Thursday 22 December 2016

Have An Amazing Christmas!

Okay, it's officially Christmas time for me now! So this is me signing out (from work at least). Have an amazing Christmas everyone! x

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Unseen Advertising & Children's Illustrations From 2016

So, by now you're probably used to seeing lots of my personal work, sketches, or newly released published work online. But I realised, as 2016 draws to a close, I rarely showcase a lot of the work I do behind the scenes for more corporate clients - but this year has been full of work for local schools, festivals, and national business events, that I thought it'd be worth sharing a few of my favourite pieces! 

This very blue themed invitation was created for Small Business Saturday's Blue Tie Ball (does the theme make sense now?), who commissioned me after seeing my small business themed illustrations for last year's Small Business Saturday. 

It was a really lovely project, where I had a lot of scope to spend time drawing amazing small businesses and freelancers, and keep everything simple with pure linework. The ball itself in London was amazing, full of glamorous business leaders and a delicious meal - and it was brilliant to see my illustration work used across all the media for the evening.

I love working for local companies and events, so it's been a great year for building connections around Manchester and Lancashire. 

I had a really lovely few commissions for Cheadle Hulme School (at the top of this post), for their brochures and presentations; as well as this poster for the incredible Grub Food Festival's May event and these (slightly silly, but loveable!) pufferfish illustrations for the Museum of Wigan Life's children's trail.

I was also commissioned by Salford City Council to illustrate a poster and social media campaign image for their annual Bridgewater Weekender Festival over Summer. This was such a fun one, just look at all those happy people! 

I loved being challenged with a bit of problem solving in following EST.1761's strict brand colours for the illustration (which were actually not that far off my usual palette!), and it was so interesting to delve into the history of the Bridgwater canal. That's one thing I love about local commissions, they always spring open so many opportunities to learn new things about the area, and meet so many incredible and creative people! Here's to more in 2017.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Creative Bloggers Secret Santa

I love getting involved with creative groups and, as I've mentioned (so many) times before, I think it's a great idea for freelancers to connect and support each other, even if it's online! 

I've been taking part in the Creative Bloggers social media chats for a few years now, and this year I signed up for the Creative Bloggers' secret santa! I honestly think this is the first secret santa I've ever done - a symptom of freelancing I suppose! We were asked (as we're a creative group) to include something we've made by hand as well as a few other gifts. Okay, so it wasn't 100% secret, we all wrote little notes to our giftees, but up until the packages arrived we were completely in the dark as to who we'd be receiving gifts from. 

I chose to include two handmade items in my parcel, a cute little sketchbook I put together (with a hand-painted cover) and one of my favourite new prints. I went on a bit of a stationery and artsy binge for the rest of it, which I thought the lovely creative lady I was paired with would appreciate it! 

So I was lucky enough to receive gifts from the amazingly talented ceramicist Harriet Cheal. She sent me some gorgeous hand-crafted jewellery, as well as a candle and absolutely beautiful lacy heart pendant she'd made (which I've put on my Christmas tree!). I feel like I've been spoilt, she's so generous! 

It's been so nice for me to feel part of a creative community with this, and I'll forever be an advocate of social media bringing people together. You can read more about Creative Bloggers here and have a look at Harriet's gorgeous ceramics on her Instagram here!

Thursday 8 December 2016

Illustrating Small Business Saturday 2016

For Small Business Saturday last year, I wanted to create a series of illustrations representing the amazing diversity of this country's small businesses. I got in touch with the Small Business 100 (which I was lucky enough to be part of last year), and asked for real-world inspiration to give the project a collaborative edge!

I had such brilliant feedback from the project last year (you can spot the illustrations framed in the Small Business Saturday office!), and after only being able to feature a few of the people that wanted to be involved, I decided to run it again in 2016 with a brand new series!

I settled on six themes, inspired by some truly amazing businesses that put themselves forward, and posted these ink illustrations throughout Small Business Saturday

I definitely found that some companies are much trickier to illustrate that others (eg I ran out of time to tackle drawing a military financial advisor that put her name forward! Maybe next year!), but I think that's what makes the UK's small businesses and freelance scene so exciting - there's just so much variety.

I find myself constantly impressed by how many people are out there taking chances and setting up their own businesses. I know I write about it a lot, but I think it's so brave to have the determination to think, "right, I know what I want to do, and I'm going to give it a shot". So here's to all the small businesses and freelancers of the universe! I hope you all had an amazing Small Business Saturday!

You can see the series of illustrations in more detail on my Instagram, Twitter or Facebook pages.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Busy B 2017 To-Do Diary Review

I'm a sucker for pretty stationery. Give me floral patterns and the opportunity to try and be organised, and I'm all over it. Busy B have been a firm favourite of mine for the last few years, so I'm really excited to have been sent their new 'To Do Diary' to review! As a bit of a bonus, (and as my only Black Friday purchase!) I also stocked up on these this pretty 2017 calendar and these adorable puppy page markers in their recent sale.

I've had one of Busy B's desktop calendars for about three years running now, they're just the perfect size for me to have on my desk, with enough pockets for me to store all my tickets and important notes for the month. But for 2017 I thought I'd try out their 'To Do Diary', as an on-the-go version.

The diary is genuinely lovely, and for someone like me who writes mountains of to-do lists each day, it's really useful to have set pages for reminders and notes - along with tear-out list pages at the back and little wallets for storing bits and pieces. 

Obviously it's not 2017 yet, so I haven't made a huge dent in adding in my dates for next year (although you'd be surprised how far in advance I have some meetings booked!). So far it's been incredibly useful - if you flick through it can feel a tiny bit confusing with all the different sections, but I think this is something that will definitely clear up when you're using the diary more systematically in date order. 

I love the cover illustration (I think you probably know by now I love a grey and floral combo), and the rest of the diary has a cute and simple design. It's extra brilliant when you combine it with other useful bits like the pup page markers, or other stickers (there's space for these in the back!). It's also great to see holder for your pen, although I'll admit it would be extra nice if a pen came included. 

Overall, a gorgeous little diary which packs that extra punch in delivering some incredibly useful extras. You can see more details of the diary over at Busy B and get 15% off your first order.

Friday 11 November 2016

Thought Bubble 2016

Last weekend saw the Royal Armouries Museum site in Leeds flood with comics and illustration lovers for this year's Thought Bubble Comics Festival.

I've been looking forward to Thought Bubble all year, especially after my first time tabling there last November. I'll admit that after Thought Bubble commissioned me to illustrate their official festival image back in February, the prospect of seeing my illustration on a huge scale (above!) or plastered on all the leaflets and posters made everything extra exciting.

Thought Bubble is such a gorgeous festival. Everyone is ridiculously lovely and enthusiastic; you really get a sense that we're all there because we absolutely love comics and visual art. It's such an amazing atmosphere, and the mid-con party and pre-con reception were brilliant.

I had a table in the Royal Armouries Hall, nestled amongst so many talented artists and writers. I was selling lots of brand new prints, cards, comics, magnets and my very special 'Guide to creative freelancing' - the table was absolutely crammed this year! I spent far too long trying to tessellate it all.

So, we had a bit of a hiccup on Saturday morning after our car broke down on the way to set up. What's the worst possible time for a car to break down? Well...yep. I had to abandon Andrew, the car, a whole box of books and my banner stand; then grab everything I could possibly haul strongman style, dump it in the back of a taxi, and race to the convention. 

I managed to stay surprisingly calm considering we were rapidly approaching the opening hour, and I'd had to leave so much behind. Huge apologies to those of you who were asking after my book with Aidan Moffat: The Lavender Blue Dress! I really couldn't carry them, but send me an email if you'd like me to sort you out with a copy. Also a big RIP to the car, which was towed back to Lancashire on Saturday and officially cannot be saved (and a huge thank you to Heather and Lee for giving us a lift home!)

I met so many amazing people this weekend, the whole convention was brimming with the kindest and most talented artists, publishers and comic-lovers. It was ridiculously humbling to hear so much love for my work and in particular the festival banner, not least from some of my very favourite illustrators who were also at the festival. 

I managed to get a mini-haul of prints and comics on my one quick dash around the festival. I'm absolutely in love with this angelic print from Hannah Christenson, as well as this super cute black and white drawing from Genevieve FT, beautiful red and black illustration from Enoki, a comic from Cinebook, brooches from Isaac Lenkiewicz and Kristyna Baczynski, and it was such an honour for Babs Tarr (last year's festival image illustrator!) to send me home with this gorgeous lady & cat lamp print! 💛

One of my favourite things about conventions is drawing live portraits and commissions. It was interesting that this year was far more commission-heavy than last year where I illustrated about twenty-five portraits! It was really fun to be approached with blank cover requests as well as being asked to draw my favourite X-men character, Ben Whishaw from James Bond, and Doctor Strange, as well as the live portraits! 

So, we're about a week on from Thought Bubble now, but I'm still reeling from it. The whole weekend was so inspiring and emotional for me, it honestly meant the world to see my illustration promoting such an amazing event; and I'm always one to take the chance to break out of the studio and spend time with people who are as passionate as I am about the creative industries!

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting up a behind-the-scenes look at my illustration for the Thought Bubble festival image, including a few of the sketches and alternate versions we had before settling on the final illustration. I'm also starting work on brand new comics ideas! Keep an eye out for them!

Thanks again to everyone who came to say hello! See you again next year x

Thursday 3 November 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - The Full Series

So here we are! The full 31 days of outfit illustrations for my 'What Emmeline Wore In October' series (click for full resolution). I'm not going to lie, it's felt quite luxurious to not have to draw my outfit for the past couple of days, but that said, this project has been an absolute blast.

The year's series is an Autumnal edition of my 'What Emmeline Wore In July' project from last Summer: the challenge to create an illustration of my outfit each day for the entire month as an illustrated twist on blogger's 'What I Wore' fashion photographs. 

I started this project as a creative challenge, and I'll admit it has been trying at times (especially on weekends where getting up early to do work isn't exactly lovely!). But all in all, this project has been amazing at spear-heading my motivation in all areas of my creative work, encouraging me to learn new techniques, honing my skills, and giving me a bit of an extra insight into what I actually enjoy illustrating.

A lot of people have commented saying (and I quote), they'd have 'the wardrobe variety of a cartoon character' if they'd have done the project! I have to admit, a lot of the time, my default is black skinny jeans and some kind of jumper. I start work quite early in the morning, so it's a kind of roll out of bed into the first thing I find kind of method (aside from the days where I stay in pjs for a little too long...). But that's another one of the huge benefits of doing this project, it encouraged me to mix things up a little with my wardrobe, and dust off a few of the outfits that are a little more 'statement' for day to day wear and really embrace a bit of variety. Running the project in Autumn also gave me the chance to truly run with my passion for scarves, mustard yellow, and cosy coats. I'm definitely an Autumn girl at heart!

I also want to say a huge thank you to the companies that collaborated with me on the series: Fat Face, People Tree, White Stuff, Joanie, Oasis, Lowie & The London Fashion Agency, Joy The Store, Yumi and Joules. Honestly, they're some of my favourite (and the nicest!) brands ever, and they've been absolutely amazing. It's also meant so much to me to have had such incredible support from you guys! Having a snoop on the analytics this morning, I've seen that the project has had over 100,000 views this month, tens of thousands of likes and shares across social media, as well as features on the likes of Design Week, Uppercase and Amelia's Magazine. It's just floored me! Thank you so much.

If you're an illustrator, I can't recommend daily drawing enough. It can be really hard work, but it's so worth it for what you get out of it. Taking on a 'What I Wore' illustration series adds its own challenges, as obviously it's going to be a self-portrait each day (which are notoriously difficult!) as well as that emphasis on a variety of poses, and with character consistency, which is a hugely important thing in illustrating for books and comics. Shared publicly, or in a secret sketchbook, there's nothing more important than taking the time to practice and discover what it is that you love to draw - because in the end that's what makes your illustration unique, and your creative passion will show through your work. 

If you fancy a look at each of the illustrations in detail, the full series (and a kind of diary for each day and outfit choice) is available on my blog here. You can also see the illustrations using the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'.

Now for a well earned break!

Monday 31 October 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - Day 31 - The Last In The Series!

I can't believe we're here! Day 31! I did it! An outfit illustration each day for 31 days. It's been an amazing month, and I really hope you've enjoyed following the What Emmeline Wore In October series. 

At the moment the Thought Bubble Festival preparations are in full swing, but as it's Halloween I'm definitely going to put aside a little time to carve a pumpkin and get together with friends to watch some spooky films tonight. We've also got an amazing boardgame called 'Betrayal At House On The Hill', which is all about exploring a haunted house co-operatively, before one or more of the players turns evil in one of 53 different scenarios! I can't recommend it enough (especially for Halloween!).

Today I'm keeping with the orange pumpkin theme and I'm wearing my cute little orange high-heeled boots from Boohoo, along with my black tights from Topshop and what I like to call my "confidence dress". I bought this dress from H&M last year, on a day where I overcame a lot of anxiety and did something I thought I could never do - it was a treat, and it's stayed with me as a dress to wear on days where I need that little extra reminder that "I got this" and that I can be a lot stronger than I think I can be, sometimes. You might also recognise it from the press photos from the Freelancer of the Year awards in June - it definitely helped a lot that day, I was a bit floored by that win! So, today, I'm not dramatically facing any personal goals, but it's just such a gorgeous dress (and actually looks a little bit like my drawings!) that some days I just wear it to feel like I'm wrapped up in art. 

I think I'm going to miss doing these illustrations when tomorrow hits! Keep an eye out for the full final round-up of the project - I'll post it up this week!

If you want to see all 31 illustrations, you can follow the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'. Here's to facing challenges, and making it through!

Sunday 30 October 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - Day 30

Wow! Only one day left of the project! In a way, I'm pretty excited that I'm at the end of this tunnel, but I think I'm going to be at a bit of a loss without these illustrations to do each day. I'll write a proper round-up of the project in the week, but I just want to say that the support I've had for this series has been really incredible, so thanks everyone!

Today, comfort has been the key with my outfit. It was definitely a late night at the party on Saturday, so I needed one of those slobby days (I'm pretty sure right now you'd be getting an illustration of my pjs if I hadn't stayed at my friend Luisa's house!). I've mostly been playing xbox, and I streamed my first Twitch broadcast today!

As a short but sweet list, today I'm wearing my pinnie from F&F, a cardigan from Joules, a simple top from Primark, a charity-shop lambswool scarf, and some costy tights from H&M.

So I must be feeling the Halloween vibes...I tried to type 'scarf' just then, I actually typed 'scary', ha! Have a good Halloween everyone!

Remember you can keep up to date with the daily 'What Emmeline Wore In October' illustrations by using the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'

Saturday 29 October 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - Day 29

Okay, as you can probably tell, this is not my usual attire. Tonight I'm going to my friend's Halloween party! Her party last year was incredible, decorations everywhere, and absolutely everyone in fancy dress. 

This year I've been in a bit of flap about my costume, I had huge plans, but between illustrating, house-hunting, learning to drive and well, living life, I just absolutely ran out of time. Most of this afternoon was spent running around Chorley charity shops looking for some weird outfit I could work with for an awesome costume, but alas, the sea of charity shops did not provide a bounty. 

So I've decided to cobble together some items I have at home and I'm going to be going as a evil woodland fairy/spirit, I haven't actually changed into my costume yet, so this illustration has acted as a sort of costume design process for me. Hopefully it will look okay! I'm about to start making the wings...

If you're interested in this outfit in general, the dress is from Next outlet, and the wings are, well, handmade by me. Have a happy Halloween party night everyone!

You can see the less spooky illustrations in the series using the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'

Friday 28 October 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - Day 28 x Joanie

Okay, so I love cats, and I love books. Two of my very favourite things - and now...everyone will be know! I absolutely LOVE this outfit from Joanie. The jumper has a big ol' cat face to make my affiliation with the cat kingdom perfectly clear - and the bookshelf print skirt is absolutely going to be my staple for any book launches, or events I put on at the local library (I'm part of the Friends of Chorley Library group, we host board game nights and other cool stuff to support the library!). 

Joanie have loads of really lovely vintage inspired, quirky pieces and they're an absolute gem - I'm so glad I found out about them! I'm a huge fan of their whole 'Adorkable' AW16 range!

As for books, I'm currently reading The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (author of Day of the Triffids, which is incredible). I've just finished the last in the series of the Saga graphic novels by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples as well, which is....insanely good. Honestly, I probably recommend Saga to far too many people, but I just love it. If you're interested in what I'm reading, I have a Goodreads page, and I'm always up for chats about books.

With only a few days left, you can look over the rest of the series using the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'

Thursday 27 October 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - Day 27 x Lowie

Apparently it's maxi skirt week for me! It makes a glorious change from my frequent skinny jeans option in any case.  This gorgeous piece of bohemia is Lowie's Paisley Maxi Pinafore Dress. I'm not one to shy away from a statement piece, and I have to say I feel amazing wearing this. I've paired it with an organic cotton roll neck top from People Tree, which compliments the ethically made dress! 

So, when I was little, my favourite coat was a reversible red and blue jacket (which I sometimes wore with a reversible hat too), so yes, I love a bit of versatility - so it was really exciting to find out that you can actually take the bib off this pinafore and wear it as a maxi skirt - yesssss.

I look a little bit away-with-the-fairies in this shot haha. Maybe I was thinking about how many deadlines I have coming up! But yeah, I'm absolutely in love with this dress. I think you just have to be bold sometimes and wear something you feel brilliant in rather than worrying about standing out too much in a sea of grey hoodies and blue jeans (although, hey, no problem with that at all!). 

17-year-old hippy ridiculously-in-love-with-music-from-the-early-70s Emmeline would be over the moon with this dress, so I'm glad that just over ten years later I can do her proud. 

Also very much worth noting that Lowie provide a free repair service to extend the life of all their clothes - which is AMAZING. I've mentioned before about how I so much prefer to repair and repurpose my clothes rather than throwing anything away, so huge points to Lowie for being so conscientious about their products and their sustainability!

Remember you can keep up to date with the daily 'What Emmeline Wore In October' illustrations by using the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'

A huge thank you to Lowie and to the lovely ladies at the London Fashion Agency! x

Please note this is not a paid for feature!

Wednesday 26 October 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - Day 26

So, this is my "hey, is that girl on fire?!" outfit. In fact, this skirt was the bargain of a century - it's amazing: long, flowy, perfectly fitting, awesomely coloured, and I found it for £1 in my favourite Chorley charity shop. Today I'm wearing it with my most-complimented boots of all time, a pair of red suedette fringed boots from F&F - no other item of clothing has caused so many people to come up to me in supermarkets, at gigs or in the middle of town and ask where on earth those gorgeous boots are from. That's probably why I've nearly worn them to death (they're kind of on the verge of falling apart), but I'm going to look at ways to repair them.

I'm also wearing my favourite black corduroy jacket (a hand-me-down from my mum!), which was originally from Dorothy Perkins, and a simple dark grey vest top from Topshop.

Truly an Autumn look!

You may have seen that yesterday I posted up a collection of days 1-16 of this project, and if you haven't seen it, you can do so here

Remember you can keep up to date with the daily 'What Emmeline Wore In October' illustrations by using the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'

Tuesday 25 October 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - Days 1 to 16 Round-up

Okay, here goes! I know a lot of you have been following my 'What Emmeline Wore In October' outfit illustrations so far this month, so I wanted to do a quick roundup of the first half, days 1 - 16 (slightly higher res version here). 

I think there's a lot of value in seeing all the illustrations together. As an illustrator (and particular as an illustrator for books and comics) having a character look like that same character throughout a book or series is really important. With these illustrations I'll admit that hasn't been my main focus, but obviously the added pressure of each of them being a self portrait has given them a bit of consistency! 

Drawing as part of a series each day has its challenges - some days you just really don't want to work (especially Sundays!), but I think having that discipline to create the illustration, post it, and on some days take photos of the outfits and features has had a positive effect on the rest of my illustration work. Sometimes you just need to jumpstart your motivation by giving yourself a task.  I've also found that for the most part the time it's taking me to draw these illustrations has gone down by a hefty percentage. Like everything, illustration takes a lot of practice - and again, like everything, daily practice is always going to have the best immediate effects. 

It's been really interesting keeping these illustrations and blog posts as a sort of visual diary as well. Yesterday I was asked what I did the Tuesday before, and knowing what I was wearing that day jogged a lot of the memories! It's surprising how much of an effect it can have. 

A lot of people have commented that if they were doing this project they'd be wearing the same clothes (or pjs!) for most of the month - and believe me, that is one of the hardest parts of this challenge! Some days you do just want to slob out in the same clothes you wore the day before, but this project has encouraged me to root out my lesser-worn clothes and make a bit of an effort to wear something different every day. It's also prompted me to donate a lot of my clothes to charity, as it's really highlighted the clothes that I actually want to wear.

We're on day 25 of the project now, and you can catch up with all of the daily illustrations through the hashtag #wewio or on my What I Wore blog section here. Tumblr and Instagram are great ways to have a quick look at the entire spread of illustrations too! 

A huge thank you to all the companies that have collaborated with me, and all of the support for the project so far (especially all the love for the series on Instagram which I didn't  have last year)! Less than a week to go!