Illustrating in 3D: Pelicans Crossing

8 May

Follow me here instead for more frequent updates!

My new Tumblr blog is something a little crisper and more image-friendly to post up sketches, ideas and new work. From now on I’ll be blogging from there but will still keep this one live for a little while.

I’ve been experimenting with 3d cutouts and photography recently to add an extra dimension to my illustrative style. Here are a couple of images of something I’ve been working on – a 4 image story called ‘Pelicans Crossing’. These images are being exhibited as part of Penarth Pier Pavilion’s Darlunio/Illustrate show which opens this Sunday. Click on the link above to see more images on my new blog.

pelican process2web


I have a new blog – something a little crisper and more image-friendly to post up sketches, ideas and new work so will be using that one more often from now on. Click here to visit – and to find out more about the exhibition.

Behind the scenes – illustrating The Little Lost Note

17 Apr

Note concepts in sketchbook

At the end of last year I illustrated my first full-length narrative in the form of an app book. The Little Lost Note is an interactive story book for younger children, and was written and produced by Box of Frogs Media. They asked me to write a piece about my process when illustrating the script, which I’ve re-posted below…

The day I first heard about the Little Lost Note was the beginning of an exciting adventure.

 I met Frog CEO, Ben, for a 10 minute chat at the gates of Brighton station, en-route to rural southern Sweden to begin a 6 week artist residency for the Summer. Ben had seen my screen printed characters and thought that this style could bring his interactive narrative to life. By the time I reached Tranås an email was waiting for me with a draft script – and so once I’d settled in I began to imagine what the Little Lost Note might look like. My studio was on the top floor of a converted fur factory, and I slept there too. The early sunrises were incredible.

The Note was deep blue, to begin with, and by accident wore a slightly furious facial expression.  She looked like a stern librarian had wandered into the make-up department of Avatar. I was experimenting with the texture of dry gouache paint and brush pen. I continued the roughs by combining hand-drawn techniques with digital manipulations. It was then that I settled on a yellow /gold colour – this felt most instinctive for her character. I sent off a variety of notes to Ben, and he chose number 6. That is the Note we eventually cast in the story.

The Note began life in a scene of tall pine trees, a misty dawn and a bush with a pair of eyes peering out. It was a bit like the Moomins meets the teddy bear’s picnic meets Sleepy Hollow. Her surroundings were definitely influenced by mine, at the time, as I navigated my way around a new place. I spent a lot of time outdoors – early each morning I swam in a deep lake in the forest, and on the first weekend there was a music festival in the park. The park joined onto a forest footpath on one side, with the river, a skate park and ornamental gardens on the other.

As the drafts developed, the trees grew blossom and bright leaves, and the colour palette of the book as a whole tuned into the season of Spring.  It became softer and easier on the eye for the target audience.

The Little Lost Note is a kind of early years road-novel – it’s just as much about her journey towards self-discovery as it is about what happens at the end. I felt an affinity with her as I was on a journey too. The Note is curious, determined and playful, characteristics which I enjoyed visualising for our young viewers to identify with. The world she travels through is visually rich, and the interactive creatures, clouds, plants and trees make it all the more believable and immediate.

I began serious work on the illustrations when I returned to the UK in September. Much of the work was done in the evenings and lunchtimes as I was working full time at that point. I’d create line drawings and scan them, completing each image in Photoshop to enable flexibility and the achievement of the clean, 2D colours within the hand drawn, loose style. As a piano player myself I was most drawn to the creation of a piano – simplifying the real instrument to become a wise and kindly character was really fun. I think that the piano is the oldest of all the instruments but it still has a twinkle in its eyes.

Creating the illustrations for the Little Lost Note was like doing a big puzzle – there were many different elements for each page and although some pages show a similar scene, there were always tweaks to be done, such as checking the progression of the sun, the sky colours and consistency of line. I also had to take into account the interactions – making the note’s limbs, tail and shadow moveable for Cath, our animator, to perform her magic. Minutes turn into hours very easily with any creative project, and the Little Lost Note and I saw the clock strike midnight more times than I can count on my fingers!

The most challenging scene for me to draw was definitely the bandstand end pages. I drank a lot of tea – I was visiting my parents that weekend and so my mum kept popping in to see how I was doing. She has a keen critical eye and this comes in handy when I’m doing more complicated drawings. She had a joke going that maybe Box of Frogs would like the bandstand so much that they’d ask me to illustrate a whole book called ‘The Little Lost Bandstand’. The bandstand does look pretty cool with all the instruments on it – but I wouldn’t fancy drawing lots of them! It is based on the one in Chepstow where my cousin and I played when we were young. Helen now has a lovely little boy, and when she was showing him the app at Christmas, she immediately recognised our bandstand at the end.

To see the app come together and launch has been a fantastic experience. As an illustrator I’ve learnt new ways of working with a narrative text to bring it alive. The narration, the soundtrack, programming and animation complete the jigsaw and this app has many different ingredients which complement each other and make the Note’s journey one to look at over and over again.

It was a pleasure to work alongside so many talented people on bringing this narrative to life, and I look forward to the next adventure in the Little Lost series.

Click here to buy The Little Lost Note for iPad and iPhone!

Design and Illustration of Point of View Writing Map – available now

5 Mar

During the winter months I designed and illustrated The Point of View Writing Map, part of a series of illustrated diagrams written by Shaun Levin. The exercises on the Writing Map are devised to inspire stories and even novels. The extended creative writing prompts can help you develop stories, or can be done in short and playful bursts as warm-up exercises.

The Voice and POV Map is #2 in the Craft Writing Maps. The A3 map (297x420mm) folds down to A6 (105x148mm, postcard size), and is printed on 130gsm recycled paper in England.





This was a really fun project to work on, creating environments, characters and situations to reflect and propel the written exercises. I enjoyed the challenge of presenting the information in the map layout and working with a mixture of conventional fonts and hand drawn type. It was very exciting receiving the physical maps in the post a couple of days ago!

Click here to visit the Writing Maps website and purchase the map directly there. It will also be available within the next few weeks to purchase from The British Library Bookshop, Foyles Charing Cross and Southbank, The Literary Gift Company (online) and more to be confirmed.

Copyright Writing Maps 2014

New Cards and Prints for Spring

3 Mar

I had a great day last weekend at Rhiwbina’s Handmade Market, organised excellently as ever by the wonderful April.  So many people and wonderful makers. Every time I do a market, I like to create something new to launch, and have now added several items to my online shop, which I’ve shared below.

Firstly, a card inspired by my Mum & Dad’s flock of fleecy Jacobs. This one is lino printed (using waterbased ink for a nice wooly texture) and then embellished with black brush pen and a greeny-gold crayon. I enjoyed drawing the ewe from life – in a blustery field whilst being hassled by some impatient chickens…

IMG_0915This would make a great greetings card or, more timely, something for Mothers’ day. Click here to buy on Etsy.
I have also produced a run of prints, which will be listed soon.

Next up, we have a rather intriguing situation – a greeting from one unicorn to another, through the medium of cake. I’m sure that, if unicorns existed, they would most certainly do this.
IMG_0911Click here to purchase this card online

Here is the final card in the current collection – some mischievous carrots playing games underground. Vegetables do sometimes look like little people don’t they! I have plans for a larger piece including more raucous roots. I doodled this on the iPad using ProCreate.

IMG_0913Click here to buy the Carrots card online.

Last but not least, after several requests, I have created a Welsh version of the popular Tits poster. Huge thanks to Ann Hemmings from the Welsh Gift Shop for sending me the translated names. Titws Tomos las is my favourite.

titws framed welshThe poster is available as an unframed A4 or A3 print from my Etsy Shop.

I’ll be posting up a fair bit this week, due to four illustration commissions / projects now being completed! More coming soon about them🙂


Workshops for 2014

10 Jan

Workshops 2014

Happy New Year! I will be running some day courses for Cardiff Open Art School this Spring. If you’re interested in having a go at bookbinding, collage, letterpress, illustration and lino printing then please do sign up!

The details for each course are here – book soon as places are limited.

More workshops will be added soon – including family activities at Humble by Nature – so stay tuned for updates.

I also have a new website where I’ll be posting new finished portfolio work from now on. It is:
I’ll still be updating this blog though with news, workshops, projects, work in progress, as well as posting frequently on the Facebook Page, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

I’m now fully freelancing as an illustrator, which is very exciting, having left my lovely work at Literature Wales behind to develop and grow as a creative business. It’s really exciting – and I’m looking forward to exploring Brighton, my new home town.

The Little Lost Note app – available now

16 Dec



Following an autumn of burning the midnight oil drawing, colouring and editing, I am delighted to bring news that the Little Lost Note app book for iPad, brought to you by Box of Frogs Media, is now available to download from iTunes at a very agreeable £1.99. Click HERE to download!

Join the Little Lost Note as she sets off on a journey to find her missing instrument. Follow her as she makes new discoveries, meets new friends and explores the magical, musical world surrounding her. Little Lost Note includes interactive elements on every page for adults and little ones to enjoy together; Read to Me and Read by Myself options as well as Night Light mode for especially quiet and calm bedtime reading.

Illustrating the Note, the characters and environments for an interactive medium has been a new direction to take my narrative work – one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to developing in the future. A huge shout out to the team at Box of Frogs who have been an absolute joy to work with.

Here are a few screen shots:




ipad_screenshot_04All images © Box of Frogs Media

Enjoy! And have a superb Christmas.


New online shop open

2 Dec



If you missed me at recent markets, fear not – I have a newly opened online shop crammed full of screen printed notebooks and tote bags, illustrations and books galore! Above is a photo from my stall last Sunday at The Boutique Christmas Market in Monmouth.

Click here to visit the new Etsy store.

Where I’ll be: events and markets

15 Nov

November is a busy month for the illustration work I do (more on that soon) but I’m also looking forward to emerging from my drawing cave to show my work and sell prints, stationary and homewares at two festival fairs.

Humble by Nature Open Evening and Exhibition

Open Evening: Friday 22nd November 2013, 7pm – 9pm

Humble by Nature is hosting an exhibition of local artists in the Long Barn at the farm. All the artists have a strong connection with the farm, either living, working or teaching there. The artists include Sarah Edmonds, Beca Beeby, Amanda Rayner, Farmer Tim Stephens and Leigh Griffiths. Find out more about the artists here.

The artists work in a variety of media based on the natural world. Whether it’s wood, willow, cast iron or prints inspired by nature, the exhibition will encourage viewers to reconnect with their environment. Visitors will be encouraged to touch the exhibits and feel the beauty of the natural materials as well as appreciate their visual aesthetic.

The exhibition will be on display for course and event attendees at the farm. It is open to the public for the Open Evening event on Friday 22nd November from 7pm until 9pm.

For more details please call 01600 714595 or


I’ll also be having stalls at the following seasonal markets, in Cardiff and Monmouth. I’ll be launching some new stationary products, bags and prints (previews coming next week). Accompanying me to both events will be the wonderful Catkin Boutique, run by my talented school friend Nicola Barter.

Rhiwbina’s Handmade Market
Sunday 24 November, 12 – 5 pm
Rhiwbina Memorial Hall, Cardiff

handmade market

click here to visit the Facebook page for more information about the event.


The Boutique Christmas Market
Sunday 1 December, 11 – 3 pm
Shire Hall, Monmouth

The Boutique Christmas Market

I’m donating a Dish and Spoon screen print to the raffle in support of fantastic charity Sands.
Also heading to this market is The Welsh Gift Shop, do check them out!

click here to visit The Boutique Market ‘s Facebook page for more information.

Shop online

If you’re unable to attend either market, I have prints etc for sale in my online shop here

Art in Penallt / forthcoming workshop

27 Sep

This Sunday I will be doing a couple of book making demonstrations at the Art in Penallt Festival, as well as having a stall. I grew up in Penallt, so I’m looking forward to going back and seeing some old faces and friends from the village.

It’s all happening in the village meadow, from 10 – 3.30 pm.

*Forthcoming workshop*

Also on the subject of homecomings, I’m teaching a day workshop at Humble by Nature on Saturday 16 November. I ran the course their last autumn and it was great fun. Here are details of the course:

Lino printed Christmas cards at Humble by Nature, 2012

Print it! Create your own cards & wrapping paper

It’s time to add the creative touch to your Christmas preparations and make your own greetings cards and paper.

Explore the art of lino relief-printing through designing, cutting and hand printing your image onto an array of cards. You’ll also have the chance to create your own wrapping paper and tags, using common household objects to stamp and create a unique design.

At the end of the class you’ll come away with a set of ten cards and wrapping paper to delight friends and family over the festive period.

Find out more and book here on the HbN website.

Please vote – tea towel design – Pedlars Product of the Month

28 Aug

I have designed a Christmas tea towel for the current Pedlars Product of the Month competition. The design that receives the most votes gets made and sold by Pedlars, lovely independent gifts and homewares store.

When I entered the Dala Horses design as a mug last year, I came second… so let’s see if we can get this present chomping tree onto a tea towel as a Christmas gift!

You can vote for the design by visiting the Pedlars website.

Eat Drink and Be Merry_web
Please vote and share. Thank you folks!