22 July 2014

July Bootcamp - beverages

Hmmmm, I really struggled with this assignment. I struggled to find inspiration and the summer holidays meant that my brain had shifted down a gear into holiday mode. I don't even have a favourite beverage and I don't have any groovy cups or china to draw. Eventually I just decided what I wanted to draw (blue and white china) and went with that.

Style wise, I think I reverted to a comfortable familiar style rather than pushing forward and trying out new things, but that was to do with having limited time to work because of summer holiday stuff. The class as usual produced a diverse array of work, you can see the class gallery here.

That was the last Bootcamp assignment. It's been a great framework and community to work within and I'd highly recommend it. People were doing the class for all sorts of different reasons, some people had full time jobs and Bootcamp was their way of doing personal projects, others were just looking for some light structure to their work process, and others were using it as the first stepping stone in a much hoped for creative career. It was also a great intro for the more intense MATS courses. I did 2 months of Bootcamp and felt confident enough to sign up for MATS A. The change of pace was quite marked and I think I would have struggled at the beginning if I hadn't already done a couple of months of Bootcamp.

I'm hoping to keep the momentum up. I've got a couple of projects I'm hoping to rework and I want to have a re-read over the MATS A coursework before I do part B in October. I've set aside a lot of personal projects 'to do' so I'll hopefully get to some of those, and I'm still doing Nautical stuff ... it really is the theme that keeps on giving :D


20 July 2014

More bingo lingo

The school holidays, World Cup and good weather (hot enough for my daughter to venture into the North Sea without a wet suit) have been distracting me and I've been forgetting to post about my daily lettering project. I'm having much more fun with the bingo calls, they're making me think a bit more obtusely about imagery and writing styles that might suit the images.

It's the final Bootcamp submission this week and I really struggled with it. We had to create a piece based on our favourite beverage but I had a bit of a tumbleweed moment with it... nothing was inspiring me. Eventually I just chose something I wanted to draw and went with that. I'll post it next week as we've been asked to not share our work before the deadline. 

6 July 2014


After finishing off the alphabet I was looking around for something to use for my daily lettering project. I thought I might pick a word that seemed relevant to that day (summer holidays and Dolly Parton on these ^^^ days) but with so much choice I knew I'd end up wasting time deciding which word to choose. I needed something more fixed, something I couldn't argue with.

I was flicking through a book and found a list of traditional (UK only, I think) bingo calls so I gave them a go. They're great to work with because there's a number to do as well, and, if the phrase suggests it, I can do a little illustration as well. Much more interesting than the alphabet.


28 June 2014

Week 3-ish hand lettering S - Z

Just finished off the alphabet. Was itching to do words but tried to be patient. Can you tell I was getting a wee bit bored towards the end? I'm keen to keep going with this though as I think it is making me think about letters in a different way.


19 June 2014

Week 2 handlettering G-R

This is actually last week's letters, I just forgot to post them. I found my interest dwindling a bit last week week. Not in the project as a whole, just doing a letter a day. I blame K,O,P and Q. O and Q because the round shapes didn't have any ends to play about with and K,O,P because the upper and lower case letters are the same.

I'm a bit surprised that even though I've only been doing it for a short while, I think the lettering project is making a difference. I had to create some lettering for the nautical pieces I made and I was aware of feeling more sure about how to tackle it. 

18 June 2014

June Bootcamp - Wall art

This month's market was wall art and the theme was ship in a bottle/nautical. Nautical is everywhere at the moment but that doesn't make it any less fun to work on. It's really rich theme and one I've returned to over the years because I've always been interested in sea lore and mythology. My dad came from a family of fishemen and when we visited them it was like visiting another country. Their homes and customs seemed so different; they would have buoys and nets hung up outside the house, and strange things like skrimshaw on the mantlepiece, and they used shells as ashtrays. To the 7 year old me, it was fascinating and so exotic. 

Initially I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of ideas and drawings I had, so I decided the best thing to do was to get them out in one piece (Nautical still life, above) and then, if I had time, work on some simpler pieces aimed more at the children's market (Ship in a Bottle and Whale, below).

When I was doing the still life I started thinking I might have enough drawings for an a-z. I really liked the edges of some of the shapes I was using in the still life and thought they might work well in a grid structure for an a-z, so I set them up then filed them away in a 'to do' file. I was planning to do a kind of cabinet of curiosities composition but after doing the whale picture I could see how a similar treatment might work well in the grid I'd set up, so decided to give the a-z a go.

It took a bit of time to think of 26 icons which I liked, but after that it all came together quite easily. I had to draw some new icons, then, for the sake of continuity, I had to re-draw some of my existing icons. I was mainly thinking boy's room when I was working on the piece (because I have son and know the frustration of trying to track down some decent non-dino/truck/camo/football decor) but really my intention was to make it suitable for both a girl or a boy's room and I think I managed that.

This has been a really rich theme to explore and I think there is still more to do, but I think I'm going to have to call it a day till the next assignment. Our schools break for summer on the 27th,so I need to get a few things organised before then. Plus my daughter's finishing primary and moving onto secondary, so there's a lot of 'leavers' stuff going on .... and there's the World Cup, of course :D


2 June 2014

Week 1 hand-lettering A-F

This week I've done A - F. Not that exciting but I've learned a lot just playing with the shape of the letters.

I enjoy doing these in the morning before the kids get up, it's like doing my morning stretches. Doing F the day after doing E was a bit boring tbh - too similar.

28 May 2014

Daily lettering project

During MATS I became aware that my lettering skills needed attention and that I was going to have to do something about it after the class ended. The deal was kind of sealed when, in her final review, Lilla suggested I should work on my hand lettering. So I've decided the best way to work on this is to commit to a daily lettering project for about a year.

My loose plan is to start slowly with individual letters; get to know their shapes and try out some different pens, tools etc, then progress to single words, then hopefully groups of words. Initially I expect I'll be copying and trying out lots of fonts and styles as I get to know my way around, but hopefully I'll move on from that quite quickly.

I'll post it daily on Instagram (not settled on a hashtag yet) but probably only do a weekly summing up on here if it's interesting enough.



20 May 2014

May Bootcamp - Editorial

This month's Bootcamp was about editorial. Specifically an illustration for this article on meditation.

I've never done anything for this market before and I don't buy magazines regularly, so I did a bit of research by looking though some of the magazines available free through my local authority library portal.

Just as an aside;The women's magazines had hardly any illustrations, the home magazines had a few but the best magazine was New Scientist, I suppose because it deals with a lot of abstract concepts that can't be photographed. But I'm sure magazines used to have more illustrations, maybe photographs are cheaper than illustrations now.

I couldn't get started on the project straight away so I had a couple of days to let it rattle around my head and find my angle. Water was the theme that I kept coming back to so I started to work ideas round that. It was suggested that we could use the figure in our piece, so, as I work better within a framework, I decided to go with that. 

I thought about the figure in, on and under the water but finally settled on the idea of a boat as a cocoon from all the daily stresses. Rather than do someone kitted out for a meditation class, I wanted to play with the idea of a busy professional woman just stopping and switching off ... and drifting off on a metaphorical boat ... I suppose.

Generally I'm drawn to more abstract illustrations but the article and brief seemed to require a more figurative style, so it made sense to go with that. If I'd had more time I would have liked to try a simpler, more blocky, version, but the kids are only at school for 2.5 days this week so that's maybe a project for another time.     

Really looking forward to taking a bit of a breather over the next couple of weeks. Coming straight out of MATS into Bootcamp was great but I still have lots of sheets of paper to file, lots of new ideas I want to work on, and some old projects I want to rework, but I've done my taxes so I'm all smiles :)

Here's the process from initial sketch to finished piece.


13 May 2014

Side project - ceramics

This year I started going back to a weekly ceramics class. I've had mixed results but I don't mind as I find it really therapeutic and it's a great way to get away from the computer. These are couple of the more successful pieces so far.

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