The blog of Hannah Robinson, artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Monday 26th September 2011

Interview with Folksy buyer Kim

Something different for you all this week: not a maker, or a seller, but a frequent buyer on craft site Folksy. Kim is a charity worker and aspiring singer, and has treated herself to many a handmade treat, supporting Folksy with her preference for quality crafted items. She was kind enough to let me pick her brains over what she looks for in a handmade item, so pay attention all you makers and sellers!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm Kim, aged 41, was born in Jersey and now live in Peterborough with my husband Luke. I study with the Open University for fun (no, really!) I like wearing vibrant clothes and hair, and enjoy discovering new interesting places to go when I can afford to.

How did you come across Folksy?
I was recommended at work as a source of wonderful treasures! In turn I recommend Folksy to everyone I know.

What do you look for when searching for something online?
I go online to look for something that you won't find on the high street - I pride myself in giving original gifts. I do a search on the key colour or style I want, and spend ages looking at photos before I decide.

How does a seller catch your eye?
If I come across something unique and funky, I want to see what else the seller has to offer, and bookmark them for the future. I think it's encouraging if they have a big selection and I love the fact that I'm supporting designers who are passionate about what they do. I have been very impressed by a couple of folksy sellers who had packaged their products so beautifully! Of course it is nice to find a bargain and fair postage costs but I have spent a little more for a special occasion.

Tell us about one of your favourite purchases.

It's difficult to choose but my favourite all-round item is my Polydor vinyl ring that was made by 'When the Music's Over' - it's a great way to recycle old vinyl records, it was a bargain and they took effort to package it well too. I'm sure they wouldn't mind me borrowing their photo to show you, as I can't get a better one with my camera!

And finally, in another life, you would like to be...
 ...A dancer! 

So, there you have it. Plenty of decent images and a carefully wrapped order go a long way! Thanks Kim for giving us a peek into the mind of a buyer. Knowledge from 'the other side' is a valuable thing indeed, especially as Christmas approaches. Take note and take heart, online sellers!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Weekend painting and goals

Here we are again.  I love weekends! These are oil paintings on cardboard. Also if you look carefully you can see my two glasses I painted, cool or what? Should I hide the paintings for someone to find?

I've set myself two goals for 2012:
  1. Exhibit some of my work
  2. Change jobs


Thursday, 22 September 2011


Another really late I. F. entry this week. I've been reading Derren Brown's autobiography, so I've had illusions and card tricks on the brain.  I wanted to do something really mystical, bewitching, shadowy.. but inspiration refused to stump up the goods so in the end I settled for this silly doodle of a cup of tea impressing his cup of coffee friend with a card trick. It began life as a pencil sketch and finished on my computer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


I don't have much time to create this week, what with the play drawing near and several other commitments, so instead I thought I'd share my excitement for something which was released a couple of months ago, to a largely indifferent public.

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation outfit responsible for award winning films like Ponyo and Spirited Away, has released its new film Arrietty this summer. It's only just beginning to trickle into small theatres outside London, arriving at Stamford Arts Centre in October.

Arrietty is an adaptation of one of my favourite childhood stories, The Borrowers, by Mary Norton. This is, to my knowledge, the third adaptation. Last night I saw the breathtaking trailer, and it seems they have hung on to the original plot, bringing the book faithfully to life despite moving the story to Japan. The English dub features the voice talents of Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, and Olivia Coleman, a sign that these splendid films are gaining prestige as more famous names lend their voices to the parts.

Although this book enthralled me as a child, the themes within are not necessarily the first to spring to mind when considering a successful children's book. The story is quiet, with underlying tones of loneliness and sadness, exile and hiding. The tiny Clock family live under the floor of an old house, they have one child, Arrietty, who yearns to explore the huge world she inhabits, but most of all, yearns for company, conducting a forbidden friendship with The Boy, a human child residing at the house.

If you want to explore something new, treat your eyes to this film, if nothing else I guarantee a visual feast. Alternatively have a peek at the book and you will find an explanation for those lost safety pins and hair grips...

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Nothing says crazy spinster like...

Now, don't get me wrong, I love cats. I am definitely a cat person - we've had them all my life, until our latest feline companion exited the world's stage gracefully last winter. When you succeed in befriending a cat, you feel like you've gained a co-conspirator, a confidant. I am firmly in the realm of cat person, unashamed, up front.
I also love knitting. Knitting is calming, satisfying, and not as uncool as it was when I was a kid - it's enjoying a well-deserved resurgence and long may that hold out. I hope one day to knit things that don't entirely comprise rectangles, maybe it'll happen.

But this prompted a huge guffaw when I came across it the other day:

Just think about it, allow yourself a smirk too if you want. Knit your own cat. Knit your own cat.

My first reaction is LOVE. But then...

Deep down, cats and knitting both still have a faint whiff of Crazy Lady about them (don't bridle, I'm a cat lover and a knitter, remember, as well as single). We all wish it wasn't so, but cats and single women go together like unwilling contenders in a three-legged race. Fact. I don't like it either. If you're not convinced, just try to imagine the following conversation NOT sounding silly.

"So, Hannah, what are you up to at the moment?"
"I'm knitting my own cat!"

You see?

So, despite thinking this book looks really cool, despite envying the talent of the people that knitted these beautiful creatures (I refer you once more to the rectangles), AND despite being the enthusiastic owner of Knit Your Own Cakes and My Favourite Felt Sweets, I won't be undertaking a knitted cat any time soon.

And if I ever do, I'll be sure not to bring it up on dates.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Interview - Monday 19th September 2011

Alison Deegan Interview
Another Monday, another interview, and today it's printmaker Alison Deegan. As some of you may have read, I took up lino printing again recently (Alison left an encouraging comment about my ham-fisted efforts), and I'd forgotten just how painstaking it was.  When you see Alison's work you know you're in the presence of a master, as it were. My personal favourite is a recent print of the Lewis Chessmen, seen here. If you've never tried lino printing, have a go, the materials are easy to get hold of online and the results are so satisfying.  I humbly approached Alison, being an admirer of her work, and now I'm happy to unveil the interview she kindly gave. 

Tell us about yourself
I am an archaeologist, printmaker and mum. I took up printing about 4 years ago and was immediately addicted. My main subjects are rural landscapes and wildlife. I spend a lot of time looking at air photos, some of them dating back to the 1940s, so I am always conscious of the archaeological and historical time depth when I am creating a landscape study. I love watching the birds and animals that visit the garden with our small son so these are often subjects too.

For those who are unfamiliar, take us through the process of lino printing
Take a sheet of lino. Cut out the bits where you don't want ink. Roll out the ink out onto a sheet of glass until you have a nice even layer on the glass and roller. Then roll the ink onto the lino. Carefull layer the paper on top. Add pressure. Add a bit more pressure. And some more for luck. Cross your fingers. Gently lift the paper. Stand back and admire :) You can see the inking in action here.
What was it about lino printing that attracted you to this medium?
I really like the physicality of this type of printing: carving the lino, rolling out the ink, winding up and down the press. A vague pencil line can be transformed into something quite different when it is cut into the lino, it feels like a very decisive form of mark making.
Which piece are you most proud of?
 I made a few special versions of my Newt Love linoprint using several different layers and merging shades of green, I love the results.

What else do you like to do?
Walking in the hills; swimming in the sea; collecting and foraging; making a mess. I'd like to do more sewing and painting.  
And finally... Who would play you in a film about your life?
 Mmm, I'd cast Natascha McElhone, though of course it would have to be a fictionalised account...

Thanks Alison! Don't forget to investigate her shop and blog. As ever do comment, follow and get in touch if you'd like to be interviewed (I have a small waiting list). :-)
Copyright for all images in this interview belongs to Alison Deegan, and images have been used with her permission.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

More weekend painting

I painted some ACEOs today, finally I've stopped wishing to do more and have actually put wishes into action. I love painting British birds, but I would also like to paint some more exotic, unusual birds, or at least birds not native to my country. So I had a go at a bluebird, but I had a hard time doing the vivid colour of its feathers justice.
It feels good to be painting again, but I've become so rusty at watercolours, and they are so easy to mess up. I think also painting on a small scale is harder for me than on larger pieces of paper.

In other news I received my purchase from Bobbins' Destash on Folksy - for just £2 I bought this scrap pack, and I can't wait to start sewing with it, hopefully I can show some of my creations by tomorrow. Have a look at their shop - their prices are very reasonable. I also bought this Hungry Caterpillar fabric from Hobbycraft which is going to become a cushion for my friend's two-year-old son, who has Hungry Caterpillar bedding (jealous).

Pub first though I think...

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Whirlwind week...

There has been more rushing around this week than is healthy for one person. The date of the play is drawing near and I am currently designing the programme. I leave you with a picture of a delicious burger to feast your eyes on, and the promise of another exciting interview next Monday, though I'm sure I'll get the time to blog before then.
I wonder if this would make a good painting?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Interview - 12th September 2011

Welcome Michele Webber
I'm really excited this week to be interviewing Michele Webber, artist and illustrator from Suffolk. Michele has shops on Folksy and Zazzle where you can buy her prints. She is also a world class blogger, showcasing her formidable talent and offering advice for artists, with wit and wisdom aplenty. To people like me who seek to develop their art further, it's a very valuable resource.
     Last night I was trawling Michelle's various sites for images to use for this interview, and I had a hard time choosing from all the beautiful work. Her mastery of her medium is enviable, and her talents don't stop at painting. Enjoy reading about how she started, her workspace, and what inspires her. So without further ado...

Michele, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am 44 and live with my partner, 16 year old daughter and an adopted serial killer cat called Gimlet in Sudbury, Suffolk. I grew up in London, and the only thing I cared about as a child was reading books and drawing pictures. When I abandoned school at 16 I had vague ideas about becoming an artist, but was firmly talked out of it by people who knew better. In the early '80s, unless you were really academic girls were just channelled into caring professions or secretarial work. For years I gave up my art dreams, worked in offices and a selection of boring jobs. Although I gave up drawing, I was still very artistic, making clothes, jewellery and trying an enormous amount of different crafts. At age 34 I became overnight a single parent to a seven year old and found myself with no money, property or career. Something just snapped and I literally had nothing to lose. I was going to be an artist, and wasn't going to listen to anyone who said I couldn't do it (which was rather a lot of people).

As well as art, you also do commercial illustration. How did you get into that?
When I first went back into art, I attended one of those free seminars run by the council, where you could get advice from a practising artist. She told me straight away my style suited illustration work and encouraged me to go down this route. Years later, the first company I illustrated for contacted me out of the blue, they just phoned me up (which sounds like luck, and it was to some extent, but I like to think we make our own luck). This led to occasional projects for a design company. It has been great to do illustration work and I enjoy it, but I would never do it exclusively. People have romantic ideas about doing illustration work but the reality can mean long hours, ridiculously tight deadlines, loss of copyright and of course there is far less artistic freedom involved when working to someone else's criteria. I am very happy to include it in as a part of what I do.

What inspires you and why?

Artistically I am inspired by lots of different things. Natural subjects, birds, flowers, seashells and simple things that make me happy to look at. I love folk art and patterns too, these often find their way into my mosaic and printmaking practice. Although artists are supposed to ban all thoughts of commerciality, I am afraid in the real world I need to make money, so its a balance between what sells, and what I like to paint, I aim to combine the two quite happily. I teach others to paint, and am often inspired by the work they produce. I give them a subject, and they just knock me out with their take on it, and I go home thinking "Wow, I want to paint that subject now too." 

Those of us who follow your blog have marvelled at your lovely new studio. How's it going in there?

I am pleased to say it is absolutely fabulous and has far exceeded my expectations. When we built it I was sad that I couldn't afford brick, worried that wood wouldn't be warm enough, dry enough to store my works on paper or cold (I detest cold). But now I literally would not change it, there is not an ounce of damp, it is a lovely warm, organic place to work. Unfortunately I spend far too little time in it producing artwork, but the reality of a job in art is a whole lot of admin, the classes I teach take up a particularly large amount of time. Its still a billion times better than working in a stuffy office though, and after years of struggling on the dining room table, I am incredibly grateful to my boyfriend who built it for me. His faith in me as a person is unwavering and every day I seek to live up to it.

What's lined up for the near future? 
I am currently working on some large paintings for a local exhibition, some prints for a printmakers exhibition and organising a first joint exhibition in October for myself and my frankly terrified Saturday class students. Having reached the point where I have so little time to produce new work, I am now starting to market prints hence my latest venture, my shop on Folksy. I intend to find new venues to market prints and cards over the next year. Doing the illustration work has opened my eyes to the possibility of marketing more illustrative products too, and I hope to do more stuff aimed at children. I am also working on a line of prints which will fit into standard ready-made frames, which I hope will lead to more sales. I am also hopeful of teaching a once a year painting holiday in the Mediterranean sometime in the near future. Plus world domination obviously.

And finally... Rich Tea or HobNob?
I am afraid I am slightly wheat intolerant so I will have to abstain :-)

Thank you Michele Webber for such an great interview. Once again I encourage you all to visit her shop and her blog. Please do comment, follow, and get in touch if you would like to be interviewed.
Copyright for all images in this interview belongs to Michele Webber, and images have been used with her permission.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Weekend painting

It is with some shyness that I show some of my paintings today, possibly because tomorrow I am publishing my interview with the extremely talented Michele Webber, who puts me in the shade. Her paintings are breathtaking, as is her website and blog... but more of that tomorrow. I have picked up the watercolours again after a long time away from them. Here are some of the results:

I've shown the way I work with the painting of the Great Tit, above. I started with a light pencil sketch, then I filled in the body with the lightest background colours, paying careful attention to the highlights. When that dried I could start filling in the darker areas. It was great to see it slowly come to life, I had lots of fun with these. Not sure what to do with them, they could make good christmas presents. The other bird is a Pekin Robin, found in parts of Asia and Africa. Although when I looked it up, it seems much more colourful than the version I drew from (I worked from a bird book).
One of my faults when watercolour painting is being too heavy handed, my pictures often become too dark, even though I avoid black. I'm also guilty of rushing, not changing my water often enough and not cleaning my palette enough, but today I was on my best behaviour. I do have some bad examples of today's work to show you, but I'm far too cowardly to include them. Maybe I could do a feature on bad work in the near future...
Carly and I walking over stones, Cromer 2011

Friday, 9 September 2011

Peterborough boundaries

I couldn't believe it when I opened my emails today and saw the word for the latest Illustration Friday brief: Boundaries. Nine times out of ten I will create something from scratch in a response to the given word, but this week I have been working on an idea for a cushion design and it fits perfectly with the brief.

I live in Peterborough, UK, as some of you may know, and just lately I have had the urge to create art that is themed around my home city. I moved to Peterborough when I was 7, my parents returned there after having lived in north London for some time. They are both Peterborians, and made the move back up here just before my younger brother arrived on the scene. Only the other day we were reminiscing about the drive up: Mum heavily pregnant and driving a packed car, which included two cats that kept wriggling out of the baskets to snuggle up on the back parcel shelf...
Sometimes it's easy to be negative about where you live. I can be guilty of it, and at least once a week someone at work will make a dry remark about Peterborough's many faults. Ironically when I came back here after university I was desperate to leave as soon as possible. That was a while ago now...
I decided I wanted to make some art that showed Peterborough as a good place to be. This is a cushion cover design which I may send to Spoonflower and get made. (If you've never visited Spoonflower, take a look, the idea behind the site is ingenious.) 
To finish: Five facts you may not know about Peterborough:
  1. A small snippet of the James Bond film Octopussy was filmed there (at the beginning when the clown falls into the water? That's Orton Mere).
  2. Catherine of Aragon is buried here.
  3. At least two novels are set in Peterborough - A Small History Of Tractors In Ukrainian by  Marina Lewycka, and A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon.
  4. Peterborough Cathedral is featured in the frieze that runs around the top of the Albert Hall in London.
  5. What's thought to be the oldest wheel in Britain was found at Peterborough.
Bet you weren't expecting to trawl through all this when you clicked on the I.F. link, were you?

Don't forget to come back on Monday for my interview with Michele Webber, artist, a very talented lady who kindly allowed me to delve into her life for this blog...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Fun Fiasco - Lino Printing

Today all my purchases arrived from ebay, so I was good to go with my lino printing! To say I was excited was an understatement. Now, before you read any further, there are some things you ought to know. Firstly, it's been a while since I've lino printed. As in years. Secondly, I don't have my own home, my own workspace or my own printing press. And thirdly, I'm not one to let the things mentioned in Secondly hold me back. So, without further ado...
Whilst cooking dinner I thought about the things I could do with my two small pieces of lino I had. I settled on two ACEO sized prints, one of Peterborough Cathedral which I can't seem to get enough of lately, and one which would meet a brief set by a collaborative I am part of, roartalent. We had to illustrate a holiday we had been on, so I decided to do fish and chips (I ate a lot of it in Cromer, the seaside town we went to).

I bought this tray for £1! Look how well it serves as somewhere to roll the ink! I'm pretty proud of my solution to the "no equipment, no space" hurdle.

 I started carving Peterborough Cathedral, and I suddenly remembered how difficult lino can be. My admiration for the lino artists increased, and with it my doubt in my own abilities. I forged on though.
Here are the first few prints. I'm just getting used to the amount of ink, and the amount of pressure to apply ('pressure' meaning either going at it with a clean roller, or pressing my hands on the lino with all my weight. Technical stuff). This is my Peterborough Cathedral print.

So, the inevitable happened. Three times, actually. I rammed the blade of the lino-cutting tool into my middle finger. And I know the bandage looks like a slight overreaction, but believe me I tried an ordinary plaster, and lets just say it wasn't doing its job. I made a lot of mess. But I had just the thing to cheer me up...
 Now for the fish and chips. I only have blue ink for now (in case you haven't guessed) but I'm looking forward to trying new colours. All in all, I'm pleased with tonight's effort: it's been a long time since I've done this, I've overcome shortage of space, shortage of equipment and shortage of non-bleeding fingers.
To round off I want to salute all the lino-printers out there who make AMAZING images that continue to wow me daily. I'm not there yet, but I will be!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Winds of change

This morning I awoke to very strong winds rattling around the house, rain pattering at the glass and the sky through the curtains was a deep, pre-dawn blue: the mornings are getting darker. I love autumn, the only downside being the days that are suitable for cycling to work are getting scarcer.

I had a really good response to yesterday's interview, both in the comments box here and via email and the various forums I promote on. Thank you to all of those who commented, read or followed, and of course a big thank you to Gini's Boutique for being in the hot-seat. Don't forget to visit her shop! I've had a number of requests from people wanting to be interviewed too, which I'm delighted about. I hope to interview once a week on a monday, all being good and time allowing. If you have contacted me about this, I'll be in touch with you shortly to arrange a slot. I would like to vary the type of artist/maker I interview each week to keep things fresh.

In particular I'd love to interview a printmaker. This is an area I'm itching to get back into, I used to do a lot of lino printing, and I'm really excited about my materials on their way from ebay so I can get rolling again. There are a few printmakers out there whose work leaves me staggered by it's quality and beauty. I've always loved shapes, and the use of negative and positive space in image making.
 Whilst I wait, here are some paper cuts to show you. 2 ACEO's: A cockerel and Peterborough Cathedral, one of my favourite buildings. And a birthday card I made for my darling dad. He loves gardening and I wanted to give him a special card. For someone who supposedly likes making things, I seem to buy far too many birthday cards.

It's never too late to contact me if you would like to be interviewed. I will tailor each interview to the individual. I'm not planning on giveaways or competitions but if you would like to have one featured, then I'm very open to including it.
And one more thing: let me take the opportunity to plug the latest play to come out of the theatre company Haze Productions. They are based in Peterborough and profits go entirely to charity. Their main charity is the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (The company was created in memory of my sister Hazel Robinson who died from the disease in 2004) But they also raise money for other causes. Their latest production, the comedy Evil In Tents, is staged in Peterborough at the end of this month, please do check out their website for booking details. Here is the poster I designed for the production.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Interview - 5th September 2011

Welcome, Louise Armitage!
Hello all, it's with great excitement that I unveil my first interview with Yorkshire-based crafter Louise Armitage, otherwise known as Gini's Boutique on Etsy. As some of you may know, I like a bit of crafting, sewing and illustration being my main outlets, as well as a cheeky bit of fimo here and there. It's a real pleasure to be involved with crafting communities like Folksy and Etsy, there are so many superb, unique objects to be found, and lots of lovely people. So I was thrilled when Louise contacted me off the forums, offering to be my first interviewee.
Not only does Gini's Boutique offer something truly unique in the form of her Dorset Buttons, but the main thing that struck me was her gift for photography, she just has that knack of showing her creations in the best light. My personal favourite of all her items is this beautiful bookmark - check out the colours and the workmanship, it's exquisite. Although it may not be there for much longer if you know what I mean, so click on this link sharpish while you can...
In the meantime, make yourself comfortable for the interview!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Louise Armitage, I’m 38 and I run an Etsy shop called Gini’s Boutique. I live in Yorkshire, England with my partner and my 2 year old daughter and I’m currently a stay at home mum. I sell all sorts of things in my shop from jewellery to baby gifts. I wanted to give a feel of browsing a little boutique gift shop and appeal to many different types of customers. My shop’s name is my nickname, Gini, which is short for ginger, my hair colour. I’ve been called it by my friends and family since a teenager. I like it, it’s a bit more individual than Louise. 

How long have you been crafting?
All my life! There’s never been a time that I can’t remember making things for myself and others. I still have a few Sindy doll clothes I made in the 70s! It’s an addiction with me, I can’t imagine life without being able to create. I even remember at ballet school collecting all the sequins that had fallen off costumes backstage and taking them home to make them into something else.
My studio is in our study at home and it’s packed to the roof with everything a crafter could ever want. You ask me to make it and I’ll surely have the materials to do it! And I love trying out new crafts, my items are always evolving and changing. I never get artist block, there’s too many things to try to run out of ideas.
Clearly crafting is a passion of yours, what else do you love to do?
Definitely reading, I was a Librarian before I had my daughter, but my house has always looked like a library. I think I picked up the passion for books from my father, there were always books everywhere at home. I have hundreds of books in all sorts of subjects. Fictionwise I like kidult, fantasy, medieval mysteries and science fiction.
I also watch a lot of films. We have a home cinema and generally watch two or three films every week. 

Looking at your shop, you seem to specialise in Dorset buttons. What made you settle on this intricate little niche?
Me and Dorset buttons just clicked. I can’t say why but I just really love making them. I saw an article in a craft magazine years ago of some very simple Dorset buttons and had a go myself. I was instantly hooked. I soon worked out that I could design and make much more intricate patterns and use different threads to give different effects. I even got in touch with an old lady from Dorset who shared a couple of patterns with me. I thought that it’s a shame to keep them just as buttons for garments when they could look so nice as earrings, necklaces, bag charms, brooches etc.
I am very proud of the quality and variety of the buttons I create and (not to be big headed) but I think that I knock the socks of the other few people who have Dorset buttons on Etsy. It’s nice to have something that’s not saturated in the Etsy market too, no one else makes them into type of things I do.
And lastly they are such a portable craft that they go everywhere with me, I always have a button on the go tucked in my pocket, one day you may see me weaving a button at the bus stop, in a cafĂ©, in the park……

What advice would you give to people wanting to set up shop on Etsy?
Mmmm... I would say there’s a few things you need to do to make a start on a successful shop. Firstly make sure you have your shop name right before you sign up because you can’t change it once you’ve filled out the form, even if you only intend to buy to start with. Secondly your photographs have to be good quality. Imagine you were buying the item yourself, would you buy your item if you couldn’t see the whole product or see the quality up close? You don't even have to have an expensive camera. It took me quite a long time to learn how to do this, but it's worth it in the end. Thirdly it’s always good to have a unique product that no one else is selling but you need to bring attention to it. It can be time consuming but getting yourself known is key. Join teams, have a facebook fan page, get featured on blogs, get some business cards and leaflets printed, sign up to the newsletters and take advise from other Etsians, it all helps.

And lastly… TV/movie star crush?
Now you got me there! I had to think about this one, erm, I would say possibly Johnny Depp, he’s still dishy even at 48. Although in real life I would say my lovely other half. Even after nearly twenty years he’s still the perfect man for me. Aw!

Thank you Louise for taking the time to be interviewed. Don't forget to swing by her shop and take a look for yourself! If you are an artist/maker and you would like to be interviewed on this blog, simply get in touch.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


What a wonderful topic for this week's Illustration Friday brief. Forests are hotbeds of mystery: think about the far off sounds you hear in forests, the smells, the wind in the old, looming trees. And there's all the folklore and legends surrounding forests, in print and even on film: Hansel and Gretel, The Hobbit, Blair Witch... and what about the sound of a tree falling when there's no one to hear it?

Anyway, please do comment and follow, I have some really exciting news which is: tomorrow I will be publishing my first ever interview, with Yorkshire-based crafter Louise Armitage, otherwise known as Gini's Boutique. I've been wanting to do this for a while, and I'm so glad to finally get the ball rolling.
I'm looking for artists, illustrators and printmakers to interview, if you're interested, drop me a line and we can arrange something...

Friday, 2 September 2011

Journey with scissors...

Here is some more work I have been doing this month for my project: Scissors Paper Pencil. I have been experimenting with paper cutting again, something I have always loved, ever since I was given a set of Jan Pienkowski books as a small child. This illustration on the left shows his beautiful work with silhouettes, and marbled backgrounds. Isn't it stunning? His work has captivated me for years. These days the art is dominated, quite rightly, by the likes of Rob Ryan and Kate Forrester. They are both so amazingly good at what they do I feel quite sheepish picking up the scalpel again, my efforts seem clumsy in comparison, but I just love doing it. The bottom right set of sketches was done in response to a email challenge set by Sandy Ackers, whose blog I subscribe to, she sends out little creative challenges that require nothing more than 15 minutes, some paper and pencil. I'm enjoying my project so much, not much in the way of final, polished work, but in terms of creative juices, it's top notch. Now I have this afternoon's I.F. brief to look forward to!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Disguise... and more...

Could I be more late in submitting this week's response to Illustration Friday? Despite the rush I was anxious to enter this one, especially as I am still sticking to my project rules mentioned two posts ago. So, in adherence with my "scissors, paper and pencil only" rule, here is my submission. She's been waiting all night shrouded in that hood, watching, waiting... for what, we do not know. Created using a scalpel (come on, it's a blade!) and a piece of scrap paper.
Don't forget, you can contribute and join in! I want to find the time to upload more of my creations, and really push the limits of the materials I can use.

And, (drum roll please) guess what else? I won a competition on 99designs! It was a T shirt design contest, one of my favourite categories. Generally you are allowed more creative freedom than in some of the other categories, so I hang around there a lot. My entry was selected by the lovely people at Caspio to go on their staff T shirts. The essence of the brief was that they wanted a shirt that their employees would want to wear in and out of the workplace. I'm hugging myself with delight right now! What a feeling! If you have some digital design skills and want to have a go yourself, check out the website.