Tag Archives: Storms

Third week in Tranås: screen printing and sketches

9 Aug

There have been some spectacular thunder storms here over the past week – and as much as I like going out in them some rain-days have given me time to reflect on and develop my big pile of on-site sketches. I work with the windows open during a storm – the sound of the rain and thunder is energising!

Following my observational drawings of objects, I have now began to bring them together into patterns that can be repeated and also work as stand alone images. Here in town there’s a youth centre – Epic – which has brilliant facilities for screen printing – perfect! Last night I was there setting up the photo stencils / exposing my third and fourth screens ready for printing this evening. We are having an open day here at Kraftverket tomorrow – so I hope to have these prints ready to display.

Here are the first two screen prints – some dancing Dala farmers, inspired by a cake tin and the forest, and a pattern featuring the extra Swedish letter keys on a vintage typewriter. I have purposely printed them onto fabric purchased from second hand shops.

dancing farmers for web


Here is a sneak preview of a paper cut design and an illustrated pattern, both of which I will be screen printing onto fabric tonight.

old things thumbnail for blog


I have also spent some time sketching people. Last Saturday we took a trip to Vadstena, a pretty older town at the edge of lake Vättern, the second largest in Sweden. It was a blisteringly hot day so most of the time was spent sitting in shade in the park, and then hopping over the wall to jump into the lake.

sketch Vadstena


This week we attended a talk by two men who used to work in the fur industry here in Tranas. One was an expert in preparing the fur, and the other a designer who had made garments for the queen of Sweden.

Men who worked in the fur industry


Here is a character sketch of some of the men who worked in the machine factory, which is now Kraftverket. I’m going to play with this some more digitally to add some loose colour to parts of the image.

I’ve been working in a few different spaces to create work – within shops, in my studio here, and also in the garden. I’ve found that my work looks more precise, or evocative, or loose depending on where I’m sat, It’s pretty windy out there today – perhaps another storm is on the way – but I’m hoping to get outside with my sketchbook for a bit. And if the storm does arrive I may even attempt some painting out there anyway – to experiment with new techniques incorporating the rain drops…

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!