14 July 2014

100 Objects of my Affection

We're into Day 4 of the 100 Days Project, and this time I'm loving the fact that I have a plan in place. This is my system, which I had a lot of fun devising - four jars filled with little bits of paper. Each jar has its own theme: a word (a something I love), colour palette, material/s and a random instruction. Each day, I pick out a piece of paper from each jar, and that's my prompt for the day. 

This was Day 1: Lists (how appropriate), black white red, use brush and ink, use a caption that starts with your name. Magic! It takes all the indecisiveness away and forces me to try new things. You can follow my progress here, and tell me off if it looks like I'm lagging behind!

I came across this talk on rule-based making when I was looking for ways to create creative prompts. We do use the idea of 'restrictions bringing freedom' in our theatre projects, but I've never used it in my personal work before. It'll be interesting to see where it takes me over the next 96 days.

4 July 2014

Winter Projects

Next to my computer lives a little old school desk, like the ones we used to have at primary school. Usually it's covered in piles of paper and pens and reference books and crumbs, but this is what it looks like when I'm ready to start something new.

It's been so soggy and foggy and miserable here over the past few weeks that the idea of indoor winter art projects is very inviting. I'm trying to discipline myself to stick to one or two and not sign up for everything that looks like fun (hard). The 100 Days Project starts next week - I had a go last year but soon came to a grinding halt because I didn't have a Plan. I just bumbled about doing a few little drawings and hoped for the best, but that lack of strategy was not a success. This year I'm having another stab at it, but this time with a concept in mind. Not sure what yet, but what I think it needs to be is 1/specific 2/small-scale 3/something with an element of surprise so I don't get bored doing the same thing every day. 4/do-able in a short amount of time. Determined determined determined... it's not too late to register, by the way - you can sign up here. Come and join me!

9 June 2014

A Little Film for MATS

This is how the beginning of a project goes: Clean house. Get everything ready. Rejoice in the feeling of a new start and a tidy workspace. After the project ends: Look around at the piles of paper and general chaos. Wonder how I didn't see the army of dustballs in every corner. Clean house. Start again!

So here's my little finished film, which started out as a bit of a play-around with old drawings, which then turned into a competition entry for Make Art that Sells (the little green house is their logo.) It was fun. It was incredibly time-consuming. Working on it became obsessive, but in a good way. It was also a way of bringing all the skills and insights I've learned this year into one package, with the freedom of creating my own brief. And now for a little bit of half-hearted cleaning...

28 May 2014

Making Things Move

I've been toppled by a horrible flu for the last two weeks. Ggrrr. Like a good girl, I've stayed inside and eaten lots of soup, keeping busy with a new little self-imposed, semi-animated project.

I've always loved animation, and worked in the industry for a number of years when I lived in the UK - but discovered I loved the product more than the process, which is incredibly painstaking and slow. It still is, but I'm only making a minute's worth, and nothing's 'properly' animated in the traditional sense. Instead, I'm playing with old childhood drawings combined with new ones and some very simple moving parts, using the structure of a very short children's story. I'm having a great time with it, and feeling a lot freer about trying new things, which I'm sure is the result of the course I've just finished. My aim is to finish five seconds a day, which means it should be finished by the end of next week. More to come! 

15 May 2014


Cat in a love boat...for this week's Illustration Friday theme of 'voyage.' No voyaging in our house; I've been at home all week in my pyjamas coughing and spluttering like an old sailor!

8 May 2014

Toy Garden

Oh, hello world out there outside my living room window! It's been a crazy five weeks of learning, sketching and moments of frustration, excitement and occasional despair. It's also the beginning of a new school term, which means not so much ball-juggling and a bit more time to refocus.

This is the final week's gift market assignment and I decided to head back into more comfortable territory of small cute things, although I did try new ways of putting patterns together. Although I don't know exactly where I'll go next, what I do know is that I've moved from thinking of 'possibly maybe one day in the future being a proper professional designer and illustrator' to 'actually, this is something I want to do for the rest of my life.' Or for a long time, at least.

29 April 2014


I'm happy to report that I've recovered from my recent self-doubting panic attack and had a good time last week playing around with shapes, textures and different mediums. A piece of abstract-ish wall art incorporating flowers, words and a restricted colour palette isn't something I'd think of doing off my own bat, but this is what's great about being given a brief - having to work within a set of rules that force you to try new things. 

I've always liked this quote, and remind myself of it when I feel like running away to a place where the grass appears to be greener. Lots of different things went into building this piece - an old monoprint made from old icecream sticks, gouache, oil pastel, hand lettering and many blobs of ink. It made me remember how much I used to love printmaking (especially monoprints) and mixed media. This is the last week of the course - despite my occasional moaning, I'll miss it.

22 April 2014

The Art of Fun

I'm coming up for air after three weeks of hard work in hibernation, with another two to go. This course is pushing me into new places and at the same time pushing old irritating buttons. Being in the company of over two hundred artists all working on the same assignments is both inspiring and overwhelming. Suddenly I've been dragged out of my familiar little doodley world, and it hasn't always been comfortable. Comparing my work to others, serious bouts of self-doubt and forgetting how to have fun - these are the old demons (mates of our old friend Mr Perfectionist) that have been popping up and putting a multitude of spanners in the works.

It's a good thing though, all this turmoil. I have faith that it'll all settle down in the end and there'll be something new and wonderful in its place. In the meantime, I'm keeping my eyes on my own work and mostly resisting sneaking peeks at other people's until the job's done. This is last week's job, by the way - to illustrate a children's book cover of the Aesop fable 'The Fox and the Crow.' Even though he's not very foxlike, I had fun drawing him, and that (as I'm discovering) is the most important thing.