Wednesday, 26 October 2011

2012 Calendars and Planners

So first comes an annoyingly early Christmas post, and now a New Year post already!? Yes, yes indeed.
One of my favourite things about Christmas/New Year is getting a lovely new planner, journal or calendar for the year. It has the appeal of a blank new sketchbook or notebook and I love to go through all the pages writing in important dates, marvelling at how incredibly old people now are etc (I'm nice like that...). Anyway, I always find it quite difficult to find a decent 'home' planner (not a little portable one) that's the right size, with enough room to write all my dates, deadlines and various 'to-do's in . This year I've been really satisfied with the annual 'Illustration Now' diary... plenty of room, nice big A5-ish illustration between every week, but I still wanted to hunt to see if there was anything better.

And I think that I have found it! In Little Otsu's 6th Annual Weekly Planner illustrated by Lizzy Stewart. It's smaller than the Illustration Now planner, but feels like there's the same amount of room to write my daily lists. There's also a handy to-do list strip and a notes box for each week, along with areas at the front to write in books to read, back-up phone numbers etc. And to top it all off, every single week has a little Lizzy Stewart illustration - perfect!

I've got a feeling that the planners have sold out on Lizzy's Etsy Shop, but you can still grab one over at Little Otsu.

On my quest for illustrated organisation I also came across these lovely items:

2012 Calendar by Anke Weckmann @ Etsy

2012 Agenda by boygirlparty @ Etsy

2012 Mountain Calendar Poster by Pam Lostracco @ Etsy

2012 Illustrated Owl Calendar by Gingiber @ Etsy

You can see these and some other organisational delights over on my 'Making Plans' Etsy Treasury list :) Hope you find something there to tickle your fancy!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Christmas time!

Yes, it's that time again! Well... not really, as it's not even the end of October yet. But for any of you early birds, and those of us who have to make a living out of selling cards and things, it is now officially the season to be [relatively] jolly!

For the past couple of months I've been working with a greetings card publisher, creating lots and lots of Christmas illustrations, so despite the unseasonably sunny weather we've been having over here, my life has been filled with geese, robins, snow and tinsel. Due to this, when it came the time to sit down and think about my own personal Christmas card designs for this year I thought I better go with something a bit different to separate the two. This, combined with my current obsession with lovely wrinkly Shar Pei puppies, could mean only one thing... a load of cards with cute puppies on. I'm slightly regretting my decision here as it occurred to me that there's a divide between cat/dog/hamster lovers that will probably mean a reduced amount of sales, but I'm hoping the amusing cuteness will make up for your love of different animals.

Without further ado, here are the card designs...

If you head on over to my Etsy shop you can now buy them singly, or in packs of four cards or eight cards. If you'd like to enquire about buying them from me directly, perhaps in larger quantities or wholesale, just drop me an email.

And as if that wasn't exciting enough, my bird magnets have also flown back into the shop this afternoon! Remember the discount code in the below post is still valid for the next week or so, so get stocking up on early Christmas goodies with a discount! :)

Perched on my Kellee Rich fridge bunting!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Origami Crane Magnets

Just a quick one to say that the origami crane magnets are now back in my Etsy shop again! I'm sorry for the delay in getting them back up there; when I ran out of my last batch I wasn't really happy with the cost of the production and how long they were taking me to make, so I've spent quite a while testing out loads of new methods and I think I've finally come up with something I'm happy with! I think the finish on the new magnets is nicer as well - I liked the thickness of the old plastic ones, but these ones look a bit brighter and clearer (have a look below - the top row are the old ones, the bottom row the new design!) The flying bird magnets will be back in the shop as soon as possible too!

As a little introductory offer, if you use the code NEWCRANES at checkout, you'll get 10% off your whole order until the end of October :)

Monday, 10 October 2011

Digital Artist Magazine

A couple of months ago I was contacted by the editor of Digital Artist about commissioning me to do a Cheat Guide article on colour blocking/theory for the magazine. The accompanying illustration was to have a Chinese Zodiac theme, so I went with some little rabbits (2011) 'marching in' the new year (2012 is the year of the dragon). I've kept it under my hat for a while, but Issue 25 came out last Thursday so I finally have my paws on a copy and can tell you about it! It's so lovely to see my work in print for the first time! Here's a little peek at the illustration, but if you'd like to read the article you can find it on page 90 of the magazine :)

And as well as seeing my illustration published in a magazine, I also received a copy of Maz O'Connor's EP that I created the artwork for - thanks very much Pete! So... a really exciting week for me, and I hope you've all had a great one too! :) 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

On Leaves or On Sand - Illustration Process

So... be prepared to be shocked. Yes, I've finally managed to get around to bringing you one of my recent commissions! A lovely folk artist, Maz O'Connor, contacted me a while ago about doing the booklet illustrations for her new EP release 'On Leaves or On Sand'. I thought for a change that I'd show you a bit of my working process as well, instead of just the final finished piece. I'll try not to bore you too much!

Maz had given me a really good idea of what she wanted for the artwork in various emails; an organic natural feel, and the idea of an image of a strong woman searching for a lost love from one of the songs on the EP. These are some scans of my first thoughts and rough ideas in my sketchbook. Usually I would send thumbnails of my initial ideas in a fairly basic form to the client to see if we are on the same page regarding ideas for the project.

  Once the client has decided on which idea is most suitable, I then work that idea (or a couple) up into more finished rough pencil sketches for approval and any amendments.

 When the rough sketch is approved and amended, I work it up into a final finished pencil drawing (I tend to use pencil rather than ink for my final linework).

The previous drawings are scanned, cleaned up and sent once again to the client for approval. A long stretch of digital painting with my graphics tablet later, and the artwork is complete! I've also added some hand-drawn text for the artist and album names, as a regular font wasn't really working with the more organic feel of the illustration.

 An alternative colour scheme offered to the client

 The final EP, complete with illustrations and a little foray into graphic design with the layout of the text information for the booklet and disc.

The image as a full wrap-around illustration

I haven't seen the finished CD in the flesh yet, but I'm really excited to!
If you'd like to buy a copy, you can do so by hopping on over to the Haystack Records website :)