Project Flashback: Secret 7

As things have been a little busy lately with client work and getting my new website prepped, I don’t have much in the way of new illustration work to share. So, I thought I’d revisit an old fave for this post! This is the piece I created for 2016’s ‘Secret 7’. The project invited creatives from all over the world to take part by designing a custom 7″ record sleeve. The sleeve design had to be inspired by one of seven songs chosen by the organisers and the only restriction was that it couldn’t feature the musicians name or the track title (hence the secret bit!). Successful entries were then printed along with the vinyl record and auctioned off for charity at the London exhibition.

I chose the Tame Impala track ‘The Less I know The Better’ for my piece. Though I wasn’t selected to be included in the show, I really enjoyed getting lost listening to the track and delving into my underwater theme! The song is pretty melancholy and dripping with rejection, so I liked the idea that this spurned lover was perhaps a water demon that had been banished to the watery depths, waiting ’10 years’ until they can return to their sweetheart and carving off each year on the rock as it passes. I used oil pastels, watercolour and pencil for this piece.

Shackleton’s Ship Endurance Found!

I still think it’s so cool that they found Endurance after all these years! Waiting, hidden under the ice, in the depths of Weddell Sea. The wreck was uncovered on the 5th of March 2022, which also happened to be the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s funeral! Apparently she’s in pretty good nick and looking much the same as she did in the final footage taken of her by Frank Hurley in 1915, just before she sank.

I’m fascinated by Antarctic exploration. Particularly so by Shackleton’s famous expedition which inspired my work for our Drawn Chorus Exhibition ‘There and Back Again’ in 2017 (you can check it out here on my website if you missed it!). I might have to revisit the Endurance in my illustrations once more, especially now she’s home to a variety of ethereal deep sea creatures that would be awesome to draw!

As she was found in Antarctic waters, there she will remain! The wreck is now a designated monument under the Antarctic treaty and cannot be disturbed or moved. The search was carried out by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, who used a South African Icebreaker ‘Agulhas II’ and submersible technology to discover Endurance. Her name and star are still clearly visible 107 years after she was lost. What an incredible find!

Video by ABC News shared here without permission. Illustration by Owlstation.

Owlstation Store Giveaway!

*Now closed!*

I’ve been wanting to do an Owlstation Giveaway for a while and recently reaching my first 100 sales on the Store felt like the perfect reason! Though it might sound like a small number to some, it means so much to me. I so appreciate your custom, support and encouragement of my work and wanted to take a moment to thank you properly…

Also, giveaways and getting post are fun right?! So one of you will be receiving: an A3 Adventure Kit print, an animated Magic Portal magnet, two cute greetings cards and four post cards. Whoop! This giveaway is open to everyone (as long as I can send it to you via Royal Mail).

To enter: In the comments write and tell me, if you could open a fantasy magic portal to anywhere – where would you go/open it to?

Pals on Instagram or Twitter, if you’re able to pop @Owlstation a visit or like there too, then that’s always appreciated (but not a requirement for entering!). You have until the 31st of March. I’ll pick my favourite answer and announce the winner on the 1st of April (but promise it won’t be an April Fool!). Good luck all!

Forest Experiment

I was having fun a little while back developing my ‘Forest Guardian’ mini project. There’s more that I want to do here, including working with the little blue forest guardian that you all helped me pick out over on Instagram…but here’s a little sneak peek for now from one of my test drawings. My main aim was to just be as expressive and playful as possible and just revel in drawing a forest.

In all honesty though, I’ve found it difficult to be in the mood to create over the last few weeks with everything that’s going on in the world. I find it tricky to engage with making when my heart is feeling heavy and things feel so uncertain. I know that’s the way of it sometimes though and it will come back when it’s ready and of course it’s no hardship. For now, I know it’s important to remember that there’s always hope, however small. Sending love and hope to you all in these strange and scary times x

People Practice

I’m attempting to keep up a spot of weekly drawing practice in between my client work and building my new website (more on that escapade soon!). At the moment I’m focussing on practicing people, and in particular drawing faces. I’m growing more confident in sketching faces when working from reference material i.e drawing from Pinterest, as in the above illustration. The next step is to upgrade to being able to draw faces from my mind and to start bringing characters to life.

Though I have done some of this to date, I’d like to grow my confidence and get more of a grip on my style (which I sometimes feel is a bit scattergun!). Who are your favourite artists for character design or their style of drawing people? I’d love to know!

Get Home In Time For Tea

Finally, number four of the four illustrations I created for the Words to Live By exhibition ‘Get Home In Time For Tea’. The sentiment here being that after your day of adventuring, it’s important to wend your way back to your cosy Hobbit hole or campfire to enjoy a hot brew…and that it will taste all the more delicious after the fresh air and fun you’ve enjoyed on your escapades to the mountains, sea and forest.

It’s a concept I’d like to play around a bit more with in future illustrations. I really love the connection between nature and the outdoors and how it feels when you settle down to a cup of tea after being outside. Or indeed having a tea whilst out in nature. The comfort from the warmth of the cup and how it restores and revives you. Biscuits or cake to be included in this ritual whenever possible of course.

In the next post I’ll share the final, framed piece and a few snaps from the show itself before we move on to talk about some other things. In the meantime, get that kettle on! 🙂

Frolic In The Forest…

I haven’t had too much forest time lately but will aim to put that right in February. There’s something very vital about getting out under the trees, jumping over logs and generally frolicking about like an excitable fool in the woods. This is the third of four illustrations I created for the Drawn Chorus ‘Words to Live By’ show (do check out my previous posts if you missed the first and second!).

I hadn’t left myself much time to create my submissions for the show and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make something I was happy with before the deadline. I have a tendency to move very slowly and be a bit of a perfectionist when creating personal work if left to my own devices.

So this show actually proved to be a really good challenge for me as I had to just let go and keep moving in order to get the work done. And as it goes, I was pretty happy with what I produced. Sometimes ‘done’ is much better than ‘perfect’ and can get you further and more quickly than obsessing over details and re-hashing things that already work. Something for me to remember for the next show and coming projects anyway!

Swim In The Sea…

Here’s the second of four illustrations that I created for our Drawn Chorus exhibition ‘Words to Live By’. Swimming in the sea is something that I will definitely be doing a lot of this Spring and Summer now that I’m living back by the coast. Though I will be waiting until the average water temperature gets just that bit warmer… I’m a fair weather swimmer, that’s just how it is! I’ve a huge amount of respect for the brave souls I see venturing in at this time of year though. It’s such a lovely thing to see so many happy people bobbing up and down in the water, even in icy January.

I used watercolours, conte crayons and 8B pencil for this piece. I imagined that the bather is the same figure from the previous ‘Visit the Mountains’ illustration, hence the same red hat and boots that are stashed on the nearby rocks while they relax in the water.

Visit The Mountains…

Happy New Year friends! I hope that you had nice Winter breaks and kept cosy and snug. I enjoyed my annual, festive hibernation and am feeling rejuvenated for 2022. Though I’ve not made any firm resolutions, there are a few things I’m hoping to do and that I’d like to achieve this year. ‘Visit the Mountains’ being very much on the to do list (I haven’t decided which mountains yet, but I’ll keep you posted!). The above illustration is one of four that I created for our Drawn Chorus show ‘Words to Live By’ back in November. I’ll share the other three over the coming weeks and a bit more from the show itself, so stay tuned for that.

Other than mountains, I’d like to…visit the countryside more, hopefully manage a little trip abroad, continue to work on my drawing skills (and explore my style), see my friends and family and…try really hard to get my new website sorted! But, also remember to be gentle with myself and that if I manage some, none or all of the things that I’m hoping for, then that’s okay (feel free to remind me of this in a few months time!). Is there anything that you would like to do this year, big or small or that you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments 🙂