boston Public Library photostream which contains scans of the most amazing historical artwork, ephemera, advertising posters and photography.

You can spend hours getting lost in the collection but I picked out this little selection of nineteenth century laundry adverts. Feminists are advised to look away now!

vintage advertising poster laundry

vintage laundry advert

nineteenth century advertising poster

nineteenth century advertising

{all Boston Public Library}

Dare I ask who does the laundry in your house?!

Bowie’s back!

8 Jan

No time to write more. This girl’s got face paint to apply!

David Bowie Judy Kaufmann{Judy Kaufmann}

Christmas wishes from Decorator’s Notebook x

25 Dec

vintage illustration Christmas party{via Jill Clark}

May your days be merry and bright!

All my love for a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2013

DN xxx

Print & Pattern

7 Oct

I don’t think I’ve ever grown out of that ‘back to school’ feeling so I usually try and sign up to an evening class at this time of year to keep my brain cells ticking over and my creativity alive as the nights draw in.

This year I’m doing a beginner’s class in silkscreen printing at Morley College in Lambeth. We’re starting off with basic stencil prints so for my homework I’ve been gathering simple patterns for inspiration.

{Diamond Dogs / Clouds and Bolts / Leaves}

{Feathers / Trees and Birds / Glasses / Blue Clouds}

{Circles / Chevrons / Coffee Beans}

I could go on and on – there are so many talented printmakers out there. Not sure how far I’ll be able to get in twelve weeks but I’m hoping the learning curve will be a fun one! I’ll be sure to share the results with you.

Write more handwritten letters

9 Jul

Remember the sentiment of this Pinterest A-Z post? Last week I came across this appropriate print by Mary Kate McDevitt and have really enjoyed browsing her work. She’s one designer who definitely practices what she preaches!

I’ve always enjoyed messing around with my handwriting… adding my own little loops and twirls to the regulation joined-up writing we were taught at school was about as rebellious as I got during my early years! I love the idea that someone can build a career around a passion for writing and have the title ‘Illustrator and Letterer’ on their CV.

Mary Kate McDevitt lives in Portland, Oregon and mixes creating prints and cards for her Etsy shop with commissions for magazines, shops, restaurants and designing posters for events.

I often toy with the idea of making a blackboard wall / door / panel somewhere in Le Flat… I reckon I’d be much more inclined to go ahead if I could write like this!

{all Mary Kate McDevitt}

There are lots more examples of Mary Kate’s illustrations on her website and a selection of designs are for sale here on Etsy.

Intricate illustrations by Claire Scully

18 Apr

I have a habit of leaving my computer logged into Decorator’s Notebook so I usually miss the thumbnail links on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page. Today though, my laptop took it upon itself to log me out of it’s own accord… fortuitously as it happened as I discovered these.

One click took me to The Flood, an interesting digital art magazine and from there to British illustrator, Claire Scully. There are a few different styles of work in her portfolio but it was her Bejewelled series that caught my eye.

Each illustration is an intricate web of geometric shapes – to me they look almost like lacework or crochet. You can tell that a huge amount of patience and concentration went into making them.

There’s a slightly folkloric edge to the way the animals and birds are drawn – I think it’s the blend of the graphic design and pretty detailing that appeals to me.

{all Claire Scully}

See more in Claire Scully’s portfolio… while you’re there click on the Nature Drawings category too. Her feather and tree root drawings are lovely.

More beautiful books

25 Jan

Forgive the bookish theme this week!

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I only made my first visit to Daunt Books in Marylebone recently and spied these gorgeous books covers adorning the fabric-covered shelves. They’ve been about a while but I’ve somehow missed them, so they’re here today in case you have too.

The Penguin Threads series contains three much-loved classics with covers hand-embroidered by illustrator Jillian Tamaki. The level of detail is amazing (who didn’t cry at the part where Beauty broke his hoof?) and the books have been printed with embossed dust jackets so you get a sense of the silk threads in the original work.

There are just these three books in the series at the moment, which represent two months of painstaking hand embroidery. Pick up a copy on Amazon for £8-9.

Before I go I just have to share a picture of Jill’s Monster Quilt… check out the Tam o’ Shantered Nessie!

{all via Jillian Tamaki}

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