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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Scandinavian Winter

I've wanted to make some patterns with northern animals or mountains or European wildlife for ages and so when spoonflower suggested winter toiles as a subject, I decided that now was a good time to make a start. I usually work best under a deadline and I've found their prompts to be really productive for me in the past. This is my Winter Toile contest entry:

Scandinavian Winter Toile

Here you can see a Eurasian elk (or moose), rock ptarmigan, hawk owls and foxes - all species that overwinter in Scandinavia. If you'd like to see some lovely winter inspired designs and vote then click here. I hope you have a brilliant festive season and happy new year!

Details of the Scandinavian Winter Toile

Friday, November 14, 2014

Four things about me

I've been invited to be the next in a long line of bloghoppers and answer the four questions below. I'm not usually drawn to this kind of thing, this blog is mainly about the pictures, but illustrator-extraordinaire Nicky Linzey asked me to, and I like her and her work a lot. Also, I'm going to take the opportunity to tell a bit more about myself because, up until now, I've been pretty anonymous here.


See? Illustrator-extraordinaire! I love this picture. © Nicky Linzey

Why do I write / illustrate what I do?
I've always loved to draw and paint so at 18 I went to study art at UCA and specialised in textile design - I loved it! In my 20s I spent quite a few years in seasonal jobs across Europe (some of the more interesting ones being pear picker, EU helpline operator, campsite receptionist, flight school sales administrator and ├ępicerie manager!) and although I was still drawing when I could, my mind definitely wasn't on future careers. After a summer driving around France, my partner and I drove through the medieval city of Bruges on our way to his family's home in the Netherlands and we've been here ever since. After a lot of work and dust our old house is a bit more comfortable (giving us back our free time :D) and I so want to see if I can make a living by returning to what I love. Four years ago I thought that starting a blog and learning from others through their blogs and other social media would be the best way to start.

This design is based on the history and buildings of Bruges in the style of a medieval woodcut.

Poortersloge (detail). I made this watercolour when we first moved here. It's not a myth about the light being
special in the Low Countries - it's especially beautiful in the autumn.

What am I working on now?
Right now I'm working on inventory for an Etsy shop; it's scary and there's a lot to it but.. see above!

Clockwise: Palace Garden in Indigo - Zipped pouch featuring a Hiroshige woodblock print - textile paint experiments - Migrate in watercolour

How does my work differ from others in the genre?
All my work is based on the natural world. It's a popular subject but I think everyone has different thoughts and feelings, a different take on it. There are so many tiny decisions and lucky accidents made when you're drawing or designing that it's inevitable for the results to be unique.

How does my writing / illustration process work?
I've got a lot of (very messy) sketchbooks with little doodles, drawings, ideas and lists; the biggest limitation is always time! A few years ago I taught myself how to work with vector graphics and found it totally absorbing; it's especially addictive to use the texture fills, they add instant depth and warmth to a design. If I'm not painting or making, I prefer to scan in drawings to use as a base for digital work - I don't think there's any replacement for the kind of marks you get when drawing by hand, no matter how versatile the program. Then I play around with the colours and composition until I'm happy.

Thanks for reading :) If anyone has experience with Etsy or selling online elsewhere, I'd love for you to leave any tips in the comments. Have a good weekend!

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It's the usual thing to pass on these questions to someone else. If you'd like to have a go at answering them and would like to see your link here, email me!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

@forest_and_sea


From Instagram (clockwise):
~ a greeting card in watercolour
~ one of the pencil sketches for the Arabica Cherry pattern
~ block printed cotton
~ autumn leaves in the park
~ Benny's paw (and some Nilofar on denim)
~ working out the repeat for Palace Garden


I've been posting regularly over at Instagram and I've met some amazing people over there! If you're interested, come and say hi - my user name is @forest_and_sea

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Boo!

Did I scare you? No, didn't think so, but I thought I'd make an effort for Halloween!

Some seasonal photos from Instagram: an October evening in the park and Benny doing a spooky lit-from-below face.

Have a great weekend - are you doing anything nice? We're going to be enjoying our (finally!) finished living room with new sofas and everything :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Burlap & Azure

Also proofed and in the shop are the new colours for Arabica Cherry: Burlap and Azure!


This repeat design was made using botanical drawings of the Arabica coffee bush - my favourite bean. So if you're like me and love a strong, aromatic brew to get you going in the morning, then you can find this pattern in my spoonflower shop!

Arabica Cherry - in Burlap and Azure - printed on heavy cotton twill at spoonflower.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Palace Garden in New Colours!

Hi! I think this might be the longest I've left between posts here; we've been so busy this summer! Good news is that our old falling-down house isn't so falling-down anymore. We've worked on almost all the things we needed to, including the living room which was one of the biggest jobs, and at the weekend we ordered new sofas! This was so exciting for me because we've been using an upstairs bedroom with an ancient sofa as a living room for years. Click here to look at before and after pictures of some other work we've done on the house and read about being plastered here!

More good news: I've updated and proofed the Palace Garden repeating design with the new colours I came up with for the original tiled version of the pattern a while back. Here they are on the cotton twill fabric (which is lovely and my new favourite) from spoonflower:

Palace Garden | Aubergine
Palace Garden | Lapis Lazuli and Jaipur Pink
Palace Garden | Cinnamon and Indigo
If you'd like to order this pattern on fabric, wallpaper or giftwrap, these colours are available in my spoonflower shop here.



Friday, July 25, 2014

Seedlings

Sketchbook seedlings:

on a sugar paper background for this contest!


Those sketches needed quite a bit of editing from my ancient flatbed scanner image! Time for a new one soon; does anyone have any recommendations?

You can see all the Herb Garden entries and vote for your favourites over here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hand-dyed Cotton

If you look at my account over at Instagram every now and again you will have seen that I've been looking into hand painting and dyeing fabric. It's much more fun than having designs digitally printed and it quite often happens that you get some wonderful but totally unintended results! These are my dye experiments from last month, made by stitching, rolling, dipping and tying cotton swatches before putting them in the dye pot:



My favourite is that one on the top right. Don't you think it looks a bit like waves at the beach?

PS For those who're interested, Benny's already put on 400g since he came to live with us - 30% of his body weight! I think he's going to be big :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Benny the Ball

We've adopted a kitten! Funny, brave, affectionate Benny:


He's also full of beans and has been keeping us very busy with all his crazy antics. Normal posting to resume here soon :)
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