Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Christmas cards.

So today it is officially two months til Christmas. Although it feels far too early to even be thinking about Christmas at the moment, I have spent the last few weeks designing Christmas cards which will be available to buy in my shop very soon. It was hard to find inspiration at first, especially with the sun shining through the windows, but thanks to a few Christmas tunes, and the arrival of some much colder weather, I am now feeling totally ready for snow and gingerbread men and pretty wrapping paper. Eeeee. 

These are the final designs for my cards, which I will be getting printed soon. Any feedback - comments/suggestions etc - would be really appreciated before I send them off to the printers, so either leave me a comment or tweet at me. Also, if you think you might like to buy some cards once they're printed, then please let me know that too, as it will help me decide how many cards to order. :]
I have also designed a card for all those Christmas haters amongst you - perfect to send to the scrooges in your life. The card will be available to buy in my Etsy shop soon, and will of course come with a little bag of complimentary humbugs. :]

Monday, 10 October 2011

World Mental Health Day | Transitions Exhibition.

I secretly admire the illustrators who have blogs which manage to merge their illustration work with their personal life so effortlessly. They're always the best blogs to read, the most interesting, with a balance between the life of the illustrator, and the work they create. I've always struggled with this, and tend to keep my blog purely about my illustration work, always assuming that my life is so boring that surely no-one would be interested in reading about it. However, there are days like today when life and illustration crash together to a point where it seems stupid to try and prise them apart.

Today is World Mental Health Day. Mental health problems affect one in four people, and yet there is such stigma attached that I'm sure only a small percentage would be willing to admit that they are part of that 25%. Even as I write this, I am afraid. Afraid that I will be judged negatively, that people's opinion of me will change purely due to what I am about to write. Mental illness affects each person differently. For me, it came in the form of eating disorders and depression - a battle which, even a number of years since it's arrival, I am still fighting every day.

Now (and this is where the art part comes in), I am currently attending an eating disorders unit in Dorset as a day patient, and last month we were invited to take part in an art project facilitated by an artist and a dude called Paul from the Dorset Mental Health Forum. Basically, over the course of four weekly sessions, we were to create artwork which explored our idea of recovery. Today we all attended the private view of the exhibition held in Bournemouth, and it was amazing to see everyone's work all together, everyone's individual interpretation of recovery. It was like all our hope for a better future had been captured in picture frames, displayed on the walls for everyone to see.

For me, this was an interesting experience. As an illustrator, my work is generally created with an end purpose in mind - to fit a brief for a commission or competition. The reason why I'm creating it is clear in my mind. It's got to a point where I very rarely do an illustration just for fun anymore, because it seems like a waste of time. This project gave me the space to do just that, to be experimental and to play around with a much more abstract concept than I am usually used to. Although I immediately retreated into my comfort zone of cutting up tiny bits of paper, my picture started off very experimentally with no visualisation of how the final outcome would look. Unusually for me, this is how I continued to create the whole picture - just going with what felt right and what looked right, and not focussing at all on the end result.

So this is my finished picture (the photos aren't very clear, but the image is entirely collaged using cut up pages from magazines). I found it difficult to find the right words to explain the meaning behind the image, which is part of the reason I liked having he chance to express myself pictorially. Basically, the black in the bottom left hand corner is how I feel now, and the bright pink in the top right is how recovery will feel. The blue part of the image shows the journey of illness to recovery - the circles representing events and situations in my life, my reactions to them, and how they each affect my journey to recovery.

If you're interested, and live in the area, you can check out the exhibition tomorrow (11th October) at 843 Christchurch Road, Pokesdown - there is some really inspirational work there, so it's definitely worth a look. The exhibition is also moving to Dorchester towards the end of the week (more information on the dates and opening times here).

This was an ace project to be part of, one which really made me think about the concept of recovery and what it meant to me. I think it also helped remind us that there IS a possibility of recovery, which is often difficult to remember when you're stuck in darkness. I'm really proud of my Kimmeridge girlies and all their awesome work. ♥ Happy World Mental Health Day. Let's continue to fight the prejudice that surrounds mental illness.

Friday, 7 October 2011

All Tropical | Ghosts of Gone Birds.

This is an illustration I created as a tee design for the Ghosts of Gone Birds challenge for All Tropical. Ghosts of Gone Birds is a project which brings extinct species of birds back to life through the use of different artistic mediums, and the challenge was to design a t-shirt which would 'breathe life back into the birds we have lost'.

I chose to illustrate the Cuban Macaw; a bird which was native to Cuba, and which became extinct due to people disturbing nests to capture young birds to keep as pets. The Cuban Macaw was such a vibrant and brightly-coloured bird that it captured me immediately. It was a beautiful bird to illustrate, and also worked well with the four colour limit, which was a challenge in itself! I think it's such a shame that this bird is no longer around to brighten up our world.

So now it's over to you guys! I would reeeally appreciate all your ratings, comments and likes and it would also be ace if you could tweet about it and share the link with everyone you know. My design needs to be in the top 10 rated designs in order for me to be in with a chance of winning, which would mean my design would be printed on real t-shirts and then sold at the Ghost of Gone Birds exhibition in London next month, which would obviously be amazing! So please get voting!