I made this drawing about a month ago, shortly before this year’s drawing adventure to the Isle of Skye. I wanted to loosen up, get experimental and indulge in drawing some of my favourite subject matter; animals, trees and mountains – before heading to the Highlands. I began with watercolour, then worked back in over the top with a fuzzy dark pencil and a few bright splashes of coloured chalk.
I’m VERY excited to share pictures, photos and hopefully a video or two of the Skye trip as soon as possible, so do stay tuned! The first pictures should make their way to my Instagram soon and i’ll follow those up with a more detailed blogpost after.
Lately I’ve been massively enjoying pairing podcasts with a creative session. I find that listening to intimate conversations or unusual stories whilst drawing, allows me to relax and let go. Keeping the critical, negative part of my brain distracted for long enough to make a breakthrough!
A particularly good podcast for this is Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place. Listening to Fearne and her friends (some well known, others not) discuss what makes them happy, how they look after themselves and face the world, is perfect for getting me into my happy place! It’s honest and positive and If you’re going to check it out, I’d recommend starting with the Dawn French episode.
Another standby favourite is The Adam Buxton Podcast. This one’s especially good for a boost on one of those overly critical drawing days. His endlessly impressive list of cool guests include Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig and Bob Mortimer. He’s adept at getting people to open up and discuss more unusual subjects, such as Charlie Brooker’s bathroom phobias. The interlude songs are also, quite brilliant!
I’ll keep on the hunt for more podcasts to entertain, distract and delight. Please let me know if you have any go-to favourites or new discoveries as I’d love to check them out!
My goodness, Summer has jumped over the top of Spring and suddenly landed! What a glorious bank holiday weekend we’ve just had. I love to draw outside, and the long, cold Winter we’ve had has really made that difficult – sketching with gloves on just doesn’t work.
We set up camp in Alexandra Park, armed with picnic blanket, reading material (Moominpappa at Sea), ice cream and chilled tins of pop. Being pale, English types we had a generous layer of sun cream applied. We stayed until the shadows grew long and I enjoyed exploring and pushing the vibrant colours I saw in the foliage with my bright, Crayola felt tips. More sessions like this please!
It’s 2018 and I’m actually quite excited for January. Though I love Christmas, the festive cosyness, sparkly lights, delicious food and drink, by New Year’s Eve I’m usually feeling ready to get back to normal. To try and eat a bit healthier, venture outside and asses my goals and plans for the new year. January also signals the approach back towards my preferred time of year…with more light in the evenings and (hopefully) warmer weather on the way!
As January can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming with resolutions and laying plans, I thought I’d share a couple of things that I find helpful and inspiring for getting back to it – Especially as a freelancer.
Yoga With Adrienne
Every January, YouTube yoga teacher Adriene releases a new ’30 Days of Yoga’ challenge. I’m no yoga expert but the videos are easy to follow and pretty accessible to everyone. I find that concentrating on breath, moving the body and stretching make me feel so much better and are a really good way to start the day. I’ve never managed to do the challenge on consecutive days, but I don’t think that matters!
It doesn’t have to be a long hike in the countryside (though that’s definitely a bonus when available!). A 10 or even 5 minute walk around the block on my lunch break always lifts my mood. It can be especially difficult to motivate myself to do this when it’s chilly or a rainy day. But a brisk walk seems to wake me up, give my brain a break and make me more productive in the afternoon.
Putting pen to paper to note down how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking about is a useful way to clear the head and help order priorities. I grab a biro, whatever notebook is lying about (usually some nice new ones post Xmas!) and just jot down whatever pops into my head. Sometimes this can turn into a bit of a ramble, but the act of writing down my thoughts, just for me, always gives me a sense that I have a plan, or at least the start of one.
So there you have it, my January rituals! I’d love to hear about any techniques or ideas you have in place for to kick start your 2018. Happy New Year!
This year I’ve had a paper advent calendar instead of a chocolate one and I’ve really enjoyed it. My Winter Woodland advent calendar by illustrator Angela Harding is very satisfying. There’s a wide variety of wildlife, big and small – birds, stags, badgers, foxes and a healthy dose of owls!
The blue and white shades of the snow are set off by the reds of the berries and fur of the animals. The warm glow from the house in the distance stops it from feeling too chilly.
I love the linocut style and the flowing composition which draws the eye around the scene. The numbers on the little doors are quite tricky to pick out, so sometimes it takes a while to find the right one but it’s well worth it when you’re rewarded with a miniature deer or leaping greyhound.
A spell of pre-Xmas work in Brighton has drawn me away from my advent calendar – but it will be nice to discover all the other doors in January when I return to London and eek out the festivities a bit longer!
After a busy Summer of work, play and preparation for the There & Back Again exhibition (more on that soon!) something rather exciting happened…I went to Canada for a month!
I love to travel and after my 2014 adventures in China & New Zealand, I was itching to get away again and explore a new country. I found my way to the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and with sketchbook in hand spent time exploring the epic scenery.
Endless snow capped peaks, turquoise blue lakes, thick forests and majestic wildlife – it was simply magical. I won’t go into too much detail here as I kept up a visual travel log on my Instagram and Facebook pages while I was away (do check them out!) but I wanted to share a few of my favourite images from the trip here too!
I feel very lucky to have been able to go and cannot recommend Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper National Parks enough. I travelled solo, staying in hostels and travelling by Greyhound bus – if you’re thinking of going alone but are feeling unsure GO FOR IT! Canada is a great place for this, travel was very easy and comfortable and everyone is so friendly and helpful – just watch out for bears!
Photo by Petr Bakus
Photo by Petra Robinson
I’ll definitely need to go back! One month was just enough time to scratch the surface of Canada’s delights. Back home now and getting excited for my next projects!
*Exciting news* I now have the pleasure of inviting you to ‘There & Back Again: an explorative illustration exhibition’! Curated by the wonderful Drawn Chorus Collective and featuring the work of 30 artists, this is going to be a really good one!!!
It’s running from the 29th of August to the 3rd of September at Espacio Gallery in Bethnal Green with the private view taking place on the 31st. Do come along, bring your friends, kids and Victorian safari hat and give your eyeballs a treat!
Over the next few weeks i’ll be putting the finishing touches to my own work for the show, so watch this space for updates!