Friday 27 March 2015

Save The Date

My 'Save The Date' card was featured on the Ohh Deer twitter today.  Photos are always better with a cactus! 

Lovers, brides-to-be, pre-grooms, about-to-be-inlaws, future-gazing singles: you can grab this card here! -

Monday 23 March 2015

Tank Instructor 1984

I often float around on Reddit, and once in a while a post will pop up and spark a hit of inspiration. That's exactly what happened with this photo posted by u/danabre in Old School Cool. The photo shows his mother working as a tank instructor in 1984, and it's pretty awesome.

There's just so much character in the photo, and it inspired me to create this quick sketch. Now when I say quick, I mean quick, as a couple of people have pointed out it actually says 345 on her helmet, but hey, I'm going to go with "artistic license" on that. 

It's a great challenge to draw in a limited time frame. It definitely energises your work, especially when you've been spending hours carefully illustrating for commissions - it's good to let loose a little!

Tuesday 17 March 2015

'Hungry Roscoe' By David J. Plant

After my 'Her Idea' review post at the start of February, Flying Eye Books dropped another package of loveliness through my door with this advanced copy of 'Hungry Roscoe' by David J. Plant.

Much like Flying Eye's other titles, Hungry Roscoe is full of quirky illustration, humour and unusual storytelling. The spreads are filled with action and a nice mix of spot illustrations and full bleed pages. There's a great, chalky feel to the artwork and the illustrations are filled with character (it's interesting to hear that David is a fellow Falmouth University alumni as well!).

Roscoe's disguises actually made me laugh out loud (the only comment I would have is that it would've been great to see more of these!) and it was refreshing to have such a mischievous main character and a slightly unconventional ending to the story. 

I think that this is definitely the sort of book that kids would love. Roscoe's disguises could definitely spark some interesting World Book Day costumes too! You can find out more about Roscoe at!

Monday 16 March 2015

New! Copper Foil Cards & Gift Tags For Ohh Deer

So I've got some more good news to share with you on the Ohh Deer front: brand new copper foil greetings cards and gift tags are now go!

The new range of copper foiled goodies features two of my greetings card designs (adapted from my Wild Ride screenprint) and three new gift tag illustrations.

It's hard to say no to shiny, shiny things - and I think these illustrations work beautifully in the foil.  I've already seen them stocked up in a few really nice places, and we'll hopefully be seeing them featured more in the coming months! 

It was particularly fun to work on the gift tags as it's something I haven't tried before.  I tried to keep things simple and flora themed, the sort of tags that would work well for any occasion (it's always great to have the opportunity to get my plants in on a product shoot too!).

The greetings cards are printed on great card stock, sold separately and come packed with a brown paper envelope. The gift tags come as a set of six (two of each design) packaged with a handy piece of twine for each tag.

Bicycle Built For Two is available here.
Keep Rollin' is available here.
..and the gift tag set is available here.

I'll quite happily give you a shameless nudge towards my full Ohh Deer collection and to the new post of these products on my Behance portfolio

May the shininess shine foreverrrr!

Friday 13 March 2015

Books For Free!

Free books?! Yup, that's right. I heard about this place a while ago and definitely had to have a snoop.  Books For Free (as part of Healthy Planet) has actually been open for a while now in its Preston branch, and it's great to see it's still running.  The initiative aims to rescue thousands of books from landfill by simply giving them away to willing readers at centres and festivals nationwide!

The Preston branch nestled itself into a large closed-down shop space in the Fishergate Centre, it looks rather odd when you go in - but honestly, there are so many fantastic books up for grabs.  I spent a long time looking through the shelves at every kind of book.  It was surprising to see so many brand new editions that didn't even look like they'd been read!

I found this brilliant looking 'A Book Of Princesses', a Puffin book of old (and unusual) princess themed fairytales. It's going to be fantastic for inspiration! I took the book to the counter, the absolute legend of a staff-member had a quick chat with me about the book, stamped the inside back cover with a Healthy Planet 'Pass me on when you've finished with me' stamp, and I took my new sort-of-purchase back to its cosy new home on my bookshelf.

My Uncle was Sir Francis Drake?

It's definitely worth having a look on the Healthy Planet website to see if there's a Books For Free centre near you, it's such a great ethos - and who can say no to amazing free books? Give them a home!

Monday 9 March 2015

The Museum Of Wigan Life: Kids' Art Trail Illustrations

Last week I received copies of this arts trail booklet I've been working on with The Museum Of Wigan Life.  It's been one of those smooth little projects that flows nicely from sketch to final, and it's been a pleasure to work on.

I absolutely love museums (learning's cool!).  They're just so full of treasures, in both a literal sense as well as on a smaller personal scale - there's something about reading long lost love letters, or looking at dusty old photographs which can really spark the imagination.

The brief was basically to illustrate a number of the objects on display at the Museum Of Wigan life, integrating them with characters and games as well as the essential information needed to record the child's progress whilst completing the art award.  The booklets needed to be practical, but also have that 'to keep' element, so I worked with a bright colour palette and relatable child characters.

It was great to get out and visit the museum for research (it's not all that often my commissions come with physical reference!), and to work with Lynda from the museum and Kevin Lloyd as graphic designer.  

The booklet features games in which the children are encouraged to complete patterns of objects found around the museum and the building (designed by the same chap who designed the Natural History Museum, so you know it's interesting!), as well as drawing tasks, a map of the museum, and an illustrated version of Edward Haytley's 'Sir Roger and Lady Bradshaigh in front of Haigh Hall' painting (which was a lot of fun to do!).

The Museum Of Wigan Life is definitely worth a visit (in particular if you have kids thinking of taking part in the arts award!) and you can find out more about it here.