Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finland Illustration

I have a friend called Tiia who comes from Finland and last summer she took us on holiday to her parent's lake-side cabin in Porrisaari, just outside the Arctic Circle. Her dad is a carpenter and he built it himself. I think Porrisaari means reindeer island and we saw loads of them along with red squirrels, owls, snow geese, siberian jays and moose!
 This Christmas she went back to visit her folks and she's been posting loads of snowy photos on Facebook and I feel like going back there! To top it all,  BBC4 screened a documentary on Boxing Day on the life of the incredible Tove Jansson. Sadly, when I was in Finland the only moomin I saw was at Helsinki airport and he was made of plastic.

Photos of my holiday to Finland: Summer 2011.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cute Knitting Illustration

I have time off work during the period between Christmas and New Years, so I have decided to try and learn how to knit a jumper for myself. I can crochet pretty well and I can knit and purl my way through many a scarf. Thankfully Bedford library has come up trumps again with loads of knitting manuals and youtube is chock full of tutorials too, so I think it might be a mission I can handle! 

However, to commemorate this challenge, I have spent today doodling a weird self-portrait of this future endeavor. I used photoshop for this. I don't think the watercolour painting is working out for me. I'm actually feeling a bit glum about my function as an illustrator these days. Maybe my new sweater will cheer me up. I shall knit it whilst eating mince pies and chocolate, in front of the television, as I've recorded loads of festive films to watch. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snow Globe designs

I've just completed 12 new designs for Bunnycup Embroidery. They are cute snow-globes for machine embroidery projects. I think Ashlea wants them to be applique, so I think I've made them a little bit too frilly. They might need simplifying.

These are the last freebies for digital stampers and anyone who's been looking for colouring pages for this year. They do take quite a while to do. The linework is all done digitally.  In 2013 I will be opening a little online shop for digital stampers, as I could do with a little bit of extra money and I have noticed that there have been lots of people downloading the black and white images. It's great to know that there is an appetite for my artwork, but a girl needs to pay the bills in these tough times!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Illustration Friday: Explore

I've had a quiet afternoon, so was able to participate in Illustration Friday. The topic is 'explore', so I thought of space exploration. I think it popped into my mind because Nasa was in the news this week. They say they are planning to launch a new rover to Mars in 2020, the technology will be based on the their Curiosity robot, which landed on the Red Planet in August.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Grace Lutheran College

Last week I was contacted by Megan Devlin who is a Visual Art teacher at Grace Lutheran College
in Caboolture, Australia. One of her (very talented) year 8 art pupils, Kristen Catterall, had recently designed an illustration to accompany a short story written by another student at the school.

It turns out she had visited this blog and was inspired by one of my linocuts! That's a first! Megan wrote to ask permission to use her image in a book that will be self published. There will be a copy each for their Campus libraries, a copy for their sister primary school, and a copy each for the students. What a great project! I wish my school did something like that!

Well, how could I refuse? On the back page I will get an acknowledgement of my original design and it's copyright too, which is so sweet.

So, want to see Kristen's illustration? Here it is! She's done a grand job, I hope she wants to be an artist when she leaves college, I think she has a great future ahead of her. I especially like the colours she chose and she's been more detailed than me and added some background context to the character.
Illustration By Kristen Catteral, year 8
I'll be sending Kristen a handprinted copy of my original linocut to her at her school, but as it's their summer holiday now, she probably won't get it until 2013.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wrapping Up Warm

Today I woke up to the first dusting of snow on Bedford, so it's feeling quite Christmassy. It's so cold inside the house, I have taken to working with a hot water bottle on my lap, slippers, a blanket and I wear at least two jumpers. For the moment, I am too stingy to put the heating on... but I suffered from chilblains last year so I suppose I'll have to spend money on gas and keeping warm at some point.

Yesterday I was off work. The recession has hit so I'm contracted to work 3.5 days a week for now. I'm hopeful things will pick up and I will be able to go full time again very soon, but all I can do is cross my fingers. I decided to do watercolour painting and have a break from the computer, though I was tempted to make a cake. I think I was trying to channel Charles M Schulz and Tove Jansson whilst making this picture.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Great Bedfordian Illustration for The Clanger

This is an illustration for The Bedford Clanger, our local arts newspaper. Each month they focus on a great Bedfordian from history and this issue they asked me to do the illustration for James Wyatt.

Wyatt was founder of the Bedfordshire Times and he was a leading campaigner for public health and sanitation reforms. He was passionate about changing the lives of ordinary Bedfordians. In 1855 he created the cemetery at Foster Hill Road, which is so close to the house where I grew up you can see it from my old bedroom window.

Wyatt was also a pioneer in archaeology and geology, so in February's issue, there's to be a follow up covering this side of his greatness! I get to illustrate for the Clanger two months in a row.