Monday, October 31, 2011


It's Halloween and the Illustration Friday theme is 'scary'.
This was drawn in ink, watercolour and gouache paint. I went a bit over the top with colour. No digital media was used and it was really hard. I longed for an undo button.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We Are Bedford: Monsters of Bedford

Last weekend was the WE ARE BEDFORD Monster Draw, part of the The Big Draw a U.K National campaign to get people drawing.

Erica Roffe & Kayte Judge who run We Are Bedford organised this event at an empty shop unit in Bedford. Myself along with other professional illustrators from the town helped out. Katy Dynes, Alasdair Bright, Rachel Lovatt, Scarlett Tierney, Andrew Foster and David Litchfield were the drawing team. We had stitching, collage, drawing stations and some demos too.

There was a huge gallery wall drawn by David, Alasdair and Andrew depicting Bedford's river and the prehistoric monsters who once roamed there! Locals were invited to pop in, draw a picture of their own monster and stick it up on the wall for all to see. We had an amazing collection at the end. The best monster won a signed print by Pete Fowler so a lot of Super Furry Animals fans were taking it very seriously. The entries were so good we had plenty of runners up prizes too.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monsters Are Coming to Bedford

Anyone from Bedford should come and visit me and other Bedfordian illustrators this Saturday. We Are Bedford are hosting a Big Draw event at 22 Castle Lane from 11am - 3pm. You are invited to pop in and create your own monster drawing. There will be stitching, collage, chalk, demonstrations, a big game of 'Monster Dice' and 'Beautiful Monster' (aka consequences or 'Exquisite corpse').

Stick your drawing on a monster map or enter it in a competition to win a signed print by the king of monsters himself... The one and only Pete Fowler! Whoop!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Illustration Friday for this week is scatter. This weekend I was walking a lot in the Gloustershire countryside. It was beautiful and here in the UK the Autumn has hit us hard and it's been very windy and very cold. The leaves are scattered everywhere.

I'm enjoying working with thread, but scanning in the finished pieces is not doing the work justice, and my camera isn't doing the job properly either. If anyone happens to be reading this with some good ideas on how I can get the stitched image represented well as a digital image for the web, that will be appreciated.

I've also posted the original sketch and a close up of the character in the stitched illustration.

Monday, October 17, 2011

More illustration with sewing

I'm still playing around with the sewing machine. It's rewarding to create illustrations that are tangible. I work digitally during the day, creating files through mouse, tablet and monitor screen... But ultimately creating an image that you can't hold. My designs go abroad to get printed into cards, so I seldom see let alone hold the finished product. Therefore it's quite therapeutic for me and arguably a natural reaction to my daily routine to make something perceptible by touch as well as by sight. Made directly with my own hands.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Experimenting for Christmas

This Christmas I'll be doing a craft fair with some old school friends, just for fun. I have a lot of scrap linen in my house, so I've made some quick Christmas trees which look quite cute as festive decorations. The material is thin, so I'll have to be careful with the embroidery. The hanging hearts I made a few years ago, but I think I'll make some more for the fair. Now I can use my sewing machine, I can churn a lot of these out quite quickly and neatly.

Monday, October 10, 2011


For Illustration Friday the subject is 'contraption'.
I opened my 1959 copy of 'Good Housekeeping' for inspiration and the whole magazine is full of adverts for the modern housewife's kitchen. This one caught my eye:

I thought a quick 50s-esque illustration of a girl with her new washing contraption would be suitable for this week's theme (you can click on the image to make it bigger).

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Coffee and shopping

This is my second go at doodling with stitches. I draw the character in my sketch book and trace the main shapes with tracing paper. Then I cut out my chosen fabrics using these paper templates.

The background fabric is quite thin, so I can see my sketch if I lay it on top of my sketchbook. It would be great if I had a light box, but I used my window instead. I lightly trace the main shapes in pencil onto the linen so I can see where to place my shapes.

I layer up the fabric and lightly stick them down with fabric glue. I use pins too. Then I stitch them down with a zigzag or running stitch using my sewing machine. I'm very clumsy, but I like the hap-hazard look!

I add other collage details like paper and floral fabric and hand stitch the smaller shapes and fiddly parts of the illustration like the face and spirals.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Lion Wallet Experiment

This is a coin purse I made. The image was created in photoshop and printed on heat iron transfer paper then ironed on to the linen. Overall it looks quite dull, but an image with more contrast with stronger colours would stand out against the beige background. I like the way you can see the texture of the material through the lion.

Making little coin purses was easy and fun. Having a new found confidence with a sewing machine means I will potentially be able to use illustrations in a new way. Sewing the zipper on with the zip foot was the most difficult part.

Friday, October 07, 2011

crochet scarf

Here is a picture of my new homemade scarf. It's nice and long (just over 7 ft) and it's made from 11 crocheted squares. I went to a crochet class in Bedford last year and I love sitting in front of the telly crocheting away. My sister is expecting a baby so a blanket will be made for her at some point. I've also been crocheting circles for Christmas decorations, but I need to experiment with ways to stiffen them effectively.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Drawing with stitches

As a full time digital illustrator, drawing at a computer for around 9 hours a day makes you sick of staring at a screen. In the evening and weekends, I try not to switch on the mac.
My day job as a cute greeting cards artist is fun, but I want to start creating artworks in my free time without the burden of using a computer. I decided to use a sewing machine to doodle. I've tried painting in the past, but time and space is sparse and I can't be doing with all that clearing and cleaning nonsense with messy brushes.