Monday, 2 March 2015

La Maison Blanche - Limoux

It's been a long time coming to share this finished postcard!  You can see some of my work in progress in this post here.  There were lots of elements to take into account and include on the front, as well as keeping the reverse informative.  I was happy with how the design came out, but only working from photos this time, I want to visit and illustrate one while I'm there!

Here they are in a local shop in Limoux, advertising the lovely 'La Maison Blanche' to locals and tourists alike.  Maybe 2015 will be the year for a weekend in the South of France!

Would you like a bespoke postcard illustrated for your business?  Then please get in touch and share your ideas!  Prices are bespoke to the request but start at around £100.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Renegade Craft Fair November 2014

I had such a lovely market selling at Renegade Craft Fair.  And, comparing to 2013's market, I also mark it a bigger success.  In general I think that the atmosphere and the whole fair has gone from strength to strength in the 3 years it's come to London.  I'm so grateful and happy to of been part of it for the last 2.

I really planned hard this time with the layout of my table.  Last time, I remember, I really did just wing it.  In other markets I'd done, my table had looked good, so what would go wrong?  Well, it was fine really.  But looking at what everyone else had done, really had me questioning my display.

So I thought it out.  I thought about what I wanted, and even made a few bits to bring in the added character I was looking for.  The sign was a real hit :) and it was definitely worth it painting the crates white - each is a different shade of white actually, my Dad had me using up old sample pots they had in the garage!

 Along with this I also streamlined my products.  Having my own little illustration world, I really do tend to keep everything I've done - what if someone sees it at this market and loves it?!  This time, I was strict with myself.  Screen-prints and building watercolour illustrations.  This, i think really paid off.  My stall looked much more complete and finished, rather than the work in progress that was last year.

Big sellers for me this time around were; Cushions - I sold 5 compared to the 1 I sold in 2013.  Watercolour Travel Kit - A brand new item!  But it got so much interest, I was over the moon.  Watercolour building illustrations - It was definitely a good call to have my originals on display alongside the digitally printed postcards.  Christmas cards - Last year, only friends and family bought them.  This year, I sold out before all friends and family could get theirs and didn't have any for myself to send out!

So, thank you Renegade, and London, for a brilliant market!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Bespoke House Illustrations

These are my favourite pieces to work on!

It always starts off with quite a bit of pressure (on myself, from myself), to get the initial sketch right, and to then actually get paint to paper.  But the final outcome is always so rewarding, and knowing how happy the person who commissioned it will be to have a one of a kind illustration of their home - priceless.

Here are a couple I've worked on recently, one just before Christmas and the following just after.  Both were commissioned as gifts - such a lovely present idea!

These sweet house portraits are A5 in size and just £35 (no frame included).

Monday, 2 February 2015

Embossing your own Greeting Cards

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before on here, but about 2 years ago I vowed to not buy any more greeting cards until I had used up the hoard I already had.  And I had (have) a lot.  But I also send quite a lot of post, so I was hopeful.  It turns out, a lot of the cards I did have were not always suitable for the occasion I needed a card for.  So I've been making the ones I don't already have.

At a workshop at Homemade London last year, the lovely Nancy Straughan taught us how to emboss your own cards.  Such a simple, elegant way to add a bit more to your designs at home.  Purely for one-offs though, you wouldn't be able to do it for 100's!

You need:

Thick card - this needs to be thicker than the card of your greeting card.
Blank greeting card
Scissors or Stanley knife

Step one:

Draw and cut out the shape you want to emboss from the thick card, and discard the actual shape so you're left with a frame like piece. 

Step two:

Open up your card flat and place the frame where you want to emboss your shape on the front of the greeting card.  You'll be working on the inside of the card so that your design stands out on the front.

Step three:

Hold the frame firmly in place, turn the card over and flatten out onto the surface you're working on.  Making sure you don't move the frame of your shape, use the bone folder to find where the shape is and press into it.  Focus on the edges for a more pronounced shape, and the middle to even it all out.  

Step four:

Once you think you're done, take a look at your handy work!  

Step five:

Repeat as necessary if you're after a pattern, or a word as I have done on my 'YES' card.

Do you make your own cards?  I'm still working my way through my collected ones as well as creating my own bespoke ones.  Looking forward to the day when I can buy cards again!

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.