Tuesday, 22 November 2011


I've now got some goodies available on  Folksy. Folksy is like the UK version of Etsy. This means that all the prices are in pounds, all the delivery charges are affordable because nothing's got to travel very far and it's easier to find what you're after or get your work seen because there are fewer people on it, being as it's UK sellers only, rather than the whole world.

So my Christmas items are now on sale at folksy.com/shops/BeThorney

I promise to get some more things up there soon but it's not just me, why not have a little browse of some of the other treats available on Folsky.

Like this paper garland made from an old copy of Alice In Wonderland, with John Tenniel's illustrations peeking out amongst the text. I want one...
Paper garland by Bookity

Or this fat Little Robin bauble of wool and sequins...
Little Robin by Tattycorum

Or, if you'd rather a less tubby robin on your tree, how about this perfectly blanket-stitched felt bird decoration by 100 Birdies For ME!...
Dark Green Christmas Birdie by 100 Birdies For ME!

Or, my favourites, how about this adorable Red Robin Trio
Red Robin Trio by Beth Foster of The Linen Cat

But that's just a (very bird-heavy, I must have a fetish) selection of hanging decorations from Folksy Handmade Christmas. There's much, much more besides, so why not pledge to buy handmade, independent and local this Christmas? It'll make it all so much more special.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Christmas on Etsy

Apparently today's date, 11.11.11, is significant for lots of reasons, all equally bamboozling. The last time the numbers had the audacity to come over all onesy like this Aethelred the Unready was on the throne. I wonder if he wore his fave cords to mark the occasion?

Sadly lacking in cords myself (I must recify this ASAP), I've marked the day instead by photographing and uploading some lovely, new, Christmassy products to my Etsy shop, as well as updating some of the old prints on there with much better photos.

Now in store:

Handprinted tree decorations, pack of 6 for £6

I Saw Three Ships, handprinted Christmas card £4

 O Little Town of Bethlehem, handprinted Christmas card £4

All are available here http://www.etsy.com/shop/BeccaThorne

Monday, 7 November 2011


Holy cow, it's been a while since I last posted! For the first time this year though, my slackness is because I've been so busy, which is nice. I recently became a part time illustration tutor at DeMontfort University in Leicester, and spent my first four weeks there working with both the third years and the first years. With the third years I ran a project to enter in the House of Illustration / Folio Society Book Illustration competition, and they've produced some beautiful work- I'm so proud! Now the module's over I'm going to rather miss our twice-weekly crits, but it does mean I've got more time to focus on my own work. So I'm working with the first years only now, and they're slowly working out their new lives and a very different way of learning to what they've been accustomed to until now. Hopefully there are great things to come from them.

I've also been working on two lovely book commissions, one for The Folio Society, which I'll reveal more about soon while the other, for Kyle Books, is now finished. The book's called Chickens: The Essential Guide to Choosing and Keeping Happy, Healthy Hens by Suzie Baldwin and will be in shops from March 2012 (pre-order on Amazon now). I created 20 black and white illustrations for the book and though I can't share too much just yet,  here's a little sneaky peak to be getting on with....

She knows where you live....

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

"Boris. Why always Boris...?"

A couple of weeks ago we were in Italy with Rowan's family, staying at their beautiful house in the even more beautiful Sibillini mountains. On the first two nights we were woken at 4am by wild boar snuffling and grunting and chomping figs beneath our bedroom window. We never got to see more than the undergrowth shaking as they moved about, but Rowan's sister managed a glimpse of a sow and piglets one night, from her window on the floor above us. Their parents, in a room on the other side of the house, slept through it both times, much to his mum's disappointment, and she vowed to sleep in a more piggy room once we went home. It's her birthday next week and, just in case she still hasn't seen or heard one of the noisy buggers, this chap's for her.

His name's Boris. Until he was shot by the Forestry Commission in 2009 he was the most famous wild boar in the Forest of Dean. Unlike most wild boar he had little fear of humans, and would enter villages where locals would offer him food and he would feed from their hands. The Forestry Commission decided it was time to put a stop to his friendly forays after Boris accidentally (and somewhat unsurprisingly if you've ever tried feeding a domestic pig from your hands) bit someone's finger. The local newspaper ran the headline "Boar Attacks Man For First Time in 300 Years". A little over the top? Hell yes.

I drew this monoprint from a photograph taken by David J Slater. For more of his photos and more on the wild boar of the Forest of Dean, including in depth info on the haphazard and indifferent culling practices of the local Forestry Commission, visit his website http://www.djsphotography.co.uk/British%20Mammals/Wild%20Boar.htm

New Compassionate Dorset Design

The lovely folk over at Compassionate Dorset asked me to create another farm animal T-shirt design for their charity shop, so I drew this cute little lambikin for them.

He'll be available in a range of colours (I like how scary the red makes him) and will be on sale very soon, along with this piggle too.

All proceeds go to Compassion In World Farming, who work to improve the welfare of farm animals worldwide. TV producer Phillipa Clunes (wife of Martin) is apparently the proud owner of one of my Chook tees from Compassionate Dorset. Why not follow her example and do your bit for farm animals at the same time?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Christmas Cards

For once I've actually designed my Christmas cards ahead of time, go me! I've done four different ones, each based on lines from Christmas carols, using the text to create a border. Here are the first two, O Little Town of Bethlehem and I Saw Three Ships.

I'll get the other two up in the next few days.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Good Life

Crumbs, it's been over a month since my last post! That really highlights how little work I've done recently. It's been a slow illustration year for me so far; I've only had two commissions since December. I started the year doing a few bits of personal work and I designed and sent out a ton of promo postcards, from which I got only one reply, from a lady who, nice as it was, really only wanted a long, non-illustration chat. Since then I've been somewhat lacking in motivation.

So, you may ask, what have I been doing with my time? I've seached, fruitlessy, for a part time job that doesn't involve serving food or drink, but that also doesn't need a heap of qualifications I don't have, I've read a lot of blogs, spent a lot of time on Facebook, re-read almost the entire Wheel of Time series and wasted whole afternoons reading about serial killers on Wikipedia. I've left the house once or twice too and even spoken to some real people to stop me becoming a gibbering nutcase. The best thing to have come out of it though, is that our allotment's done pretty darn well, partly thanks to the free time I've been able to donate to weeding. Despite our carrots getting eaten by an anonymous digging critter, half our brassica bed succumbing to club root and our sweetcorn failing miserably, everything else has been grand. I won't bore you with a list of vegetables, but suffice to say we haven't had to buy any veg for months, and I've been busy filling our cupboards with homemade preserves. So far I've made courgette and tomato chutney, salted beans, damson jam, damson chutney and I'm planning on making some tomato ketchup too. Here are a couple of before and after pics of the plot ('scuse the picture quality, my phone camera is a tad primitve).

January 2011. The potato patch just dug on the bottom right, crud left by the previous owners at the far end.

Early August 2011

I had to eat this lot (and more) myself when Rowan went galivanting off to Wales for two weeks on a field trip.
 So, it's been fun! But I have done a few bits of work too. It was my dad's 60th birthday at the end of August, and he specifically asked both me and my brother (who's a photographer: dottygallery.com) for a piece of artwork that summed up our practice and/or us somehow. So I created this piece specially for him. It's not only the way I'd like for us to live once Rowan's finished his degree and we can get the hell outta Leicester, but also the way we lived when I was growing up, so it's also a sort of subtle but cheesy thanks for a thoroughly wholesome and lovely childhood. Click for a bigger, better version:

I also used this in a promo email I sent out the other week, so hopefully some work will come from that. I'm currently working on some lino print Christmas card designs too, and I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. I'll get them up here soon.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A Few Of My Favourite Sneakers

Art and Soul blog, who celebrate the collaboration of art and trainers, are currently featuring work by myself and other Handsome Frank illustrators in their My Favourite Sneakers series. Below, in order are Tim McDonagh's Adidas Superstar 2, my scrappy old Converse and Dale Bower's Shoes. Go to http://artandsoleblog.com/blog/view/a-few-of-my-favourite-sneakers-handsome-frank to see these and all the rest.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Shhhh, don't say C*&%@£mas.....

It may have been a tad chilly these last few days, and I may be sitting here in a long sleeve top, looking at grey skies and considering putting on a snuggly jumper, but it's still only July, and it seems a little premature to be thinking about designs for the big C-word (Christmas- shhhh). But I am anyway. I normally leave it til December and by then I'm too late and miss out on the much needed moolah I could have been raking in since October. Also, I've been wanting to get back into painting; mostly because I'm almost out of lino and can't really afford to buy another roll just yet, but also because painting all those snails gave me a hankering for it. So I used the back of a just-finished sketchbook, some red and white acrylic paints and my trusty mechanical pencil and created this ghostly Christmas stag. I might do a couple more designs while the goosebumps and the Adam and Jo 6 Music Show Christmas Special podcast from last year have got me in an autumnal frame of mind.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

More Snails!

Six snails down, four more to go. In case you're wondering, these three are, in order, the common garden snail, the Kentish snail and the Ramshorn. I've been doing this sitting on the floor with my legs crossed for the last two days, and now my hips hate me. Does that mean I'm old? Or just weak? Either way I'm not impressed. Man up, hips. Man up!

Friday, 8 July 2011


I love snails, they're like miniature horses pulling snail shell carriages. When I was little and my mum had a particular friend over for tea, my favourite game was covering my arms with as many snails as i could find and then freaking the bejesus out of the poor woman as the snails slimed around my limbs. My mum was so proud.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I've agreed to do a load of snail pictures for a Snail Trail my allotments committee are putting on during our Open Day on the 14th August. The idea is that children all get a sheet of paper with pictures of different types of snail on it, and a little bit of info about each of them. We'll hide my snails around the place in their 'habitat' and the kids tick off the snails on their sheets as they find them. Then when they're finished they get a Freezy pop or something.

So, today I've mostly been painting snails. It was fun; I don't get to paint much these days, and as it's a good, wholesome, educational game I wanted the snails to be as realistic as I could manage. I've done three so far, whadaya reckon?

The Waiting Room now on sale!

The Waiting Room by R.S. Barrington, which i recently illustrated, is now available to buy on lulu.com as both printed and ebooks. It's the author's first novel, and he's already well along the way with two more which he'll hopefully be able to show the world soon.

Click here for the book on lulu.com.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Frank And Faith Tees

Super-cool, ethical fashion brand Frank And Faith  are now stocking Compassionate Dorset's charity T-shirts, including the Chook design I did. The tees are 100% organic, made in carbon neutral facilities in India using energy from wind and solar power, have a 90% reduced CO2 footprint and are EarthPositive certified. How cool is that? It's VERY cool. http://www.frankandfaith.com

New Work: Louie and Lola

Meet Louie and Lola, a handsome pair of ex-pat doggies who now live in Australia with an old school friend of mine. They made the perfect pair for my first adventure in the world of (paid, grown-up) pet portraiture.

Aren't they sweet? I'd love to do more, so if you'd like to have a unique portrait of your pet, rendered in lino print, please get in touch. You can contact me through the contact form on my website, or via Twitter or Facebook.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Wanted: Stuff

I've been indulging myself in some allostration. That's allotments and illustration, together at last! I'm the new minutes secretary for our allotment committee (eek!) and at my first meeting I was asked to design a poster and some 2D snails (to come later, I haven't done them yet). The poster's to get people to donate unwanted gifts that we can use as tombola prizes - there'll be two tombolas, one at the Allotment's Open Day in August and the other, which will be raising money for the Leicester Mablethorpe Children's Home, will be held during the Horticultural Show on the 11th September. Both days are open to the public, and there'll be stalls, refreshments, children's games and, as tradition dictates, the judging of big vegetables.

So if you're in the Leicester area and you've got anything tombola-y (toys, crockery, ornaments, fancy candles, games etc) that you'd be willing to donate to us, please bring it along to the Stokes Wood Allotments on Stokes Drive, LE3 9BR. The gates are open to the public on Wednesday mornings from 10-12 and Sundays 10 -11:30am. Or you could arrange another time by calling 0116 233814 or 07895037463.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Waiting Room

A couple of months ago I got an exciting Facebook message from an old friend who I hadn't seen or spoken to in more than 10 years. Nestled within a brief overview of his life since we last met he said he'd written a book, was self publishing and would I illustrate the cover for him? "Yes please!!" I gleefully messaged back. After I'd read through the manuscript (i love it when I get to read the book before I start - it doesn't happen very often) we decided on a wrap-around design of a tree and falling leaves, based on the wallpaper which decorates the book's Waiting Room. It's white on white in the book, but as the cover will be viewed online rather than in store I decided it needed to have some subtle colour that would look good on all sorts of screens. Here's what we came up with:

I'm rather pleased with it - it's delicately autumnal and ever so slightly funereal, which suits the themes of the story to a T.
Here's the little description of the book I wrote for the website that he's using to publish:

"Paul is a busy man. With an important deadline looming he's no time to consider the needs of his wife and small children. But when he suddenly finds himself in a stark white waiting room, with nothing but time on his hands and the dead for company, he starts to look back on his life, his family and his friendships and finally begins to listen to the world around him."

It should be available soon on self-publishing website lulu.com, I'll post a link when it's up.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Compassionate Tees

Compassionate Dorset, a regional supporter group for Compassion In World Farming recently ran a fantastic competition to create a new T-Shirt design for their fundraising shop. All proceeds from the shop go to support CIWF and the charity work done by Compassionate Dorset. I entered the two lovely ladies below, and they chose my silver sebright Chook as one of the four winners! Eeeeee! I've supported Compassion In World Farming for ages, so it's a real honour for me to know that my work is doing a little bit to help them in their quest to make life better for our farmed animals.  The winning designs will be added to the Compassionate shop and will also be on sale in new Boscombe boutique store, What Alice Found.

You can see mine and the other three wonderful winning designs on the competition page here: http://www.compassionatedorset.co.uk/charity-tee-competition-may2011.htm

Monday, 9 May 2011

I Say Tomato, You Say... Potato?

My copies of the Potatoes and Tomatoes books I illustrated arrived at the weekend, looking beautiful and reminding me of the Blackberry Farm books I used to have when I was little (I think they'd belonged to my mum when she was little too). I worked on the illustrations back in October and November, and I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the finished books. So, without much further ado, here they are:

As well as plenty more illos by me they also feature lots of gorgeous vintage illustrations, tasty recipes, and all you need to know about growing and keeping tomatoes and potatoes. They're available in the shops now, and you can also find them on Amazon: Tomatoes  and Potatoes

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Dotty Gallery on Faceache

Hey folks! I spent a jolly nice day in sunny Wing today, helping out at Rowan's parents' place again, readying things for the ARTDEJARDIN sculpture garden launch on the 29th. If you happen to visit the garden during the exhibition (and you should, 29th May - 29th August) check out the edging along the paths- I did that. Oh, and the mushroom compost spreading too, it's exquisite, as is the rest of the garden. Have a wee shufty at these pics from previous years:
A tiny corner of the main lawn

The walled garden, with a bronze by Terry Slade

Rebecca Newnham's gorgeous 'Quercus' in the field

But what I really wanted to tell you (and hence the title of the post) is that my l'il bro's new Facebook page is now live. He's a talented, young fine art photographer (I previously blogged about him here).

This one's called 'Petey'. Jamie excels in photographing dead things, but he's also a dab hand with colour, flowers, people, landscapes, forest walks, moody skies, and alive things. Head on over to his page and give him a good old fashioned 'Liking'. Thanks!

Hopefully sometime this week I can make a start on a new commission that's been in the pipeline for a while. An old friend is self publishing his first book and has asked me to illustrate the cover for him. With any luck I'll be able to show you the finished product sometime soon!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Draw Serge! Again

A while ago (almost two years) I mentioned Jonathan Edward's Draw Serge! blog of Gainsbourg-based illustrations, and how I fancied knocking up a little something for it. Well folk, I've FINALLY gotten round to it! I've been meaning to add a few more portraits to my portfolio (I almost never do faces) and Monsieur Gainsbourg's rugged visage was perfect for the task.

See the full post here. Jonathan's own work can often be found in The Guardian Guide, and always on his website: http://www.jonathan-e.com

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Royal Biscuit

Did everyone have a nice Easter? I took part in my very first Easter egg hunt on Sunday, which was fun, and had a jolly nice weekend of barbecuing and badminton in Rowan's parents' beautifulgarden (soon to be transformed into the annual ARTDEJARDIN outdoor sculpture exhibition. See here for all the info http://www.artdejardin.co.uk ).

And it's a Bank Holiday this weekend too- woo! Not that it makes much difference to me, being self employed n'all, but it does mean I'll know what day it is for once, and that's something. So, in honour of the impending royal nuptials South West Artwork have introduced their Royal Biscuit series (biscuit as in 'take the...') featuring witty one liners and charming imagery, including this limited edition, screen printed @katebride2b tea towel available here and on Etsy  There are only 50 of each design available, so they're very special!

And for my contribution to The Big Day, a sailor tattoo-style ode to the happy couple and their impressive collection of pearly whites. Original prints available over in my Etsy shop, check it out http://etsy.me/gYV3YO

And yes, those really are their nicknames for one another; a surprisingly-boring-if-you-try-it Google Image search and a hypothetical character from The Tale of The Bunny Picnic (which, by the way, was my favourite Easter-time movie as a child. It starts getting good about 4 minutes in).

Monday, 18 April 2011

Illustrator of the Week

It's been rather slow, illustration-wise, these last few months, hence my lack of posts. On the plus side though, I've achieved great things with my allotment with all my free time. We've now got our greenhouse up, glazed and tentatively filled with 12 small tomato plants and a little chilli kindly donated by our plot neighbour, Barry. Admitedly I didn't have much to do with the erection and glazing of the greenhouse (Rowan was in charge of that, and he built a lhandsome workbench/shelving unit for it too) but I did help digging the site it's sitting on and I've dug over (almost) the whole of the rest of the plot too, getting out all the nettles, sycamore saplings and ancient, naturalized raspberry canes. We saved some of the raspberries and moved them to a sunnier spot along with a whole heap of strawberry plants, so with any luck we'll be overflowing with jam by autumn. We've got our onions, garlic, early potatoes, broad beans and french beans in too, the rhubarb's delicious and the plum tree and gooseberry bush are in full flower and promising good things to come. I've also planted a herb and salad border in our little garden at home, and sown (rather patchy) grass on the 'lawn' which was covered in enough brambles to rival Sleeping Beauty's when we moved in. I promise to show some photos when it's all verdant and lovely.

Aside from my green fingered frollicking, my real reason for this post was to let you all know that I'm Illustrator of the Week over on my agent Handsome Frank's blog. Head on over to handsomefrank.com where they'll have new work to show every day this week, plus a Q&A session towards the end.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Ganbare Nippon!

I donated one of my Storks prints to Illustration Rally's Japan Tsunami appeal. It's now on sale in their Ganbare Nippon Etsy store along with lots of other pieces donated by artists and illustrators. 100% of the sales will be added to I.R's appeal on Just Giving 

Visit http://www.etsy.com/shop/GanbareNippon to see all the work available. There's something for everyone, from £3 postcards to £150 original drawings.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ganbare Nippon: Japan Tsunami Appeal

With much of northern Japan left devastated by the weekend's earthquakes and tsunami, and now facing the very real threat of nuclear meltdown, I'm thanking my lucky continental plate that I'm far, far away from the Ring of Fire. The notion of a nuclear disaster immediately following two natural ones seems like a really, really severe case of kicking someone when they're down, and has hugely intensified my feelings against nuclear power. If you're looking for a creative way to do your bit for the thrice affected people of Japan, look no further than Illustration Rally's Ganbare Nippon: Japan Tsunami Appeal. Illustration Rally founder Natsuki Otani is a Japanese illustrator currently based in the UK and has set up a JustGiving donation page as well as running two art-based fundraisers. The first is an open artwork donation: any piece(s) you're willing to give, be they large, small, 2D, 3D or anything else, will be accepted and sold on Etsy with all proceeds going direct to the appeal. The second is a special illustration rally for those artists with close ties to Japan to produce some unique and special products to raise money. It will be a great opportunity to grab some unique and memorable pieces for a truly worthy cause. Head over to illustrationrally.blogspot.com for all the info.