You can find my new website and illustration blog over here!
I’ve just listed a couple of new hiking journals in my Etsy shop – inspired by a friend who is currently hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (trail from Mexico to Canada) at about mile 600 right now. These are small, lightweight Moleskine brand journals that are easily stashed in a backpack or pocket, and are altered to include a name/place/word above the hand-drawn hiker illustration. I always carry my own journal to write anything from travel notes to diary entries, and lots of sketches too! I figured these would make thoughtful gifts for hikers, hill walkers, adventurers and explorers ready for their next journey.
Flash sale! These are 15% off until June 8th 2018.
A heart for the love of hiking:
The journal writer can add to the drawing or colour it in:
I have journals just like these from my 8 month backpacking adventure in Central America and several months spent in Canada. I thoroughly enjoy reminiscing with them and reflecting upon those times. Much of what I wrote was day-to-day life observations but it’s those details that set the scene and atmosphere realistically. The bits you might not remember because they didn’t stand out so much, but they help paint the whole picture, emotions included.
You can also find my regular updates on Instagram @makingstrangers.
Some more illustrations from my self-initiated #IllustrateApril project.
Prompt: “Character representing how I feel right now.” April showers!
Prompt: “Something someone does that makes me smile.” Bringing me a cup of tea or just any demonstration of care/affection as I recover from migraine will bring a smile!
Prompt: “Wanted to be when I grew up.” I’ve always been fascinated with crime and forensic psychology. As a child I wanted to combine my passion for art with my fascination of crime, so naturally I wanted to be a police sketch/photofit artist. Yes I did subscribe to a serial killer magazine…
I did several other illustrations, but these were my favourite. There’s another one, illustrating nostalgia, though I decided to take it further than the initial sketch and am still working on that. I’ll post it on my blog when finished.
You can see these and more on my Instagram account.
Last month I participated in #MarchMeetTheMaker, a daily challenge on Instagram to produce a creative response to the list of prompts set by designer Joanne Hawker.
This was a positive experience and built my momentum, so I wanted to continue through April with a daily challenge. I set a list of prompts of my own with the hashtag #illustrateApril that other creatives are welcome to join in with too! You’re welcome to use and repost the prompt list below. Post your creations with the hashtag #illustrateApril.
My #illustrateApril submissions thus far:
Day 2: Lighthearted news story:
Illustrating the BBC news story “Searching for the sublime: The man who paints in the ocean.” You can read the original article here if you wish. It’s about an artist who paints incredibly beautiful abstract pieces while submerged in the ocean. I genuinely love his work, it was a special find!
Day 3: Sentence/paragraph from book:
“She waited for the train to pass. Then she said, “I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.”
Author: Haruki Murakami
Book: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Click through the images to see them in their original environment, and search #illustrateApril on Instagram to view submissions from the currently tiny group of participants for this challenge – feel free to join in; any creative discipline and any level from stick people to Michaelangelo!
My new greeting card illustration features a parent beaver with their beaver kit, created with ink and watercolour. I purposely made this Mother’s Day card also suitable for Father’s Day, friendship, any family member (grandparent? Aunt? Uncle? Niece? Nephew?), and for children too!
This is part of an illustrated wildlife series, currently incorporating one of my favourite animals; the beaver. You can read more about this in my previous post.
The text is hand-drawn using a drawing nib and sepia ink, then finished with watercolour. This card is currently available via my Thortful shop, and you can also get 30% off your first order with this link!
I’m experiencing a creative surge at the moment, and trying to be as productive as possible incase it disappears! (Remember my 7 year creative block? No thanks!) Here’s a bit of background into the two new greeting card designs available in my Thortful shop.
Beaver birthday card
I’m a huge wildlife nerd and am working on a secret wildlife-related illustration project that I can’t mention at the moment. The world has gone crazy for sloths, and while I’ve always been a huge sloth devotee (trekked Central America in search of them years ago), there’s something about everyone jumping on the bandwagon that makes me move on to lesser-idolised creatures of the wild. I realise this makes me sound like a massive hipster, but it bothers me that there are people following animal trends for the sake of popularity and sales, while also knowing this is what you’re supposed to do. /snark over.
I have a creature obsession for beloved beavers. I spent 3 months in Fernie, BC, Canada – you know, that ski town that people all over the world visit to ski and snowboard? But did I hurl myself down mountain-sides? No. I was foraging around by lakes in search of beaver lodges in the hope of observing them in the wild, in their own environment, taking pictures (attempting to – tail slap!) and freezing beyond my British blood (ok, there’s some Finnish blood in there too, so I survived) on a fold-out chair in the snow with a long-lens on ‘beaver patrol’, repeating my mantra ‘beav before I leave’ until I finally saw a family of beavers doing their biz!
I’ve continued learning about these extremely intelligent mechanical engineers via webcams inside and outside of beaver lodges (no idea why I’m single), and watching documentaries because I think it’s important to study a subject and closely observe its habits/lifestyle in order to depict it appropriately. I say ‘appropriately’ rather than ‘accurately’, as a conjured character may look/behave very differently or subversively than in reality, yet at the root of their creation lies the knowledge and observation.
Wonderland new baby card
My watercolour card for welcoming wee folk into the world wasn’t planned as a card to sell. The original watercolour painting was a card to welcome a teeny cherub, Tallis Wolf; daughter to a couple of awesome friends embarking on their journey into parenthood. The original text said ‘Tallis in Wonderland” and the name Tallis means Woodland.
Occasionally I’ll pour my little heart into personal cards and create images that I realise as an afterthought may be something other people would send or like to receive too. Perhaps there are other Earth mamas, forest fathers, and woodland wonder-babies in the world. As I had a couple of requests to sell this as a card, I duly complied, and this ‘welcome little one’ version is available via my Thortful profile.
I’m also thinking of creating personalised prints with a name/message of choice in the ribbon banner to sell in my Etsy shop. I recently took a calligraphy course, and while I’m in need of a lot of practice, I feel happy that I can at least write neatly with ink and a nib at this stage…
Thortful.com is a greeting card platform where you can buy a card to have it sent directly to your recipient and include your own message. You can even pick a font. Or have it sent to you, blank inside ready for your handwritten message. They also offer a variety of gift options such as sending chocolate, notebooks, cake, or socks with the card!
I’ve purchased cards from Thortful before and was very impressed with both the print and card quality, and the cards are A5 – larger than the average cards you’ll find in shops. Best of all, they are supporting independent designers as we receive commission for each card sold.
Do you think I’m a hipster? Should I have snowboarded instead of going on wildlife watch? Do you like my new watercolour illustrations? I’d love to hear from you!
It turns out that when I have a deadline due, I absolutely adore drawing my hands instead. This is great as it’s been years since I did any life drawing and welcome the practice. It’s also not great as the procrastination means leaving deadline stuff ’til the last minute. Anyway, here are lots of pencil line drawings of my hands:
I’ve added some Christmas cards to my Etsy shop, featuring a Nordic Christmas elf with her pet plant.
Who wants to win one of my new mugs for their favourite bogey? (Or your green and globular self!)
Follow my Instagram account @makingstrangers
‘Like’ the competition post on Instagram ❤️
Tag your favourite bogey or someone boogery in the comments (on Instagram post). Tag up to 3 friends for extra entries 👍
For more info about the mug, see the listing in my Etsy shop.
👃 Must be over 18.
👃 Worldwide competition. I will pay postage.
👃 Must complete all 3 entry steps to be eligible.
👃 Competition closes November 15th, 11.59pm (GMT), winner contacted within 48hrs.
👃 Prize is 1 mug as pictured.
👃 This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram/Facebook.
👃 Participating/entering this competition is considered a complete release of Instagram by each entrant.