Indigo Botanicals

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been about two months since I’ve written anything! The past few months have been pretty crazy actually and have simply flown by – most days I have no idea what week it is, whether I’m working tomorrow or sometimes where I am. But, through all that, I have actually managed to do a bit of creating in between the crazy!

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At the museum I work in, there has been a live Natural Dyeing project where people from all over the world have sent in skeins of yarn dyed using all kinds of plants, bark, roots, seeds, etc. Some of the results are truly spectacular and I have really enjoyed watching it grow. Have a look at their Instagram to see what incredible colours have been created!

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This exhibition really inspired me to try working with just Indigo as a starting point. I love blue and white – I wear a hella lot of navy and dark blues, so indigo had a natural pull for me. This also seemed like a really good way for me to experiment with using more wet, tangible mediums in my pattern design, as often I take my sketches straight to the computer for final artwork and colouring. I am really enjoying the process of using watercolour and inks to create motifs, and though it’s certainly far from perfect, I feel like this collection is definitely helping me expand my style and give me more confidence in using different media to design!

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Hope you enjoy the results so far!

Zoë xoxo

Paintly Patterns

Whew I’m glad February is over – although it went quickly this month felt like a slog. Getting sick with a horrible flu, super gloomy weather, work feeling like a grind…but I am determined that March is going to be full of bright and better things! Having spring flowers popping up all over the place is definitely helping my mood as well 🙂

So what have I been doing? Well I learnt to knit! So far I’ve completed one slightly wonky scarf and I’m halfway through creating some slightly wonkier fingerless gloves! Let the craft revolution commence!!

More importantly though, I’ve been thinking about how I can incorporate some more illustrative style into my pattern work. I really like drawing by hand, and although that’s how all of my patterns start, I feel like a lot of that unique, hand drawn style is lost once I put it into Illustrator. Not that there’s anything wrong with the patterns I’ve created, I still like them, but it would be nice to have a more painterly feel to my creations. So I challenged myself to create a complete pattern purely from hand-inked and/or watercoloured drawings alone.

I started with this pen drawing of bunches of hydrangeas using my navy Muji pen…

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I didn’t really have a clear direction of what I was going to do, I was kind of just trying things and seeing what happened. I decided to wash over the drawing with water and see if the pen would bleed a bit, adding some tone. TOTALLY WORKED!

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The lines stayed really clearly defined, but the water allowed just enough pigment to flow over the drawing and I was able to create some really nice highlights and shadows. WIN! Totally going and buying some more Muji pens next time I get the chance!

I then scanned my hydrangea doodles into Photoshop and started to play. Usually patterns are way easier to create in Illustrator as each motif is simpler to manipulate and move around inside a pattern block. However, I wanted to use my original line work and use some transperancy in order to build up my pattern, so Photoshop was my best option. For added texture and colour I also scanned in a watercolour wash of hydreagea-inspired colour which I could layer underneath some of the line-drawings.

And so…Voila!

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The finished pattern! I’m pretty pleased – it’s possibly not my most refined piece ever, but for a first experiment in Photoshop-created, hand-drawn-only, pattern creation, it’s not at all bad 😀

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

New Year’s not-really resolutions

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? I’m not really a big resolution sort of person – the one’s like ‘I’m going to get fit’ or ‘I’ll stop eating sugar’ – I tend to believe they don’t last much longer than a week into January, despite my good intentions. But I do have a few life goals I want to challenge myself to achieve this year.

  1. Draw more. I was getting really good at drawing something every day about a year ago, and then…I stopped. How come good habits are so easy to break and bad ones a basically impossible to get rid of?!
  2. Get out more. This one covers two things. First, the more people I talk to the more I realise how little I’ve seen of the area in which I live now: I really need to explore all that Brighton and Sussex has to offer! Secondly, meet new people. Although my list of acquaintances has definitely grown in the last few months, I still feel so new in Brighton, so it would be great to get to know more people.
  3. Do more fairs. Late last year I had a stall at the Etsy Christmas market and it was a fantastic experience. I had been put off fairs a bit previously because the ones I chose were so quiet and poorly advertised, but now my mind has definitely been changed! It also will motivate me to keep the momentum up with pushing my buiness and creating new things, which can only be good!
  4. Be good to myself. May sound obvious but it’s something I have never been very good at – I’m the type of person who historically has just kept my head down and put my needs last. It’s been a slow build but I am definitely much more positive and happier within myself than I was a few years ago, but I still have space to improve.
  5. Eat less sugar – whom am I kidding, I’ve already failed this one!

 

Artist Crush: Andrea Lauren

I first came across this amazing lady on Spoonflower, falling in love with her geometric, animal inspired patterns.

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Andrea Lauren’s Llama print

But what I love most are her intricate linocut prints! They’re simply gorgeous, I love the way she layers colours, and she gives a great insight into her process through her Instagram pictures.

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Andrea Lauren print

Isn’t that gorgeous?! It certainly makes me want to try my own hand at linocut, though I think it will take me quite some time before I can create something this detailed!

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Andrea Lauren print

Check out more of her work at http://www.inkprintrepeat.com/

My Creative Block is a Dog

I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since I moved into my new home –  already I’m starting to feel settled. The box mountains surrounding my mattress are slowly getting smaller as I find small but ingenius ways to store all my stuff (shoe-rack under-desk art-supply shelving: hella yeah!) – and for the first time in about three years I have been able to set up my piano again, which I am so excited about!

I’ve been blessed with three charming housemates. I’ve managed to work out how the heating works. I’m even getting used to the sound of passing trains over the viaduct outside my bedroom window.

But still there’s a problem.

And that is I am feeling completely creatively dead.

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I keep thinking, it should be fine right? Sure there are still a few piles of teacups and odd things on my desk that haven’t found a proper home, and my room is still slightly chaotic, but that shouldn’t make a difference, should it? Yet somehow it does.

Creativity is a tempestuous beast. She’s a minx. One day she will fill you with inspired thought and you feel completely elated with how brilliant your imagination is… and the next day everything you’ve done before looks like poop, and you can stare at a page for hours with your mind a total, numbing blank. Creativity is so darned impetuous it needs to be petted and fussed over and coaxed into being, which I think means that any upheaval, even if it’s a positive change, is still such a shock to creative flow that it needs a lot of time to recalibrate and be comfortable again with its new surroundings. I’m making it sound like creativity is a very anxious and delicate old lapdog, with a weak stomach and neurotic tendencies, which is probably an apt description.

So what should I do? I have decided to beat it at it’s own game: by being mundane.

That doesn’t sound like much of a plan but apparently doing mundane tasks like cleaning, dusting, general tidying or walking to the shops allows your brain to switch its focus from the activity and rely on muscle memory to complete the task, letting your mind to wander off and be creative (Science!). So although my days don’t sound very interesting at the moment (ie. this morning I did the vaccuming and mopped the kitchen floor – woohoo!) I still feel like I have achieved something creatively, because I’m allowing my brain to resettle in it’s new environment and find its happy place. I am, essentially, petting the crazy lapdog and telling it that it’s okay, this place is safe for you to do your thing.

Go nuts.

 

Artist crush: Jessica Hische

It’s a long time since I did my first artist crush post about Erik Marinovich, but I really enjoy sharing my artistic inspirations/icons and talking about how awesome they are!!

If you love hand lettered anything haven’t heard of Jessica Hische, then this blog post is for you because she has amazing typography skills! Her work has been published on pretty much everything, from book covers to art prints to product labels. She did a beautiful typography collection of hardback classics for Penguin Books and is responsible for the MailChimp logo too. Take a look at some of her work below…

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And she has a fantastic class on Skillshare about designing stand-out drop cap lettering, inspired by the Penguin Books project, where she talks about her process and design journey, in all her nerdy glory!

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Amen sister!  Her website is pretty awesome (if you click on the heart on the top right corner you can change the setting to different modes, including teenage girl – complete with flashing stars and unicorns! Check it out here!)

Do you have a favourite designer that you want to share? Tell us all about them in the comments below!

Quote of the day

I’m always looking for new quotes to practice my hand-lettering on, or to give me a bit of a boost when I’m feeling unmotivated and blocked creatively. I found this one by Brené Brown particularly inspiring today, it basically encapsulates everything I feel about putting my artwork out into the world, so I made it into a poster. I hope you find it helpful too!

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Are there any quotes that particularly inspire you? Let me know! 🙂