Wednesday, June 15, 2016

what's a girl to do?

So there I was, happily perusing the lovely search feature in Instagram for my daily fix of inspiration. You know how it is, you scroll down, see something that catches your eye, click, mooch through a few more pics, hit a few likes, follow them if you're lucky and you've struck inspiration gold.

So far so normal. However a moment later I did a proper, double take when my poor brain couldn't really take in what it was seeing. There, in front of me, was an illustration of mine, just not by me. I honestly couldn't take it in at first but one of my little pictures (not such a little one actually) had been copied.

This is odd, I thought and didn't and still don't really know how to react. Perhaps I'm over reacting I thought? Hmm, thought about it for a bit, dug my original out to see if I was being oversensitive, it was a coincidence, whatever but nope, it's the same no matter how many times I look at it.

To all intents and purposes a whole image has been copied, tweaked here and there, with a different colour palette thrown in for good measure but the same. Now, I'm sure this has happened to umpteen people but its still quite odd.

I actually felt a little apologetic for being so uptight as to mind.WHAT! Till I gave myself a talking to and a much needed back bone injection, that seemed to sort it.

Still, I do feel strangely.

Here's a little snippet of mine, the original.

I don't think watermarking your work gets round this problem and there is a big difference between inspiration and outright copying. As I can't think what else to do I'm putting it down to experience. That usually does the trick. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

a funny thing happened before Christmas

Sometimes wanting to describe something so perfectly can have the effect of rendering me silent. I've wanted to share some amazing news since before Christmas and this post had turned into a lengthy draft I thought I'd never complete. So I did the right thing and deleted it and am going to tell my news very quickly, instead.

This rather grey picture is actually the rather wonderful view I could see as I approached the home of Faber and Faber in late December. Just a few days before Christmas I got the incredible news that Faber were interested in some children's stories I'd written and wanted to meet me. Getting the opportunity to chat about my stories with Leah Thaxton and my lovely agent Angharad Kowal was an experience I don't think I'll ever forget. As important as this meeting was Leah and Angharad both managed to make me feel at ease and I left full of excited hope. Thankfully I didn't need to wait long and just as I got off the train I found out that Faber wanted to publish my stories and had made an offer for a four book deal. 

This is a very condensed version of what has been a huge journey but it's enough to say I'm so, so excited and can't wait to start. As soon as I can tell more I will but there's lots of exciting things planned!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

ready or not

I don't usually post so quickly but I realised yesterday that I have done masses of work and, other than the odd pic on IG I haven't documented it at all. My poor website needs a massive overhaul as I have so much new stuff to add! It's penciled in as a job for the downtime that is surely coming at Christmas. I made these few images a little while ago.
 I quite like this little guy. And who doesn't need a helpful Robin to pop the star on top of the tree?

He means business. Don't ask him to stop and chat because those parcels need delivering!
But Mrs Mouse is all ready. Shes's probably got mince pies cooling in the kitchen and a little glass of something fizzy to enjoy with them. I hope Father Christmouse brings the little ones what they want. To my dear American friends, Happy Thanksgiving x

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

this and that

I've been working on quite a diverse range of stuff for a while now, just haven't got round to showing any here. I thought I'd use this perfect opportunity for a bit of a catch up, sharing bits and pieces from the last few months. As well as a still secret project, I've been building my portfolio.

I've been painting feminine images.... I really enjoyed trying to capture the sheen of the satin on this one.

Old sewing ephemera was the starting point for this one. I love vintage velvet ribbon.


 I've created lots of male designs too, but I'll leave those for another post. At the moment I'm seeing all things Christmas, currently - donkeys!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

so much news.....

September is upon us and summer appears to have disappeared. I've realised that I've hardly blogged at all this summer, not down to having nothing to tell, rather I have too much. Other people seem to handle this a lot better than me, I'm not naturally the type of person to broadcast things but I seem to be turning keeping things under radar into an art form. I'm hoping this can change really soon. I can't do a recap of everything I've been up to but here's a little snippet.

I've found that as much as I admire simplicity and economy in other's art I find it difficult to employ myself. It was forced upon me recently when I used coloured pencils for some little sketches.

 Coloured pencils are really hard to use. I don't recall them being this tricky when I was younger (though I used to lick the lead to make the colour a bit more intense) though suppose it's like anything. You need to do it lots to improve. I thought I'd bought pretty good quality but I definitely found that some colours respond better than others. I'm sure I'll come back to it again.

 I've also imposed a 'no drawing first' rule on myself which is certainly making me embrace mistakes. It hasn't turned me into a lovely fluid painter, which was my hope but maybe being a quiet, reserved painter is ok. I started painting some small studies for larger works that are completed in my head already. For now they just exist as little studies. They are quite the opposite of fluid but it's good to learn what makes you tick. When I remember, I like to take a quick photo, helping me to see where I need to paint next or colours, proportions I need to try to adjust. It's quite interesting to chart the progress. Here's a teapot, only captured three times unfortunately.

Quite a lot of drybrush used, which I love though it destroys your brushes!

And then the last part, legitimate detailing.

Not the greatest photos I know but the idea's there.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

sugar stealer

A recent trip to Venice made me realise how little I look and notice whilst at home. It's a given that around every corner or over every bridge in Venice you are going to see something amazing but whilst there I found myself seeking out, and finding little details of interest everywhere.
So, with this in mind I am challenging myself to see and document something interesting every day - or thereabouts. I'll be posting what I find over on instagram

I've come back to edit my photo and realised that the bulk of this post hadn't been published! It's a little while since I wrote it but I should explain the relevance of the sugar stealer/dandelion clock. From being quite a small child I've always loved them and have quite distinct memories of being transfixed by their perfection, only for a gust of wind to set the tiny seeds flying. I used to make papier mache figures and paintings a long time ago, and dandelion clocks featured heavily in this small painting.

Even now I'm drawn to them, either as a printed image or in real life.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

let the battle commence

I started this little painting today with the aim of using no drawing, pencil or otherwise to guide me. I am seeing where I stand with regard to outlines, do I need them, what happens if I don't put them in? To be a bit more extreme (if you can use such a word whilst discussing gouache and watercolour) which one do I like the best?

Well, I know which one I find easier to use, that's easy. I'm so used to the way watercolour behaves, what to do if something goes wrong. Gouache, on the other hand seems to like doing its own thing.
Well, obviously I know that's not true. It's just going to take a bit of time until the surprise element goes.
Here's what I found out. 
If you make a mistake you can lift it out.....just.
It can stand overpainting without it looking too muddy.
It seems to eat water if a large drop accidentally falls from your brush
It has a chalky effect that I quite like.
Gouache colours make my palette a little brighter.
I do actually know the difference between the two mediums and am sure I'll be gouaching with the best of them soon. Or at least like a bit less of a novice.

I almost forgot, outlines or not? It was certainly a more measured process as I was trying to get it look like the pencil sketch I'd done earlier. I tried to avoid drawing with the paint too. It's funny, most of these constraints or desires we put on ourselves. I think the ideal will probably be to combine mediums and techniques and not get hung up about the how.