Saturday, 24 November 2012

Work in Progress

It's getting cold, wet and dark outside and although it doesn't always create the perfect ambience for feeling inspired (unless hibernating can be classed as a truly inspired idea) it is never the less the perfect time for getting inventive with the art materials. After all, as a friend of mine rightly pointed out the other day, you couldn't be doing anything outside anyway so you might as well have some fun. Now, a couple of months ago I wrote about The Sketchbook Project and what a fantastic initiative it is. Well, it still is and I'm taking part (it's too late to sign up this year but keep an eye out for it next time if you fancy getting creative!). I haven't posted anything up recently because everything I'm doing at the moment is still at the very early stages of work in progress. However, I thought I'd post a little peek at the beginning of my sketchbook taking shape, not least of all because it proves I have been getting creatively productive during these dismal winter months! Honest!

And to show me being creatively productive......although perhaps not at the time of taking the photos!


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Illustrated Italy!

Here is a colourful collection of illustrations that I came across while in Italy. These are my top ten in no particular order.

1. Ceramics seemed to be a speciality on the Amalfi Coast.

 2. This beautiful mosaic was part of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Amalfi.

3. More ceramics. I took this picture for a friend of mine who likes cats...a lot!

4. The Crypt of St. Andrew. The murals were painted in 1660. This place took my breath away.

5. The best surviving fresco in Pompeii.

6. I was quite taken with the illustration on this glass which came with my peach iced tea!

7. A modern mosaic at the bus stop! If only all bus stops were that beautiful!

8. Stunning hand painted ceramic dish. It was too big to fit in my suitcase unfortunately.

9. The tiles of a table in Ravello, the city of music.

10. Hand painted signs to the town I was staying in.


Despite the fact that I am relishing the freedom of drawing without thought of pleasing anyone but myself, I really did very little of it in Italy. Just a couple while on the beach. I think I put myself off because I didn't like what I did do. So much for this only pleasing myself thing! I am, as ever, my harshest critic and the one hardest to please. However, I'm going to post them here for the sake of honesty. We're all allowed a few mistakes, right?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Spectacular, Spectacular!

I haven't posted in a while now I know but I've got a pretty good excuse: I've been in Italy! and also working on the farm quite a lot too but that's not as interesting! I did manage to do a little sketching while on the beach (oh yes! ON. THE. BEACH! it was still warm and sunny enough in October to lie on the beach!) although that's not why I'm posting today. Italy will have to wait. Today I wanted to share this: The Tate's Pre-Raphaelites:Victorian Avant-Garde exhibition. It looks spectacular and I for one can't wait to go. This will be a family outing for sure. Ever since I can remember my world has been imbued with the imagery of the Pre-Raphaelites. Mum and dad took me and my sister to many other exhibitions, we had a calendar, bought post cards, read the plays, poems, legends and myths that many of their works illustrated. If I had a wall of inspiration, these paintings would tread a merry path across the entire length of it.

Pre-Raphaelites Victorian Avant-Garde Banner

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Fred and Ginger get a feathery make-over!

Just two very quick sketches I produced to go in the Plaw Hatch Farm newsletter. They are to accompany a written piece about the many colourful animal characters that often wonder into the shop there (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers being two of them obviously!). I can tell you that drawing poultry on a tight deadline is pretty hard and I struggled with these two. I don't think I quite managed to capture their toe-tapping skills! But I would just like to say here and now that Bantams (that's Freddie) are officially my favourite breed. They look so smart with their fluffy trousers! I think Fred Astaire would be pleased to know his namesake was keeping up with his style.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Goodluck little envelopes being whisked through Royal Mail!

So, I've been all productive! Tomorrow I'll be taking my first steps to actually contacting potential clients by sending these 11 babies off into the scary world of art directors with business and post cards inside. It's not an extensive list, only really A-B of publishers and a couple of other magazines etc. but it's a start! To be honest, as I cut out all the envelopes individually by hand, it would have been difficult with much more...well, not so much difficult as time consuming and laborious which is what the tutors were always telling us not to do but....I want to make a good impression darn it! I just have to keep telling myself that the worst that can happen is that I'll hear nothing, but I also have that horrible voice in my head that's telling me they'll turn around and tell me that I'm a fraud! As I asked you to cross your fingers for me before, maybe you could cross your toes this time?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Brave New World.

The House of Illustration have launched their new competition to illustrate a book for The Folio Society. Last year the book was Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber and this year it will be Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. It's the chance for illustrators who have not previously worked with The Folio Society to get their work seen which is great for people like myself. I know little about the book in question except that it would probably not be on my ideal reading list given the choice (dystopian prophesies of a new age isn't quite the thing I'm used to reading, or indeed, illustrating! as former posts will show) but I think because of that it could be a unique challenge to set myself. Certainly the cover of the book I've been lent by my dad is in dire need of redesigning (although dad argued that you can't go wrong with Masaccio! It's true but there's a time and a place and a thumbnail size version of The Expulsion on a plain chocolate brown background is definitely neither). In the same way that you can learn something from arguing the opposite point to what you believe in a debate, I feel that I just might do the same from trying to illustrate something that I would usually not even look at twice. In a way, you become less preciouses about the result that way and in these cases great things can sometimes happen. I am flexing my fingers in readiness. This could be fun!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Yay is me!

Yesterday I could not find the prit-stick I knew was somewhere on my desk! This made me endlessly happy :)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cushion covers and competitions.

As promised, new artwork as it comes off the desk. All these designs I did for competitions, some using old work and some new.

These illustrations were for a clothing company who were looking for a design to put on their Christmas pyjamas. I chose the theme of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker to come up with these Christmas-sy figures.    

While these two cushion cover designs are for an online company selling illustrated products called Ohh Deer
Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

I have a desk!

I didn't think this day would come so soon but there you have it :) I have a DESK!!!!!! A space to fill with all my art materials and make messy, and oh, how I shall make it messy ;) How I look forward to the day I can not find the one implement I need because it is buried under such glorious piles of "productive" mess! The person I need to thank for such a wonderful gift is my dad who has so kindly offered up this corner of his flat  for me to use and girlify! (I don't think he was expecting the bunting!). While the rest of the living room is strewn with coffee mugs, photography equipment, books on Proust, Karl Marx and Art, jam-jars filled with an assortments of brushes, bottles of linseed oils, bills and sketchbooks filled real Leonardo-esque drawings and oh-I-was-just-"scribbling" scribbles! in the corner you have....well, you have this.....

It's so pretty! and girly! I LOVE it! I don't know if dad quite realises what he's let himself in for but I look forward to updating you on the next pieces of artwork that come hot off that desk. Watch this space!!!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


So, I finally bit the bullet and checked my bank balance! I'm so bad, I don't check it that regularly, just try to keep a running total in my head of what I'm spending which is never very accurate.....I mean, I was never very good at maths at school so I don't know how I fool myself every time! But this time I had just a little bit extra money then I thought I had and so I decided to go for it and develop some of the film that has been accruing next to my bed! I started with the most recent as there are a couple of rolls that are so old I don't even know what's on them! I figured that they've waited so long already to to see the light of day that they can wait a bit longer. Anyway, here are some of my favourite snaps. I was quietly relieved when I got them back as I'd had to guess the correct exposures for some of them but they all came out ok.

Here are some shots from the D&AD show I took part in at the end of June. Most of my year ended up putting work up for it which was great to see. For those of you who don't know, D&AD is a show that happens every year in London where graduates from art fields such as Illustration, Graphics, Photography and Advertising get to display their work for potential clients to see.

Mine is the middle one above the pink hair!

As a parting thought, when I'm back home home, as in East Sussex as opposed to Plymouth, I like to get my photos developed at Colourstream in Brighton. They always do a really great job, know what they're talking about and have student discount aswell! Worth the trip if you're ever in the area and need film developed.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A little bit comic!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I uploaded an etching I did at the end of uni whose image I'd taken from the last scene of a comic I'd drawn a few months back. After I'd uploaded the etching I realised that I never actually put the comic up here which was very remiss of me at the time and which I will rectify now. The creation of this comic came about when some of my fellow students (namely Peter Maggs) took it upon themselves to organize a 24 hour comic event (something which Plymouth University's illustrations course has done for several years now but which has never been a student initiative before). I'd never even vaguely considered myself a comic book artist before but as my work had become increasingly narrative lead over second and third year, I thought this would be an interesting new challenge! The aim is to produce 24 pages of a comic book in 24 hours (that's 1 page an hour when you do the basic maths!) and if you want to see pictures of the event go have a look at Diana's blog. The images aren't expected to be of that great a quality as there simply isn't time to produce anything highly rendered if you want to reach the target. Here is the result of my 24 hours spent in the library among friends with sandwiches and mushroom pie.