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A little etsy shop update

When I decided I wanted to open an etsy shop, I really hadn’t realised quite how much work was involved!

I’ve spent the last six weeks going round and round in circles trying to get a selection of cards ready to go and finally yesterday, I think I may have pressed the order button on the first batch of shop ready designs.

Fingers crossed, I’m hoping that by the end of next week I will be able to cut the metaphorical ribbon and open my shop to the big wide world!

In between days spent looking at endless logos and print outs of previous card designs, I also managed to do a few handmade cards.

feb cards

Among others, I did a valentine’s card for my cousin to give to her fiancé, and two thank you cards and a sheepy mother’s day card for a friend. It was good to take a break from looking at the same card illustrations over and over again!

One card design that didn’t make the final cut was this one:

flower jug

My first illustrations were too pale when I tried to use them in the cards and even after re-painting this one with bolder colours, I realised it was more jug than flowers – not what I was aiming for! The new flower design is probably one of my favourite cards, so it was definitely the right choice to start again from scratch, even if it felt like another step backwards.

On another break from the cards I did some quick robin sketches.

robins

I did consider using one of these as part of my logo, but I couldn’t decide which, if any, of these was the Bethany robin – get it… Robyn/Robin… oh dear, I’m sorry, that was terrible. I still think they are pretty cute though so I might keep them in reserve in case I change my mind!

You may remember at the start of the year I shared an illustration of a girl reaching for bubbles? Inspired by the terrible weather so far this year, I drew her again but with a little friend this time.

keeping dry

Someone definitely worth sharing her umbrella with!

I hope you’re all staying warm and dry and I can’t wait to let you all know when my shop opens and see what you all think!

x

Plans for the future!

In the hope of convincing myself that I’m a real illustrator-in-training, recently I’ve been looking into printing some cards and possibly setting up my own little etsy shop.

There, now that I’ve told you, I’m going to have to do it!

I’ve spent the last week sketching, painting, inking, photographing and tweaking a few designs, so hopefully I’ll have 11 cards ready to go when I open up.

cake

I’d like to say it’s been seamless so far, but I won’t lie to you… the sketching and painting has been the easiest part!

Yesterday I tried to print some test cards, only for the blue and pink inks to run out 4 cards in – not ideal! It turns out that four leaf clovers look both ill and unlucky without the blue…

cards preview

Here is a little preview of said gradually-less-blue mock ups, I’d like to say the blurriness of the photo is to add intrigue, but actually I had to rush the photo before the cat could jump on them!

So today, I braved the outside world for the first time in 4 days, (does that make me sound terribly lazy?) on a voyage to speak with a local printers to see what my options are for getting a lovely professional finish.

I arrived to see that although they are indeed open Mon to Sat, just below these opening times it states ‘Closed Wednesday’. I wish I had spotted that a little sooner. What a waste of eyeliner and outside clothes!

sunglasses

So it looks like another journey into the wild for me tomorrow – I will not give up!

If any of you are unfamiliar with etsy, its a website where you can buy lots of things from artwork and knitwear to jewellery and homeware. Each seller has it’s own page, a bit like it’s own shop window.

My lovely friend Flo has an etsy page selling her bright, colourful and quirky cards and prints and she also has a Facebook page with more of her wonderful artwork which you should definitely check out!

My first purchase from etsy was an amazing Audrey Hepburn print which is on my wall along with some of my favourite paintings. It’s by an artist called Ileana Hunter, who it turns out is based near Norwich, her beautiful portrait sketches are well worth a look.

AH wall

So that’s a little update on how I’m spending my days at the moment. Elsewhere in the house, I managed to catch Midna making this face while enjoying some dreamies yesterday, I hope you have something in your life that gives you this much joy!

x

lick

What a difference a day makes…

So we’ve made it to 2016! All the wonders and woes of 2015 are officially behind us and it’s a brand new year ahead of us.

What better way to start than by wishing you all a happy new year!

happy new year 2

You may have noticed I’ve also started the year with a new Facebook page header:

cheetah

We went to Banham Zoo back in October to visit the Boyf’s sponsored snow leopard, and I came away in love with the two cheetahs in the neighbouring enclosure. They are gorgeous and have such cheeky personalities, I think they’ll be next on the sponsor list!

For Christmas this year I scaled up two of my Gran’s photos as 50cm canvases for my Mum. My favourite is the photo of my grandparents shelling peas in the garden. They would have been in their late teens/early twenties and it’s one of the only ones where they’ve been caught unaware, rather than posing for the camera!

IMG112 to print

As I’d been looking at this photo so much over the last few weeks, I couldn’t help but try my own version.

shelling peas2

Seeing these side by side, it’s easier to spot what I still need to improve on, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction!

This week I treated myself to a couple of late Christmas presents in the shape of a couple of art books. I had done a little illustration before nipping to the shops, and after reading the books that evening, I wanted to try again the next day.

bubbles

Hopefully, it’s obvious that the before is on the left and the after is on the right! The improvement was, in part, what inspired the title of the post, as I was humming the song to myself as I painted on the second day, pleased with the change in just 24 little hours!

So I hope this is a sign of the year to come, filled with improvement and of course, bubbles!

x

Christmas Eve!

It’s finally Christmas Eve; the day for last minute present-buying, milk and cookies for Father Christmas and when the scent of mulled wine should fill the whole house!

I’ve given up hope of a white Christmas, but I can still imagine crunching through freshly fallen snow, with a present-laden sledge behind me as I deliver the gifts ready for the early risers on Christmas morning.

presents

Although, admittedly, none of my family are in walking distance and I’d probably complain the whole journey about being cold and having wet feet… but then again, that’s what your imagination is for!

x

Meeting under the mistletoe

Being the weekend before Christmas, the party season should be well underway…

 

mistletoe

I hope you all take advantage of the mistletoe!

x

The little bits and pieces post

I’m now fully embracing the start of the festive season, so while I busy myself away with snowflakes, christmas trees and holly, here are some unrelated bits and pieces that have flowed from my paintbrush.

rosie

I decided I wanted to update my attempted self-portrait for my about page and Facebook, but every attempt looked the same… and none of them looked like me!

Before you worry I’ve gone a little bit crazy, this obviously isn’t a self-portrait, in fact, in my head, she’s called Rosie, I think it suits her. But I did want to try drawing in a slightly different style, and this was my first attempt at a more caricaturised approach and it really helped me to be more adventurous and create the new self-portrait you can now see on those pages! (Confession – I’ve given self-portrait me much more fabulous hair than real-life me)

paris

Admittedly, I painted this a few years ago, and it’s one I was planning on redoing before sharing, but after the recent events in Paris I wanted to share it to show my support.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been an isolated incident, with further threats since and the bomb attacks the day earlier in Beirut, but in the face of this, it’s great to see so much unity shown across social media by so many.

dream big

Social media sometimes seems flooded with feel good sayings and quotes, and amongst this sea of inspirational buzz words this is the one that’s really stuck out for me.

I meant for it to be the start of a collection of nursery illustrations, but once it was finished, I couldn’t quite bring myself to give it away! My mum has always told me you can be anything you want to be, so it felt destined to stay with me as a little reminder.

gran

This was meant to be a quick sketch based on a photo of my Gran, but I couldn’t help but add some colour to bring it to life. However, my Gran is far more fashionable than I have ever been, so I doubt that the dress and jacket were actually a rosy pink!

There are endless, beautiful photos of my Gran in her late teens/early twenties in glamourous poses with her hair perfectly styled, a beautiful smile on her face and gorgeous fifties clothing. My Grandad was an avid photographer and it’s obvious my Gran loved having her photo taken, so I feel incredibly lucky to have so many photos of her.

grecian alphonse

This was inspired by the Alphonse Mucha art nouveau paintings, but as I started painting, it seemed to take on a life of it’s own, so it’s only really the halo that shows the original inspiration.

Despite not at all matching my expectations, the more I look at it, I think this might actually be one of my favourite paintings! I hope you like her too.

x

Changing seasons

And so autumn has arrived, with more of a damp plop than a dramatic fanfare…

I love a bit of autumn, with it’s crunchy leaves and the perfect excuse to wrap up in a snuggly scarf, but I am not so keen on it rolling in with endless rain and drizzle in August. We should have had until September at least to enjoy the last of the sunshine!

Being back in the office has made me realise that time passes in a very strange way working from home, each day draws out for an eternity, but weeks pass by in a flash! It feels like so long ago that I was stretched out on a blanket on the lawn sketching, reading and taking endless photos of the cats, when in reality, it was maybe a few weeks ago at most.

Lounging at home with the cats I remembered the happiness illustrations I did last year and I decided on another one to add to the list:

lazy daysI cannot wait for the sunshine to come back and the day when I have a garden big enough for a tree and a hammock to enjoy it in – the luxury!

Weeks ago when it was still summer, I was making the most of the sunshine, raspberry picking with my Mum, where I was determined to hone my camera skills.

IMG_0267This lovely little bee seemed quite happy to pose for me in the flowers while I tried to find the right camera setting. I have a feeling it may have been a distraction technique while the surrounding wasps targeted all the raspberries we’d gathered and did their best to terrorise Mum.

We also stopped off at Happisburgh (that’s pronounces hays-bruh, for any non-Norfolk-folk) lighthouse on the way back

IMG_0270It was an amazing day with miles of blue skies and a gentle breeze coming off the sea and yet another opportunity to whip out the camera for a few more photos. I’m determined to improve my photo taking now that I have a fancy camera. I think the main obstacle is going to be lugging it around, it’s so cumbersome!

Of course no North-ish Norfolk jaunt is worth it’s weight in salt without stopping by my favourite riverside house.

rainbows end

Not that you can actually see the river from this view! I am determined to keep painting this house until I can finally get across the warmth, happiness and homeliness that I associate with it. Painting this house is becoming my white whale!

On a slightly less frustrating note, whilst thinking about rivers I came across an image of a woodland river with a beautiful stone bridge running through that felt perfect the front page of my newest sketchbook.

river

The scene felt like it was straight from a fairytale, a story of good versus evil and the discovery of magical creatures. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a sucker for a good fairytale!

So I guess that’s the last of summer for another year, it was short but sweet and I am so happy that I got to spend so much of it outside enjoying the sunshine. Now we’re on to autumn and I’ve got a new scarf to wrap up in and I’m on the hunt for some new boots to keep my feet dry. I hope you made the most of the sunshine while it lasted and you have a reliable brolly ready for the next season!

x

My thank you post

This time last year, after 4 years of working with the same company straight out of uni, I handed in my notice.

Work had became a home from home and a reassuring constant as I moved between 7 homes in 3 years and travelled back and forth every weekend to see the boyf, so handing in my notice was like cutting the strings and seeing whether I could stand on my own two feet. It’s a relief to say, I’m still standing!

I had so much support in making that decision and I was fully prepared to fall flat on my face. I had nothing lined up after my notice period and didn’t think I knew enough people in the industry to reach out to other agencies. Luckily, it turns out that the people I did know were so fantastically generous with their time and connections!

Through their help, I have had the opportunity to meet with a variety of agencies and work on some great projects. Happily, each agency I’ve worked with has asked me to come back to work on further projects, so I’m doing something right!

I realise this isn’t really a post about art, but I thought that if the only thing I can complain about recently is a lack of inspiration with my paintbrush and having to stay an extra night in Paris due to strikes, then I am obviously in a good place right now, so I wanted to celebrate and share it with you. I am so thankful and grateful for the support you have all given me this year, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you!

x

thank you stars

Summer painting update

Over the last few months I haven’t been painting very much due to a mixture of working hard and lack of inspiration. But now that the sun is out and I’m managing to sneak more days at home, I’m trying to track down some inspiration and rediscover my pencils and paints.

So here are a few things that I’ve been painting recently:

bakery dog

This is based on an instagram pic of a cheeky little labrador at a bakery window. I’m still going through a painting cute animals phase, so this popped onto my feed at just the right time! I update my instagram more often than the blog or Facebook, so follow me on instagram for more frequent updates!

Talking of cute animals, I went to see Jurassic World at the cinema last weekend, which inspired a little birthday card that I did for my cousin’s little boy.

dino cardPersonally, I think little dinosaurs are adorable, but that might just be me! I’m thinking of doing a few more of these to make a cute little group as my go to for young age cards.

Another card I did this month was for my friend who recently moved in with her boyfriend:

congrats card

I’ve only met her boyfriend once so far (I know, I’m a terrible friend), but they seem very happy together, so I’m really excited for them!

The final painting I’m going to share is a quick sneak peak…

sneak peek

I’ve been working on a name illustration for a different cousin’s little boy (I have a lot of cousins), with a riverside theme, so this is a little snippet of the final thing.

This is the fifth name illustration I’ve done (I’ve previously shared Hattie’s on my Facebook page and Ella’s here) and it is definitely my favourite thing to paint! I’ll share them all in my next post, once I’ve given this one to it’s new owner.

I’m always open to requests, so if you know anyone who’s nursery or child’s room is missing that something special, please get in touch!

x

Happy Egg Hunting Day!

Happy Easter everyone!

happy easter

We had an early Easter gift yesterday when my mum and step-dad came over wielding an arsenal of garden tools to help us tackle our jungle of a garden!

The boyf pointed out we should have taken a before picture, as it was truly a huge mess, but now we have proper borders, healthy plants, a tidy little lawn and cute hedge ball things! Weeds have been scared away, wild honeysuckle has been tamed and we actually used our outdoors tap for the first time (turns out it wasn’t covered in as many spider webs as we thought)!

garden

So although it isn’t quite egg-hunt ready yet, by summer it will be the perfect sunbathing and barbecuing spot!

I hope you all have a day filled with egg hunting, chocolate and bunnies :) and I’ll leave you with this little close up as he’s just so cute!

x

happy easter crop