Spin the Wheel

I have been researching the market, soul searching, refining my style and coming up with ideas in my sketchbooks towards a new portfolio of work which I hope to have ready for June, along with a new website design. I am working on 10 Illustration projects for 10 weeks  in order to do this (each project has a one week long deadline).

I have come up with a method for doing this: I will pick one random project and then work on it until it is done, then repeat the process 9 more times.

I have written down 10 project briefs that I want to work on (they go with my portfolio direction based on what markets I want to target and my interests) and then labeled them a-j. These briefs will remain top-secret for now :-)

Today I made a spinning wheel so that I can decide on each project to do without too much fuss or bias. I came up with the idea after watching a few game shows (tip- you have to lay the wheel flat when you spin it otherwise gravity wins every time).

spin the wheel

Now please excuse me because I have a lot of work to do…

Craft Hobby + Stitch International

I went to the Craft Hobby and Stitch International Show at the NEC Birmingham yesterday.

The seminars I attended were very interesting and I had an opportunity to look around at some of the latest products and brands in the craft industry and peruse the latest creative books.

I also met the extremely skilled Illustrator / artist / crafter and lovely Sheena Douglas (who I first heard of on the Create and Craft TV channel) who did a really great (and very fast) demonstration of the Spectrum Noir AquaTints for me. She gave me the artwork she created after as well, which I’m going to frame and put in my studio. She also hand draws the images for her stamps which she sells.

Here’s a close up of the artwork: it shows how the Aquatints blend very nicely into each other and you can do “faux bleaching” techniques- you can lift the colour up after the ink has dried and create lighter areas. They don’t fade like watercolours do when you put them down on the paper- what you see is what you get. I’m going to try the Aquatints out when I get the chance because I like to experiment and I think these are cool.

Sheena Douglas Aquatint Demo

I watch the Create and Craft TV channel quite a lot, I like the presenters and the demonstrations are interesting. Sometimes I get creative ideas or inspiration from watching the channel. I think the craft industry is strong in this country and it’s very encouraging.

I also listened to a short seminar from the lady from the Great British Sewing Bee- May Martin and one on blogging from Rosie and Hannah from The New Craft Society.

I went to the Awards ceremony in the evening as well- free food and drink- excellent.


Squirrel Happy Families

I am doing an Illustration activity I found in one of my books: The Bloomsbury Guide to Creating Illustrated Children’s Books.

The activity is called “Happy Families”. It is to create a set of cards showing a family group with at least one parent, a child and an older “person” in each set. They don’t have to be realistic but should have a shared “culture”, ethnic or metaphorical. On the back of the card I have to write a short profile on each character.

This project has gotten me thinking about depictions of different ages, genders and cultural groups as well as roles within the family. It also made me think about sexism in our society. It has also gotten me into reading my history and archaeology reference books looking at families throughout history.

I chose to base my family on squirrels. A little later after reading and researching I decided to do squirrels from an ancient civilization. So far I have sketched designs based on Ancient Egypt.

I have quite a bit more work to do yet on this before I get to a stage where I feel ready to start on “final” illustrations and it will probably change somewhat. I will also have to develop an older character.

Needle Felting

I decided to try a needle felting kit to see what it was like as I like to keep an open mind and look at art, illusration and crafts in general. I don’t think there needs to be such an elitist gap between these things- it’s all creative stuff.

However I don’t think I will be taking up needle felting because it was painful (the needle is sharp!).

This is what I made:

felt squirrel and frog felt duck