Combine a collection of our favourite things and you’ll be left with a blend of fantastical narratives, negative spaces, tactile text, bright colours and textural illustrations. How lucky then, that Eleanor Shakespeare happens to be a kindred spirit and has created a unique publication that fuses each of these things. The book’s name? Collage and Keep.
Eleanor is a London-based illustrator and designer whose work can be instantly recognised thanks to a distinctive choice of medium. Her use of found photographs and vintage ephemera to create layered montages, collages and digital illustrations is both endearing and innovative in equal measures. Having worked with the likes of The Telegraph, Times, Boneshaker Mag and Noble Rot Magazine, Eleanor and the guys at Frances Lincoln publishing have recently gifted people all over the world, yes it’s in a few languages and there’s a special US edition, with this creative journal.
Now, we’ve seen these kinds of time-warping collaged illustrations before, however, it’s a totally fresh experience to be holding onto a book formed entirely from them, especially one that we’re expected to deface with our own cutting and sticking ideas. Eleanor’s new book looks so lovely it might almost be a shame to make our mark on it’s artfully designed pages but it’s clear that she’s very keen for us to do so. With even a dotted line on the front cover left blank for your name, no page is too sacred to be transformed however you see fit.
Sometimes, even the most inventive creatives are struck by blank page syndrome, so there’s something heartening about the way Collage and Keep guides us, helping us out with themed pages and bright ideas. Aside from celebrating the art of collage, another of Eleanor’s specialities is perfectly inky hand lettering. Giving us a little push in the right direction, anecdotes, stories and themes fill the pages ensuring that we’re able start just about anywhere and build our collages and scribbles upon the artist’s original suggestions. Basically, whether you’re a child, a twenty-something, busy grown-up or chilled pensioner, the journey is yours.
We love colouring books and craft projects for all ages so are particularly taken with Eleanor’s latest creation. A pretty perfect gift for the creative in your life, or perhaps someone who could do with rekindling their talents through an occasional collaging session, Collage and Keep is at the top of our go-to list for rainy days, time with friends and family and of course, personal down-time. Reflecting on our lives and experiences, experimenting and expressing ourselves and creating keepsakes to hold on to keeps us healthy and happy as the years go by and as luck would have it, this book invites us to do all three. Clever stuff, if you ask us.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth