My drawing of the week is a young eucalyptus plant.
I was at a friend’s house last weekend and she had gorgeous bunch of eucalyptus in her lounge. They also looked so elegant placed on their own in the vase, unadorned, unfettered by other blooms. Inspired by these I had to source some of my own sprigs to draw.
It has kick-started me trying out some more botanical illustrations. I’ve already done some further eucalyptus sketches and some more watercolour and ink drawings of ferns.
Here’s my feather themed Monday Moodboard.
Happy New Year! Yes I know I’m a bit late, I started 2017 with a ton of commissions so I’ve been rather busy this past three weeks.
So 2017 has started really well for me – I hope it’s the same for you.
After a nice bit of satisfyingly new work to get to grips with I can now settle into working on drawings for new prints, gifts and stationery.
I’ve read a lot of trend reports saying feathers are going to be big motifs over the next couple of years. Which is very handy for me as I’ve been working on feather illustrations on prints for some time now one of which you can see in the bottom right hand corner of this board.
Here are some more feather daubings in close up…
This week’s drawing of the week is a Orange tip butterfly.
After all that Christmas stuff I’m now working on illustrations for next year and I’m going to make an illustrated guide to butterflies. This is the first of many butterfly drawings.
The latin name for these creatures is Anthocharis cardamines and you can find them in damp pastures and meadows, damp woodland edges and glades, riverbanks, ditches, dykes, fens, railway cuttings and country lanes.
Not sure how I feel about zoos but I certainly like the animals inside them. So my Monday moodboard is dedicated to them this week.
I’m broadening my drawing repetoire and have started drawing a range of creatures one would find in a British zoo. I’ve already created lots of flamingo illustrations and have just finished a zebra watercolour and ink piece. I’ll showcase more of these zoo-themed drawings in the near future (I’m exploring elephants and giraffes this week). Watch this space.
As an artist, illustrator and journalist, observation, research and image gathering are key to the success of my work. So from now on I’m letting you in on my working practice every week with my Monday Moodboards.
I’m always taking pictures of things that catch my eye and (much to Dr B’s chagrin) spend at least a couple of hours a day on Pinterest (probably not very healthy I know) collecting all kinds of images that reflect trends and serve as inspiration for my home and my drawings. Making them into a moodboard distills my thoughts and allows me to think about the vibe I want to create with my own endeavours.
I’ve recently become fascinated by green and white. It is so representative of this time of year. During the past three weeks I’ve been greeted with this glorious colour combination on my daily morning woodland and riverside walks. Lush grass, delicate hawthorn flower and cow parsley abound the environment creating delightful glades and giving everything a soft, elegant appearance. Beautiful.
This simple palette has so much potential in terms of design and it’s versatile too; a simple flower arrangement, artful grouping of fern and minty coloured objet, delicate planting or full-on statement floor and wall tiles, there are so many ways to incorporate this look into your home. Used wisely it can look stylish in a laid back, understated way. And even if you’re not actually using natural elements or motifs it suggests a natural, organic feel. The clean, fresh scheme and simplicity reflected in my mood board has also given me food for thought when it comes to my illustrations – sometimes maybe less is more?
As you know last week myself and Dr B launched our latest book The Migrant Waders. The publication features 21 illustrations of wading birds by yours truly. To accompany the book I’ve produced an illustrated poster of wading birds inspired by vintage bird guides I’ve come across in various antique shops and thrift stores as well as on pinterest.
These illustrated bird guides have been enduring classics in terms of design and I must admit I’m very pleased with my own version. It’s great to see the birds all together and I’m tempted to do a guide featuring my garden birds too.
As well as the poster I’ve also produced a set of postcards featuring the birds.
There are six postcards in the set depicting a redshank, lapwing, curlew, greenshank, avocet and golden plover.
Both the postcards and the poster were printed on textured high-quality gesso paper – I love the way it holds colour and it also shows off the fact that these illustrations were originally created on watercolour paper.
The poster and the cards are available at my various online shops on Folksy, Etsy and Not On the High Street. You can also buy them (along with the book) at the Dunlin Press online store.
As I mentioned earlier this week with my black and white drawings, the black headed gull is a constant companion for any Wivenhoe resident.
The gull isn’t a particularly glamorous bird I suppose, however it is quite a handsome creature in my opinion. It has a gorgeous sleek head (this dark colour comes along in the spring and summer for sexy mating times) and rather lovely white and silver feathers. I love these guys and I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to see them everyday!
I didn’t have to overwork this piece for the final illustration. Although the colour looks light, there are actually several layers of washes in a range of silvery, blue, purple, pink and grey watercolours. Because this bird is quite sleek I don’t want to go to town on fine detail on this drawing, so I kept my ink lines gestural and fluid, maybe a little rough and ready like the birds themselves.
After whipping up a set of black and white thistles earlier this week I got carried away and did two final watercolour illustrations and a fabric pattern using this gorgeous flower as my motif.
I love a thistle and used them a lot when I style photo shoots – I admire their structural quality and blue, green, two-tone colours. I particularly like drawing them though, you can be really expressive with both the watercolour and the pen work as you can probably tell. They also work incredibly well as an indigo and white pattern – I’ve ordered some fabric in this pattern from my Spoonflower shop so I can make some nice stylish textile bits and pieces.