Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A collection of middleclass food

It's Tuesday again and time for my weekly blog update! As promised, this week there are some photos from the Horniman museum of their more interesting specimens, though not the sketches yet as I haven't had the time to tidy and scan them. Rest assured, they will be making an appearance at a later date.

Instead, I was busy working on this new illustration, entitled 'A Collection of Middleclass Food'. There wasn't enough space to fit on all of the culinary candidates (a friend already pointed out that it is missing hummus... along with taramasalata, pate, etc...) but I think there's a pretty good selection here nonetheless. It was a fun picture to make, and a development of my other food-oriented work. I hope that y'all like it.

Next, I present some photos of the mad specimens at the Horniman museum. Like I said before, they have a huge collection of stuffed animals (which are much easier to draw than live ones!) though they are antiques so they show their age somewhat. The second one down with the massive gob is my absolute favourite, though they all have loads of character. I especially like the way that the animals are arranged as though they are interacting with each other, or in such a way that suggests its personality. A wonderful example of Victorian whimsy.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Travel themed Artist's Trading Card

Ah, the start of another week already! Although I have been busy with one thing and another I still don't quite know where the time has gone.

The week started with a trip to the Horniman museum with my friend Jo Cheung to draw and take photos. If you're ever in the Forest Hill area or want to do some observational drawing the museum holds a vast array of interesting exhibits, and the staff are always wonderfully friendly and accommodating. For example, while we were there ostensibly for the collection of stuffed animals, we also ended up visiting the garden, the aquarium in the basement and learning that it has one of the largest musical instrument collections in Europe. Is there anything this place doesn't have? It's like Toys R Us, but with dead things and antiques rather than plastic toys.

Anyway, about this here picture. Crafter, designer and illustrator Sarah Hurley mentioned on twitter that she was arranging a swap of Artist's Trading Cards. And what are they? Little cards of 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, hand made by the artist, that you send off in return for a different artist's card. It seemed a lovely idea, so I decided to get involved. The theme was travel, so mine focusses on sea travel. The swallow is a link to sailors, who would be tattooed with one as a symbol that no matter how far they travelled, they would always return home. Fitting a composition into such a small space was quite a challenge but I think it turned out okay, especially for a first attempt. Anyway, I hope whoever receives my card enjoys it.

I'll be putting up the Horniman museum drawings/photos later in the week. My apologies for the slight delay on this post, my sore ear was giving me sleepless nights and as a result this weekend was very unproductive. However, I am now refreshed and ready to rejoin the real world! Thanks for reading, hope to see you next time!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Spring day in Regent's park

Who says London is all grey buildings and dirty streets? I have been fortunate enough to see some of the finest green spaces in the capital that one can find anywhere. Regent's park has been one of my favourite green city spots since I spent my birthday there last June. At that time the park was really magical, all the wildfowl had ducklings, cygnets or chicks in tow, and the vast collection of roses in Queen Mary's garden were in full bloom. At this time of the year the rose plants are just bare stubs, but there was still much spring promise in the air. The sun was warm enough to venture out sans-coat, and consequently the joggers were also out in full force. All in all, a fine day to find a cafe and sit at a lakeside pier. And as an added plus, the park has one of the largest heronries of any city in Europe, and you can tell the birds are used to people since they are quite happy to stand right next to the path. A great treat if, like me, you are used to being only able to admire these shy birds from afar.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Some much delayed sketchbook drawings

Happy Thursday everyone! My internet was sabotaged last week (someone opened the box at the front of the house and pulled the cable out, for some bizarre reason) and it unfortunately only came on again right before I was about to go visiting friends for the weekend. I am not normally one for vigilante justice but if anyone else attempts to disconnect me from facebook, blogger, twitter and iplayer by cutting off my digital umbilical chord they WILL experience the discomfort of having my foot firmly embedded in their face. However, I am now back in London after a refreshing few days and ready to share with you the things that have been happening in my sketchbook of late.

First, you may remember my entry for the Nobrow competition and the little orchid flower people in it. Below are the preparatory sketches of the flowers, I did quite a few and then picked the best three. If you compare them to the real flowers, you can see that I had to change very little to create the characters, all they needed were some eyes and human poses; the rest was there already. The flowers are respectively: Man orchid, Pyramidal orchid, Burnt orchid, Frog orchid, Bird's Nest orchid and Fragrant orchid. Apparently these are all native British flowers, but I don't think I have seen any of them before in the flesh. Perhaps when I have the time I will go on a trip to track some down. Any nature lovers know where I might find some?

The burnt orchid man has been coloured in with watercolour, but I didn't like the effect as it disguised a lot of my pencil shading. However, I feel the need for some colour on them and may work with the wee flower people again on a series of drawings or perhaps a short story.

There has been a definite barn owl trend in my sketchbook recently. This is mostly because I read that owls start their courtship displays and begin pairing around this time of year, and the fact that they also have heart-shaped faces makes them a perfect candidate for Valentine's or romantically themed work. I very almost released a Valentine's card, but decided that first I should really do some improvements and build the profile of my etsy shop before hurriedly releasing a lot of very seasonal work that I can't sell during the rest of the year, thus wasting time, money and resources. I will learn from my mistakes, even if it is less fun. And at least I have some very pretty owl pictures to show for it!

And last but not least, some totally random doodles. The hamster one looks totally out of place among all these birds, I guess I fancied drawing something cute and furry. I am really hankering after a pet rodent of some kind, so I suppose the desire manifested itself on paper rather than in my flat. This is probably a good thing as it costs less, smells less and takes up considerably less space and time. However, I still really want a pet. Damn my sensibleness (and yes, that is a word because the built-in spell checker didn't underline it in red. Hah!)

Oh and I almost forgot, I've been adding my portfolio and lot of new photos to my flickr page this week, so do pop along and have a look-see. See you at the next update this weekend. Keep well until then, and thanks for reading this (absurdly long) post!