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 🙂

Dreaming of a White Christmas

As much as I would love a sparkling, snowy, white Christmas…we’re unlikely to get one here in the South of England, so I thought I’d share this icy illustration from an Antarctic project a couple of years back instead! Just one last post for 2021 to wish you as lovely a festive break as possible! I hope you get some cosy and restorative time in, whatever your plans. I’ll be back in the New Year with some new projects and will look forward to catching up with you then. In the meantime, I raise my glass of port to you! All the best, Alice 🙂 x

Forest Guardian

I’ve been drawing figurines from ancient civilisations for an experimental personal project this afternoon. Which do you think would make a good ‘Forest Guardian’ from the line up below? I personally quite like the little blue fellow, but let me know what you think in the comments…and Happy Friday! 🙂

The Most Interesting Part of my Creative Process

I find that the most interesting (and arguably most enjoyable) part of my creative process, happens quite near to the start of the project. I love this beginning phase, where everything is still up for grabs and experimentation is key. I begin by jotting down key words, ideas and phrases that come to mind, nothing is too outlandish or out of scope at this point.

Next, I start to research. I look for reference imagery that gets me excited, photos, books, magazines (probably a bit too much Pinterest!) and pull these elements together. Looking for patterns or quirks that I could work into a final piece.

Then I begin to sketch from these. Light pencil drawings and thumbnail compositions but also plenty of ‘tests’ illustrations. In these tests, I try to capture the essence of the idea I’m pushing. Work out what the atmosphere or feeling is that I’m trying to get across. I work quickly and try out various media to see what feels right for a particular project.

Of course I enjoy settling into creating the final artwork too and other parts of the creative process – but there’s something about this fizzy, excited, experimental phase at the start that is so inspiring and addictive!

I’m currently working through some of Andy J Pizza’s ‘Peptober’ social media prompts. To learn more about these, check out Andy’s podcast and have a look back through my recent posts. This post is my response to prompt 5; share what you think is the most interesting part of your process.

Sister Pieces

Continuing on with Andy J Pizza’s ‘Peptober’ prompts (I know I’m technically into Pepvember now but let’s not worry about that!)…#4 is to share two pieces of work that you feel are closely related to each other. I had a mull through my sketchbooks and landed on these two pieces. Here’s why I feel that they are related…

Both illustrations are practice pieces drawn from interesting imagery I’ve found and collected when traipsing the internet. If I find myself with a spare couple of hours in my freelance downtime and with no larger goal/ongoing project to complete, I’ll sometimes settle down in front of Pinterest, get some drawing materials out and have a play.

The first image is of a small figure beneath a garden of towering cacti (love me some giant cacti). The photo that I used as reference had a vintage tint to it that gave the colours a lovely softness and gave the image that feeling of instant nostalgia. The second drawing is of a cosy cabin in a forest clearing, smoke billowing from the chimney.

Though the imagery is quite different, I feel both pictures have a nice looseness to them that sometimes I struggle to capture when working on more structured projects. Something to do with not having the pressure of a deadline or an audience when working in this way I think! Both use a combination of watercolour and conte crayons that came together in a similar way for both pieces. I felt I was able to lay down large, rough areas of colour, but still achieve interesting textures and areas of sharper detail. On a more obvious level, they are both quite narrow, drawn on A3 paper and in portrait orientation.

I like these two pieces, because I felt that I learned something about my style through creating them. Not a big revelation that I can put into words, but more like another little puzzle piece in my long term illustration journey.

What’s Inspired you Lately?

Let me know so I can steal your inspiration! Have you enjoyed a particularly good book? Perhaps you got sucked into a new game? Maybe you went to a really good art exhibition… I’d love to know! I’ve been finding my way back to inspiration this Autumn after a fun but hectic Summer, so would be glad to hear what, if anything has been lighting up your creative fires. By way of trade, here’s three things that I’ve been getting a kick out of lately:

1. Book: The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews, a fictional recounting of 19 year old Erin’s journey to Denali National Park, Alaska. Her inner monologues laced with feminism, self awareness, science and history are a joy to read.

2. Documentary: The Lord of The Rings ‘Making Of’, this very lo fi, behind the scenes, making of film is very entertaining. I for one can never get enough of LOTR, so a bonus dose of props, actors and New Zealand was most welcome!

3. Game: The Outer Wilds by Annapurna Interactive & Mobius Digital, is terrifying and awe inspiring in equal measure. Outer Space exploration combined with made up mythology, thrilling stuff!

So there you go, I’ve told you mine, now tell me yours…

‘Words To Live By’ Exhibition

I’m very excited to to announce that I’ll be taking in part in the new Drawn Chorus Collective show ‘Words To Live By’! The show will feature the gorgeous work of a host of talented collective members plus our awesome guest artists. From illuminated wordplay to typographical personal mantras and gilded sign writing, the show will celebrate the combining of text and image across a wide range of mediums.

If you’re in London town between the 15th and 21st of November, do come along to the Espacio Gallery on Bethnal Green Road and say hello. There’s going to be a popup shop too, if you’re looking for a few Xmas treats. I’ll have some Owlstation Store goodies there at special show prices (come bag yourself a bargain!).

Aside from my excitement of actually being part of a real, physical, IRL show again…I’m just so looking forward to seeing some art for the first time in forever! The Private View will take place on Thursday 18th 6pm – 9pm, I’ll hope to see you there.

Beautiful ‘Change’ poster artwork by Dionne Kitching and designed by Mike O’Brien.

Being Small in a Vast Landscape

Continuing with Andy J Pizza’s ‘Peptober’ prompts (see my previous post!) his second prompt was to share something that represents how I’m feeling right now. I had a little think about this and decide to share this photo from my Canadian adventure back in 2017.

I’ve really been missing foreign travel this year! But have been fondly remembering the trips that I have been lucky enough to go on in recent times. Particularly, I’ve been thinking about the feeling of being tiny in a vast, open landscape. Of having a view uninterrupted by buildings or man made structures and being able to see off far into the distance. Of how it can feel humbling, thrilling and kind of scary all at once!

Having recently moved out of London and back to my old hometown by the sea, I am very glad to be getting a dose of this by visiting the beach and looking out. Still, fingers crossed for more big adventures in 2022 and hoping to take my sketchbook too!

Hello! A Little Reintroduction

Hello there! It’s been a little while since I posted so I thought that I would reintroduce myself and send my best to you all. Followers old and followers new, welcome…and thank you for sticking around! I confess, the adorable puppy is not mine, but this is the best recent photo of me!

I’m a digital designer and traditional illustrator working on games, interactive projects and in print for my Owlstation Etsy Store. I’m driven by a love of fantasy stories, obsessed with nature and very happy to be living back in Brighton by the sea.

I’d fallen somewhat out of love with social media, and after a couple of years of the pandemic have been feeling a bit out of touch with my creativity. I was recently listening to Andy J Pizza’s essential Creative Pep Talk podcast and was inspired by his ‘Peptober’ prompts for social media, to kind of reclaim it for yourself, your creativity and for fun. So I thought I’d give it a go! The first prompt is ‘Reintroduction’, hence this post.

I’m getting back to drawing and creating again after a long year so starting to feel inspiration return and getting excited about sharing and learning again. Anyway, that’s enough from me, I hope that you’re all keeping well, Alice 🙂

Castle in the Sky: Animated Greetings Card & Magnet

I had a lot of fun creating my new range of products for the Owlstation Store! I’ve always been captivated by fantasy, folklore and magical worlds, so taking the time to experiment, craft and animate my Castle in the Sky design was a really lovely experience.

This magic portal greetings card will come to life in your hands when viewed through your mobile (okay, so it works by augmented reality, not actual magic, but still!) giving you or your friends a momentary escape into an enchanted world…or if you prefer a bit of daydreaming as you fetch your afternoon snack, this design is also available as a bright, vinyl magnet for your fridge.

Creating this design also gave me a chance to work on my traditional, frame by frame animation skills to create the soaring dragon. Something that is quite new to me but definitely very satisfying after all the hard work is done. So if you’re looking for a present for a fantasy loving pal, a birthday card for your Dungeon Master or simply need a bit more magic in your life, please do drop by the Owlstation Store on Etsy, your support of my small business is always appreciated!