AOH and Illustrator Fair with House of Illustration

Hi all! Yeah I have been reaaaaallly bad with updating my blog – I am so sorry! The last few months work at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft has been manic with our big summer exhibition, I’ve been completing a new Make it in Design course (Module 3, which has been fantastic but overwhelming!), and I have participated in the famous Brighton Artists Open House, which was an excellent experience. For those who aren’t familiar with it, basically every weekend in May artists open their houses to the public so people can visit artists’ houses, see how they work and, hopefully, buy stuff direct from the maker! It’s a really fantastic event that’s gathered so much momentum, it’s really popular now in Brighton and attracts a lot of locals and daytrippers. For the artists, it is also a valuable opportunity to gain exposure and instant feedback about your work from a huge range of people (although it feels a bit nerve-wracking to begin with!) I exhibited my work with the lovely Izzie Roffe-Silvester, a silversmith and jeweller, her artist mother Charlotte and talented Claire Cullen of Kitsch Religion. It was great to be involved with such a creative group of women.

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In more recent news, I found myself a fella who has been taking up a lot of my time and headspace (squeeeeeee!!) AND preparing for this Illustrator’s Fair with one of my favourite galleries in London, the House of Illustration.

I started volunteering with House of Illustration when I first arrived in London in 2014 and I’ve always loved it – they always have really interesting and diverse range of exhibitions, as well as a supportive network of creative volunteers, often jobbing illustrators or art studetns themselves, who love getting involved. I’ve gotten involved in their Christmas fair before and I thought this would be a brilliant way to keep up momentum from the Artist’s Open House in May.

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I loved being able to see other illustrators I knew through volunteering or through other fairs exhibiting their creations, finding creative ways to sell their art on a range of products, from cards to pins, tea towels to mini zines, candles to temporary tattoos. I also experimented with some new postcards featuring original watercolours and patterned pocket mirrors, which I think went well.

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Definitely planning to do some more craft fairs soon, I’ll keep you posted!! And hey if you think of any interesting new things I can make for the next one, please let me know!! I love suggestions xxx

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!

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/

Fun with Brush Pens

I have wireless again!!! The last few internet-less weeks have felt looooong – but I guess it did give me time to focus on other things (well other than stealing internet from the pub over the road…) – like drawing! I’ve had this Japanese brushpen for a little while now and haven’t really used it much, so I thought I’d try it out with a bit of doodle – I like the illustrated list thing.

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FUN!! So fun. This may be my new favourite way to draw things now. The lines just have so much character, everything kinda looks like it’s dancing!

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Yum breakfast! I coloured my vegetable design and made it into a pattern…

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…but to be honest I think it looks just as fun in black and white.

What do you think? Any suggestions as to what I should draw next? Any thoughts appreciated!

An exciting new collaboration

I have a few exciting announcements to make since I last posted… Firstly I will be having a stall in at the Brighton Etsy Christmas Fair! The competition is really stiff so I’m pretty honoured to be selected! It’ll be happening at the Brighton Dome on the 3rd December, so I hope to see some of you there!

More excitingly I have started a new collaboration with the talented people at ArtsCase! They are an iPhone accessories company that work with a range of fantastic artists and designers to create really unique and good quality products. I am thrilled to say that I will be joining their team of creatives! They’ve even written up a nice little bio introducting me, here. Even better, as a special welcome present, they’re giving 30% off all cases featuring my artwork, take a look here! I can’t wait till I get one myself, it’s really satisfying seeing stuff I’ve drawn on a real thing and not just in my sketchbook! (That and also because I keep dropping my currently caseless iPhone 5 and it’s reaaaaally starting to show!)

And now for my third exciting piece of news: I’m moving house! I have been living with relatives for a while now, who have kindly been letting me inhabit their spare rooms, but finally can now say I am able to move into my own space. At the moment my room is becoming piled ever higher with boxes of books (not an understatement – the majority of my boxes are purely books…) and I am scouring the internet for cheap wardrobes and furniture.

So let the new adventures begin! Thank you to everyone for all your support so far, onward to the future! 😀

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Pattern Summer School

All creative people find themselves sometimes just drawing a blank. I can spend hours staring at my computer trying to think of something to draw or make and nothing happens. So as a prompt for my pattern productivity I signed up to do the Make it in Design Summer School to make myself sit down and create something – even if it turns  out badly. They’ve been really useful so far: I find that, for me, creativity needs some sort of restrictions to really give some brilliant results – if the options are limitless I just find myself becoming paralysed because I don’t know where to start!

The Summer School works by setting creative briefs with a theme to design a pattern to. First briefs are in and here’s what I came up with:

  1. Beginner: French Riviera/Nautical theme

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Ok so I cheated a bit with this one: I took a pattern that I had already created and just played around with the elements and a new colour scheme to fit with the French Riviera theme. I added the diagonal stripes too which took a lot of tweaking to get right, but overall I’m pretty happy with the result.

2. Intermediate: Meadow theme

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A field of wildflowers is encapsulated in this colourful pattern

I found this one way easier as florals seems to be my go-to for pattern creating, and I had a lot of photos and sketches of wildflowers to draw upon. I could see this pattern making a pretty gorgeous dress or looking nice on some home textiles.

3. Advanced: Pop Art

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Ok so this one was way harder! I do really like pop art and that bold cartoony style that’s becoming really popular in acrylic jewellery (think Tatty Devine or Designosaur). However, artistically, it is really not my thing at all. In the inspiration pictures pineapples popped up a lot, so I ended up doing a pineapple based thing. I’m not super jazzed with it – some of the simpler ones I created later I liked much more – but at least now I know that my pop art skills might be something for me to work on!

Hope you enjoyed my new patterns! Let me know what you think below! 🙂

 

Paper-cutting

Hey gang! It’s been a little while I’m afraid, been busy getting burnt in Spain and then burying myself yet again in job applications and cover letters. However the last couple of days I’ve been taking a break to try something new…

My aunt and uncle have their 25th wedding anniversary this weekend and, considering how sparse my bank account is looking right now, I wanted to make them something to commemorate the event rather than buy something. I watched a show on craft recently on BBC, about how getting crafty and making things is becoming more popular again, and on this show they featured paper-cutting. I’ve always really liked papercut art, and the beautiful delicacy of papercut pieces, though I never really thought I would be patient (or dextrious!) enough to actually be able to do it myself. However, I was feeling inspired so I thought I would give it a go, and I am SO pleased with the results!

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First things first, I have learnt that it is a slow slow process, and that’s ok. This is just an artform that takes time, but you are rewarded for being so patient. Even just drawing the design: mine was about A3 size because I wanted to do quite a complex design, so to draw it all out took about four hours. This is also because I needed to make sure I knew absolutely which lines I was going to be cutting on, what’s going to be the cut-out area and what will be left behind and also ensuring that the entire design is linked together and won’t end up with a massive hole in it!

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The actual cutting out took about 10 hours altogether, but actually it was really theraputic. I just became so entraced by the whole process that I didn’t even feel the time go by (though I didn’t do it all in one sitting!) I started out with the smallest, most delicate holes while the structural integrity of the paper is still as it’s strongest, then moved on to the bigger sections.

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And here’s the finished product!! Yay! I wanted to corporate as much as I could about my aunt’s family: their hobbies and interests, etc. So there’s cake on the table in front of my cousin who loves to bake, the older sibling is holding a book with Harry Potter’s lightning scar on the cover, my younger cousin is near her cricket stuff and the cat and the chickens are featured too.

I’m so glad I tried this out and it’s definitely motivated me to try this out more in the future! Hope you like it too! 🙂

Geometric prints (and jobsearching)

Hi there! Well it’s been a busy few weeks of scouring the internet looking for someone to employ me. Is there really nothing so soul destroying as job hunting? These days it seems all about experience and ticking the right boxes rather than qualifications and skills. Maybe I would enjoy it more if I was looking for some fantastic design opportunity for an awesome creative company, but as it is I’m looking for a day job that’s going to pay the bills. Such is life!

Thank goodness I’ve had pattern design projects to distract me! I’ve been doing Make it in Design’s surface pattern design modules – I’m on number 2 at the moment – to gain more knowledge as I try and build my pattern design business into…well..a business! Some of it is simply reinforcing what I’ve been able to work out myself or have learnt from others already, but I’ve had some great insight into the pattern design industry through the module, and the creative projects they set are really helping me to extend out from my safe zone of floral patterns and sketches of cake!

Last week we were set a  challenge to create six geometric patterns using a ‘summer’ colour palette, and although geometrics are really not my strong point I’m actually pretty pleased with the result. Take a look, I’d love to see what you think! 🙂

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Society6 Shop now Open!!!

Just a quick hello to say hey, I’m still alive – even though I haven’t been posting! What I have been working on is a new pattern collection (inspired by Kyoto in spring – so pretty!) and setting up a new online shop! I’ve heard really great things about Society6 from other artistic friends and I’ve decided to give it a go myself – please check it out!

And below, my first pattern from my new collection – Cherry Blossoms (Aqua). Spring is coming, I can feel it!!

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