Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Follow your dreams

After four and a half years of trying to make it as an illustrator I finally feel that I'm getting there. To anyone else who is struggling to get work- keep going, you will get there!
Over the years I've had many part time jobs including a horrible one at a call centre. I found it hard to fully concentrate on my goal to illustrate full time.
I had a few commissions here and there but not very often. I got down because I didn't like the part time job and thought I wouldn't ever get any work. Family and friends suggested I look for a job that was art-related (their way of gently saying maybe I should give up!) I felt angry that they couldn't understand that the ONLY thing I wanted to do was be a children's illustrator. No other job would satisfy me or make me happy.
At the end of March this year I was lucky to be able to give up my call centre job and try to get work full time. My good friend Mike sorted my website out for me and I set about promoting myself like crazy. I got a few jobs but it hasn't been until this month that I've had several commissions through and am starting to feel more secure and positive about the future.
In the past I've wanted to give up so many times and thought it was all so pointless. It's been a struggle. I've developed several styles, taken a lot of criticism and had so many commissions lined up that fell through at the last minute. So often it would've been easier to give up. I'm so glad I didn't.
To anybody in this position- KEEP GOING! I know it's easy for other people to say but if you stick at it and do everything you possibly can then you will succeed. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fairy Tree House

This is a commission that didn't go ahead but the publisher sent me this mock up that they took to Frankfurt bookfair. It's a real shame the project didn't go any further as it would've been really nice to do.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


This the latest illustration I've done- just finished this afternoon. The faces don't seem to look very clear on this jpeg but if you click on the image you'll see it bigger and better!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Amy Winehouse

Last night I went to see Amy Winehouse at Manchester Academy.
She was brilliant! How can such an unbelievably amazing voice come from such a tiny girl? She had 2 really cool backing singers who danced the whole way through and (strangely) the saxophonist and trumpeteer (is that a word?) were wearing pyjamas!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


This morning I finished redoing my babies illustration. Here are the old and new versions to compare. The new one(bottom) has shadows to give more depth and a new, stronger outline on the babies. I've left the more broken line on the nappy as I think it gives it a nice, fluffy look and I've deleted some of the cheeks as not all the babies are shy! I'm very pleased with it and am looking forward to doing some new work in this style. On Monday I'll be starting the commission I've just got (which will be in a different style), so not really much time to do anything new!

Monday, November 13, 2006


Rosy cheeks in various shades seem to be my trademark. I think they make faces seem cuter. My boyfriend suggested that perhaps I don't need to always do cheeks- not everyone has rosy ones! That got me thinking, maybe I don't need the cheeks at all. I'm unsure so I'm posting up a baby with and without! Any opinions welcome ;-)

Two steps forward, one step back!

Now that I've got the hand of creating new brushes in Illustrator, I've been continuing my quest to re-do my babies illustration, changing the 'chalky' line to a more solid-yet-hand-drawn looking line. It is taking a while because at the same time I'm adding shadows to create more depth. I always prefer starting a new illustration- I like moving on and not looking back! However, I really like this illustration and, on the advice of my agent who feels a bit more depth would make my work better, I'm soldiering on with this old piece! I can't wait to finish it though and try out my new techniques on a brand new piece of work.
Ironically, I have a commission that I'm waiting to hear back about and they want my old, flat style! Two steps forward, one step back!

Friday, November 10, 2006


Last night I saw a rather bad set of short films at the Leeds film festival. Usually it's the short films that I like the most- little, interesting, funny and clever ideas. Often you'll get a few not so good ones thrown in but sadly last nights bunch were nearly all in this category.
Work-wise I spent the day creating new brushes in Illustrator and getting to work on some ideas for a commission I'm doing at the moment.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Tuesday was a better day and I got on with creating new brushes in Illustrator and reworking my babies illustration. Yesterday I didn't get much done as I was preparing for the art workshop I do in a primary school. Last week the children (6 year olds) were little terrors, so this week I was armed with sparkly stickers and a small prize for the best behaved child. We did some very simple origami models and then decorated them. The prize was this bird which I made at home. When you pull its tail, its wings flap. The little boy who won it seemed rather chuffed!
I feel in the origami mood now and will have to go out and get some nice Japanese paper.

Monday, November 06, 2006

One of those days

I should've known today wasn't going to go well when I only managed 26 lengths at the pool this morning- usually I do 40!
I knew what I wanted to do today- re-working my babies illustration to add more depth and a stronger line- but it just didn't go according to plan. I spent forever trying to work out how to get a wobbly, hand-drawn line in Illustrator. The line I have used is not as bold as I'd like and looks a bit chalky. So I spent ages messing about with brushes and tried to create some of my own. Not as easy as it sounds! I posted a question on the AOI discussion board and, after a lot of help from a nice illustrator known as Frog, at 5:30pm I had finally worked out what to do...Very frustrating but I got there in the end. So this is all I've got to show for today. The line round the baby's face and the grey line round the pan are done in my new hand-drawn, bolder line and the rest is in the older, chalkier line. I've created several new brushes so that the lines don't all look exactly the same and hopefully it won't look too digital. I'm adding shadows and toning the cheeks down too. I'm quite pleased with my work so far(!)
I hope tomorrow is better.
It's the Leeds International Film Festival this week and I'm off to see about 5 films. I rarely go to the cinema all year and then go crazy and see as many as possible in 10 days! I'm looking forward to it but I'll probably have square eyes!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Last night I went to my friend Sarah's fireworks party. I couldn't wait to test the 'fireworks' setting on my camera. Here are a few of the photos- some sparklers and some fireworks- I think they look really pretty!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday night

In The Guardian's Weekend magazine there's a weekly photography competition. They give you a theme to photograph and then you send in your photos. This is a photo taken last weekend for the theme 'Saturday night'. This really was my Saturday night which is quite embarassing but if it wins me a nice new camera then I don't mind.

Adding depth

I have been working on adding more depth to my work. Here is the same illustration, before and after the depth treatment! It's only after meeting my agent and having a long chat about my work that I realised there even was a lack of depth in my work. Sometimes you really can't see what's in front of you and it's definitely worth getting other people's opinions.

Too bare?

I've now illustrated a background for my mermaid and can't decide whether it is nice and simple or too bare. Sometimes when you spend hours staring at the same illustration it is very difficult to tell if it needs more wrk or if you should just stop. I'll post it up here and come back to it in a few days time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Over the last few days I've been working on a mermaid character. She was quite tricky to draw swimming towards me but I eventually got the hang of it.
I've worked one them up in colour, so I now just need to illustrate a background for her to live in!