Thursday, 2 August 2018

Travelling With My Sketchbook: Illustration In The Wild!



You'll pretty much always find me with a sketchbook in my bag. I never know when I might get a flash of inspiration I need to note down, a tiny moment to sketch, or I get stuck at an airport for four hours waiting for a delayed flight (happened last week!). Mostly, I like to use my sketchbook as a way to record my travels and hone my memories of lovely places and moments I have experienced. I think it's just those extra minutes spent really studying that view, the consideration of that person's stance, or noticing the little details, which really help crystallise your memories. 





In July I ventured out of the studio to both 2000 Trees festival in Cheltenham, and then over to Northern Ireland. I was lonnnng overdue a holiday, so it was great to get a bit of sunshine and have a good, revitalising, break from work. 

So Andrew actually won a ticket to 2000 Trees in a competition, and even with limited knowledge of the lineup, I went too and had an amazing time! You'll have to forgive my very muddy little hands in these photos, camping at a four day festival does not for sparkling clean hands make (that and I'd just been sitting on the dusty floor in the forest!). I managed to squeeze in a couple of quick sketches between bands, and I think they capture a bit of the flavour of the festival.


At the end of July, I headed over to the top coast of Northern Ireland for a week exploring beautiful historical places and gorgeous scenery. Honestly, the trip was so jam packed with amazing places to see and important history to learn. We visited castles, cities, GOT filming locations, beaches, breweries...I'm still unpacking all my memories and the information I took in (as well as my clothes). I actually brought my whole watercolour set over with me, but after one failed attempt to paint on the beach I gave up and stuck to ink and pencil (a huge gust of wind covered my paint-set with sand and I nearly screeched 'MY KUREKATE'). 



I spent time sketching in some of my favourite places I visited - Dunluce Castle, Belfast, Portstewart Beach... We actually stayed really close to the Giant's Causeway (near enough that I ended up visiting three times!), but unfortunately I couldn't squeeze in the time to draw all of those magnificent columns (geology rules). I'll hopefully come back one day. 

So, next time you're heading off on holiday, I really recommend throwing a little sketchbook and pen into your suitcase - I can so perfectly recall the sights, sounds, smells and the feel of the ground in all those locations I sketched in. One day I'd love to go on a pure travel sketching adventure! I'll keep you posted...

Happy travels!

Illustrating 'The No More Bulling Book For Kids' - New Book News!




Hey everyone! I'm really excited to finally share the new book I've illustrated - which is out right now! The No More Bullying Book For Kids is written by Vanessa Green Allen, and it was a joy to work with the team at Rockridge Press and Callisto Media to create the illustrations for this important (and charming) book.




The book aims to help young people and their parents through the horrible experiences of a wide range of bullying. Having been through some of these things when I was younger, I wanted to channel that and show strong young characters to help encourage anyone who's going through this right now - it's really tough, and there's no one cure-all solution, but knowing that other people come through the other side happy and healthy can be useful. The book's full of encouraging tips and acts as a really great break down of a complicated and sensitive subject.

Visually, the illustrations in the book were made completely digitally, using a simple, cheerful, limited colour palette using some of my favourite colours to draw with. I loved creating the cast of characters for the book, they seem like such a great bunch of kids! I have to say I wish I had the outfit of the girl in the title page illustration (I always seem to end up drawing a wardrobe I wish I had!). 




The roughs stage for this book was really fun - a clear brief from the client, but room to experiment and bring ideas to the table (the best kind of brief!). I enjoyed working up alternate ideas in greyscale, especially with the 'Stop Bullies' illustration where I got to draw a tough-girl / dragon face-off! I'll be posting more of the prep and sketch work on my soon-to-launch Patreon page, so keep an eye out for that!


The book is out right now! You can find The No More Bullying Book For Kids on Amazon in the UK and over here in the USA: http://bit.ly/NoMoreBullyingBook_ForKids

________________________________________________________________________________

USA Book Giveaway!



If you're in America you can also grab the chance to WIN a copy of the book over on my Twitter, Instagram, and/or by leaving a comment on this blog post before Friday next week! Winners will be drawn at 9am EDT on Friday 10th August (that's 2pm Friday in GMT)! Notes on the giveaway are below!



Giveaway rules -

For entry on Twitter, see this post

For entry on Instagram head here

For entry on this blog, please just leave a comment!

Feel free to enter all three ways!


USA only I'm afraid, as the publishers will be sending the prize out. When the winner is chosen (randomly) and announced I'll do my best to get in touch with them, then will pass their address on to the publisher to send the prize. I won't use or store your address for anything else. Competition runs from Thurs 2nd August to Friday 10th August. 

Pass it on! I appreciate all the support. Any questions, just ask! 

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Live Portrait Illustration at National Freelancers Day 2018


Just over a month ago, I was invited to London to appear in the IPSE Freelancer's showcase and illustrate live portraits for National Freelancers Day! IPSE's NFD event took place in the beautiful King's Place venue, and I set up in a gorgeous room overlooking the canal.

This was my fourth time at a National Freelancer's event, and after winning National Freelancer of the Year in 2016, I got to see the title passed on to the lovely Iona Bain in the freelancer awards this year! Harvey Morton took home the young freelancer of the year award (and, inspiringly, mentioned he'd use his prize money to hire a local apprentice), Chris Pipe won the New To Freelancing award, and the lovely Faye Dicker of Freelance Mum won Ambassador of the Year. I have to say watching this year's awards was a little more relaxing than it had been the last couple of years with being up for the award in 2016, and being on the judging panel last year! It was great to catch up with so many of the familiar freelance faces I've got to know over the years, and say hello to so many new ones.

Before the awards ceremony, I spent the day illustrating portraits for the event guests. It was so inspiring to get to chat with freelancers from such a variety of fields (also note me pulling out my multi-tasking skills there to hold conversation, paint portraits and be filmed at the same time!). Attendees got to take home their portrait as a memento of the event, and we sold out of timeslots in minutes! I also had an adjoining table selling my illustrated prints, books and comics - as well as a limited edition set of 20 freelancing print made exclusively for National Freelancers Day (these are £5 and there are only a couple of these left for sale if you fancy one, get in touch!).

If you're interested in booking me to create live portraiture for your event, please get in touch or read more on my website!

Thanks again to the lovely team at IPSE for inviting me down, and the wonderful Nisha Haq for a bundleful of these photos ♡









Monday, 30 July 2018

Happy 80th Birthday to The Beano Comic!


A little love letter to The Beano comic on their 80th birthday! I think the image says it all, really, but it's been great for me to follow the threads of inspiration throughout my life from my childhood favourites, to the work I'm creating today. Here's hoping that the children's comics I'm creating, like Nona The Ninth for Goof comic, help inspire some other excitable little girl whose damp hair smells of chlorine, but is absolutely beaming after spending her pocket money on comics. 

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Nona The Ninth for Goof Comic launch



Well pals, it is a TREAT to share this with you: I'm officially creating a monthly story for Goof! comic!


My comic is called ' Nona The Ninth ' and features a strong, young lead character called Nona who is an aspiring scientist in Victorian era England. She's also the youngest of nine siblings (hence the name Nona, which is a classic Latin name meaning ninth!). So expect lots of experiments, family drama and silly mishaps, with the added important bonus of encouraging young girls' interest in science! Nona's bloomin' cool, and I can't wait to share her story with you all.






Nona The Ninth is all created digitally, with tonal colour backgrounds, no panel outlines, and a big emphasis on simple linework and a lot of expression. Right now I'm planning my first year's worth of story (issue 2 has just been sent off!), and I'm having a lot of fun delving into characters, researching Victorian times (ugh I love a bit of historical context) and finding fun experiments for kids!



Goof! is a monthly digital comic for all-ages, featuring over thirty amazing comics creators from around the world, each with one or two page comics hitting your inbox each month! So that's, like, a lot of great comics. You'll find amazing stories by comic creators like Lew Stringer, Tor Freeman, Ken Niimura, Dick Vincent, Andrea Bell, Jess Smart Smiley, Genie Espinosa and of course Goof!-father Marc Jackson (plus loads more!). The comic is subscription based, and a ridiculous-bargain at £1 per issue.

Goof! launched at Macc-Pow comic festival, where I was lucky enough to be invited along as a guest (meaning I also ended up taking part in an event where I had to draw with my eyes closed)! We grabbed this snap of as many of us as possible on launch day (thanks to Richard Buck for that). They're such an amazing group of people, and I'm so excited to be part of this comic!




SO if you (or your kids, or your mum, or that cool person you sat next to on the train) fancy finding out more about Nona, or any of the other Goof! stories, you can head to https://www.goofcomic.co.uk/about and sign up for a year's subscription sent each month (£12, so each issue is £1!) at https://www.goofcomic.co.uk/register All of the subscription money gets split between the creators, so it means a lot! We've had loads of amazing feedback from kids to comic-reviewers, so don't be shy!

Look out for more Nona sneak peeks coming soon 💛

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

'How To Spot A Galaxy' Comic In Black Crown Quarterly #3 IDW


I'm so pleased to be able to show you my first, official, internationally published comic 'How To Spot A Galaxy' in Black Crown Quarterly #3 from Black Crown & IDW Publishing.

The comic is part of Black Crown's 'Hey Amateur!' series, a "how to do anything in nine panels" feature at the back of every issue of Black Crown Quarterly. There's been some amazing ones so far (I particularly liked learning how to do an ollie in issue 1!), and I chose to dig deep into my love of stargazing to teach people how to find constellations in the night sky!





The comic features two young gals out stargazing, and the older sister shows the younger girl how to find The North Star (Polaris!), the constellations of The Plough, Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Pegasus - and then how to find the Andromeda Galaxy!

I love space. Growing up one of my favourite books was a big non-fiction book on the universe, I've spent lots of nights out stargazing with my dad (the skies are ridiculously clear where my parents live), and I spent hours on a incredibly nerdy educational pc game finding constellations and galaxies (I really need to remember what that game's called! I think it was free with Encarta or something...).

I wanted to teach people something I was really excited about (and would work well visually in a comic) and so here we are! I love the process of using one constellation to help you find the next, so the comic lays out pointers to take each step, until on a clear night you're looking at a galaxy with over a TRILLION stars!




The illustrations are all a combination of hand-painted ink linework and digital colouring (aside from the space backgrounds, which are watercolour!). Let me know if you'd like to see a more detailed process rundown, and I'll show you the original linework pieces in a future post. So, not only is this my first internationally published comic, it's also the first time I've had a story I've written published! I've spent many years illustrating amazing writing by other authors and journalists (and I love it!), but it feels amazing to be out here writing and illustrating my own stories.

The entire comic is just brilliant. Punchy, exciting, gorgeously drawn stories - and I'm so pleased to be a part of it. Huge thanks to Shelly Bond for bringing me on board! Here's to more comics coming up. You can buy this comic on IDW Publishing's website, or in your local comic store!

See You Space Cowboy...

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Wes Anderson Exhibition To Celebrate The Release Of 'Isle of Dogs'



I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of a Wes Anderson themed exhibition to celebrate the release of his newest film 'Isle Of Dogs' in March. The exhibition, on display at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, shows illustrator's interpretations of their favourite Wes Anderson films - so, it was a toughie, but I chose to create this Moonrise Kingdom themed print featuring the characters Sam and Suzy.




The exhibition is still on at The Electric Cinema and the box office has a limited run of prints available. So if you're in the area pop over (and take a look at the swish retro cinema as well!).

Speed Painting In Watercolour



Every so often, between commission work, I like to loosen up with quick speed-paintings and uninhibited doodles! I think it's a great tool to just break you out of that pressure and concentration that can come when working on really important client jobs.

I thought I'd capture one of these speed paintings on video for you on my YouTube channel, so you can see my process! Just a quick Kuretake watercolour portrait of someone imaginary. Enjoy!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Live Illustration At House Of Fraser for Mother's Day



So this post is a little overdue (it's been a very hectic and exciting few months!) but I wanted to finally show you some of the portraits I drew when I was booked for live illustration at House of Fraser Manchester last March!



The event was to celebrate Mother's Day, so shoppers could get their own bespoke live portrait (or portrait from a photo!) to take home when they bought a frame from the homeware department.


I had lots of young families having portraits painted for their mums, gifts for friends and even the fabulous Doris who was celebrating her 80th birthday that day and wanted a special portrait (how amazing is she?!).



I love creating live illustration instore, it's definitely hard work, but it's amazing to see how thrilled people are with their portraits, and brilliant to see a unique selling point for instore shopping!
I assigned 15 minutes to each portrait, and blocked it out into slots to make it manageable throughout the day (six hours of drawing is intense!). I love the challenge of drawing a sitter when they're right in front of me, it's a great opportunity to hear interesting stories, meet new people, and get in some good life drawing practice!



Huge thanks to LiL Collective for bringing me on board! Hopefully I'll have some new live illustration dates for you soon, or if you'd like a portrait yourself head to my family portrait Etsy listing!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Fixing Windows Pen Tool Pan Glitch For Photoshop


Hey everyone!

So the past few days have been pretty stressful, as after my Windows PC updated, my pen tool in Photoshop CC would constantly pan the page instead of drawing a line. With multiple book deadlines coming up, and Photoshop completely unusable for digital drawing, it wasn't exactly great timing!

I trawled the internet for apparent fixes, spoke to both Microsoft and Adobe, and found a huge amount of conflicting information on forums and help centres "add this file to this folder", "roll back the update"...it was a bog of information, so after some serious trawling, I wanted to share the way I fixed it in a few clear steps to help any other digital artists.

To fix the Window's Ink pen tool pan glitch for Photoshop:

1 - In your computer's search bar type the letters ' cmd '

2 - Right click on the 'Command Prompt' app and select 'Run As Administrator'

3 - On the black and white text input box type: 

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Pen /v LegacyPenInteractionModel /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

4 - Press Enter

5 - Test in Photoshop (it worked for me straight away), or restart your computer.

That should hopefully fix it! I'm finally back to illustrating, and I'm relieved to see I haven't lost pressure sensitivity with my pen (as some of the other fixes mentioned might happen). 

It is pretty disappointing to read Microsoft's statements on the issue, which seems to completely gloss over the fact that an awful lot of people use pen input as professional creatives and not just to pan around web pages...but hopefully with these fixes we'll all be back on track creating amazing digital artwork!

You can find this fix on Microsoft's answer page here.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Taking Part In Joanne Hawker's ' March Meet The Maker ' Project 2018


March was a busy month for me, lots of deadlines, lots of places to go - but I was thrilled to finally take part in Joanne Hawker's March Meet The Maker project on Instagram! Jo's a schoolfriend of mine, we grew up together and were berated by the same graphic design teacher for being silly together in class - so it's been amazing to see her project connecting so many creative people across the world who are just so passionate about making!



March Meet The Maker is basically a month of prompts for people (generally Etsy sellers) to reveal the person behind the products and let their followers know a little more about them, their creations, their passions and work environment! I took part in as many days as I could (it was a little tricky to do every day, especially with visits to Cornwall to see my Granny), and had such wonderful feedback.



It often feels easier for me to fill my Instagram feed with commissions, scrappy illustrations and prints, so it was quite a change for me to be like "Okay, here's my workspace! Here's how I create these images! Here's the park I love walking to on my break!" and get such insight into how so many other creatives go about their day to days.



It was brilliant to scroll through the hashtag and discover so many new talented creative people, and it really drove home the strength of the creative community. Here's to makers!


Hey! It's me! So I'm taking part in @joannehawker's #MarchMeetTheMaker for the first time. I barely ever post personal stuff, let alone pictures of myself, so I thought it was about time you guys got the chance to get to know me a little. I live in the North West of England (although I've lived in lots of different places); I'm a full-time illustrator and I love to draw and create worlds in my work; I'm always learning - recently I've been reading up/listening to podcasts about psychology, 18th century history and space. I'm also learning German! I love being in the woods; I can play the flute, glockenspiel and guitar; my favourite videogame right now is The Witcher 3; I volunteer to raise money for my local library; I suffer from anxiety; I'm writing a graphic novel and a picture book; it took me ages to find a photo to post; I love noticing small things and taking time to listen to people; and, um, I like roast potatoes. Maybe that's enough, but you can ask me anything! 💛 #meetthemaker #etsyseller #illustrator #artist #designer #comicartist #illustration #marchmeetthemaker2018
A post shared by Emmeline Pidgen (@emmelinedraws) on


You can see March Meet The Maker posts on Instagram with the hashtag #MarchMeetTheMaker, you can find my posts at @emmelinedraws, follow Jo @JoanneHawker, find out more about Jo's project at www.marchmeetthemaker.com, and of course find me on Etsy at www.emmelineillustration.etsy.com