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/

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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It’s September

I can’t believe I’m seeing the last days of summer and autumn is almost here. It’s too sooooooon!!

On the upside, after a year of slowing building up my business with the help of the Prince’s Trust, my business is finally launched! It’s felt like a slow uphill climb: redrafting my business plan, doing test trades, and learning to take control of my cash flow and branding, etc. etc. I still have a lot to learn and so much more space to grow, but having cleared the Prince’s Trust launch panel feels like I’ve overcome a major hurdle.

For those who don’t know the Prince’s Trust is a charitable organisation that helps young entrepeneurs set up their own business, offering a support network and advice. Now that I’ve passed the launch panel, I can be paired with a business mentor who can offer me advice.

Now the real journey begins!

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