Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Celestine wants a chocolate fix

If there's a chocolate box lying about you can be sure Celestine will sneak into it and fetch out a champagne truffle. They are her favourites. Mind you it will take her about three weeks to finish it!

This is the second of my Celestine sketches as the previous one I posted was actually for last week. 

Monday, 27 May 2013

Goals and Resolutions

Hi everyone! Or anyone!  I'm surfacing from a mountain (or at least a large hill) of work here to write a quick blog post. 

I've had a list of general stuff/projects stuck on my wall for a while now.  They're just things/projects I want to personally achieve. Every now and then I look at then and see how far I've got with each of them.  I realised the other day that whilst I am getting ahead with some of the goals, others are just sitting there doing nothing. I decided that as it was time to do something about this.  

I'm kind of going a bit of a round about way of saying what I'm trying to say but let's start with the New Years resolutions I made back in January.  I decided that as it's almost halfway through the year, it's time to assess how well I am doing.

My first resolution for this year was 'Career.'  I wanted to be able to be a full time illustrator without going crazy working from home on my own. I also wanted to be busy and have lots of work.  I have to say it was a little stop and start for the first few months of this year on the whole workload front- I would have liked to be a bit busier than I was Jan-April ish but it has built up and I think I may even be a bit too busy for the next few months.  I'm not complaining though, swings and roundabouts hey?

I also mentioned that I wanted to be able to work from home without going crazy. Remember this post? Well I'm pleased to say that I feel I am getting better and better at working from home.  It helps that Henry comes home for lunch. It helps that I am much busier now. It helps that I have started two craft clubs at two different schools.  It sounds silly but it helps that I have Celestine and a personal project/book idea too.  I actually relish the fact that I don't have to get up and go to an office. I like that I can just get up and start work in my pyjamas if I want to. (if I'm rushing for a deadline that actually happens)

So I would say that over all my 'Career' goal is going well so far this year.

My second new years resolution was to finish my castle. I think I have also done pretty well with this one. It's no where near finished but I have done SO much to it this year. It''s gone from almost a bare shell to a wallpapered, carpeted, lit partly furnished castle.  Depending on future work load I am not sure whether I will actually FINISH it by Christmas (that was the plan) but it's not impossible. I definitely feel I have done well with it so far this year.  It was about time seeing as I have had it for about seven years now!

So yes I can smugly say that both my resolutions are coming along quite nicely (touch wood)

So then I thought I would add in a couple more for the rest of the year- a couple more from the list on my wall.

Firstly I am aware that there is not much drawing on my blog.  Which seems silly because I originally started this blog to showcase my work.  Right now though I am unable to show any of the work I am doing as it hasn't been published yet. Blog aside, I have been very inspired of late by the 'Catharine Susan' book I discovered the other week in a second hand book shop.  In case you don't know it's a book about a little peg doll and the adventures she gets up to. They are very charming illustrations.  Similarly one of my friends has also inspired me lately with drawings of a little penguin character she has created doing different things. It made me think that I should be drawing more of Celestine's adventures rather than just photographing her. Also it would be good practice.  So I have decided that every week I shall do a Celestine drawing.  Starting with this one: (p.s I know that I have got the wind direction wrong with her hair flying out/knees sticking out/direction of broom but I still really like this picture anyway.

Celestine Flies!

So let's see how long I can keep this one up!

Secondly I want to start writing more.  I have always had to have some sort of personal project on the go aside from any other work I am doing.  For a long time it was Victoria Stitch and I would write about her and make a world for her and draw her and think about her a lot. And I still do but recently her world has got bigger.  And I have had a new idea for an epic book (haha!) still including Victoria Stitch but also other characters too.  I have a nice book that I have stuck crystals on sitting by my bed ready to be written in. But it has mainly stayed empty. I don't know where to start! And then Henry said something recently which struck me. If you sit down and write every day then you'll be ready for when inspiration strikes. but if you sit around waiting for inspiration then you won't be practiced/ready when it does come.  Something like that anyway.  And I realised that I was doing exactly that. Waiting for the inspiration to strike so that I could begin writing my book perfectly.  But that's not the way to do it!  Henry writes a page or so of journal every night when he gets into bed and I decided that I am going to do the same. Except I am not going to write a journal but a bit of my book every night.  And it doesn't have to be perfect, or even follow a linear story (for now). I just want to get a feel for the world and characters I want to create. I want to just write for the sake of writing. To feel my way around the world I want to create. To write whatever pops into my head about what the characters might be doing/thinking feeling that night.

So that is goal number two! Because writing is a goal you need to exercise.

(Just realised I said this was going to be a quick blog post... ha. ha ha!)

Phew! I think that's about it for goals and resolutions. And now I am going to ramble on about what I have been doing lately too.  Mostly just because I like to look back on my blog as a record of things I have done. I don't expect it's that interesting for other people to read. But anyhoo...

Last weekend Henry and I went up to Derby to visit his mother. She has just got a new car so we had fun driving in it with the top down. I had never been in an open top car before.  I loved it. We went to town and I didn't buy anything. We had lunch at a pub on Sunday and shared a melted Camembert. yumyum. Also burger and chips.

On Friday I went up to London to see my friend's play that she had designed the set for.  I was a bit nervous about it as I thought the play was going to be a really horrible violent play and I don't like those but I actually really enjoyed it. And of course the set design was fantastic! Then we went for drinks at a pub nearby afterwards with her family and some of her other friends and it was just really nice.

On Sunday evening Henry and I drove into London to the same friend's house to her birthday meal with a load of our other friends. That was also really fun. It's always good to see those people! We laughed a lot and ate lots of crisps and lasagne and chocolate gateaux outside with candles. It was nice to see her uni house for the first time too. I also love driving around with Henry to places in our own car!  (yup that's me dressed as if I'm in the arctic.  I was cold. Shame Erin's not in this picture but she was taking it.)

I finally got around to telling my bridesmaids who they are- well almost all of them. The ones who I haven't told yet are unlikely to read my blog though. I made paper dolls of each bridesmaid and gave them to them because I wanted to do something a bit creative. 

I've been having trouble with one of my after school craft clubs lately because the particular kids I have are SO naughty!  It's a bit out of control right now to be honest. I think I am going to have to tell the naughty ones to leave as they are ruining it for the others. It's a shame.

My grandmother took me to this amazing fabric shop that I didn't know existed before! It specialises in patch working and so sells loads and loads of pieces of fabric with tiny patterns on them. perfect for me! And pretty local too.

Henry and I ate lunch outside for the first time today on a picnic blanket on the grass. Then we took Barney on a walk. It was such a nice day.

And now Barney is barking at me for his dinner so I'm going to stop rambling about my life and go and feed him. Especially as I still have lots of work to tonight.

Hope you've had a lovely bank holiday weekend. See you soon!


Tuesday, 14 May 2013


...I have been working a lot (as in 14 hour days) for different deadlines from different places.  You can see one of my sketches above which is a rough for the sequel to my Witch's Cat book.  And the castle at the top too is a small portion of a 3d set I was working on last week.

We went to the bluebell wood the other day and so did Celestine. We saw a purple carpet stretching through the forest as far as the eye could see!

I realised the reason I am enjoying the blossom so much this year is because I must have missed it all last year by being in Dubai for almost a month. Also it's just so nice to see some colour after such a long grey winter. 

...and that's about it really. Exciting I know!


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Bekonscot Model Village

Last Saturday we went to Bekonscot Model Village with some good friends.  It's not the generic thing you'd expect a group of twenty something people to do but we enjoyed it none the less!  I am so glad I have friends who I can do geeky things like that with.

I had already visited Bekonscot a couple of times before when I was younger (probably about ten years ago) but it was still as fun as I remembered.  It helped that it was a nice sunny day too.

We all went up together one car and it felt like we were on holiday or something as we drove through Beaconsfield as the weather was so nice and it had a seaside town vibe about it. There were beach toys sitting outside the toyshop. We stopped at a supermarket to buy sandwiches for a picnic.

Henry thought it was hilarious that there was a picnic shelter at the model village with benches round the side.  So of course we had to sit down in the picnic shelter to eat our lunch before we went in.

There's just something very novel to walk round a whole little town in miniature. To feel like giants looking down on all the little rooftops. And of course it is completely charming too! We meandered round quite slowly, marvelling at the working trains and the tiny stations, the boats and moving fairground, the harbour with it's boats, the three castles complete with soldiers, the tiny trickling streams, the gypsy caravans, the circus tent and thousands of other miniature things.  There were even some little cable cars which went up and down over a small stream where there were miniature people rowing in canoes!

And as you might have guessed, Celestine came too. She loved that everything was her size.

It was a really good day. Just one of those unexpectedly fun trips.

Have you ever been to Bekonscot?  What did you think?


Friday, 3 May 2013


From top to bottom: Celestine's new sun hat // walking on Pegsdon Hills // blossom buds in the garden // trying out my new boat in a stream // castle progress.

On Wednesday I went to see my friend Henrietta in Cambridge. We popped into the Fitzwilliam museum to have a look at the Quentin Blake exhibition which is on at the moment.  It was smaller than I thought it was going to be but it was nice to see some of his original artworks.  There were also some of his paints and artist tools on display:

After we had lunch we paid a visit to the Haunted Bookshop.  I love this place.  If you havn't been there before it's a tiny little shop down an alley way absolutely stuffed with vintage children's books.  We went in and had a browse and I discovered the most beautiful perfect book that I fell in love with. It was just a small paperback book tied with string about the adventures of a little wooden peg/dutch doll called Catharine Susan. Sadly though it was way too expensive for me to buy. I'm talking fifty quid here.  BUT I did manage to get some shots of the pictures on my phone whilst I was in there: (actually the last picture is courtesy of Google) 

What do you think? Had you heard of the Catharine Susan books before? They seem to be very rare.  I so hope I get to own a copy of this one some day!