Thursday, 4 April 2019

Emmeline Illustration Q&A at the 'Crazy Animal Face Block Party' Manchester

Last month I was invited to spend an hour talking to an audience about my passion for illustration, creative freelancing, and my life behind the scenes of Emmeline Illustration at the second Crazy Animal Face Block Party!

Okay, I always get a little bit nervous before talks and panels no matter how often I do them; but the atmosphere and crowd were so welcoming (and the venue was so chilled out) it ended up being one of the most casual and comfortable events I've ever done! I was interviewed by the lovely Paul from Crazy Animal Face and we chatted about everything from social media success to inspiration from 90's sci-fi videogames.




Despite the torrential rain, the venue was completely packed and it was brilliant to get to meet and hang out with so many enthusiastic creatives from all over the country. After my talk, we had the awesome Gavin Strange from Aardman Animation onstage to chat about his inspiration and career path, then we both took members of the audience aside for dedicated one-on-one portfolio reviews and advice!

I love talking honestly about the highs and lows of freelancing, and I think it's important to be open about the challenges that can come up for people in terms of mental health, finding a good work balance, and securing fair contracts (and how navigating challenges can often push you forward into becoming a better creative and businessperson!). I got asked some tough, but really interesting, questions from the audience and I'm happy to say I didn't regret mentioning the audience could ask me anything!



It was such a lovely event, and the venue (a pile-up of beautifully decorated shipping containers off Oxford Road in Manchester) was awesome. If you didn't manage to snag a ticket to the event, you can listen to my past podcast with Crazy Animal Face over here - CAF interviews Emmeline Pidgen Illustration.

If you or a pal are looking for advice on creative freelancing, finding clients, preparing a perfect portfolio etc you can also buy my Creative Freelance Advice Guide via my Etsy shop!

Thanks again to Paul and Ollie for inviting me to speak at such a brilliant event! I'm definitely keeping an eye out for the next event!

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Emmeline In Black Crown Omnibus Comic



What a treat to get this gorgeously hefty copy of Black Crown Omnibus through my door! Last year I was commissioned to create my first internationally published comic for IDW's imprint Black Crown, and you can now see it again in big ol' omnibus format in this new collection!



The book features loads of amazing comics from the issues of Black Crown Quarterly, as well as all of the 'Hey Amateur!' one-page features (like my 'How to spot a galaxy' story) in full, glorious colour.  There are some really incredible stories in this book (yeah, I'm a tiny bit bias, but still...), and it's been a joy to dip into and enjoy reading through it with a brew.



My story is part instructional, with two lovely characters guiding you (and each other) through finding constellations, mythology and galaxies whilst stargazing at the night sky.

I've always loved stargazing, and I (nerdily) spent hours on a VERY slow computer game where you traipsed around the galaxy trying to spot constellations and use those as signposts to find galaxies or specific star clusters - so that inspired this comic heavily!


I love staying curious and I enjoy constantly learning new things, so the Hey Amateur series really spoke to me as both a creator and a reader! I highly recommend them. If you want to read more about the process of creating my 'How To Spot A Galaxy' comic, head to my post here!

If you fancy your own copy of Black Crown Omnibus, you can grab one for yourself online or in your favourite comic shops!

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Illustrating For Kate Slater's Refuge Tree Project



I'm SO pleased to have been part of Kate Slater's amazing Refuge Tree project! There's almost a hundred amazing female-identifying illustrators involved, each producing artwork on a section of a huge tree collage, with individual pieces auctioned this week in aid of @Refugecharity (a charity which works to end domestic violence), AND the full tree displayed in London Review Bookshop!



I used Kuretake watercolours, @winsorandnewton gouache and @penteluk fineliners for my blossomy piece. 🌸 The plum tree outside of my house is currently in full blossom, so I couldn't resist adding some beautiful, giant blooms to my painting. I love drawing my characters reading, so I had to sneak a book in there!




The full display looks incredible, so make sure you take a peek on Kate's blog and keep an eye out for how to bid in the auction later this week!

Friday, 1 March 2019

A Year's Worth Of Nona The Ninth Comic Wrapped Up!

I finished making a year's worth of Nona The Ninth comics today! It's been a great challenge to work on a monthly comic, and it feels pretty emotional to wrap up the story arc for now. I've really enjoyed drawing Nona and exploring/researching all kinds of science experiments, Victorian history and silly family moments. I'm looking forward to revisiting her soon (maybe in book form)! But for now I'm feeling pretty good to have achieved this! The last few strips will be in GOOF comic over the next couple of months ❤️

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

#ArtVsArtist 2019

Am I too late for #ArtVsArtist?! Apparently I'm way into coral and teal colour combos and I'm very ok with that! 🖍️🍃

Thursday, 7 February 2019

I've Illustrated A New Non-Fiction Book! ' You Can Two! The Essential Twins Preparation Guide '

A new book I've illustrated is out now! It's called 'You Can Two! The Essential Twins Preparation Guide' written by Jennifer Bonicelli and Meghan Hertzfeldt. It's all about gearing parents up for the arrival of lil' twin babies! Adorable project theme, right?

The team at Rockridge Press got in touch after I'd illustrated their 'No More Bullying Book For Kids' earlier this year, and said my illustrations would be perfect for the calming, cosy and optimistic vibe they were looking for for the book.






The book features twelve full-page colour interior chapter illustrations, as well as small spot illustrations dotted around the pages. The book covers everything from preparing for the delivery, to the best ways to feed twins, as well as looking after yourself!

The breastfeeding holds illustrations in particular took a lot of research to get the poses just right, as the illustrations were instructional as well as decorative! We had a few revisions on the angles and poses to make sure they were as clear as possible, and (although they're greyscale) they ended up being some of my favourite illustrations from the book!







It was such a nice project to illustrate, and it was a joy to be able and encouraged to represent a wide range of families through the illustrations! You can see more of the final illustrations and book shots below, and you can purchase the book here.












Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Live Illustration In-store At White Stuff Manchester


Last Saturday I hosted a popup instore at the gorgeous White Stuff shop on one of Manchester's busies Christmas market streets; selling my illustrations, cards and books and creating live portraits and illustrations for the customers!

It was a really great day spent painting and meeting excited Christmas shoppers and a few people who had come over just to meet me!

It was a lovely change of location for me, nestled between beautifully printed dresses and Christmas gifts, and it was such a joy to meet so many fantastic people curious about my illustration work!



I love being booked to create live illustration instore and for events, it's such an exciting opportunity, and it's so ridiculously heartwarming to see how much people treasure the portraits or illustrations I paint for them in front of their eyes! In the past I've illustrated live at events like National Freelancer's Day and instore at House of Fraser. You can find out more about booking live illustration for instore events and weddings over on my website!

Monday, 3 December 2018

Goof Comic Christmas Special


Okay, so we're in December now and I will officially allow myself to write Christmas blog posts (ignoring the fact I sometimes need to illustrate Christmas cards in July!). So, hear ye, hear ye: the Goof Comic Christmas Special is OUT TODAY!

This issue marks six months of Goof Comic, and six months of my Nona The Ninth stories! It's been such a joy to write and illustrate Nona's stories over the last half-year, and I have a sketchbook full of notes for more fun stories coming up. As an extra special treat, this month's Nona is a two-page story too!

Goof Comic is available through www.goofcomic.co.uk with a year's subscription (including all back-issues) for £12 - so just £1 a month. I can't even say "the price of a coffee each month" anymore, because, well, coffees are about £5 a pop now - so let's say...for the price of a thermal shoe insole from poundland you can get access to a Christmas stocking full of fun all-ages comics from amazing creators! The subscription fees go back to the creators too, so you can get that warm-mince-pie-like feeling of niceness in your tum knowing you're supporting independent comic makers this Christmas :)

Here's a few sneakpeeks from this month's issue:







Top to bottom: Marc Jackson's Goof Issue #5 cover, Clara Soriano's Bad Baba, Lew Stringer's Derek The Troll, Tor Freeman's Spells In The Forest. (Plus Nona The Ninth #6 the very top!).

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Autumn Colour Palette Inspiration


Autumn is by far my favourite time of year; the town I live in just turns into a giant colour palette of my favourite tones and I get to wrap up in cosy coats and scarves (who am I kidding, I wear scarves all year round!). 

My photo reel is full of snaps of gorgeous yellow ochre leaves, bright orange pumpkins and firey-coloured woodland. These colour collections definitely find themselves spilling over into my illustration work throughout the year! 

A few weeks ago, I went to Somerset for a friend's wedding and popped into Barrington Court National Trust garden and found this INCREDIBLE pumpkin patch! I think I actually squealed out load when I saw it!



Colours often take on a bit of a different look when they're isolated from photos and used in illustration, so I worked with an interpretation of a few of my favourite tones from the photos to collect them into this quick, leafy illustration for future colour palette inspiration! 

Happy Autumn!

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Illustration Talk, Q&A and Workshop for the Artist Talks series in Guildford



Last week I expanded my map and travelled down to Guildford in Surrey to kick off the first in a series of Artist Talks run at The Boileroom. Fellow illustrator Andrew Thomson invited me down to speak about my illustration career, answer insightful questions, and run a drawing workshop for an audience of wonderful, creative people!

It was so great to spend time talking honestly about my career in the creative industries, show some of my secret projects, give an in-depth step-by-step look into my illustration process, and chatting about useful tips for turning creativity into a career.

A few slides from the presentation:





 As my talk was the first in a series (the line-up to come is stellar by the way!), and the audience were all different levels of ability - from people who just enjoy art on the side, to fully fledged creative industry veterans - I wanted to make the workshop inclusive and fun for everybody. I chose to base the workshop on one of my favourite warm-up challenges: blind contour drawing!

Blind contour drawing is basically just drawing the subject in front of you without looking at your paper (at all!). This often leads to hilariously squished-up or skewed drawings, which is especially funny when you're drawing your friend right in front of them! I started the workshop off with some examples of blind contour drawings I've done of some interesting celebrities, before working with the audience to move on to drawing their own celebrities and each other!

The workshop then moved on to the optional challenge of using some of the character design and editorial process I'd spoken about in the presentation to illustrate a wonderful poem based around the idea of learning to unlearn. There were really lovely interpretations of the poem!

It was such a great event. We had people crying with laughter, and creating some amazing (and fun!) drawings! It was such a pleasure to meet so many enthusiastic, welcoming and creative people, in such a beautiful town. So many people left the talk with huge smiles on their faces - I couldn't ask for more than that!

On the way home, I spent some time exploring Guildford (I even dragged my suitcase up the steep hill to catch a glimpse of the castle, I LOVE a good castle!). I also popped in to London to visit some of my very best friends too (we have drawn A LOT of blind contour drawings of each other  over the years haha)!




Thanks so much to the Artist Talks Series and The Boileroom for having me! If you'd like to take a look at my other workshop availability you can pop over to my website or drop me an email.

Monday, 22 October 2018

A bit of personal news: we got engaged!


I'm really excited to share a little bit of personal news with you this week - Andrew Jolly and I got engaged! 

There was a treasure hunt, puzzles, surprise, and I cried my little eyes out! I was in Moomin pajamas the whole time too haha. We've been together nearly a decade already, and I'm so excited to plan a wedding and spend even more time with this wonderful human. 

Saturday, 20 October 2018

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2018




What a brilliant (but incredibly rainy) weekend we had at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival again this year. The event is honestly one of the friendliest and cosy-feeling comic conventions I have attended, and I was thrilled to have been invited back again this year.

It was such a joy to meet so many people so enthusiastic about comics, as well as a few who were attending the festival as their first steps into the world of comics (including the incredibly sweet woman who asked if it was a convention for stand-up comedians!).


The festival marked the official launch of my new comic 'First Signs Of Spring'. It was really heartwarming to see so many people excited to buy a copy (someone even said they only came to the festival to buy one!) - I almost sold out on the first weekend! Luckily, I'm restocked now and you can find out more about the comic over in my Etsy shop. It has free shipping at the moment!


One of the nicest things about comic conventions is having the chance to spend time with comics-industry friends from far and wide, and I had an amazing weekend catching up with Jessica Lucas, Marc Jackson, Emma Vieceli, Ellie Crewes and meeting new friends like Gary Spencer Millidge and table-neighbour Rachel Findlay to name just a few! It's all a bit hush-hush, but we visited a speakeasy, and as the exact opposite of hush-hush saw Marc's band The Dopes (if you ever fancy listening to raps about sandwiches, they're the band for you!).

LICAF is such a wonderful festival. There's a really nice atmosphere around it, and you can tell that everyone attending just really appreciate that it exists (seriously, people braved some of the most ridiculous storms I've seen to come and see our comics! They're a dedicated lot!). 

I can't wait to come back another year!