Sunday, 26 October 2014

Mapping the Thames

This weekend has been an extremely busy one, not least because I've had confirmation of a really exciting commission!

I don't want to say too much about what it's for until I've made a bit more progress, but I've been asked to produce an illustrated map of the River Thames.

Now, I have ALWAYS wanted to draw maps. When I was at school I wanted to be a cartographer. The fact that maps can be both attractive and functional interests me and the detail really appeals to my love of intricacy.

So, when I got asked to submit a small sample for consideration, I jumped at the chance.

This is just an example of a tiny section of the map and it's going to be changed slightly, but you get the idea.

Thames illustrated map

I decided to use watercolours because I love the way they highlight the texture of the paper (and they're so fun to paint with)!

Thames illustrated map

I had a go at painting Windsor Castle, using some of the same techniques as I use in my doodles.

watercolour painting of Windsor Castle

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed doing these paintings and I'm so excited about getting stuck into this project.

It's the first time in a while that my drawing board has actually looked like there's some drawing going on! Today I've been sketching out the curves of the river, which is definitely easier said than done.

drawing board

I've invested in some new Winsor & Newton watercolours as I used my old school set for these paintings and thought it was about time I get a 'grown up' set! I felt like a child in a sweet shop buying these!

winsor and newton watercolours

Back to the drawing board now!

If you'd like to follow this project as it progresses, please follow my blog using one of the buttons on the right and pop over to my Facebook page where I'll be posting regular updates.

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour and Paint Party Friday.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

My first work in print!

This week has been very exciting for various reasons and I've been working on a few lovely commissions. Unfortunately, I can't share any of it with you just yet, so I thought I'd show you this piece which has been featured in Doodle Arts Magazine.

It's a Filipino publication, but you can view a free digital version of their teaser magazine Doodle Arts Collection online.

My doodle and a short bio was featured in the 'Spotted' section on page 44 so go and have a nosy if you want to find out a little more about me!

This piece is meant to look like a landscape, with the sea at the bottom, land in the middle and sky at the top.

As always, I had great fun drawing it! I love the way the white windmill stands out so much against the brown.

Here's the drawing in progress!

...and here it is in the magazine.

See you next week peeps!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, Nifty Thrifty Things, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Playing around with Crafty What Nots

We're back, relaxed and refreshed from a week in sunny Kos and not looking forward to work in the morning!

Luckily, I had something lovely to look forward to, as I received an exciting package from Jennysis Crafts. Jenny very kindly sent a number of us crafty bloggers a 'Crafty What Nots' box to review in anticipation of her fantastic new venture - a craft box subscription service.

The box actually arrived in the post the day before I went on holiday, but I knew I didn't have enough time to start, so, tempted though I was to have a sneaky peek, I left it waiting for me to come back!

I was really excited to open up the box as I had no idea what would be inside, the only clue I had was it's name 'Floral Pavilion'.

After carefully opening the tissue paper and removing the contents of various little personalised envelopes, this is what I found. For a slim box, there's a lot in there!

craft subscription box

I thought it would be fun to make a little stop-motion video of me opening the box.


Tucked in a little envelope were the instructions for making a paper handbag, so eager to get going, I made a start.

The instructions have photos too and are very simple to understand. First step - making a net to fold the handbag.

craft subscription box

It was easy to fold and assemble after scoring the lines.

craft subscription box

 Here's what it looked like before the flap and handle was added.

craft subscription box

I added a ribbon from my stash and decorated it with the cut out flowers and buttons provided.

craft subscription box

I'm pleased with the final result and it's now sitting pride of place in my craft corner!

After making the handbag, I had a little play with the other bits and bobs included in the box. I love the stamp!

craft subscription box

If you would like to get your mitts on a box similar to this, take a look at Jenny's blog post about Crafty What Nots and buy one for £12.50 plus P&P. She also offers a three or six month subscription for a discounted rate. I was very happy with the contents of my box; the packaging, extra little touches and obvious care which has gone into putting these packs together makes it well worth it!

I'll leave you with some of my holiday snaps!

Mark Warner Lakitira Resort Kos

I didn't notice the bee in this one until looking at the photo now!

Mark Warner Lakitira Resort Kos

The best part of the holiday was learning to sail - so much fun!

Mark Warner Lakitira Resort Kos

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations and Be Different Act Normal.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

On my holidays, but left a little something...

No proper post from me today because, fingers crossed, I'm sunning myself on a nice Greek beach as we speak!

If you've popped by my blog for some arty entertainment and are now disappointed by the lack of creativity on offer, never fear!

Head over to Etsy where for a mere £1.75 you can get your mitts on a PDF version of this doodle to print off and do with as you wish! Colour it in, cut it out, make it into d├ęcoupage...the possibilities are endless. If you do do (can I say two do's?) something amazing, or even half amazing, I'd love you to send me a pic!

Doodle art

Doodle art

doodle art

Doodle art

Doodle art

See you next Sunday folks :)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Patchwork sewing machine cover

Since I got my sewing machine for Christmas I have been meaning to make a dust cover for it and today was the day!

I had the whole afternoon to myself so had plenty of time to work on it.

sewing machine cover

I was inspired by a cover I saw on Pinterest which has a strip of patchwork squares down one side. I really liked the effect and haven't tried patchwork squares before, so thought it would be a bit of a challenge.

sewing machine cover

I know from my Mum that patchwork squares aren't the easiest things to get right. They must all be perfect so that they line up correctly. I have to admit that mine are a teensy bit off in places, but overall I'm happy!

The first challenge was cutting out all the squares precisely. Sam's Mum swears by a circular cutter and I definitely could have done with one for this! It took ages to cut them all out, but worth it to get them accurate.

Assembling the patchwork squares

Armed with a cup of coffee (which was definitely needed after cutting out all those squares!) I sat down and organised them into rows of three.

Assembling the patchwork squares

I sewed each row of three and then matched and pinned each row to the next before sewing in place. The fabric is from a scrap bag very kindly donated to me by my Auntie. If you follow my blog, you may recognise some scraps from another project.

Assembling the patchwork squares

We also bought some more storage units this weekend - the sewing machine fits perfectly and I think it completes my little craft corner nicely. On the top is an old Singer sewing machine I bought from the tip!

my craft room

Six Second Sketch

This week I've also done another six second sketch. I've decided to do a series of mini portraits of people with funny expressions so first up is Bruce Forsyth! I'm tempted to try and go even smaller!

Here's the finished sketch.

Bruce forsyth drawing

Papercut Wedding Heart

This is a piece I finished earlier in the year which I can share now the couple have now received it as a wedding present. It's a large heart filled with lots of elements which are significant to them.

Paper cut wedding heart

I drew the design from scratch and then cut it out by hand.

Paper cut wedding heart

That's it for today, keep an eye on my Etsy shop as I'll hopefully be adding another doodle to download as a colouring page this week!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations and Be Different Act Normal.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Six second sketch

Sam had a brainwave recently and suggested I start doing a series of 'six second sketches' using the Vine mobile phone app which records six second videos.

Well, I tried numerous times to draw something (anything!) in six seconds and didn't get very far at all! So I decided that instead of doing the whole sketch in six seconds, I would make time lapse videos instead. I've set up a Twitter page @sixsecondsketch to share my videos and those of other artists/doodlers who'd like to get involved. Please do pop by and say hi if you're on Twitter! If you'd like me to share your little sketches and sketching videos too, just tag them with the hashtag #SixSecondSketch.

Here are the few which I've done this week.

The portraits of Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Murphy were the last pencil sketches I did and I had in mind that I'd do one every day. I hadn't really thought about how long they would take though, so I think I'll just have to do them when I've got time.

Speaking of small works of art, I've just come across the fantastic miniature watercolour paintings of Lorraine Loot, a South African artist. She's working on a project called Postcards for Ants, a sequel to her 2013 series Paintings for Ants, both of which consist of a tiny painting for every day of the year. Do go and have a look, I guarantee you'll be in awe of her amazing talent!

As well as this new Six Second Sketch venture, I've also been working on some festive paper cut templates (I daren't mention the c-word yet!). Once I've cut them all out and taken photos, they'll be available in my Etsy Shop, so keep your eyes peeled if you're interested.

Apart from that, this doodle is still bumbling along slowly!

Thank you to those of you who commented on my Blogland Tour post, it was lovely to read your comments and I'm really happy to have discovered some new blogs!

Finally, I'd just like to urge you all to go and visit Manon at Lottie Designs & Illustrations. She's made this wonderful doll version of me after I sent her a photo! I can't wait to buy my own copy to download and assemble! I even come complete with a craft knife ready for paper cutting!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations and Tatertots and Jello.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Blogland Tour

Blogland Tour

Today's post is a bit different from my normal style, but I'm excited to be taking part in my first Blogland Tour. I've been nominated by the lovely Julie from Sum of their Stories.

Julie is a true creative, her blog features everything from baking to crochet. She not only does a lot of different crafts but excels at them all and shares her wonderful creations and techniques.

I love her cute crochet items like this little owl brooch...

...and this gorgeous crochet blanket which she made for her cousin's baby.

Do stop by and visit her blog, you'll find yourself getting carried away browsing through! Julie's Blogland Tour post can be found here.

The Questions

It's not often that I actually talk about me on my blog, it's mostly focused on art and crafts so I suppose although some of you know a lot about what I do, you don't know a lot about me! So before I start answering the Blogland Tour questions, here's a little introduction.

I live and work in North Devon and art is something I do in my spare time. Although I haven't had any formal tuition, it has always been a favourite hobby and I can't imagine life without a project on the go. I studied French, Spanish and Russian at university, so drawing and painting kept me sane!

I live with my boyfriend Sam and our pet fish. Apart from art, I enjoy walking, picnics, cake, tea, travelling, eating out and life's simple pleasures. We've also just taken up sailing which is proving to be a great weekend activity!

Ok, on to the questions...

#1 - What am I working on?

As usual, I'm working on a lot of different projects, which, to my boyfriend's despair, results in a lot of different bits and pieces strewn around the living room. The thing is, whatever I'm working on, another idea always pops into my head, asking to be started! I often end up with lots of things on the go, many of which never get finished. Since I began writing this blog, however, I've been a lot more motivated to see things through to the end; there's nothing like the deadline of a blog post to inspire you to finish!

Here are a few bits I'm working on at the moment.

#2 - How does my work differ from others of my genre?

I'm not sure my work even fits into a genre! I get bored doing one thing all the time so like to dip in and out of different crafts - a bit of drawing here, a bit of paper cutting there.

I know a lot of artists find their niche, or a certain style which they like working in, but apart from loving anything ultra detailed I've never really stuck to one thing!

Here are some of the things I've created recently and over the years.

#3 - Why do I write/create what I do?

I started this blog in Malaysia when Sam and I were travelling as a way to record our adventures and the sketches and drawings I did along the way. I really enjoy blogging because of the feedback and comments I receive on each post and also on a personal level as a kind of diary to look back on what I've done. I don't have a huge following or a broad reach, but I've 'virtually' met some lovely people and continue to discover inspiring blogs of artists and craftspeople on an almost daily basis!

#4 - How does my writing/creative process work?

I think it's probably best to split this into two. My writing process is fairly simple. I sit down at my laptop each Sunday evening, have a little think about what I've done that week, take photos of my projects and explain what I've been up to!

My creative process depends on what I'm making but broadly follows the same pattern each time. A little idea pops into my head, inspired by something I've seen on Pinterest, other artists' work or a suggestion from friends or family. I then sit down and make/draw/paint whatever the idea is, usually over many sittings because the nine 'til five job gets in the way! I take lots of photos to use on the blog, and hopefully, after hours of beavering away, I have something lovely to show for my efforts.

That's it from me, now it's time to nominate a couple of my favourite blogs to continue the Blogland tour next Monday.

Firstly there's my Mum, Alison of Fiddly Fingers. Mum is an inspiration for many reasons, not least because of her crafting skills. Her main love is crochet, but she's dabbled in embroidery, jewellery, dress-making, polymer clay and many different arts and crafts as my sister and I were growing up. One of her most 'famous' creations is Chester, a crochet cat which is very much larger than life...bigger than a fully grown man in fact!

Chester gets up to a lot of mischief, some of his escapades, like this trip out in Dad's car, have featured in Mum's blog.

Mum hasn't written a blog post for a while, but I think with a little encouragement from you lovely peeps it won't be long before Chester or his little friend Taffy make another appearance!

The next blog I'd like to nominate is Desserts and Decoupage, written by my friend Emma.

As the name suggests, Emma blogs about everything from cooking to crafts, interspersed with tips which cover every topic, from advice for first-time buyers to healthy lifestyles.

She's had a few problems with her blog design and settings recently, because of transferring to a new hosting, but do pop by and follow her blog and she'll hopefully have it all sorted and full of inspirational images and content very soon!

I know I'm meant to nominate three blogs, but due completely to myself leaving it to the last minute, I can't nominate anyone else without springing it on them and causing a mad panic! There are many many blogs which I love to read, so I thought instead of nominating some more in the Blogland Tour, I'll list a few of my favourites below.

Lottie Designs and Illustrations - Manon is a true inspiration, she makes art with varied media featuring her fantastic quirky characters, one of which, Lottie, is the blog's namesake. She is an extremely versatile artist and always surprises me with her amazing original designs.

Andrea Joseph - I'm always in awe of Andrea's art, particularly her biro drawings. She has a fun and interesting style

Quirky Artist - I love this artist's beautiful sketches and paintings.

Nina Johansson - I only recently discovered Nina's work and I'm so glad I did. She paints gorgeous pen and watercolour scenes.

That's it from me! Have fun on the rest of your journey through the Blogland Tour!