Owlstation Store, a peek behind the scenes!

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This year I’ve set myself the goal of opening my online Owlstation Store. I’ve been wanting to do this for a little while now, to have my own space to create and sell my illustrations alongside my freelance projects.

I’m very inspired by nature, fantasy and adventure; so having the opportunity to explore these themes for my first range of greetings cards and prints has been a lot of fun…learning about shipping, pricing and SEO has been somewhat more challenging!

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There’s still a lot to do before I open shop – but i’ll be sharing my progress here, and on Facebook and Instagram, so do check in for little sneak previews. And if you have any Etsy advice, I’d love to hear it!

 

 

My Happy Place

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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.

The Adam Buxton Podcast

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!

Park Drawing

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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!

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Owl Cat

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A rare sighting of an Owl Cat. Part owl – part cat, it dwells in trees, curls up in the sun and stares regally down at lesser species…I’ve been enjoying experimenting with Indian Ink in my sketchbook lately! You can get a variety of shades from mixing the ink with water. Using a range of brushes can create very different textures too.

Bird Themed Personal Project

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I’ve been working on a bird inspired personal project, on and off, for a couple of years now. It started with a visit to the Barbican to see ‘Magnificent Obsessions’. An excellent exhibition displaying the private (and in some cases bizarre) collections of famous artists, including Andy Warhol’s cookie jars and Peter Blake’s Edwardian dolls and puppets.

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I enjoyed drawing Damien Hirst’s taxidermy birds. Trapped in a glass bell jar, they caught my imagination and an idea for a book cover project slowly developed. Through this personal work i’ve been able to explore digital colouring, hand drawn typography, composition and print – though as is often the way, it’s had to take a back seat to other projects when life has been busy.

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However, I’m now on the home stretch! I’ve been making final adjustments this week as well as having fun with some more digital colouring/ bird experiments which I thought I’d share. If you have any personal projects or side hustles that your excited about this year, I’d love to hear about them!

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Photograph of Taxidermy birds used here without permission.
All other images are my own.

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Happy Christmas!

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Happy Christmas everyone! Wishing you a lovely festive break and chilled end to the year. Here’s a quick little sketch from our bracing walk on Ovingdean beach earlier today. I’m looking forward to more drawing challenges and adventures in 2018 – I’d love to hear about your creative resolutions if you have some. Until January 🤗🎄

Self Portrait

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I haven’t made a self portrait in years, probably since college which was…some time ago now 😉 I’m not a massive fan of drawing myself and luckily in day to day life it’s not really called for. However I recently had to face my demons in order to create my new profile picture for the Drawn Chorus Collective website!

It actually turned out to be a really good exercise for me. Not only did I need the image to look (at least a little bit) like me but I also wanted to create it in a style that tied in with the rest of my illustration work. So whilst some sketches looked like me, they didn’t necessarily have the sort of marks and expression that I try to get into my drawings.

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I found that I ended up looking way too serious if I drew from a mirror, whilst drawing from a photo presented challenges too. Choosing the right pose (where I didn’t look like a prat) and trying to get my own likeness was quite tricky. I narrowed it down to these two images and in the end chose the warmer close up of my eye drawn in bright Crayola felt tip as it felt more ‘me’. I won’t be embarking on any more self portraits for a while but I was glad to be pushed out of my comfort zone again!

Nice Announcement

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I’m super chuffed to announce that I have joined the ranks of the Drawn Chorus Collective; a lovely group of illustrators and artists dedicated to making cool things! After meeting them by chance on Twitter a couple of years ago, I’ve enjoyed discovering each member’s work through their exciting exhibitions, books, comics and gorgeous instagram.

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Working with them as a guest artist for the ‘Easy As’ alphabet book and the recent ‘There & Back Again’ show has really helped me to push my illustration skills and to learn the ins and outs of preparing work for an exhibition. I’m excited to see where they take me next and to be part of a drawing gang!

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Canadian Adventure

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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.

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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!

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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!

owlstation_canada_2017_photo by Petr Bakus

Photo by Petr Bakus

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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!

 

 

 

Research

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I love kicking off a new project and delving into the research phase! I’m starting to explore my ideas for The Drawn Chorus Summer show and things are taking a bit of an Arctic turn (there’s a bird pun there if you want it!).

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I’m still experimenting for now. I like to make lots of quick sketches and tests working from reference images and also read up on subjects and find inspiring magazines and internet articles. Next i’ll try to narrow my ideas down and think about composition.