I like to think I know about ‘whimsy’ with my quirky sense of humour and drawing style; however ‘whimsy’ is not always specified in a brief when I’m commissioned so it’s nice when someone comes along and asks you to use your expertise specifically for whimsical subject matters.
I have recently had the pleasure to work with Jessica, who has set up a website dedicated entirely to her sense of whimsy. I was asked to illustrate a header for her website entitled ‘Embrace Your Whimsy, A Tribute to The Beauty of Chaos’. Perfect! After discussing her particular interests, the draft came together:
I felt that the way a person grows and follows their interests can be very organic, following a weaving path like a plant. Although the winding stems of a sweet pea look a little chaotic, the end result is still beautiful. The feel of the piece was intended to be feminine too, so I decided greens, pinks and purples would set the tone just right.
On her website, you’ll find Jessica discussing thoughts on parenting, teaching. books, life, love and more, definitely worth a read: have a look at www.galeforcewhims.rocks You can also have a look at the lovely things she said about me and the artwork too – thanks Jessica!
Valentine’s is a tricky road of cliches and panic. And love. Yes, there’s some of that too.
If you’re looking for a slightly more creative way of showing some adoration, here’s a tip that I like to work with:
Do you have a favourite hobby/food/place/activity? It’s a little unconventional for sure, but telling someone that you love/like/fancy them more than a particularly prized object or activity gives a tangible comparison.
For example, I LOVE granola. So much so that I took to eating it for breakfast every morning. Then I started lovingly baking my own. Sometimes I’ll even eat it for not-breakfast. Now and then, for a treat I’ll keep a shot glass of granola to hand so I can nibble on it whilst I’m working…
Anyway, if I’m to tell my partner that I love him more than I love granola, then BOOM: that’s a mighty comparison right there.
I also like this technique from other perspectives too. This was the line of thought behind these pictures:
Doorsteps of cat owners the world over.
Something I like about the words ‘I love you’, is that they are so universal in concept that there are lots of ways of expressing them. My personal iterations tend to be quite off-beat, which helps me come up with some incredibly quirky ways of saying ‘I love you’. I like to think that I’m not the only person in this world that has a quirky interpretation of love, and that my professions of affection are romantic and not… Just plain ol’ weird. I’ll let you decide for yourself…
People ask if I draw a lot of birds and I say, ‘No, not really…’ Then I think back over the subject matters I’ve worked with and actually, there are a fair few birds in there. So here is a lovely collection of my feathered friends, from sketchbook, to the final few I worked up into my birds series.
There’s something I like about their demeanor – short quick movements suit my short quick drawing style; the tilt of their head gives them a human-like quizzical expression.
So as I draw and draw, a few start making themselves known as the ones to paint. It all started with this cardinal a long time ago…
To which I added four more… They’re all available to buy online in my redbubble shop, in various retail places in Bristol, and they’re currently in an exhibition at the Better Food cafe until Saturday 13th December. I’m hoping to send them on a little tour around Bristol, so maybe you’ll see them up…
So what do you do if you want to carve a squash but you’ve already eaten some of its delicious squashiness? We’re well and truly into squash season and since discovering that there is so much more to squash than the pumpkin offering you get in your average supermarket, I’m trying to cram as much of the glorious food group into my diet as possible. So upon deciding that I’d like to make a halloween blog post, I was confronted with my ‘Baby Bear’ squash with most of what would be its ‘face’, already sliced off…
Although to be honest the cavity looked like a gaping maw, so that gave me something to start with. I still had the seeds so thought I’d smoosh them into the flesh to make teeth. A word to the wise – it may be best to roast your squash seeds first. Trying to wedge seeds into the flesh is a bit like washing your hands with an especially slippery, freedom-leaping, bar of soap. Next, to the spices! Good ol’ cloves… They make perfect little black eyes… Et voila! Using ‘props’, I present one ‘not-carved’ squash.
Everyone loves a good monster – especially as we enter autumn with the nights drawing ever closer in. Soon we’ll be spending the last day of October trying to scare the pants off each other as monsters (and other creepy beasties).
One thing I love about monsters nowadays is that they’re so varied. There are monsters of every size and description, from Frankenstein to the cast of Monsters Inc. They’re big and scary or small and friendly and every iteration between. Thanks to this quality, monsters are fantastically easy to draw. Whatever you come up with, that’s a monster. In my mind, there’s no such monster drawing as: ‘but that doesn’t look like a monster’.
Monsters are just so much fun too – which is why I’m running a Monster Party workshop as part of The Art Troupe. As adults, we don’t get to spend much time playing and doodling for our own enjoyment. I’m aiming to inject fun and spontaneity into monster drawing with a series of collaborative and solo drawing activities, where at the end of it all, you get your own monster book. The activities are like ‘artistic sprints’ so as to get around any niggling thoughts of ‘Ok, this monster needs to be good, what shall I draw? Do I give it three legs or four? Should I start at the tail or the teeth?’ and you enter into it with more of a ‘Yaaaay! Monsters!’ instead.
Scribbling in my ‘Stories’ book, crayon clutched in fist, wonderful worlds appear where the sky doesn’t touch the horizon, dresses are simply triangles and snowflakes are the size of footballs. Welcome to 7-year-old me.
Having been through art school, my current drawings don’t quite have the same care-free naivety where objects endearingly levitate. This is why I was excited to discover the Now and Then project, where for one artwork only, I could re-live the suspension of all artistic and scientific rules. No more perspective, or pesky gravity! The project asked artists to find an artwork drawn by themselves aged 8 or younger and then re-create it in their current artistic style.
Fortunately for me, my Mum was sentimental enough to hang on to a couple of masterpieces from my youth. I picked a ‘story’ from the 15th January 1992 about my favourite weather… Unfortunately I’d not illustrated my poem about dinosaurs (my favourite line being ‘dinosaurs are naughty’).
Doing an updated version of this artwork was a real pleasure, I like to think that I was pretty faithful to the original.