Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mavis in the Hood

If you are ever tempted to do a Children's Book Illustration MA, let me tell's stressful. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, because on the whole it's amazing. But be prepared for headaches, mouth ulcers, hair loss (but ironically weight GAIN) and quite a bit of poverty. Oh, and give your family photos of yourself looking happy and relaxed, because they will forget what that looks like. It will all be worth it in the end though. Please tell me it will be worth it in the end...

Saturday, 15 October 2011


I've been pondering (in a Laura Marling style of course). Not known for my good decisions, I am pleased to say that changing my job last year was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I moved from the sometimes futile-seeming world of retail, to working in a nursing home for the elderly. The work is emotionally draining and physically back-breaking - but it's so rewarding, and a privilege to work with the residents. It has broadened my horizons and challenged my views. I'm now proud to say my oldest friend is 103.

In our society the elderly can be at best invisible and at worst treated with contempt. But once, they were just like you. They were bookbinders and soldiers, bank clerks; headteachers and ballet dancers. Inside, they're still the same.

Anyway as you may have guessed I'm keen to have an older character in my work. Here's the latest on Mavis...

...who I hope will also star in my puppet theatre piece for children.

That is all.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Goings On

So, I'm back. What's been going on since I've been away? Stress and more stress? Hurricanes and general disasters? Jeez, I leave you people alone for five minutes...

Anyway I have been taking part in an artists open house during the Artwave Festival. It's the last weekend coming up so don't miss the chance to buy some art, post your wish in the magic Wishing Tree, or sample some delicious home made cakes and tea! Here's a taster...

In other news, I haven't just been panicking about university and faffing about with Open House stuff, oh no. I have made a cover for my Kindle. (Now named "Mindle" for reasons I can't be bothered to go into.)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Beauty and the Beast!

Here are a few sketches and a model I made for the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. They are for a competition. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Well the massive news is that after 3 years of longing, complaining, hinting, making do and general miserable failure, Fluffycloud Studios finally sports a PRINTING PRESS! Albeit a tiny, bench top one - but it is mine! I had a very quick go today and printed the two plates above - not as dark as the presses I used to use at the BIP studios but only to be expected I suppose. The woman on the left was etched using environmentally friendly materials which so far are as rubbish as I expected them to be - but I will have to persevere and get to know how to use them, because I can't bugger about with nitric acid in my studio with no fume cupboard etc.

The top prints are just experiments to try out backgrounds. Oh I really need to get this project underway and stop faffing around!

I've also been making some 3D models, but those projects are so new and may not even go anywhere, so I won't post them up just yet.

Enough about me. How are you?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Tayori - Postcards for Japan - Put The Date in Your Diary!

Buy a postcard sized piece of ORIGINAL art in aid of Teachers For Japan.

Tayori - Postcards for Japan

Michaelhouse Cafe
St. Michael's Church
Trinity Street,
Cambridge CB2 1SU
01223 309 147

Dates: 5th - 11th September 2011

Opening times: 8am – 5pm Monday – Saturday

The title of this exhibition can be interpreted two ways: Tayori, ‘便り’, means letter or tiding, and interpreted with different characters '頼り', it means help or reliance. Our intention for this exhibition encompasses both.

We present a collection of original work submitted both by student and professional artist/illustrators, some already established, some at the beginning of their careers. Each piece takes the form of a postcard: individually and together, they are intended as a message of hope and good wishes for Japan.

The work will be exhibited and sold anonymously and at the same price. In this way, anyone may become the owner of a piece by a well-known illustrator, and everyone will be able to buy original artwork to enjoy!

Teachers For Japan is a nonprofit, all volunteer charity initiative dedicated to the cause of rebuilding education in northern Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011.

Visit our website here.

Friday, 3 June 2011


It's hot and sunny in this neck of the woods, and I wore the fewest ever clothes to my studio today. (Normally I feel daring if I take my gloves off).

Our uni group is organising an exhibition/sale of original art on postcards to raise money for the Japan Tsunami survivors. This might be my offering (or might not if I have time to do another one!). There will be loads of people taking part, some of them dead famous and everything. Watch this space for details!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Another Pigeon Post

After a key-losing drama ending in a tearful flounce to the clifftops, I finally gained entry to Fluffycloud Studios. When I proposed my new project to my tutor I suggested that I went out sketching so that I could include more backgrounds in my work. As you can see, I have really succeeded.

I also did a bit of 3D modelling which I'll put up when I remember to take my camera down to the studio with me...

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Well now that my dissertation has now been dissertated, I can move joyously onto my MA project - the grand finale. I definitely want to have some sort of three-dimensional aspect to it and gearing up to that has meant looking through all my books about puppets and dolls. My friend gave me some old toymaking books a while back. This is a page from a 1970s volume which made me feel very nostalgic.

We live in a throwaway society nowadays... I don't even know if people make their children soft toys any more. I hope they do. I would have very much appreciated a Humpty like this, being an avid watcher of Playschool! (And look at that groovy fabric!)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Silly Tree

Just experimenting with materials in my studio and got a little carried away with the tree. (I was listening to the lovely Bill Nighy in the Radio 4 Afternoon Play and just didn't want to stop!)

My dissertation is still bubbling away - although I do admit it has been turned down to a gentle simmer after coming to the boil quite quickly. I really wanted to have it finished before I go away next week. I am just too busy to have a job, you know.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Experimenting and a Bargain

It was such a beautiful day today I couldn't face staying in dissertating. So I took Poppy out for a walk and then dabbled around in my studio for a while...without the heater on can you believe?

I just noticed I didn't crop this image...oops. Anyway, as well as this I tried etching an aluminium plate with some copper sulphate solution I cought some months back when I still had high hopes of my mangle working as an etching press. I didn't know how long to bite it for and will take the plate next time I go to uni and try printing it out - if I can get past the grumpy technician, guardian of the printroom.

On my walk I spotted this on a table of books for sale outside the library. I've bought some really good graphic novels there before - they must have a policy of not keeping them very long! I have wanted this book for a long time and now I have it...and all for a mere pound.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Scooting around

Hello there. As many of my friends know I am currently working on my dissertation, so 'tis a mean period, artwork-wise. Sorry about that.

In other news, I have been constantly tired and look and feel like an elderly woman.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Scanner Infidelity

Here's a bit of sketchbook malarkey. Sorry for the absence...I spent some time familiarising myself with the toilet bowl, during which time my computer and scanner fell out. Since then they have refused to accept that they ever knew each other and insist that a scanner has never been installed. They now seem to have formed an uneasy truce, even though the computer sometimes tells me the scanner is working for another device. I think the scanner is a man.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Back to the sketchbook!

Had three much-needed days off, most of which I seemed to spend sweeping up dog's hairs, worrying about money and watching television. I don't know which is the most depressing! But, I did venture out with my sketchbook.

Have also started thinking about my dissertation. But of course I couldn't actually write anything, because I was busy waiting for Jeremy Kyle to give those all-important lie detector test results.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Cutting a Long and Painful Story Short

Here is a sample of images from my MA Diploma Project. As my friends must be sick of hearing it was a really difficult project for me and I seemed to come up against one obstacle after another. But I got there in the end and passed...whoop whoop! So it's onwards and upwards for the Diploma Review and Masters Project!

I must thank John Lawrence for counselling me through the engraving process and Digital Goddess Abbie Stanton and her family for letting me invade her house and abuse her equipment...I am so lucky to have such knowledgeable and generous friends!