I realised a couple of days ago that Gifted? had opened their new competition with the brief “tropical” and I thought it would be fun to enter. Then I realised I was a little behind the times, in fact the deadline was the end of the very same day… I decided to fish out my watercolour set and get going despite the tight deadline – after all there is a certain freedom to feeling like you have so little time to do something that if it doesn’t work, well, so what? Anyway, I managed to paint these two little watercolour pictures and submit them before the end of the day, which made me happy and also made me realise that sometimes it’s actually quite nice not to overthink things!
For me and studio pal Nicola Killen much of this summer has been spent preparing for Art Club and figuring out the exercises we wanted the children to do. This meant a lot of playing with materials and mark-making, I felt like I’d gone back to my student days where experimentation was the norm. It was great! Here are some of the results of using tissue and coloured pencil for collage week and monoprint for printing week.
I’ve always wanted to have a go at screen printing but somehow never got around to it – that is until I was given a screen printing kit for my birthday! I found the whole process quite tricky and highly messy but loads of fun. I’m not sure I did an awfully good job from a technical point of view but I still like the result. My friend Emily’s cat Maya served as the muse for this print – thanks Maya!
For me and fellow children’s book illustrator Nicola Killen, this month is all about Art Club. We are collaborating with Rock Road Library to hold a series of art workshops for children and yesterday was one of my favourites – collage day! The children worked with multi-coloured, glittery and hand-painted papers to create some beautiful and imaginative images. Inspiration came from toys, flowers and other random objects as well as an imaginary book cover for the final piece. Many thanks go to the wonderful Anne Worthington who has been a great help to us with Art Club. Have a look below to see some of the children’s fantastic collages!
Last weekend was the first weekend of Open Studios for us here at Derby Road and we had a wonderful time chatting with all our visitors! We had a bit of a catastrophe before we put our work on the walls as crazy weather in Cambridge on Thursday night caused a flood in our studio. Friday morning was a scene of soggy devastation at Derby Road but after a long day cleaning up, Nicola, Ian, Neil and I managed to set it all straight and even got it looking rather lovely! If you are in Cambridge on Saturday 25th or Sunday 26th July then come along and see what we’ve done with the place – we are open from 11-6pm both days. We look forward to seeing you!
I know it’s only February but it’s time to start thinking about Open Studios again! We’ll be opening our studio here in Derby Road for the last two weeks in July but the deadline for the image to put in the OS guide is this Saturday. So I am getting my skates on and trying to produce a picture for the guide which will look good tiny. I’m not quite there yet, but here is my first attempt:
I was recently asked to do an illustration of a shopfront to advertise a pop-up shop which is coming to London in December. The shop in question is Anatomy Boutique, brainchild of anatomy expert and artist Emily Evans who has created a range of anatomy-based designs for a wide and gorgeous range of homeware and accessories. Anatomy Boutique will be popping up in Dalston from the 12th to the 22nd December so do go and have a look at the wonderful skull and cardiac wallpapers, the digestion plates and the histology scarves to mention just a few. My drawing was made with pen and ink and as to whether or not there will be a cat with a diamond collar in attendance when the shop opens I can’t be sure, but I’m hoping!
I went to a workshop the other day to learn how to make jewellery from silver clay. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Well it was! The clay really is silver, in fact it is more than 99% pure which makes it a higher grade than sterling silver. I was expecting to be able to work it like I would Fimo but it is very different – much more like an air-drying clay. And the surprise was that it dries so quickly that we only had about 10 minutes to make each piece, so I felt a little nervous… But once I had got my head around that particular constraint I had lots of fun and made some nice little pendants. We were under the guidance of Emma Mitchell who is not only a silver clay expert but a fantastic teacher too. She made it all very easy for us so by the end of the morning I had managed to make all of the below. Brilliant fun!
I have just finished my roughs for the next Maisie Hitchins book so it’s time for something a little different. This is one of the drawings I have been doing lately in my sketchbook. It was made with indian ink straight from the pot using the pipette to draw with. I rather like drawing like this because it is very spontaneous and a little bit uncontrollable. When the ink was dry I gave the drawing some colour using Caran D’ache neocolours which are another one of my favourite things. They are sort of pastelly but sort of oil-pastelly too and also can be watercoloury if you wet them! I know, it’s all a bit too much…