Monday, 13 October 2014

Thursday, 9 October 2014

wraparound design: 

Did you know beetles account for 25% of all lifeforms on earth? And they have been on the planet  for nearly 300 million years? And there are around 350,000 known species of beetle?

Those are the three same facts that come up on every website about beetles. Little else appears to be known about them. What keeps them awake at night, which of their family members is their favourite, what slender tomes rest upon their tiny bookshelves, and exactly what prompted them to choose a herbivorous lifestyle...the psychology of our little exoskeletal friends forever remains a mystery to us. Only Kafka came close to understanding their tiny beetle minds, yet he too couldn't resist stamping on poor Gregor Samsa. 


I've just added some new designs to my Society6 shop - (and if you click to use this promo code specifically designed for people who like beetles ( you get free worldwide shipping until Sunday 12th October, wuhu!)

Monday, 29 September 2014

I've been getting some lovely comments on my Society6 bags while out and about recently - from cloakroom attendants in the National Gallery to friendly ladies on station platforms. This one features a mythical Peryton, a creature described in Jorge Luis Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings.

You can buy my Peryton bag here:

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Sketchbook pages

After Henri Fantin-Latour's Portrait of Sonia (1890)

ducks and pigeons in Victoria Park, Stafford

my brother, Lewis

Left: drawing made in British Museum         Right: drawing made in National Gallery

Pigeons, ducks, gulls and geese in St James's Park

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

One must keep right on drawing; draw with your eyes when you cannot draw with a pencil - Ingres

I found David Hockney's book Hidden Knowledge in the library last week and I've been pouring over it ever since. My understanding of art history tends to be quite patchy but I find it endlessly fascinating to learn about. Hockney's examination of the Old Master's and their (possible) use of optics is a good way in, and whether or not you agree with his conclusions it is an opportunity to examine the work by these artists more closely - as well as chronologically, side by side with their peers, which gives a little more context and room for comparison.

(Incidentally, I've also been captivated by the BBC series Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities)

Some recent drawings from my sketchbook:

Drawn from Ingres' portrait of Mrs Charles Badham (1816) 

Ingres focused most of his energy into drawing his subject's faces - they are drawn so tightly that you can barely see the individual pencil marks, the modelling of the face is often light and sensitive - while the clothes are drawn with more looseness of expression - harder strokes, stronger lines - still maintaining a strong focus on line and contour. This effect draws your eye to the face - it appears more in focus than the rest of the drawing - while the looseness keeps your eye engaged in the drawing as a whole.

drawn from Rembrandt's portrait of Baartjen Martens

(self-portrait with hair in towel)