Sunday, 8 December 2013

Etching at the Art Academy (part 2)

I finished the evening etching classes. I'm sad not to have a weekly trip to the print room any more (six weeks just wizzed by like a train not scheduled to stop at the station) and I'll miss not having that feeling of purpose on a thursday night, but I'm also a little bit "phew", a little relieved, to be able to go straight home after work. Isn't that silly?!?! I hope you know what I mean though. I'm going to stop talking now, as you might all be getting the wrong idea! Here's the end result: 

p.s I'm really pleased with this plate! It was so easy to print from........could I actually be getting the hang of this etching malarky?!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Durga and the Buffalo Deamon

I've been spending my dark November weekends submerged in the vibrance of hindu mythology. This image was done in response to After the Fairytale Collective's challenge to illustrate the tale of the Goddess Durga and her encounter with the Buffalo Deamon......I think you can gather from my drawing below that it didn't end well for the deamon! An abundance of awesome girl power and Indian patterns made this an extremely enjoyable challenge! If you wanna see the full colour version, then head over to the collective blog. 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Etching at The Art Academy

So, about four weeks ago, I started an evening etching class at The Art Academy in London. Four weeks ago, I also told myself that I would write this post.........oooops! I can verify with some relief that the etching class has been a lot more productive!
It's been over a year now that I last used the print room at Plymouth University, and while I had said I would try to find a print studio in London I could use to keep the etching going, I was worried that I would have forgotten how to use it by the time I got round to making good on the promise I had made to myself. I felt a refresher course was in order. Cue a quick search through Google and an halaluja moment when I found this fantastic six week evening course just round the corner from London Bridge at The Art Academy. Perfect for after work. I'll admit it's been tiring going straight from work to a three hour etching session but I've been enjoing the experience. It's also been good to be reminded of why I loved it before and to gain usefull tips on how to complete diferent stages of the process at home. Who knows, maybe I'll set up my own makeshift studio in the kitchen!
Last lesson I got to the stage of applying an aquatint and then etching for tone and shading. I find that the most nervracking stage because it really feels like guess work! I can't imagine getting to the stage when it won't! Next week will be the big test.....when I actually print. In the mean time, keep your fingers crossed for me and I'll leave you with the drawing of what I line etched. The tone is going on top. After spending a whole evening etching this image onto my plate, I then dreamed about foxes all night!


Sunday, 3 November 2013

From Masks to Snow White

I started early on the After the Fairytale collective challenge for October and managed to get a bit of sketching in before committing to the final illustration! Well done to me! I don't usually manage to pull that off (cue smug pat on the back)! I thought I'd give you a taster with these images from my sketchbook in the hope that you'll be tempted to look at After the Fairytale Collective's blog to see all the work submitted for October's "mask" theme, including mine which illustrates the moment Snow White's evil step-mother disguises herself as an old crone/witch to trick her into eating a poisoned apple. You can see them here:

Monday, 28 October 2013

For Mabel

This image was a collaboration between a writer and an illustrator. That is, my sister, Abra, and me. She wrote the poem/story and I illustrated it...if you hadn't guessed that already I thought I should make it clear! I actually only ended up with a couple of hours to think of and execute the final image which made me feel like a stressed-artist-creature-person for a while but the end result of all that was something I feel reflects the tone and charm of the writing. We made it as a naming ceremony present for a darling baby girl, at the very beginning of her life and her adventures and her loves and passions. This was for Mabel.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

New Arrivals!

I'm feeling pretty impressed with myself. You know how I (more than) hinted that I would be selling cards through my website? Well, it's actually happened! I now have a proper shop with a checkout basket and everything! You can see how excited I am just by the amount of exclamation marks I've used in this paragraph alone! If you like the look of any of the cards below then head on over to my website and make a purchase. Happy Shopping :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

COMING SOON.........

These arrived in the post the other day. Let me just take a moment to say...Wahoooooo!!! I was literally breathless when I got home from work and found the brown box waiting for me on the arm of the sofa. Such a treat after a long day. If you're thinking "that's great Merle but..err...what are they exactly?!?" then let me tell you that They are greeting cards which you will soon be able to buy from my website!!! There are seven different designs to choose from, each a Merle Hunt original. I'm just simply tooo excited to keep this one to myself until it is all set up. More then anything (or rather, apart from the anticipation of maybe making a little money from my illustration and this passion of mine finally starting to earn it's keep!) it's the satisfaction of seeing my work actually printed *sigh*'s the little things.

 Get those wallets ready and buy all your cards for next year! Then sit back and feel very smug with yourself!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Start of New Beginnings.....hopefully!

I feel it is about time that I swept out the cobwebs and brushed away the dust from the long forgotten corners of this blog which have accumulated in the presence of such unforgivable inactivity. Has it really been .....5 months?!?! FIVE MONTHS!!!! since I last posted? I'm afraid to say it has. I feel I should apologise although I realise I'm not quite sure who to. Is there anyone out there reading this? More then anything I feel like a neglectful parent. Much work is needed now to make up for lost time.
The reason this blog has been left like an orphaned child on a doorstep for, I'll have to say it again, 5 months! is that the three month internship at Rooks Books which I last wrote about three weeks into it's commencement, has lead to a part-time job! It's great news but does mean my illustration has been put on the back-burner for the last few months while I got into the routine of becoming a Commuter for four days a week. However, I have a few personal projects bubbling on the horizon (hhherrm, may have mixed me metaphors up there but aah well) and so hopefully this post can signal the re-launch of all things blackbird and lemoncurd-y! And in the mean time don't forget that if you're in the mood for an illustrative treat, then there's always the collective which I post to once a month with fellow illustrators Diana Mazuru and Rachel Rawlings. August's offering was all about Jane Eyre and this September we're illustrating Blackberry Wine.
So, I thought I would kick off the start of new beginnings with a few pages from my sketchbook. For the Jane Eyre challenge I was really inspired by the brooding, Gothic atmosphere of the 1943 film adaptation and so I decided to keep my image black and white and use Parker ink. I've seen this medium be used a lot and to great effect, but I've not really used it before myself so it was a bit of an experiment. These pages show the process and if you'd like to see the finished result, click on the collective link above.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Practice makes perfect.

I have been an intern now for three weeks and I have come home proudly baring my first book bound at Rooks Book (by me of course but with some very patient, kind and much appreciated help). The first of many I hope. Although I have done book-binding before as an A level I'm a little rusty at the moment and so I was re-learning all about sewing, glueing, end papers, rounding and backing, making board covers and covering with leather in the making of this book. Using leather is what I'm most unfamiliar with but the skill which is really the key to working at Rooks Books as that is their speciality. I'm praying that practice will make perfect! I'm going to be keeping this book all for myself but not so sure what I'll fill it with yet. There is nothing more promising then a blank book and I'm always filled with a sense of trepidation at the thought of covering those pristine pages. However, it is also good to remember that there is nothing quite so magical as a book filled from cover to cover. I'll let you know what becomes of it. For now though, here's what it looks like!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Collective.

The collective After the Fairytale is going well. Why not have a look at what we did for March by clicking here or on the link above xx

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Rooks Books Intern!

On Tuesday I will be starting a three month internship here: Rooks Books! Watch this space for updates on how I get on.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

An Easter Offering

It's not long 'till Easter now and I've been getting into the spirit of things by painting an Easter hare for the Plawhatch Farm e-newsletter. (The original isn't quite as green as this upload has made it look!)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Illustrations for a Brave New World

I mentioned a couple of months back that I would be entering the House of Illustration and The Folio Society's competition to illustrate Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.....well, I got an e-mail from them the other day to say that my entry was unsuccessful. While there are possibly no words to describe how disappointed I am not to at least make it into the top 25 (and if there were it would be a little depressing to list them all anyway) over the last few days I have been trying to look at the positives: 1) They e-mailed me to let me know. There's nothing worse then having to assume it didn't go well through lack of any form of communication. 2) As clich├ęd as it sounds, I'm still proud of myself for entering because it wasn't the type of text I would usually have chosen to illustrate and although I struggled hugely I managed to complete it. 3) I am pleased with the work I produced. That is a big achievement for me! Even if they're not the best pieces of art ever done, I still like them and (I cringe slightly at the cheesiness but it is definitely needed in this case) that's what counts. So here, I am proud to present.....the illustrations that should have won ;)


 "And this," said the Director opening the door, "is the fertilizing room."

 "The on a low bed, the sheet flung back, dressed in a pair of pink one-piece zippy jamas, lay Lenina, fast asleep and so beautiful in the midst of her curls."

"I claim them all" said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. "You're welcome," he said.

And here, for those of you interested, is The House of Illustration's chosen top 25 

Thursday, 28 February 2013

A little bit of summer to warm the last edges of winter

We've had a few hints that spring is on it's way here in the south-east of England and for a little while at least, I was vainly optimistic that we might see it early this year. False hope I know. Today the sky is an uncommitted shade of cool grey and even though I'm sitting inside with a jumper on and a cat curled on my lap, I can still feel a chill and a nip beneath my clothes and in my bones. As I have the house to myself and the whole day to do with as I please I thought I'd shake out a few of last summer's memories in the hope of spreading a little warmth, so desperately needed!