Monday, 20 May 2013

Perma Perma Permaculture

I've been beavering away on some awesome skillshare projects.
If you don't know what skillshare is, check it out at
Its really neat, there are classes (most are $20) in typography, illustrator, design, food creation, writing... you name the creative subject, they probably have a course on it. And there are some big names like Jon Contino creating skillshare classes.
I enrolled on an adobe illustrator class to get me used to working in it, as I was always intimidated and rather like a child when they have no idea how to use a paintbrush... just bashing away with the pen tool, creating and destroying lines. I'm much better now thanks to this really inexpensive course, and far more confident in my ability to use the program with some decorum.

And I enrolled on Jon Contino's handdrawn typography label design course, which is pretty good, nice to see a good amount of people creating projects and leaving good crit :)

I've been working on a label for that class, but also for my friends Jen & Eric who have their own permaculture farm.
Here's the progress so far, but the whole design is subject to change. I just wanted to show off a little bit, as I've been rather quiet on the illustrating front this past week.

I like the '2009 VERMONT' lettering (I'll need to change what should look like a fancy sun in the middle) But I'm not too sure I'm hitting the nail on the head with the typography for 'Permaculture'
Any ideas? Crits?

I'm also going to be making my own skillshare class in Natural Science Illustration soon, 
So let me know what kinds of thing you would want to see on the syllabus, and I'll try to include it!
You can reply on here or send an email to

Monday, 13 May 2013

Permaculture in Full Swing!

So many wonderful people have rallied together and donated to my fantastic project in partnership with Earth Ways of Scotland. 

If, for some reason you haven't heard me talk about it... (ho ho ho) then here is the link to what the project is about

We hit our first target of $800, which is so fantastic! The real target however is $1334, which would cover the rest of the course and travel expense. 

As I am currently unemployed, (yet frantically seeking a day job and not having much luck due to the economy) it would be fantastic to be able to push forward my illustration in ways that are helpful and educational to others. This project is the perfect way to do so, and I hope to produce a childrens book to educate them in the principles behind permaculture. I also hope to produce educational materials for future permaculture courses or any other educational materials that might be useful. 

So please, if you can donate, I will be forever grateful!

But how about a round of applause for all the wonderful people who have already donated!!! Many thanks, you have made this dream so much more possible than I ever thought. 


Capybara Fest!

If only there were a festival for capybara. 
I'm sure there is somewhere, but its definitely not in Plymouth. 

(I had to go and google capybara festivals. Turns out there are none. Which is sad.)

Instead, here, have some 2D capybara to brighten up your day.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

My Day

My days normally start in the same way (the liberty of being able to get up at midday or later because you are unemployed, allows me to keep a schedule more conducive to creative work) Although the fear of how you will make money is always hot on your trail. 

So yes, I get up at midday or thereafter. But I do end up going to bed from anywhere between 2am-5am. I find my creative insight tends to come to me when night falls. I've been a normal human in the day, getting some fresh air and connecting with nature by going for a walk in the park. Sketching, writing and reading whilst sat in a field, with the sun (and the wind) warming my face. Sometimes I walk barefoot to feel more of a connection to the earth... sometimes this hurts, other times this soothes. Slowly this practice is actually turning my feet into healthier feet! 

I often have the kind of voice in my head that tries to get me down... as soon as I wake up. It says... its 1pm! What are you doing? You haven't done anything yet! Surely you must have created 5 carefully crafted illustrations by now!?! Sometimes this voice won't let up. Even when I'm sat in the sun, trying to read, or to follow whatever my heart tells me to do for those 2 hours a day, that voice is there saying c'mon, you HAVE to come up with some ideas so that tonight you have something to work on! And I sit with it, and I try to soothe it by telling it what a great track record its had for the past week... almost an illustration a day. Thats pretty good going. In fact, never before have I managed to do that. So relax. BUT! BUT! It says... what if we DONT produce another one tonight? Then what happens? Have we lost our creative flow again? Because goodness knows that being unmotivated to do illustration work, something you love so much can feel like you've had all the marrow sucked out of you. Lets not go back to that!  But I sit with it, and I try to soothe it, and I sit there some more, and I try to move my body, do some yoga, get that pent up energy out so that its not crashing around in my mind, trying to upset all the desks and paints and walls of ideas. I try to have faith that I never really know what artwork I will come out with by the end of the night. It might be good, it might not be good. All I know is that if I turn up to my desk, something will happen. And if it doesn't, and if I'm really not feeling it, I'm best to surrender and watch a movie or read a book or whatever it is I feel like doing, rather than bashing my head against a brick wall, because that isn't going to lead anywhere except the ideas falling out of my head, and most definitely not onto paper.

I come back home, try to drink plenty of water (1ltr a day, plus copious amounts of loose leaf oolong or pu-erh tea (NO MILK NO SUGAR!)) and I try to relax into reading something of interest to me, musing on what I've read during the day, doing bits and pieces for projects or just doodling. Sometimes if I find someone's work who I really like, then I might try to sketch one of their pieces to get inside their heads. I try to listen to relaxing or joyous music, I watch a film or a program, or I do yoga (not as often as I would like!) More often than not I spend a good while on things like facebook or tumblr or my blog, wondering why no one has liked my images that I posted the night before. Sad but true. I enjoy my work, and that should be enough in and of itself, but there is something about outside recognition- when you are trying to make it into a career as an illustrator, that just helps keep your nose straight, ensures you that you're on the right scent, the right track. Perhaps its an ego thing... it most likely is. But I feel that the more people that see my work, the higher the chance I have of being seen by someone who wants me to work for them!

I know I should spend far less time on social media, and only use it when needed, but there is something so habitual and life sucking about it... facebook addiction is real. I'm one of the first to admit I have a problem! It can be hard being an illustrator (successful or not) especially when you don't live in a town where you know all the likeminded people, the artists etc. And they have to be out there somewhere... I don't think I know of a town that has not one but 2 illustration courses. Getting your daily dose of human contact can sometimes feel the overriding urge. I may be shy, but really I'm quite social, one on one. Anyway, I digress.

After all the faffing, and waiting for it to get dark, thats when the real work begins. I sit down at my desk, I switch on my lamp, turn on the music, burn some incense in the hope that my higher self and divine guidance will somehow guide my hands to create something beautiful or meaningful or both that night. And this process continues late into the morning, sometimes I get the chance to talk with friends on skype, sometimes not. I just try to keep myself occupied. And if I'm not too tired before I crawl into bed and doze off, then I'll make time to read a little bit more.

So that is a typical day for me at the moment. Of course, that all changes when you have to fit your creative life around a day job, but day jobs don't seem to be forthcoming right now.

Have a great day whatever you're up to!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Armpits & Feminism

Because we should have the free will to shave or not shave, and not to be ridiculed if we choose the latter. Men have hair, why the stigma around women having it?

Couldn't decide whether to add the frame or not... what do you all think?


Friday, 3 May 2013

Sum Whumbutz

Artichokes aplenty! 
Finally did some type to go with the painting.
And well, some late night Whumbutz and Moozes too. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Typography of the Wild Kind

I've been sat out in the sun today, sketching away and reading 'Women Who Run With the Wolves'
A fine piece of writing if ever I saw one. Re-membering all the old tales that got made into sickly sweet stories with none of the original soul and marrow. Then analysing them in terms of the psyche, what the stories are actually about when you delve past the superficial and 'weird'. They all make such amazing sense, and it is a true shame that we have lost those deep meaningful stories, and simply teach our children to live shallow, domesticated lives. 
Time to return to the wild.

A tentative footstep could take you as far as some...