Friday, 29 May 2015

Murakami Illustration Feature

Earlier this week one of my Twitter buddies sent me a message to say my Norwegian Wood print had been featured on the Haruki Murakami facebook page! 

Murakami's one of my very favourite authors, which is why (back in 2011) I submitted my poster illustration for an exhibition at the Curzon Soho cinema to celebrate the launch of the film adaptation of Murakami's Norwegian Wood novel. 

This is actually one of the few illustrations from t'olden-days that I'm still happy with, so it was humbling to see such a huge response to it!

So, yeah, I've been dealing with a bit of a landslide of print orders this week...but I've just posted a bag-full off and I'm diving back into illustrating! If you fancy a look at the prints I have available, they're all in my online shop here (and psst! a brand new print will be popping up there soon!).

Definitely tempted to step into a Murakami novel this weekend! Cats and jazz forever.

Hi Hiive!

You might've heard the sad news a few months ago that IdeasTap would be closing down. They've been an invaluable organisation, supporting hundreds of creative projects across the country.  Well, now it looks like they've banded together with Hiive to re-emerge even stronger as a collaboration, definitely worth celebrating!

I'll admit I hadn't heard of Hiive until yesterday's news, but I took the time to set up a profile and have a bit of an explore.  The profile set up is slightly better designed and more intuitive than other portfolio websites I've been on, so (for once!) I completed my whole profile in one sitting. 

I'm glad I did, as later that day I found out my profile had been selected as one of the Editor's Picks, with the quote 'A testament to what can be achieved post university as an illustrator', naw!

In any case, I recommend heading over to Hiive and taking a look, it seems like it's going to be the place to be as the IdeasTap join heats up in the coming months. I'm still getting my head around 'swarms', but the jobs board and profiles are really worth a shot!

You can find my profile here! Come and say hello!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Win An Original Ink Painting

Heyoh! I'm hovering around a couple of big social media landmarks right now, so I thought it would be the perfect time for a quick giveaway to celebrate! 

You can get your mits on this mini original ink painting on either Twitter or Facebook (or double your entry with both!)

 Act fast though, deadline's 5pm on Sunday 24th of May GMT! Meow!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Shebeen Festival Manchester

So the Draw North West exhibition went down a treat at Shebeen Festival in Manchester last weekend!

I arrived early to help set up the space, in a cosy corner of The Runaway Brewery. Using some seriously impressive improv skills (we were short of a few vital tools!), Alan Dalby, Andrew Jolly and I managed to hang the prints and set the table up, and shambled it together until it looked gorgeous.

I broke out my trusty brush pen to work in some hand-drawn lettering on the board, making sure all the artists were credited and nicely visible.  I'm definitely looking into working on more illustration and lettering for wall displays, it was great to work with some new angles!

The scent of street-food and local beer rolled in with the festival goers, and we were selling prints within the first few minutes of opening. I couldn't stay for much of the festival, but it was great to have a taste of the atmosphere, and hear that a good bundle of prints sold throughout the day!

If you couldn't get to the festival (or you spent all your pennies on beer!) I'll be putting a few of my remaining riso prints up for sale in my online shop in the coming weeks, and hopefully have a couple up for grabs at Thought Bubble later in the year!

If you want to read a little more about the Shebeen backstory, or my illustration for it, have a look at this blog post!

Big thanks to Andrew for the photos he took, to Shebeen Festival and the other Draw North West exhibitors: Alan Dalby, Chris Howker, Chris Madden, Benjamin Harrison, Nell Smith, Racco, Tony Westwood and Mat Greaves.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Shebeen Queen

As a freelance illustrator lone-wolfing it from a studio at home, I try to push myself to get connected with as many local creative and business groups and events as I can. It’s just healthy to get that feedback from other people and pop the stay-at-home bubble.

I’ve been going to Draw North West in Manchester since its launch in 2011, it’s a great hub of talent that meet every two months to guzzle a few beers and scribble some scribbles. This year the group were asked to produce a number of risograph prints for Shebeen Festival in May. If you don’t know what a Shebeen is (I didn’t!) it comes from the Irish “síbín” and was originally a term for an illicit bar where alcohol would be sold without a licence. The term has spread from its origins in Ireland, to Scotland, Canada, the US, England, Zimbabwe, English-speaking Caribbean, Namibia, and South Africa; and we fed off the term to submit posters to the exhibition.

After a little research, the idea that really stuck with me was the term “Shebeen Queen”.

“Originally shebeens were operated illegally by women who were called Shebeen Queens.  The Shebeen Queens would sell homebrewed alcohol and provided patrons with a place to meet and discuss political and social issues. Currently, shebeens are legal in South Africa and have become an integral part of South African urban culture. “

There’s so much illustrative potential and visual loveliness that could come from that, and I’m a fan of illustrating powerful lady characters in my work.  In the illustration I’ve hinted at the roots of the Shebeen bars with shelves full of brewed-up jars and atmospheric string-lights, whilst focusing on a strong Shebeen Queen character heading up the business.

As part of the process we were limited to using two colours: red and black. I took a bit of a risk in using such dense colour and having pretty specific alignments (which can make the print look a little wonky or patchy due to the risograph print process), but I’m more than happy to surrender to the whim of risograph and embrace any imperfections.

It’s definitely a great challenge to limit yourself to working with a restricted colour palette, it forces you to really consider the contrast of the piece and make a few visual decisions that you might not normally go for. I think it’s always a useful exercise to omit a few elements from your usual working style every so often: don’t use outlines, limit your palette, draw with your other hand etc, it shakes things up and can really push your work in new directions – give it a shot!

Limited edition riso prints will be available at the exhibition at Shebeen Festival, Manchester on Saturday 2nd May, pop down if you get the chance!