Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Illustrated envelopes




Here are photographs of some of the illustrated envelopes that I have been working on recently. I’m using them to send out samples of my work to potential clients who might be interested in commissioning me. I took inspiration from photos from trips to France, Portugal and Germany. It was lovely to go back and relive a few memories! The envelopes were inexpensive ones, C5 size, but took the pen line and watercolour wash quite well I thought. I tried to stick to drawing on the left-hand side, using only about a third of the space so that there was plenty of room for the address.







I first tried this idea last year as a way of letting existing clients know about my new website that I had just launched. That time I used good quality ones, DL size, from Paperchase. These envelopes had a sort of linen texture and also took the line and wash well. 








It’s something that takes a little time to do but is very enjoyable to do and hopefully is a nice surprise for the recipient!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

How to make an accordion sketchbook


Inspired after seeing a video on YouTube by Koosje Koene from Sketchbook Skool, I set about making an accordion (or concertina) sketchbook. Here’s how I did it.

(This is the link to the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaZkmsRcKVE and their website is at https://sketchbookskool.com)

The A2 sheets of paper before I cut them down

I’d been experimenting (playing!) with Daler Rowney acrylic inks on some large sheets of paper and making marks in the studio, inspired by Instagram accounts of @emhow1@cbarlowmarrs @miss_magpie_spy 

The Acrylic inks that I used plus the drawing materials I sketched with at the Barbican

I used one A2 sheet of watercolour paper and one A2 of thick cartridge paper. Both were Cass Arts own brand. I cut two strips from each sheet, choosing what I thought might be the most interesting paint blobs. I then marked off a couple of centimetres (to use to stick them together with double sided tape) and divided the rest of the strip into four. Then joined all four strips together.




The London Urban Sketcher group were heading for a sketchcrawl at the conservatory in the Barbican Centre and the colour scheme seemed to fit, so I took it along to work in. I used white pens as well as black and really enjoyed using the sketchbook. Below are some of the results.







I’ve experimented since using some different colours and I think it is a technique that has lots of possibilities!




Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My illustration process - Adding digital colour to hand-drawn images

I’m talking today about the process of creating the illustration above. The line was hand drawn with a digital colour layer added on Photoshop. Here’s how.

The client contacted me and briefed me as to what was required, supplying some images and specific details as to the cars to be illustrated. We agreed a fee and I returned my ‘Acceptance of Commission’ form.


The client requested some alterations.

A few more adjustments were asked for, but it was decided that I would make these of the final artwork.
I drew the image in pen, on an A3 sheet and scanned it at 300 dpi.
I opened the file up in Photoshop and added a new layer on which to put the colours, using a variety of brushes, particularly on the ‘speed’ lines.


I drew a small colour rough in pencil to try out the colour palette.

This the first colour artwork that I submitted to the client. There were a couple of minor changes to make help make the car look like it was moving faster, including taking away the strong black shadow under the front bumper.

And here is the final piece.

Below are some labels I made for the same client using a similar technique.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Making plans...



Quite a bit of time over the holidays has been spent reviewing my year so I thought I’d share the details of some of my favourite sources of stationery/books/guides that help.

I have the new ‘Dream Plan Do 2019’ from the Design Trust. It’s a workbook/manual/business guide that takes you through the year, month by month, with the aim of helping creative people “turn their ideas and creative practices into more sustainable creative businesses”. It’s the third year I’ve bought a copy and this year I am scheduling time in my diary so that I will work through it completely as I know from experience that the ‘dreaming’ and ‘planning’ are fine, but it is the ‘doing’ that really makes the difference to any creative business.

The Design Trust run workshops and the website has lots of information, much of it free, for small creative businesses and can be found at https://www.thedesigntrust.co.uk/

I downloaded the free ‘Unravel Your Year’ booklet from Susannah Conway. She advocates having a word of the year rather than making resolutions and I tried this last year and found it quite a nice idea. This year’s word for me will be ‘Hone’ after last year’s ‘Develop’.

More information at https://www.susannahconway.com/

I had a lovely Christmas gift of another journal by Fran Meneses. It’s always difficult to find the perfect diary and a bit like the story of the Three Bears, they are usually too big or too small, but this one is just right! I’ve been using one throughout 2018 and it has lasted the distance. Fran has a great YouTube channel too, sharing lots of useful information for illustrators.

Shop Details - https://www.etsy.com/shop/frannerd

YouTube account - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJNH25X9d9Nc7h3Rd7cm7bw

I watched the ‘Makelight Advent’ in December, a free series of daily videos from Emily Quinton. She is also part of the ‘Year of Colour’ team, who provide a free survey of your colours on Instagram. Here’s mine for this year:



Year of Colour - https://yearofcolour.com/


Makelight - https://makelight.com/


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

London Urban Sketchers 2019 programme


If you are looking to start sketching in 2019 and live in London, you might like to look at the London Urban Sketchers programme which is now on their blog. All welcome whether you are a beginner or have lots of experience and events are free, just turn up with your own drawing materials!