Archive | May, 2011

On a stormy Sunday

31 May

On Sunday – between naps, snacks and visits to four VERY lovely Al-Pacas in a neighbouring field – I illustrated to my heart’s content. Sundays are good for that. Especially when Monday is a day off too. So here are some things:

Driving back home, we passed several fields of very square looking cows which inspired this:

Then, I got stuck into characters for the ‘Word-Up’ letterpress piece, which resulted in this:

I will be making around 20 limited edition prints of this one! They’ll be available soon – keep an eye out here.

After that, I used a Coptic bind to make a book with a difference. Behold, a paper pear:

Finally, I drew my mum’s kitchen – a place of whistling kettles & cats & baking – on a long sheet of parcel paper:

I also discovered the delightful knitted creatures and textiles of Scottish designer Donna Wilson. Do head over to her website / shop. This plate is one of my favourites.

Another blog you should definitely subscribe to is toseainasieve by the talented Amy Windridge, who’s knitting habit is well worth a look at!

There are also plans in the pipeline for a garden-inspired 2-d animation, a collaboration between myself and Matthew Simkins. Very exciting. More on that soon…


Workshops, recipes and things to do

26 May

I’ve added some new dates and classes to the WORKSHOPS page – so please do have a look and let me know if  you’re interested in taking one! I’m hoping that following the madness of May, June will give me some more time to make my own work and develop some ideas that are but scribbles on paper-scraps at present.

The Hand Drawn Recipes Blog is bang up to date, with recipes for Fish Pie and Chocolate Brownies available for your delight and delectation. Both are tried, tested and delicious!!

Click on the sample page of the pie recipe below to visit the site.

Here are some things in the pipeline / to do! If you see me perhaps give me a gentle prod and see if I’ve finished anything!?

Here goes…

  • Finish designing Elanor’s Wedding Invites (to be posted up here once complete)
  • Go into production with the Verb Garden Project (all of the parts are printed now, just need to start assembling them). They will be on sale in the SHO Gallery from late summer. As well as more new work.
  • Illustrate a character for Word-up letterpress piece
  • Continue working on Dark things / light things lotus binding (coming soon!).
  • Plan workshops in more depth for the SHO Gallery
  • Subscribe to Uppercase Magazine – and possibly be tempted by their book bundle.
  • Plant out Butternut Squashes into the freshly compost-strewn earth.
  • Take the plunge and get a smartphone? (converted by the possibility of a diabetes app! and of course a working phone)
  • Write and make a recipe and send to Alex. Any ideas?
  • Find a new book to read. Any recommendations?

One thing I have just finished is reading Kafka On The Shore. Well worth a read if you get hold of a copy. I may even leave mine somewhere, wrapped in brown paper ready for a new owner. I’ll let you know.

I keep starting things and not finishing them.


17 May

The Salmon Man was striding purposefully along the harbourside in Anstruther. I salute his pink over-alls / onesie and the surrounding blues and turquoises which set them off so boldly. This is the colour combination of the day!

A few other photos I wanted to include – on our trip around the Fife coast we encountered lobster paraphernalia: nets, signs and ships; stoic seagulls, blustery breakwaters where we clung to the stone-walls and well kept boats. I noticed patterns and shades & wanted to capture these in a small series of photos. I plan to make these into a journey-book / visual story sometime soon. Enjoy!

All photographs copyright: Matthew Simkins.


16 May

I was lucky enough today to stumble across the work of Lim Heng Swee. Particularly like the Doodle Everyday project, where a doodled illustration was produced each day for a year. Click on the picture to see more of his daily doodles, commissioned work and prints for sale.

Browsing through the doodles made me consider how I’m often drawn to daily-projects, often happening for a month or year. Often from the speedy doodle or spontaneous photograph will emerge an idea which develops into a full-on project or art piece. My favourite drawing began life on a Tapas menu, for example.

So here for your interest and delectation – a few more creative projects / something each day – perhaps you might like to try one? It is a good way to liven up your day – although it requires dedication and self-discipline to continue!

The Uniform Project

The Uniform Project is an unusual creative challenge taken on by a woman to wear the same dress for an entire year. The real challenge is that her outfit has to look unique every single day.
Other people have followed suit and taken on the challenge for a month, as a fundraiser. I’m really keen to do this at some point, independently. It would be an exercise in realising how much of the wardrobe isn’t worn, and encourage creative dress-up times EVERY DAY! 

Keri Smith: Create A Thing A Day a Month

Guerilla Artist and Illustrator Keri Smith is out to inspire and nurture creativity – her ‘Thing A Day A Month’ project not only showcases pieces of work she made during the project but sets out tasks and challenges for you to try too. I see a lunch-hour challenge coming on.

Have you ever taken part in making / doing something each day? Or a collaborative project? Do share your experience / links in the comments box below. 

What will you doodle tomorrow?

I love the long weekends…

2 May

Last Friday, when glued to the Royal Wedding (yes, I watched it, enjoyed it and partied afterwards), I imagined Prince Harry suddenly realising ‘shit! I’ve forgotten the rings’, in true Hugh Grant style. Followed by some winking and secret signals to the audience, he manages to acquire something surprising for the lady to wear… and hilarity ensues, narrated by Huw Edwards… So how did the Owl and the Pussy cat get their ring? That’s right, they bought it off a pig. Below is my first foray into font design, thanks to the custom brushes tool in Photoshop. Really pleased with the result, and look forward to working more with this technique.

On Saturday I visited the Book Arts Book Event at the Arnolfini. Three floors of stalls selling limited edition prints and artist books – bliss! I spent a good few hours rooting around and chatting to the various artists, and bought several pieces of work. It’s brilliant to support people who are making what they love – and with it some inspiring and high quality creations.

Artist & Printmaker Liz Lake had a pleasing range of brightly printed fabric and pages, while small press Trigger Editions showcased books carefully crafted from withdrawn library stock. I still have a few old tickets and pockets harvested from library work – and have plans for them soon!

I also enjoyed the selection from Bristol’s Here Gallery which included these Flip Books, work by Swedish illustrator Camilla Engman,  Picture book Seasons by French Comic Artist Blexbolex, which I bought a copy of, and UpperCase magazine (pictured) which I very much recommend! Click on the front cover to find out more…

On Sunday I had the enjoyable task of painting the name on my mum & dad’s little boat. It is to be called ‘ The Pea Green Boat’ and here you can see an action shot of me donning some painting overalls! Painted the name on each side, slightly different size but that’s the charm of it. Looking forward to setting sail again soon…


Today was a day of letterpress printing. Using the brass type set up before for the Verb Garden room book, I began producing the multiples ready for my limited edition run of 16 Verb Gardens, available soon. Here are a few images: vivid ‘Burst’ contrasts with more earthly ‘Bare Earth’, while I also printed up the text for a new image, ‘Word Up’. This will be a character illustration with the text as a speech bubble. 

Exclamation marks – new wooden piece bought in Bristol!

Lastly, we were thrilled to see some activity in the garden. A week ago we dug, seeded and watered our patch in the back garden, and lo and behold, rocket has sprouted. Also poking above the soil is spinach, basil and potato. Let it grow!