Monday, 26 January 2015

Personalised rugby shirt illustration

I love it when someone looks through my shop, doesn't see what they're after, and messages me with their idea and the lovely question of  'is this possible?'

This request came completely out of the blue, as I've only ever done one illustration of a rugby shirt, and it's on a Father's Day card.  But, could I illustrate the back of a thick stripe, white and navy blue rugby shirt with the text '5' (in orange) and 'Finn' underneath?  Of course I can, and I'd be happy to!

I've been lucky so far, my customers are very understanding with distance and the time it takes to ship/post an item as well as for me to actually illustrate it.  If we keep things small, everything is more manageable!

Personalised pieces like this start from just £35.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Do it Yourself Presents

So along with shopping independent for 2014 Christmas, I also made a few bits myself.  As you can't always find what you're after within your budget!  And the homemade touch is always appreciated.

Homemade tags :)

For my sister, I created her own illustrated range.  I chose a tartan, which I painted out in watercolours before scanning in and applying to a phone case for her iPhone 5.  I then used the original illustration to back a clock, and make tags for the rest of my presents.

My Sister's 'Tartan' range

For my Dad, I also made him a phone case for his iPhone 5.  He's a big fan of my Amsterdam print, so I created a bespoke pattern of the buildings in rows of streets.  I had originally tested out these cases in the summer when I created a custom one for myself.  Top tip - white picks up colour from clothes!  So I made sure there wasn't too much white around the edges here.  I also got him a discount card with Time  Out, and was looking at just giving a piece of paper on Christmas Day - not my idea of a present!  So I painted him a watercolour stand-in card and put the piece of paper in a box - much nicer.

For the bike mad boyfriend, I illustrated his motorbike on to a clock - it's always time for a bike ride then!

Bike Clock for the Boy!

For some Secret Santa presents, I made the cocktails and kittys bunting from Mollie Makes, and made the most of my own Christmas present making some madeline cakes.  I also made some cute photo frames for polaroid photos by following Claireabellemakes' tutorial here.

It turned out great!

Phone cases were printed with Awesome Merchandise for an average of £13.

Label cutter I've had for a few years, but picked it up in Hobby Craft originally.

Clocks I picked up from IKEA, a bargain at about £3 each I think.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Shopping Independent for Christmas 2014

As a small, independent illustrator/printmaker, I'm increasingly aware of where I am spending my hard earned money, and thinking where it will be appreciated.

It means so much to me every time someone buys something from my little shops.  Whether it's a complete bargain for a couple of pounds in the sale, or it's a commissioned, one of a kind piece which is worth a fair amount.  Every little bit counts!  So, if thats you, then thank you.  You give me the means to keep going (money) and the feedback I need to know I'm doing the right thing (spending your money on my illustrations).

In 2014, I tried to get most of my Christmas shopping done at Renegade Craft Fair London in November.  With so many makers, crafters, illustrators and printmakers, I had so much to choose from - I was spoilt for choice!

Promises Promises
- I sat opposite these guys for two whole days!  With a table full of lovely jewellery and sweet little taxidermy mice…I would of regretted not making a purchase. (Will update with a link soon!)

Hello Harriet
- I've followed (/known?) Harriet for a couple of years and love her work - as does my sister!  We'd be cooing over her gorgeous new dresses, but with a somewhat sensible budget for presents, I couldn't quite stretch but took a look anyway.  And I lucked out.  Harriet had also been a busy bee and done some adorable scarves which I knew my sister would adore.  Another tick on the present list.

Colette Moscrop Shop
- Also opposite me (at a diagonal) at Renegade, lovely printed materials - I could spy pouches from my view point.  Getting closer and I picked up a sweet little pin cushion, but with an added extra - you could also buy the material + filling to make your own!  What a lovely idea!  However, I am no expert at the sewing machine so i opted for this little nugget ready made.  Colette uses crushed nut shells to fill her pin cushions as they help keep pins sharp (and shiny too).

Sean Mort Print Shop
- I absolutely love Sean's work.  He seems to always have the right piece for a tricky-to-buy-for man in my life.  This year it was my Dad.  For the man that has everything and doesn't really have anything he wants….I got this great print for a man in a crafty house!  To put things in perspective, when I moved out, my Mum made my room into a 'sewing room'.

Mollie Makes
- Perfect for my Mum.  I know it's a bit of a bigger company, but they do well at advertising smaller independents.  My Mum is always asking for my copies when I have them , so a little 3 month trial subscription of her own was a great idea.

Dear Colleen
- I've bought tea towels from these guys in the past, but just couldn't resist this one for my little sister who has just gone off to University.  Bought a smile to her face when she opened it too!

Lucky Dip (Cat) Club
- Not at Renegade actually, but should of been!  This is one of the most fantastic ideas I've seen come out of 2014.  On a monthly basis, you can buy a single (or sign up for a 3/6 monthly subscription) 'Lucky Dip Box'.  Each month has a different theme and all boxes come with a personalised item.  Following on Instagram and it all looks amazing…I don't think I dropped enough hints though as Father Christmas didn't bring one.  I was at least, fast enough for the Cat Club box, which I gifted to my sister, as it was a collaboration between Lucky Dip Club and Hello Harriet!

(Photo to come soon!)

Old Letterpress Type Drawers as Shelves.
- Found at Portobello Road Market, they have a fantastic stand of letterpress bits and have a great selection of trays made into shelves.  This I thought would be great for my Mum to display all her sewing threads in.  They can all be on display and then she knows exactly what she has amiable to use.

- I found this Little Bag of Happiness when searching for stocking fillers on Not on the High Street, and it was just the sweetest thing!  I got one for my sister, as she's away at University in Leeds now, she's not able to be home every time she wants to be so hopefully this will cheer her up when she needs it!  You can get your own little bag of happiness here.

Do you opt to shop in independent shops when you can?  Share your favourites below!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year!

There is a lot I need to catch up with on here but I'm looking forward to see what happens in 2015, where the year will take me, what I will experience, and how I'll tackle all it throws at me!

Last year, I set off full of good intentions with my blog, and as I could of almost predicted, in the run up to Christmas, it got left behind.  That time of year just bends itself to more secretive work, and a busier lifestyle in general.  Maybe 2015 will be the year I handle my time better and don't loose the thread of blogging on a regular basis.

My personal resolutions of 2015 are to wear more perfume (because I'm rubbish at remembering to actually use those lovely bottles on my dresser) and to work on my posture (because sitting and painting lends itself to slouching quite nicely and that is not good).

Aside from those two, my main resolution is to be more organised.  To make the most of my time, so that I can grow my little illustration world and not be stressed about it.  This also involves learning to say no, as I often say yes even when it puts a lot of strain on myself.

I have high hopes that these will go well - one year me and my sister gave up chocolate and didn't touch a bite all year!  But still…fingers crossed!

Do you have any resolutions for the year ahead?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Help with Markets and Fairs

Are you thinking about selling at markets and fairs?  Or maybe you already do, but need a bit of help?

I'm currently guest blogging over at The Little Fox Market blog and am sharing my tips and how to's based on my own experiences.  I've been selling at markets and fairs since I was at university, and am still learning myself, but I'm quickly seeing what is working and what is not.

If you'd like some further advice, please leave a note below or email me at

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Artfordable Fair @ 13 The Gallery

Cracking into the London Market and Art Fair scene is not easy at all.  Which is why I was quite excited to get accepted to this lovely monthly market at 13 The Gallery for August in North London.  I packed up a small table and a selection of my favourite prints and cards and set off to set up shop there for the weekend.

LEFT : Jonathan Ellis
RIGHT : Matt Gee

LEFT : Eni Jewellery
RIGHT : Cathy Simpson

LEFT : Emily Mould
RIGHT : Monika Dhamija Kalra

Isabel Farfan

Alejandro with my mini illustration of my Amsterdam print  (markers on canvas)

As with most events in August, it was a little quiet, but I was able to cover costs, spend time with some lovely people and explore another area of London I hadn't seen yet.  Success I say!

You can visit the gallery during the week, or for this art market once a month on Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

One year Wedding Anniversary

Did you know that paper symbolises the 1st year of marriage?  I've only had a few requests on this celebration, but they are always unique and wonderful.  You can see my first commission for one year anniversary here. And now, I can share the second with you as well!

I met Emma at the Little Fox Market in Rickmansworth last month, we had a quick chat on the day and she followed up with an email with some more details.  She had a tight deadline - anniversary coming up quickly! And through the details she shared with me I designed a floral wreath, featuring the flowers and plants from their wedding and honeymoon.  Emma let me know what text she wanted, and after a rough draft was agreed on I got painting and popped it in the post for a speedy delivery (thank you Mr Postman!).

Due to the tight deadline we kept it small, and it's really super sweet, perfect.  I can work to bigger sizes if small isn't your thing, and the text can be anything you'd like.  If you're interested in seeing these in my shop as a personalisable illustration, then leave a comment please.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Coach and Horses Bank Holiday Weekend

Did you have a nice bank holiday?  Maybe you're not in the UK…sorry about that!  I had quite a relaxed one this time around!  After my sisters wedding the weekend before, I was still in recovery, so taking it easy was what I needed.

A few of us set up shop at this lovely pub, The Coach and Horses, in Bourton-on-the-Water for a lovely afternoon of bouncy castle and a relaxing pub garden.  The pub has recently been taken over by a couple of good friends of mine, and seeing first hand and hearing from the locals too, they're doing an excellent job!

We enjoyed a quiet afternoon, this being the first market of it's kind at the pub, but we're looking forward to the next and seeing this lovely idea grow into a 'must go' day out!

I shared my gazebo with the lovely Naida Crystal - handmade baby clothing and accessories.  You can find her @naidacrystal on Twitter and Instagram.  We were joined by local butchers and suppliers - delicious jams, marmalades, salami and choritzos!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Little Fox Market - August

It's always a pleasure doing this lovely local market -The Little Fox Market has friendly customers and the other stall holders are of brilliant standards and create a great atmosphere.  I've done a few of this monthly market over the last year, so it's nice to see familiar faces but also to meet new ones!

It's all the details that count - beautiful bunting and cute price stands!

I had Naida Crystal to the right of my stall...

...and Glow Beads was to the left of my stall.

 A happy customer at Naida Crystal's stall trying on her purchase!

As well as fabulous stalls full of art and crafty goodness this months market was packed with scrummy food as well!  We treated ourselves to some Ethiopian curry with couscous and flatbread - with a sprinkling of salad too!  There was also some delicious smelling chicken curry, and to top it off tea, coffee and an array of cakes (I went for the gluten free coconut sponge with vanilla frosting...highly recommended!)

To see more photos, have a look on The Little Fox Market's facebook page.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Artforable Fair

I'm part of this lovely art fair in North London this coming weekend.  If you come along, be sure to say hello - I'll have some bits to give out as well!

I'll be exhibiting some of my screen prints and my watercolour building illustrations, so if you'd like tto see them up close then now is your chance.