It seems rare at the moment that I get to sit down and indulge in illustrating my very favourite of things; wild flowers, trees, woodland birds, tiny houses, inspirational quotes from great thinkers, so I jumped leapt at the chance to exhibit with some of my favourite ladies at the Hardy Tree Gallery in London next week.
WildWood: An Illustration Exhibition brings together six illustrators from the Drawn in Bristol studio in Bristol, who have all produced work exclusively for the show based around themes of woodland and wilderness, combining painting, typography and screen printing alongside digitally and hand-crafted work to showcase some of Bristol's up-and-coming illustration talent.
The gallery can be found just outside St. Pancras station in London, and will be running from Thursday 29 November to 24 December. I will blog the exhibition poster shortly!
This is one of my pieces, based on the beautiful quote from the brilliant JRR Tolkien, 'Not all those who wander are lost.'
The little toasty bear face at the top of the page might be a familiar sight to some of you; the original bear toast has certainly been doing the rounds on Tumblr! Anyway, the kind folks at Bear Nibbles put out a post on Facebook appealing for photographs of other people's bear toast attempts, so I keenly sent in this little guy (I went for a 'here's one I prepared earlier' sort of approach), and was rewarded with a lovely little postcard and a delicious mango flavour Yoyo!
Those of you who know me well will know that I can normally be found snacking on some sort of rabbit food. Dried fruit. I can't get enough of the stuff! If you've ever bypassed these little snacks in the supermarket because you thought they were for kids, stop doing that! They're delicious, and you even get a brightly coloured fact card inside (...did you know that polar bears have two sets of eyelids?).
For the past few years, a very good friend of mine has kept me in regular supply of Computer Arts magazine, so I'm more than a bit excited to have been featured on their blog today as part of the 100 Housespublicity, raising money and awareness for Shelter. You can view the post here, where you'll get to see Bristol based image maker Slumber's beautiful drawing.
I have recently finished illustrating this house which will be joining approximately ninety nine other houses of all shapes and sizes at the Bristol Tobacco Factory's upcoming exhibition 100 Houseson 16 November. I am incredibly excited to be sharing wall space with so many extraordinary talents!
My house, which started life in a yurt in Wales, is based on 'The Big House' from the novel Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan, a superb tale set in surburbian Malaysia. The bright kingfisher blue house, the biggest on the street, and the subject of many tall tales from the prying eyes of its neighbouring homes, houses a complex and quite tragically dysfunctional family, all of whom are dreaming of escape.
Pick up a copy if you can, the writing is very compelling, intelligent and very beautiful.
For the past few days, I have adopted a lifestyle that any hungry, adventuring, book reading, fireplace dwelling hobbit would be proud of, in the heart of the Black Mountains in Wales. I can tell I'm going to miss the dewy, lush, mossy landscapes and candle lit suppers, but am quietly relieved to be rid of the bonfire smell that was clinging to my clothes (however much I love it), and to have quick, easy access to tea making facilities once again! I haven't quite re-acquanited myself with my sketchbook yet, but I'm (almost...ish) raring to go!
I have just impulse-bought an album by Bristol based Rozi Plain after hearing a beautiful song of hers on the radio...I urge you to go and check her out!
I designed these journal covers around the end of last year as a sort of pitch for a project with a lovely independent publisher, who I have done some more work with this year. It has only just occurred to me that I should probably put them on my blog so that they can see the light of day!
I have recently finished this print for my nephew, who's just turned fourteen (fourteen?! How did that happen?) and wanted something to put in his newly-blue room for his birthday.
Gone are the days of play-fighting and drawing pictures together, or pretending to be explorers with electric-tape-moustaches, and eventually giving in to anime videos for a brief, but blissful rest from all of the curiosity, and questions and running around. But what a marvellous lad he has grown into (still curious, still inquisitive and as sharp as an axe). Anyway, I hope he will like this collection of moths; one for each year we've been fortunate to have him around. Happy birthday Aaran!
This little fella (drawn by the ever wonderful Rosie Faragher) needs your help!
I am currently working on a submission for LOAf, a 'fresh new comics magazine for 9-12 year-olds', providing 'an opportunity for some incredibly imaginative and hardworking narrative artists from across the UK to see their work independently published in a beautiful, full colour anthology of comics, puzzles and other visual and literary treats.' BUT, it is calling upon the help of the peoples (that's you) to help propel this project into action, by pledging as little as £5, for which you will receive some sort of lovely illustrative reward for your generosity.
Please have a look at the film, and the project page, where, if inspired, you can make a donation to kick-start this happy mag. LOAf are proposing to meet their target of £2000 by 24th September, and would be delighted if you could spread the word to those you think might be interested in seeing this creation come to life.
Also, you can visit LOAf's facebook page to get a taste of what's to come, and see the work of some of the other clever illustrators involved.
I just wanted to share some other lovely things I've been listening to lately, namely the lovely Staves sisters, each gifted with beautiful voices, and beautiful minimalist arrangements of guitar and vocals. I won't say too much more, because I really don't rate my chances as a music journalist, but it's really lovely music that is soft and subtle, and conducive to daydreaming and making plans, and I'm thrilled to be going to see them at Bristol's Thekla in November. This one is my favourite.
Another lady well, well worth checking out is the beautiful Rachel Sermanni, who I'm absolutely devastated to be missing at Bristol's Thekla next month! I have become a bit smitten with this Scottish singer (and her supreme songwriting abilities) who totally charmed everyone with her brilliance when I saw her support Fink in February. I think she creates wonderful imagery with her lyrics, and the movement in her songs. In particular, I would recommend listening to Song for a Foxand Eggshells. But they're all brilliant.
Finally, I'm sort of beating myself up a little bit for not snapping up the opportunity to see Gemma Hayes, an old favourite of mine and a real inspiration, when she was in Bristol (and Bath!) a few months ago (please come back, Gemma?). This woman has talent and beauty in abundance, and I can't get enough of this song.
I'm on the hunt for some new tunes, so if anyone has any recommendations, I'd be very grateful for a comment below!
I've really fallen for this album since producing an entry for the Creative Allies Alessi's Ark CD cover design contest. For whatever reason, I've not been privy to
Unbeknown to me, there were a couple of Alessi's Ark songs on the playlist in a shop that I used to work in (in a job that I didn't particularly enjoy), that used to play in a continual loop for however many hours you'd been assigned to work for the day, and at the time I think that tarnished my enjoyment of the songs. But then this competition sprung up, and I remembered that a friend of a boyfriend used to drum for a band named Alessi's Ark, and the competition sounded like a lot of fun, so I took the opportunity to really engage with the music. And what enchanting music it is. I'm a bit in love with Alessi's ability to craft a lyric, and conjure a sort of magical atmosphere that embodies the band's songs and their beautiful narrative style. That's what I hoped to achieve with this pictorial response to Notes from the Treehouse, and I hope that it does that, even slightly.
I've since picked up a copy of their Time Travel album, which has some real gems on it too!
Feeling a little bit a lot proud of our British athletes this morning. Last night saw three remarkable people pick up gold medals with unbelievable grace. Screaming at the TV (in my case, laptop) screen has never felt like such a natural, required impulse, but I simply couldn't bear the idea of Mo Farah being overtaken. Being, at best, totally miserable at any kind of sport myself (except for maybe swimming, when I put my mind to it), I am completely awed by the Olympian abilities that these people possess, how someone can throw their entire body over a staggeringly high bar without any kind of assistance, and then be equally adept at running at an obscene speed against so many competitors, or suspending their body upright in the air with only the assistance of a couple of rings attached to some ropes, held by a metal frame. In my mind, it's probably the closest we'll ever get to having super powers (apart from, perhaps, a small number of supposed 'magnetic people' that I'm told exist, or the baffling abilities of the mystical Derren Brown). I feel rather sheepish for the sort of apathetic way I dismissed the London 2012 Olympics a couple of weeks ago. It's amazing to see so many people getting excited and supporting our athletes with such vigour and enthusiasm, and restoring a sense of pride that often seems absent in our rainy little country. And long may it continue! I can't wait to see Murray battle against Federer for gold this afternoon.
I've added a few new things, and a few well-overdue things to my website of late, including this EP cover that I designed for the lovely folks in Wiltshire band The Penny Red, who recently celebrated the launch of 'Where Butterflies Dance'. Investigate at your peril, their songs will get firmly lodged in your head (I mean this in a very nice way, of course)!
More to follow! Working on some exciting things at the moment!
P.s. I've done a bit of post-spring cleaning! What do you think of the new blog decor?
Bristol has been one big party in the last few weeks (which perhaps accounts a little for my total lack of blog presence...I do apologise). I think at least half of the population of Somerset must have been at the Harbour Festival last weekend, drinking cider, dangling feet above water, scooting around in little motorised boats, idly dotted across railway tracks, before half-heartedly slipping away at the sight of an approaching steam train.
One of the highlights for me were these delightful little Madeleines that we spotted on a French biscuit stall (I've been wanting to try some ever since I saw Michel Roux Jr cooking up a killer batch on MasterChef last year), enjoyed whilst snooping around a giant Naval boat.
Yesterday I snuck out of the house with Jon to see Andrew Bird and his clever musician friends huddle around a microphone and perform beautiful 'old-timer tunes' in my local record shop. Front row seats (of the cross-legged on the floor variety. The best variety).
I've just uploaded some images to my website (currently under construction, so please forgive its slightly unfinished appearance!) of some t-shirt designs that I produced for the lovely people at CAFOD last year for their Let Justice Flow campaign. I had a lot of fun working on these, so I hope you will like them!