Sunday, 19 December 2010

Merry Christmas

This will be my last blog post before Christmas (probably) so I thought I would post my painting of a Christmas fairy carrying the gift of Christmas spirit (thanks Elise Hoogsteden-Roberts for that idea:). Merry Christmas everyone and hope you have a great holiday xx Ho ho ho! ;-) xx

Needle Felted Bunny

Just thought I'd add a new needle felted friend I made for my friend for Christmas.  It didn't turn out as well as I hoped... I think the eyes are in the wrong place... but considering she started off as a cat, this whole project hasn't gone to plan, lol.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Frog Prince

A little sketch from my sketchbook of 'The Frog Prince', which I want to develop into a painting in the future when I've finished my current projects :)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Needle Felted Duck

I finally took a photo of the needle felted duck I made for my sister to give to her friend.  It isn't a very good photo but you can see what she looks like.  My sister's friend loved her, 'especially her chubby cheeks' she said.  I used wire in her legs so they can bend.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Little Sketch of a Duck

I just realised I haven't posted anything for ages so I thought I would post a little sketch of a duck I recently did.  I'm busy making needle felted friends for Christmas and my sister asked me to make a duck for her friend, so I sketched this little guy to give me an idea of the positioning of the eyes and the beak.  There's a lovely park in Stafford, which the River Sow runs through, and some picturesque canals to walk along, where there are always swans and ducks to sketch and photograph.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Introducing my new fairy painting, 'Will-o-the-wisp', inspired by Doxey marshes in Stafford, which are just behind my house.  As I've told my nieces, if you look hard enough from the window in the attic bedroom over at the marshes, you can sometimes see little fairies carrying balls of light...

Friday, 1 October 2010

Wonderful Hay-on-Wye!

This post isn't about illustration, although it's sort of about books... I want to post some photos of my wonderful weekend my husband and I had to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  We just returned from beautiful Hay-on-Wye in Powys, on the Welsh Marches, a place I visit frequently and somewhere I wish I could live because of the wonderful countryside, friendly people, the Hay festival and, of course, the book shops, of which there are approximately thirty in the small market town.

My husband and I stayed in a gorgeous bed and breakfast, called Lower House, in Cussop Dingle, a beautiful rural area of Hay. The hosts, Peter and Nikki, were extremely friendly and welcoming, and the house and garden were stunning (the garden appears in the book Discovering Welsh Gardens by Stephen Anderton).  The 18th century house (with some parts dating back further) is built on 7 acres of land; a mixture of pretty gardens, stream and pond, woodland, orchard and small fields (home to some lovely black sheep).  We stayed in 'The Rose Room', which had a charming window seat to sit and view the garden and the most comfortable bed! I found it hard to get up in the morning, but the delicious, organic breakfast soon coaxed me.  Here are some photos:

Different views of 'Lower House'


Above right, the cairn built by Nikki and below right, the mirror in our room, made by Peter from an old wardrobe door.

Below, my husband, Colin, trying to decide what to have for breakfast... there was an excellent choice for vegetarians, which makes a nice change :)

Me, in the window seat of our bedroom, reading 'Discovering Welsh Gardens'.

It was sad to leave...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Dessert' No. 2

I decided to post a second illustration for this weeks IF.  This pig is a pen sketch, which I scanned into the computer then painted it digitally with Photoshop, giving it a watercolour effect.  He's blissfully happy after eating all the cake.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Illustration Friday - Dessert

This isn't a new illustration, but thought I would use this for my illustration Friday this week :)  It's one of my fairy cake designs.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Sketchbook Project.

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

I have decided to do The Sketchbook Project.  I don't know if you've heard of this but the website explains 'Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the country.  After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of the Brooklyn art library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view.  Anyone - from anywhere in the world - can be a part of the project.  To participate and have us send you a sketchbook that will go on tour, start by choosing a theme'.

There are many themes to choose from and I chose 'storybook'.  I bought my sketchbook a while back and I didn't start sketching in it for ages, due to a mixture of work commitments, family commitments and fear of spoiling my beautiful sketchbook, haha (I'm a wuss).  However, I've decided I really must start now and I thought I would post my sketches on my blog as I do them.  Here is my first, a pencil sketch of 'Cinderella', with the words taken, or rather torn, from a tatty paperback and coloured with tea.  I don't usually rip up books... sacrilege!... but this one was falling apart and wasn't that old or worth anything.  I hope the god of books forgives me :)


Close up

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Immovable'

I haven't finished this yet, I was going to paint it with watercolour  but I ran out of time for Illustration Friday this week.  As soon as I read this weeks topic 'immovable', I immediately thought of my brother-in-law's dog, Smudge, a Great Dane, who is absolutely HUGE! The little dog in the sketch is inspired by my dog, Dougal (in fact, I sketched him while he was standing on his back legs, looking out of the window the other day).  I've been meaning to paint this all week, but other things and work got in the way, unfortunately.  However, here is the sketch.

Here are photos of Smudge and Dougal :)

This is Smudge.

These little monsters are Dougal, Millie and Daisy :)

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Emily Gravett on YouTube

I really like Emily Gravett's illustrations, particularly her rabbits, so I was really interested when I came across a couple of videos on YouTube.  The first video I've posted shows Emily in her studio, drawing the character for the new book 'Cave Baby', written by Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffulo). The second video shows Emily characters from her book The Rabbit Problem.  It's interesting to see how she works both traditionally and digitally on it.  I really want a Cintiq now! These videos were posted by MacmillanPublishers  :)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Angharad's Bunny

Just a quick post to show a watercolour sketch that I painted for my friend's new baby girl, Angharad :)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Illustration Friday - 'Star Gazing'

This week's 'Illustration Friday' is a painting I did of a fairy for a competition, back in January (it didn't win boo-hoo).  The title of the painting is 'Dancing in the moonlight' and I thought it was apt for this weeks topic 'star gazing'.

Friday, 6 August 2010

More Needle Felted Friends

Some more needle felted friends I made, plus the kitten that I previously posted, with his smart new bow (here).



Scottish Terrier 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Emma Williams's Painting 2

Back in June, I posted a painting by talented artist, Emma Williams (please click here to view it again).  Here is another photo of her gorgeous artwork.  Unfortunately, it's not a good photo as I took it in a rush and my camera is rather rubbish and won't work without a flash (hence the flash on the photo); plus photography isn't one of my strong points, which is why I paint instead of take photos, lol.  Anyway, I digress... Emma painted it in her usual colourful style, using gouache paint, for a mutual friend's wedding present.  If you look carefully, you can see the bride and groom in the bottom left hand corner.  This depicts the photo shoot the bride and groom had a few days after the wedding, where they walked into the sea in full wedding attire, something called 'trash the wedding dress' (the wedding dress, thankfully, wasn't trashed and the photos were beautiful and original).  I will post more of Emma's lovely paintings soon, hopefully without a flash spoiling it this time!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

New Felted Friend

Sorry, it has been a month since I last posted something.  I have been very busy with an illustration job, which is good, but it means I haven't had chance to blog recently.  This isn't an illustration, but I thought I would post some photos of my recent needle felted creation.  This one is a kitten, although I don't know what to call him yet :)  I still need to add a collar around his neck with a little bell and maybe give him a ball of wool to play with to stave off boredom, tee hee :)) Meow!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Edmund Dulac

I thought I would post another of my favourite illustrators - Edmund Dulac (1882-1953).  He was a French book illustrator from the 'Golden Age of Illustration', famous for his beautiful 'romantic style' fairy tale illustrations, Arabian Nights, Sinbad the Sailor and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.  This video was posted by Josh on YouTube.  Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Emma William's Painting

I've been meaning to post this beautiful painting on my blog for a while now but I've been putting it off as I don't have a very good camera.  Mine is a basic point and click camera, which is good for nights out with the girls but no good for close-ups of wonderful works of art.  I decided, I might never have a good camera, so I threw caution to the wind and took a photo and here it is:

It was painted in gouache by one of my best friends, Emma Williams, for my wedding present 10 years ago.  I lived in Chepstow at the time and Emma says the houses on Castle Street inspired her – a row of Georgian town houses painted in ice cream colours, with views of Chepstow castle. I can stand and look at the painting for ages, there is so much attention to detail.  Each garden depicts a different activity: friends enjoy a barbecue; a lady weeds her garden; people chill out, listening to music in their tent; children play in the paddling pool; a little dog plays with his ball, and so on.  It epitomises a beautiful summer afternoon. 

As I said, my photograph doesn't really do it justice and I'm hoping to post a clearer photograph in the future, but until then I hope you enjoy the painting as much as I do :) 

Kay Nielsen

I found this on youtube, another of my favourite illustrators, posted by Josh.  Kay (pronounced Kigh) Nielsen (1886-1957) was a Danish illustrator, another from the 'Golden age of illustration'.  His work was influenced by Swedish artist John Bauer, Beardsley and Japanese art.  He's famous for his illustrations from fairy tales such as Grimms Fairy TalesOld Tales from the North (East of the Sun West of the Moon)Twelve Dancing Princesses and Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales.  He also worked with Walt Disney on Fantasia.  Hope you enjoy :)

Monday, 31 May 2010

Meet Rosie Mouse

Not strictly illustration, but I'm dabbling a bit with needle felting and here's a little mouse I made for my friend Vicky.  Excuse the poor photograph as my camera isn't very good at close ups.  If you haven't heard of needle felting, it's a bit like sculpting with wool, using a special barbed needle to bond the wool fibres together (being careful not to pierce the finger - ouch!).  No stitching is needed. I love sculpting with clay and I think this is similar. I used merino wool tops in pink and white to make the body, 4mm black teddy bear eyes, the rose was bought from a local haberdashery store and I embroidered the mouth with black cotton.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Oliver Jeffers author video

I haven't posted in a while, but I've been working very hard and will post some new stuff soon.  In the meantime, I found this video made my Oliver Jeffers, on youtube (posted by Penguin Young Readers), one of my favourite illustrators.  His work is so inspiring.  I especially love 'Lost and Found'. 

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Scrumptious Felt

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, it was Easter and I went away for a week to visit family... but now I'm back and exited about getting back to work on some projects.

On Saturday April 10th, I went along to Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford for a felt making course.  It was called 'Scrumptious Felt' and was advertised as 'experiment with felting techniques as you create a wonderful textured work with the help of Barbara Meek! Add depth and detail and mix in other materials, then embellish with beads, bells or buttons!'  I had done needle felting before, making animals and dolls out of wool using a needle, but had never tried wet felting, which is like painting with wool.  Wet felting is made by laying out fibres and then wetting, soaping and rubbing them together (we used bubble wrap to help us), which bonds the fibres together.

Barbara showed us that there were lots of wonderful things to make by felting, such as wall hangings, jewellery, scarves and bowls, to name a few. She brought in a selection of things she had made with felt, including a beautiful rug she had made on a five day intensive felt making course in Turkey to learn traditional Turkish felt-making (I believe she made the felted work in the image above too).  Barbara also runs courses on felt making, which can be seen on her website: Felt World.  She also has some taster sessions too.  I really recommend them as she is an excellent teacher :)

On our course we made a wall hanging (I made one of a heart, which I have embellished with beads and buttons), a felt bowl and some beads that can be used to make into a necklace.  Below are some photographs from the course.  It's a wonderful craft to learn and we all really enjoyed it :)

Thanks to Barbara Meek for the images :)