Tag Archives: Illustration

The dish ran away with the spoon – new screen print

5 Dec

I’m pleased as pie to reveal my newest screen print, featuring a cast of a little laughing dog, a mustachioed, torch-wielding spoon, closely followed by a scampering dish with a penchant for vintage satchels. Inspired by the nursery rhyme, this was designed on a train, as much of my work is at the moment as I to and fro every other weekend to lovely Brighton, where the other half lives. Then I’ve spent the last couple of days screen printing them – 28 in total.


Dish web

Spoon web

Dish and Spoon prints

Not normally working in shades of blue and grey, I found this print a refreshing change although it still features my signature orange, found in lots of my prints.

This set of prints is the first edition, and I’m planning on developing the image further next year, trying out different colourways and effects using photoshop.

The image below began life as a papercut design. The paper was sourced from Lidl, coming in an array of bright colours. I’m going to play around with this technique quite a bit over the Christmas holidays and see what other things I can come up with.

Cabins and Hares Papercut

Last but not least, if you haven’t already please vote for my Dala Horses mug design for Pedlars Product of the month – there’s just a few days left now! See the previous post for all the details.

Right, now to create some packaging for everything in time for the weekend…

Some illustrations from recent sketchbookery

13 Aug

Hello there. It’s about time I added some drawings here, as I’ve mostly been working in a sketchbook recently, drawing out some ideas and playing with my new white pen. So below are an assortment of birds (I think my favourite is Leonard, wearing a Steve Zissou inspired seafaring hat), and a tree bearing pencils, not plums. Our plum tree hasn’t produced a single one this year. Hoping that the blackberries do better.

Anyway, here they are!

Also, whilst in London last week I ventured into Covent Garden and spent some time in Neal’s Yard. A treasure of a place squeezed between two streets. A feast of good things – remedies, pastries, tea – and bright colours, so let me share this photo with you:


Do follow me on Pinterest, by the way. I’m putting most of my links to inspiring artwork and pictures on here, now. From creatures to bicycles and pattern design to Scandinavia, it’s good to see these images alongside each other.

Last but not least, I’ve recently taught a couple of classes as part of the Cardiff Open Art School’s Summer programme. I’ll be doing some more workshops in the Autumn (including festive lino-cut and letterpress, Book binding and Make Your Own Advent Calendar) and will post the dates/details up here shortly.

Here’s a photo of one of the pieces produced in the Letterpress class: we experimenting with not inking up the text and instead just pressing it, to create this lovely embossed effect. The theme of the day was first lines of books, and this one is a classic!

Have a marvellous week…



Yarning, printing and April places

30 Mar

This week I have mostly been designing a poster for the Just Yarn It project in Salisbury. Here’s the finished piece, inspired by the colour and composition of 1930s Russian book covers and propaganda. I also used a section of my  ‘I want to leave the city’ screen printed book.

I’m sensing a knitting theme coming on (having recently completed the Gorilla’s Guide to Guerilla Knitting screen print), and may even start adorning some more railings and lamp posts and bike racks soon.

Earlier this week I discovered the bright designs of Saul Bass, having spotted his children’s book Henri’s Walk to Paris, recently republished by Rizzoli/Universe Books. Written by Leonore Klein, who penned only a handful of children’s books, the story is about a young boy who lives in a small French town and dreams of visiting Paris. I love the bold colours and typography which falls off the page, each spread looking like a retro film poster.

In other news, today I am officially becoming a member of the Printhaus, which means I will be continuing my growing screen printing habit for at least six months! It’ll be great to be among fellow printmakers and illustrators making stuff, and I’m planning to branch out into screen printed canvas bags and even crockery if I can get the right transfers.

Some places you’ll find me in April:

1. My Garden. Digging and raking and planting and watering fruits, herbs, vegetables… already the garlic, basil, coriander, lemon balm and raspberry canes are growing like mad, and I can’t wait to get my hands in the soil again over easter weekend!

2. Art Carbootique at Chapter Arts Centre
Sunday 15 April, 11.00 – 6.00 pm
I’ve got a pitch at this! I will be showing and selling my prints, illustrations and books alongside running experimental book making, folding and drawing workshops throughout the day. Fingers crossed for sunny weather!

More details here: http://www.chapter.org/26527.html

3. Teaching another Letterpress Printmaking course, back by popular demand:
Cardiff School of Art and Design – Howard Gardens Campus
Saturday 21 April, 10.00 – 3.00 pm

Spend a day learning how to set and print type, using a range of smaller lead and larger wooden fonts. Great for creating birthday cards, business cards, postcards, artist books or type-inspired illustration, this course is suitable for all abilities.
Book your place & more information: http://cardiff-school-of-art-and-design.org/coas/courses/ 

More soon!

Letterpress Day in pictures

12 Feb

Here are a few photos from the Letterpress course I taught at the Cardiff Open Art School, where we explored both traditional and more playful approaches to the printing of type. ‘Twas a pleasure to run this course – and there’ll be more of these coming in the spring. Keep an eye on the COAS website for future courses (dates to be confirmed shortly).

Two of the people on the course were graphic designers / illustrators, so we had  a lot to talk about. So this weekend’s recommendation is the work of Lucy Daniels, greeting card extraordinaire and Matt Joyce, who works at Cardiff design studio See What You Mean. 

There’s to be a printmaking exhibition… showcasing work produced in the print-related evening and day classes run by COAS. It’ll be held at Howard Gardens campus so you can see some of the photographed work for real. Plus I’ll be putting some of my screen prints in which is exciting – at tomorrow’s class I’ll be printing an 8-fold book called ‘Did you know that flapjacks can rhyme?’ – pictures to be posted here soon.

New year’s illustrations

2 Jan

Happy New Year!
To kickstart 2012, here are some pieces I did over the past week, followed by a few recommendations for your interest and enjoyment.

This illustration began as a continuous line drawing, followed by some photoshop techniques similar to those used when creating Alan . Perhaps it will become a series? On boxing day the Devon village of Meavy played host to a merry crowd of Morris dancers, who entertained locals with music and revelry over lunchtime. Their costumes are based on the colours of Dartmoor – the sky, the ground, the rocks and the heather.

I have no idea where this one came from – perhaps the blustery December weather blowing birds off course? This stormy image has been in my head for a while. I enjoyed mixing watercolours into moody and brooding hues to create the clouds, and illustrating the power that storms bring through the little girl about to open her umbrella at the lightning. Today there was a spectacular hail storm in Cardiff – getting caught out in these really blow away the cobwebs!

Pretty self explanatory really. Curled up by the fire at our friend Ben’s house, while the boys talked motorbikes, I started sketching the rows of vintage plates, mugs and other miscellaneous crockery balanced on the dresser. The first drawing in my new Moleskeine notebook.


Now – here are a few recommendations to get the year off to a good start.

Present And Correct: online purveyors of stylish stationary, vintage prints and all kinds of ephemera to jazz up your desk. Such as these index cards (pictured below) – click here to find out more!

– Christian Northeast’s XYZ blocks:

Alternative wooden alphabet blocks with vibrant and humourous illustrations. Christian Northeast has created this toy, for adults and children alike, for American company Fred and Friends. You can purchase the blocks here in the UK. His graphics, lettering and paintings have a lot of texture and warmth, and I admire his use of bright colours.


An enlightening talk, courtesy of the Society of Illustrators website, by Stephen Savage on Illustrating Bedtime Books. I got some great ideas from watching this – from thinking about characters and the impact of the image, to working with existing stories and authors.

My next creative task is to decide on which Outside a Dog colour ways to print and then sell on the internet and in real shops. I’ve also got my eye on some William Morris fabric on ebay. Right now though I’m going to go and watch the new Sherlock for a second time -the joy that is BBC iPlayer!


“Outside a dog…” the first of many lino prints

22 Dec

“Outside a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. But inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Groucho Marx said this gem. Very wise man. I have printed it as a lino cut in an array of colourways using the Breton printing press. It was a joyful sight to peel the first proof away from the sticky ink on the lino and find that it had worked… and then the production line began! Here is the lino: it looks pretty cool, I think, dyed with the ink so you can see the relief of the surface carved away.

And here are the proofs printed so far. I printed onto coloured paper, using inks that are of a similar colour to the base. My personal  favourite is the burgundy / dark purple on the rich brown, and also the dark green on ochre (which was a Photoshop experiment using the original below).

Lino printing is very theraputic – I’m still deciding how many of these prints to do properly and will most probably select about five colourways to go into production with! In the new year I plan to set up a shop, to sell these prints, the Verb Garden and digital prints of my illustration work.

Also in 2012 I’m going to be doing some art work for band Hotel Yeboah, as well as developing the picture book The Rocket Dog with my friend Kath Latham. Following a conversation with the lovely Nick from Hotel Yeboah I’m planning on sketching out some strange animal / weather combinations (a nice thing to do next week, perhaps). Other things include combining my love of printing and book making to make some artist books which combine illustration, lino cut and letterpress / typography. I’ll post developments up as I go!


in perusing the internets I stumbled across a few artists / shops worth sharing. I do this quite a lot. So… this is the first in a new section I’ll be adding to my blog in 2012 called I WANT THIS IN MY LIFE (or something along these lines). It will be a cooking pot of illustrators, textiles, books, webshops and other e-phemera which I feel are worth sharing and recommending to you. 

Firstly, this slug risograph print by illustrator Eleanor Meredith.  It’s sold by Howkapow, a design store showcasing unique artwork and gifts. , . I love the loose lines and the smile of the slimy creature!

– The screen printed books, cards and limited edition prints by Brighton artist Alice Pattullo, sold through the Shop Floor Project. I especially like this one:

The hand painted, illustrated ceramics of James Ward – cups which stack to make animals various, always satisfying! Click here to check out the full range of drawn-on crockery…

And last but not least, I really like the look of The Midnight Folk by John Masefield, with illustrations by the incredible Sara Ogilvie. I love her work. Originally published in 1927 it has been beautifully reprinted by the Folio Society. I want it in my life!

I hope you enjoy following these links, may they inspire you / tempt you to buy them!

2012 Evening Class

From Monday 9 January, for 10 Mondays from 7-9 pm, I will be teaching the Introduction to Handmade Books course again for the Cardiff Open Art School. I’ll be combining a range of binding and folding techniques with an opportunity to develop your own artist book using illustration, printmaking and mixed media. Find out more and sign up here!

So, without further ado, I hope you have a cosy Christmas full of mince pies shiny baubles sloe gin and festive merriment! May 2012 be awesome. thanks for reading x 

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…


Excuse me…

20 Feb

Here are some things I’ve been doing recently – in between workshops & events & visits & planning forthcoming Edinburgh trip & general juggling.

An illustration that began on a list of tapas dishes:

Click here to see the original drawing in my mangle sketchbook…

I’ve also discovered that empty tea boxes can become book covers with some nifty scissorwork:

Click here to see the inside of this book, and further experiments in book covering…

and I’m preparing work for an exhibition taking place in March to celebrate International Women’s Day:

Come and have a look and tell people about this, lots of brilliant book artists exhibiting!

Writing letters

3 Feb

Last weekend was the end of an era. My parents gave up the keys to their farm – on which I spent my whole childhood getting muddy, learning how to look after new lambs, exploring for hours on end the fields, barns and woodland. While walking from empty shed to open field in a methodical tribute to the place, I came across my name written in the ground.

I can’t remember writing this – but this proves. I was there, I existed,  a four year old making her mark in the wet cement. What story would a graphologist draw from this writing? Definite capitals letters spelling certainty, a child asserting her identity? For handwriting is a most personal thing, and it can make someone’s day in the form of a scribbled note on the fridge or a long letter, words tumbling from pen to page straight from the heart or mind. I now have several friends I communicate with more through letters than modern technology. A postcard from Borneo, a printed card and a recipe arrived for me in the last fortnight – you get out of correspondence what you put in. Why not send a letter or a postcard today? Receiving a piece of hand crafted post is always a delight, against the cold bills, forms and junk mail that flood the hallway. Send something, and you’ll more than likely receive something in return.

This is an idea you might like to try. My friend Alex and I are having a little conversation through the post through swapping recipes.  So far they’ve been written in small, handmade books: below is what I’ll be sending off tomorrow. A recipe for delicious orange cake in a circular stitched pamphlet. It’s a simple book to make using a three hole pamphlet stitch. There’s also a postcard to go with it, a brief hello, hurrah and how are you to make contact… You could swap crafts, pictures, recommendations, tips, advice, maps, stories – collaboration and correspondence often conjure some brilliant ideas!


Postal drawing collaboration

12 Oct

If you want to draw something, but you’re stuck for inspiration, ask yourself a question. What’s your favourite recipe? Weather? Night out? What would you do if there was a fire? What makes you cringe the most? Then answer it with a drawing. A quick drawing. A drawing done by your other hand. Or a detailed illustration.

Jojo Norris and I have set up an illustration exchange. We met by chance through Leaf Books, and being as we don’t know much about each other, thought we’d find out via our drawings. It’s also a great way of generating work, much like the sketchbook project, which we are both taking part in. So I asked Jojo, ‘What do you like to do on Sundays?’ You can see her reply here. Then she asked me, ‘What are you most afraid of?‘ Here is my answer:

It’s true. I fell in a patch when I was two.I have asked Joanne ‘What makes you cringe the most?’ I’m looking forward to getting her answer

Oh, and we’re doing this collaboration through the post, rather than online. I like the idea of the postal routes from Cardiff to Edinburgh carrying, secretly within our envelopes, our visual communications.  My artwork (for example the Shoe tales project) often involves correspondence and infiltrating the postal system as a medium for creative messaging. More importantly, everyone appreciates hand made or hand written letters. Why not send something yourself, today, a mere postcard to say hello to an old friend.