Monday, 31 January 2011

Love Birds

It's Rowan's sister's birthday on Friday. She got me a bird feeder for our garden for Christmas, but so far we've only had a couple of wood pigeons eating bread off the ground. Nothing's even been near the feeder and it's delicious RSPB-approved seed mix. I've seen finches, tits (hehe) and sparrows nearby, so I know Leicester's not completely free of garden feeder type birds, but they really don't want to come to us! So as I've had no exciting avian sightings to report back to Anna I thought she might appreciate these fat little love birds instead. And, as it's only a couple of weeks to Valentine's Day, I think I'll turn these chaps into a lino 
print tomorrow too. 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Postcards, Plants, Plot!

Crumbs, long time no blog. I swear I will try to come on here more often! Despite my blogging tardiness I've had quite an exciting week, considering it's January. Last Tuesday I gave a talk on self promotion and my illustrating life to a group of third year illustration students at De Montfort Uni. I was incredibly nervous, and I've never done it before, but I was made to feel really welcome and appreciated by the tutors, especially by Dan Morley, who invited me to sit in on a couple of his tutorial groups. Most of his students looked terrified, even though they all seemed very talented and Dan was more of a cuddly Andrex puppy than an angry Rottweiler. So, at 4pm I gave my talk, feeling as though I was blushing and stammering most of the way through and watching the kids starting to fall asleep in the snug, studio heat. The tutors very kindly asked me plenty of questions all the way through and at the end several of the students did too- a couple of them even came up afterwards to ask more. The tutors tell me it went well and that I was coherant not stammery so, nerves aside, I'm going to believe them. Thanks to the students for not actually falling asleep!

After a week of recovery (several Double Deckers were consumed) I finally got to... my birthday! I'm now the grand old age of 29. That's right people; I'm very nearly a Proper Grown Up. Amongst lots of other lovely treats (including a £10 Thornton's voucher- thanks dad! nomnomnom) I got this sari material from Rowan to hang on the walls of my room to make it all nice and cosy (instead of cold, dull and magnolia-y) and a miscellaneous pot plant. They're beautiful, the material's so twinkly and covered in elephants diamond patterns.  If anyone can identfy the plant I'd be very grateful- the label just says 'Groen Mix' and tells me it likes light and water....
























*Update: Thanks to the wonderful Carly for informing me that I'm the proud owner of a Dwarf Umbrella Tree!

Talking of plants, we got a new allotment today! It came with a shed and a taken apart greenhouse that we can, hopefully, put back together. It's also got what we think is a plum tree, so with any luck we'll have a cupboard full of plum jam this time next year! It's a lovely plot in a nice, quiet area, only 15 minutes walk from our house, and all the neighbours seem really helpful and kind. I'll post some photos soon!

On the illustration side of things I've been designing my new promo postcards all week. I've gone for a bit of a maritime theme this time, and I've ordered them from Vista Print again. I hear a lot of people complain about Vista's quality, but my cards have always been perfect, and I got 500 for £32 including postage and tax, so I'm more than happy! Here's my design.



The illo on the back is from a commission I did before Christmas for branding company, eatbigfish.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Altogether now, "Awwwwwwwwwwwww!"

It was my friend Emma's  birthday last week and, on Friday, I went back down to Bristol for a weekend of fun with her and all the other Bristol chums i miss so much. Friday was a lovely evening of Doom Bar in the Cadbury, followed by delicious homemade sweet potato cakes with cucumber and ginger salad (yummy Ottolenghi recipes!), homemade red wine and strange chocolates that reminded us of Every Flavour Beans. Tasting them was a risky business, but the good ones were so good that it was worth biting into something weird and bubblegummy that dribbled sticky goo down our fingers, just in case it was a praline. Then on Saturday, after a hearty breakfast of scrumpled (as they say in Poland) egg on toast and lashings of tea, we wandered up to the wonderful Jamaica Street Artists' exhibition at the RWA, where we played with our friend's two year old daughter, Eve, in the children's book section, ate chocolate biscuits when no-one was looking and helped Eve rearrange all the books and cushions. After an hour or two in Woodes cafe we all wandered home to get ready for our Big Night Out, which was full of happy reunions and getting stuck talking to strange folk in The Bell, before going back to our friends' house where we were told off by their neighbour for making too much noise.

So it was marvelous, and I'm still tired. But here's the card I made for Emma. He's a bit scary, but he's mostly cute, so all together now, awwwwwwwwwwww!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Handsome Frank Week on Poolga

Poster by Lydia Fee
 The lovely people of poolga.com are currently featuring work by Handsome Frank illustrators, and today is my turn! Go to http://poolga.com/ to see my designs available to download as iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch wallpapers. There are also great designs from fellow HF artists Matt Saunders, Dale Bowers, Lydia Fee, Ben Steers and Seiko Kato plus more to come!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Blogoshpere! I trust everyone had a marvelous Crimbo? We flitted around the Midlands, from our house in Leicester to my parents' in the Forest of Dean, then back east to Rowan's parents' in Rutland. I may have overdone my annual non-veggie feasting, making myself a little poorly in the process, but my brother just makes such delicious sausage rolls. We went on several snowy walks, during one of which I slipped on some ice while blowing my nose, managed to stay upright, then slipped right over on my arse while I was gloating about my amazing balance. I've still got a knee bruise. We saw goats eating from the Baby Jee's crib at Puzzle Wood in the Forest, then drank steaming hot chocolates and ate brie and cranberry paninis in the heat-free cafe/shed there. I finished reading Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale, which taught me a heck of a lot about our evolution and which I highly recommend to everyone- it's very easy to read and you don't need any knowledge of anything to understand it. Now I'm moving on to my Christmas books; 'Towers of Midnight', the 13th of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, then Marian Bantjes beautiful 'I Wonder' which leaves gold dust all over my hands when I touch it. Magical!

So. My here's a sleepy drawing for my first post of 2011. It's a lurcher for Rowan's dad's birthday card. He's napping. In a moment I'll probably look like that. Happy New Year!