Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What To Make for Guests You Hate

A new page from my sketchbook.
I used a reference from 'Country Life' magazine and a photo of Lucille Ball. Recently I read 'The Stepford Wives' and even though the story is well known and I knew the ending, I still found it frightening. With all this peculating in my brain I ended up drawing a trapped housewife preparing cakes for a party. The last party. Mwah ha ha!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Page From My Sketchbook: Listening to Vinyl

Groovy Girl
I'm still enjoying playing with my dip pens and ink in my sketchbook. I've added some watercolour to this one and used white ink to pick out a few details. Again, I used a photo from an interiors magazine as a loose reference for the perspective and the lighting of the room, but added my own details, character and surface patterns. It's just a bit of fun.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Two pages from the sketchbook

Here's a couple of pages from my sketchbook. I'm going through a another phase of messing around with the dip pens and ink.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Little Princes

With the recent high profile birth of royal baby George it was a lucky coincidence that my newest set of embroidery designs for Bunnycup were cute little prince characters. 12 designs in all, and fit for all baby boys (lets face it, every baby is special, right?!). They'd look sweet on baby blankets, baby bags, tees and onesies. My favourite one is the little prince with the horse.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bedpop Preview

I've never worked so hard on my day off! Here's a preview of Bedpop at the town's tourist information centre. We've spent hours dressing the shop and it's now stocked with the most stylish, gorgeous and amazing Bedford-inspired products. It's on Sat 27th July, between 9am-4:30pm so please swing by and bag yourself a slice of Bedford artfulness!

Here's Katy & Harry... But what's that on top of our Olympic post box?

It's Bedford's gold medalist, Etienne Stott! We're selling DIY foldees of him designed by Andrew Foster

We've got 'Bedford Rascal' tees and gorgeous prints for sale.

Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire!

Well this looks interesting!

Pretty cards,  DIY foldees of Bedfordian greats and my illustrated A-Z guide to Bedford!

Lisa Tilley has upcycled a tea set. The 7th Duchess of Bedford 'invented' afternoon tea.

Rapeseed oil made in Bedford

More tees and tote bags.

There's photography, magnets, badges, broaches, coasters and other little trinkets on sale too.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


The second fanzine by The Circus of Illustration
Foldees By The Circus of Illustration
A Cute Little Illustrated A-Z Guide to Bedford written and illustrated by me!

Bedpop is a one-day-only pop-up shop at Bedford's tourist information centre that's showcasing unique products by Bedford designers and crafters. We'll be selling unusual yet beautiful creations about Bedford. It's part of the Bedford High Street Festival.

The Circus of illustration are selling gorgeous copies of our new fanzine 'On The Water' and DIY paper dolls (or 'foldees') of some famous people from Bedford's past and present. There's Dave the mayor, Olympic gold medalist, Etienne Stott and cricketer Alistair Cook (to name a few).

Scarlett and Kristina from the Circus will be leading a foldee workshop on the day too, so go between 2pm and 4pm to learn how to design and make your own. Wow your friends with your creativity! 

I've written and illustrated a cute A-Z guide to Bedford, where I share all the places and activities I personally love to do in my home town. Hopefully people will read it and realise what a wonderful town we live in.

Check out the amazing illustrated tea set by Lisa Tilley at Uoldbag too!

Bedpop is on Saturday 27th July at Bedford Tourist Infomation Centre between 9:30am - 4pm. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Drink And Draw With The Ouse Muse Poets

Last night The Circus of illustration joined forces with Ouse Muse Poetry for their open mic spoken word night. We gathered in the ├╝ber-cool cellar bar at Hapurs with it's pretty vaulted ceiling. Being illustrators, we were a bit shy, so we sat at the back, trying to look inconspicuous, but the poetry regulars made us feel really welcome.

Each performer had approximately a 3 or 4 minute slot each. I decided to speed draw any imagery that was evoked from the performances straight into my sketchbook, but other illustrators took different approaches. Here's what I drew. I wasn't sure if I properly captured the sentiment of the poems.

The first performance was designed to loosen up the audience's inhibitions! Everyone was encouraged to join in with making some crazy traffic noises. Then I think there was a poem about an old painting of a woodland track, and I caught a phrase from another poem about a man with a burning back, but I couldn't be sure. I think I missed information whilst I was colouring the trees and looking for pencils!

Next up was a funny poem likening busy toddlers to little piggies in a sty. Then a poem about the rise of the worker's unions. I got distracted with it's details though, as I was doodling a toff's profile. 

I decided to quickly draw a lady who was in the audience, followed by a poem about the Norfolk landscape at night, a gardener who loved his plants but suffered from ill health, and a poem about yesterday's weather, which was incredibly windy for Bedford. 

We had a poem about a seaside pier, a poem about working in a shop (it's not that boring), and a poem about the warm nostalgia of T.V. adverts from your childhood. There was a piece about wanting to telephone someone you really like, but your stomach gets so knotted you can't go through with it. One of my favourites was a poem called "Catechism", depicted here by the Pope eating a Yorkie bar!

Kristina from the Circus even took to the stage to perform some poetry from our new fanzine, which was really brave of her! My favourite sketch came about from a poem about Amy Winehouse. There was poetry inspired by Cyprus (or was it Greece?) It was like a verbal postcard. There were musings about meeting up with a girl you fancied (she sounded cute, even with her moustache) and a poem about how being a bit fat was preferable to being dependent on some worthless bloke. Oh, and someone had a brilliant rant about Margaret Thatcher. Nice to know that there are some socialists in Bedford!

On the left is a quick sketch of Sarah, one of the readers. Her poem was so short I didn't have much time to draw her! There's Hitler and Hitler's pet, called Hitler and the final poem was a very cheeky trap. It was about the vajazzle. I didn't really want to draw that, but "give your muff a buff" was one of my favourite lines of the night.

Ouse Muse poetry night was brilliant fun! There was a great mix of spoken word styles and deliveries. There was a lot of humour and heart in all the performances. I can't wait to go to the next one. I think some of these very loose, quick sketches I've made from the night could have the potential to be worked up and finished into some interesting paintings or embroideries, so it was a good exercise for me. I never seem to get enough time to do some personal development these days.

Monday, April 15, 2013

In A Flap

Work in progress for Bunnycup
This weekend has been a good opportunity to catch up with some new doodles for Ashlea at Bunnycup. It's been ages since I've last done something. I'm working on a set of cute 1920s inspired flapper girls, which should look really sweet once they're stitched out. Pinterest has been a great source of reference as always. 

Source: via Marisa on Pinterest

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Circus of illustration: In the Woods

The Circus of Illustration  is a collective of local illustrators form Bedfordshire. This month we've released our first 'zine featuring illustrations from 13 Bedfordshire illustrators who have worked or exhibited with the Circus. We were working with the theme ‘In the Woods.’ Each illustrator chose a piece of text, be it a song, poem, comic or excerpt from a book and illustrated it in their own varied styles. I chose a traditional English poem about a Cuckoo. I'm not very happy with my submission, as always I was pressed for time, but at least I produced something new for the first issue.

There are limited edition copies available at out next Drink & Draw. It's on Thursday 18th April at Harpur's Wine Bar in Bedford.

For this month's D&D we're collaborating with 'Ouse Muse', a local collective of poets who host their open mic nights there. They'll be reciting poetry based on our work and we'll be live drawing during their performances.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Sister is getting married

These are some 'Save the Date' designs for my sister, Sophie. As a joke we've changed Kevin's name to "Kalvin" on some of the samples to see if he will notice. Sophie's colour scheme is going to be coral pinks and dusky greens. I think she wants to have some succulent cactus flowers in her flower arrangements, which I think look beautiful.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April Bedford Clanger

April 2013 Edition of The Bedford Clanger

Close up #1
close up #2
The Bedford Clanger is a monthly local arts and culture newspaper that I do the layout and artwork for. I don't really get paid for it, so it's my way of contributing to the community using my modest skills as a designer. We promote as many art, music and community events in the area as possible.

This month, I did the the illustration for the front cover. The issue focuses on 'Bedford's DNA'. Bedfordians talk about how the local people, along with the river, the historic buildings, and our markets are one of the many things that give Bedford it's unique character.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Viking Embroidery

Recently I completed some cute Viking characters for Ashlea to embroider at Bunnycup. I was watching a Disney film called "Tangled" for inspiration. Most people with children of a certain must have seen it! It's based on the Rapunzel fairy tale and there's a really fun scene in it where she is at a rough 'n' tough inn full of viking style characters. Of course, it being a Disney film (and not Game of Thrones) she charms them with a song. Hopefully you'll find these little dudes charming too. These are some of my favourite designs!

Yesterday I watched another animation called "How to Train Your Dragon" and that was FULL of Viking characters! Shame I didn't watch that whilst I was doing these drawings.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Flipbooks In Bedford

My animation of a dancing bunny
On the 26th of March the Circus of Illustration met up for our regular Drink and Draw. We were at The Embankment in Bedford. The bar staff were really friendly and they gave us a private back-room which had more space for us to spread out with our books and pens. We also had some new attendees! They had seen our facebook page and had come along to see what we did (which, is to simply to drink and draw!)

Scarlett had a great idea to make Easter theme flipbooks. Which was fun to do in it's own right, but Onorio, being the tech wizard, had his iphone to hand. Using an app called Jittergram, he captured each frame in our 8 page flip-books and managed to animate them right there in the pub.

It was incredible seeing our drawings come to life so instantly! Above is the animation I did, powered by a pint of Bombardier. If you want to see the rest, check out The Circus of Illustration website.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sea-horses for Bunnycup

Here are a few sea-horse designs I have done for Ashlea at Bunnycup. She will digitize my black and white illustrations ready for embroidery projects. These would look cute embroidered on bath-towels, swimming bags, children's summer holiday clothes and bath-robes!