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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Festive tidings, blog friends.

Greetings of the season to all you blog friends who visit. I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and the very best for the New Year 2013. I was going to show my new Mother's Day cards, but I think this is more in keeping for now. The cards above are in 'Poundland' whoooweeee. I did this little range earlier this year, and wasn't sure where they were headed, but I found these samples on a recent trip to the beautiful City of York. I actually did about 8 artworks,all to have different captions, some of which you can see to the left and below, but I could only find these 2 samples. The display rack in Poundland is abysmal, everything is just thrown in, mixed up, upside down etc, after fishing through a load of cards, I came up with 2, and it is 2 for a pound, so an absolute bargain!! I worked in pastel on these as you can probably see, quite time consuming, I don't think most people realise that cards are done as artworks? I may be wrong?
I don't think I will get chance to write another post before Christmas, so I wish you all the very best, and I hope Santa stops by with goodies for you all. See you again soon.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Leaping ahead....

 I am leaping ahead in time here,jumping right past Christmas, to show you some of the items I received in a lovely parcel this last week. These are Valentines Day cards for next year 2013. I did these designs much earlier this year. Always so nice to see how things turn out, I love the way the image is used again inside the card, it just makes it seem that bit more special. I think my photos have turned out a bit blue?? The light was not very good, even though the sun was shining outside, it is so low in the sky, it only makes it to one side of the garden!

I will be back soon with the rest of the parcel, and even further ahead in time to Mother's Day next year!
I am very excited too, as I have placed an order for the new Imac that has just been released. I've not had one before, so this is very exciting, and also expensive. I have waited ages for this new one to come out, it's super sleek and slim . I think you should be able to see it here? Then I need to practice with it and one day I may design everything on it???? Or not??? I still love the feel of watercolour paper, and that trepidation as the paint goes down.....but maybe a combination of techniques would be a good thing?
See you all again soon. :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Here's one I did earlier.....

Hello again blog friends, I would like to thank all of you that commented on my last post, it was quite a moment for me, and I appreciate what you all said.
 I'm back again with the book :) Just thought you might like a sneaky peak into the inner workings of my book illustrating antics? I managed to snap some photos of my work in progress as I was nearing the end of the book illustrations. I'll try and flip between now and then to show you some of the differences that took place. It really is all in the pictures, so here goes.
My first artwork for front and back covers.
Actual front cover ended up being this lovely lilac, and I love the typeface for the title.

Sweet little bear on the back cover.
 One of the most funny pages to do was of the Big bear yawning. I practised this pose in the mirror,not that I look like a bear?? But it was tricky to make the bear look friendly, without teeth, and without looking fierce. I actually had everyone in the house yawning, to try and get this looking right. Yawns are quite infectious when you try this!! It was funny. I did eventually find an image of a bear yawning and adapted this as best I could.
A well practised pose, makes you quite sleepy!
On the actual book the colour is slightly darker.

The same thing happened with the stretching pose, but the arms were specifically asked to be curved around the head, as you can see.I'm finding this quite fascinating now, comparing the two images, although I do think my photos are more yellow than they actually were. The backgrounds I did were left white, so that the different colours could be dropped in. Each of the pages I illustrated was about A3 in size, so quite big! It was a bit of a shock to my system working at this size, as I don't usually work any larger than A4. Fortunately pastel covers quite quickly, although it was hard work and my fingerprints did literally wear down as they were my tools for blending most of the time!
I hope you've enjoyed this little insight. I will be back soon with another topic. It's been very exciting this 'Book' moment for me. Still can't believe it. Bye for now, see you all soon.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My Ta Dah lifetime achievement moment!

Hello there blog friends, well it's here, my lifetime achievement Ta Dah moment. I think it may be a wish of many Illustrators who mainly work on Greetings Cards, to Illustrate a Children's picture book. It certainly was one of mine. So when this arrived in the post yesterday, I was beside myself excited. To be honest it felt quite surreal, I remember working on the artwork, but seeing it in this book, WOW, it was/is amazing!It's just like those books you see in the shops, hey, wait a minute, It is!!

I shall post a few more images from the book today and then show you how I worked on this earlier this year. I started out by Illustrating the front and back covers. At this point I wasn't sure what the book was about. Obviously it was about bears, but I didn't have any of the words. The words are very gentle and simple, a lovely process of the bears getting ready to settle down and sleep.Margaret Wise Brown is a very well known author in America, (I'm ashamed to say I didn't know of her). I shall leave it there, as the pictures speak for themselves I think?

These aren't all the pages, just a few, I don't want to be a bore, but hope you like them.:)
Back page.
I have to say a big Thank-you to my agent, Advocate, who put my name forward for this book. It is quite difficult to break into the world of book publishing without going through an agent. So many thanks to them. Also to the publishers Parragon, who liked my first Illustrations enough to run with the whole thing, a major commitment. I feel like I may be sounding like a film star whose being presented some award now,and giving a speech, Ha Ha. I don't honestly, I'm just a bit overwhelmed at seeing this dream come true, still can't believe it. Hope you come back to visit and share in some of the work that went on to achieve this goal. See you again soon, thanks for visiting.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I'm in WH Smiths.......

 Hi blog friends, I'm here again still waiting on THE BOOK, I have been told by the editor no less, that as soon as they get copies from the warehouse I will be sent 3, so fingers crossed it won't be long? My book is about 'Sleepy Bears' going to sleep, it's a very gentle story, not many words, lots of actions!

In the meantime, I visited,WH Smith store in town, and there are my designs on the shelves, 6 in total, all very traditional cute bears, as requested.
 I did these earlier this year and they have quickly found their way into the stores. I bought 2 as a) I doubt I will get any samples, and b) they were expensive!!! They are quite big, with a nice red envelope though. Check them out if you go near a store, in the UK that is?? Christmas is still quite a way off I know, but I work on this sort of thing all year and actually I never seem to tire of it, I do love what I do! :)
Artwork for the card designs.
 This is another love of mine below, modelling (not the latest) style of t-shirt!! My poor little puppy, cos' that's what he is to me,  (he's 12 and a half) has had a nasty reaction to a bite. It's under his arm,( whoops, front leg), and so the vet said....instead of him having to wear one of those awful collars, where they bash into everything and everyone, put him an old t-shirt on, to stop him trying to scratch or lick it?? Well, he hasn't taken to this really! He looks a bit fed up :( don't you think? We put it on him last night at bedtime, but it was off by the morning, must have been a struggle in the night!!
My Handsome old boggy looking fed up.

What are you doing to me? This looks like a dress!! :)
This last photo of him makes me think of the talking dog on You Tube, you know the one, with the bacon  etc? Hope this link works, but you've probably seen this many times!? He's much better already my pooch, on his Very Expensive antibiotics. (worth every penny for him, my lovely Jet).
See you all again soon.:)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Sketchcrawl Sunshine

First tree I sketched, the colours are just changing.

Lynne sketching the stunning red Acer, as seen in the next image, I also drew this tree.

Sketch of above.

Sophie ryders dogs were popular amongst the sketchers and all interpreted differently

We were surrounded by Canada geese at one point, lovely sketches here, and of the branches as seen in my top photo dangling down.

This is me as sketched by my lovely friend D

Amazing work achieved in such a short time, the hours pass so quickly when you're absorbed in the sketching!

My sketches here as mentioned above, I concentrated on the trees as they were  so lovely in their changing state.
 I used some colour this time, just experimenting with different techniques.
Sorry I can't name each persons sketches, but they were all good!
Hi blog friends! I'm still here awaiting THAT book!!!! Sigh..... in the meantime, I had a lovely day last Sunday, out on the Sketchcrawl at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.I had a lovely friend accompanying me this time and we certainly had good weather. Quite unbelievable really, it was so nice to sit in the sunshine and draw. The wind was a bit nippy, but in sheltered spots it was a delight. I should have taken lots of photos at the park, as there were new sculptures on display, but I mainly took shots of the final showdown, where we all display our work for to share. Quite a nerve wracking experience this can be, but there are all levels and abilities and all deserve praise. So many different styles and techniques, we can all learn from each other.Hope you enjoy my little exhibition, it was fun.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Beatrice Alemagna talks about Bugs in the Garden

I have taken this video from the lovely Lisa on her blog' Lil Sonny Sky'. I tried to do the link thing but ??? it baffled me, so hopefully you can find Lisa and her blog, as it's sooooo good!! I just love Beatrice's accent, and how she shows the way she works, what a delight! Hope you enjoy it too! :)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Up Hill and Down Dale, a short interlude.....

Going Up, Up

and Up

Above the beautiful Wharfedale

Out onto the moors above

then a steep Down,Down
To the bottom of the Dale and a walk back by the river.
Just a short interlude blog friends. We had a lovely walk in the Autumn sunshine. Out of lovely Kettlewell, up a very steep track ( which may be of 'Calendar Girls' fame)? To get these glorious views down the valley, it was well worth the uphill struggle! Out onto the moors, then back down the steep track, and a walk from Starbotton along the dale back. What a lovely day, cup of tea and cream scone to finish, Yum.
I am hoping to have my first copy of the Children's book I illustrated earlier this year, I have seen it and am quite beside myself excited.......just need to get my hands on a copy, then I can show you all some pics, and of the process it took to get there!! Hope to be back soooooon!
 Oooh forgot to say, going on a sketchcrawl on Sunday to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, with Lynne Chapman and the gang, and also managed to get myself a screen and a squeegee, for some screenprinting action??? Soon!! Very exciting! (to me anyway) :))))

Friday, 21 September 2012

A Butterfly theme

Peacock Butterfly WOW

Red Admiral, who wouldn't open those beautiful wings for me!

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Hi there blog friends, the post today has a theme of butterflies running through it. They seem to have been in my garden, in my thoughts and in my artwork, so here goes......Above, those in the garden recently, attracted by the Buddleia flowers. My Buddleia flowers later in the season than most, and the last of the summer sun has brought these beautiful butterflies in, what a delight!  I've been a relaxed sort of busy recently, trying to do some paid work...,going on days out walking,.... doing some spec work and on a teeny tiny screen print course for half a day.  
Screen for hand screen printing
 The screenprint course was at the 'Art House' in my home town. It involved printing using simple stencils that were cut out of newsprint. I had to quickly come up with an idea the night before the course, and Butterflies popped into my head. I have to admit I had not envisaged these colours, I would have gone for something less garish and more toned, but we were working in pairs, so colours had to suit both people. It was all a bit manic again, I think 4 colours was a little ambitious in the short time we had, as we printed 8 pieces each. The time just flew by, and we had to work like crazy. It was just a great experience discovering what can be done, with such simple equipment. My image turned out OK. But I played safe and didn't overlap colours, so registration was fairly easy. There were some excellent prints produced once again, unfortunately I didn't get any photos, as time was so tight.One girl did a Rob Ryan style design, and as you have to cut the paper stencils out, it made total sense and turned out so well, it was of some birdies in a tree. (should have got a photo).
Paper stencil for each colour, it's those butterflies again!

3 colours printed here

Final colour added.
 I would definitely like to do some more of this kind of screen printing at home. I will have to get myself a screen! The possibilities are endless for this technique. Excellent course all for £7 !!!

My indulgent project at home has been a large watercolour of Cottage Garden flowers. I try and think of subjects that might work well on Greeting Cards, but that I like too. Below is my process of working, starting with sketch ideas, using my own photos if I can, the one below was from Sark, some Hollyhocks that were beautiful. The idea was to have a white picket fence with flowers typical of a cottage garden.
First stage of artwork, the Hollyhocks.
 I decided to paint all the flowers first, then masked out the white picket fence in order to paint in some of the greenery below.

Masking fluid going on.

Greenery washed in over the masked out fence.
At this point, when I'd washed in the green, I decided that I didn't like the regimented line up of the flowers. So I (very bravely for me) started to paint in some feint loose flowers in between those already painted. I was really quite pleased with how they turned out! Just off the cuff, making it up as I went along!!
Finished piece, complete with 'Painted Lady' butterfly!
This artwork is about A3 in size. I needed to work a bit bigger than normal to get some of the loose watercolour effects in, it's not easy to do if they are so small.
I hope you've enjoyed my butterfly ramblings, we've had some colder weather today, it's feeling much more like Autumn, which I believe officially starts tomorrow? I've been planting out 100 tiny pansies, something I don't normally do at this time of year. I have bulbs ready to put in also, all with the promise of some delightful flowers in the spring and hopefully through the winter too! See you all again soon.