This Christmas I took the time to make Christmas cards for friends and family. I drew each one by hand, which was time consuming but I really enjoyed it and it made each one that little bit different. One was a Christmas tree and one a reindeer, in my usual black and white with a pop of colour.
Christmas was full of food, family and a very grumpy baby. Me and Mr G packed up the car and almost the entire contents of our flat and did the family rounds over Christmas. I was hoping to abandon the monster to the welcoming arms of family members, but alas he had other ideas and I had to eat, drink, and other things attached to my little bundle of joy. I was very lucky and did very well on the present front, especially my super new ipad pro, which I am looking forward to doing lots of great new illustrations with.
I’m very pleased that my first children’s book has recently been published by Fisherton Press. The perfect cup of tea is all about the magical drink that keeps many of us going through the day, from a child’s perspective. Inspired by George Orwell’s essay ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ and that everyone has an opinion on how to do it best, it’s a cheeky little tale about the wonders of tea.
It’s out now and can be purchased directly from Fisherton Press, Amazon, or ordered through your local book shop.
I don’t get the chance to pick up my actual sketchbook and pencils much, these days, with my little monster demanding constant attention, but the last few days I felt I just had to draw something before my head exploded. So here and there, between nappies and bottles and tantrums, I managed to finish another sketch of Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion. This time mixed media: pencil and ink on paper. I used bits of the guide book that me and Mr G used when we were in Kyoto, to draw on to make it all a bit more personal.
Last spring I was commissioned to turn my Winter Girl Illustration into a painting. And somehow I completely forgot to put the finished work on the website. I recreated it in acrylic on canvas, with lots of texture on the trees, and smoother paintwork on the figure. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and so was the client.
When I visited Japan last year I went to the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. Kyoto is the place to be for a tourist looking for traditional Japanese temples and shrines, rather than the bright modern madness of Tokyo.
It is, like it says on the tin, a golden pavilion. A Buddhist temple set in a beautiful garden complex, gold leaf covers the top two stories of the building. The story goes that it was the only structure in the complex to survive a civil war from 1467-1477, only to be burnt down by a crazed novice monk in 1950 who then tried to kill himself on a hill round the back of the building. It was rebuilt in 1955, and is super shiny.
I can’t believe it was a year ago that me and Mr G went to Japan. It was an amazing holiday, taking in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Hakone. When we got back I meant to do a series of posts and artwork inspired by the trip, but projects, both arty and not, got in the way. I hope to make up for that now. A year later, and with our new addition to the family a holiday like that seems like like a far distant dream. Maybe again in about 18 years or so…
Japan is an illustrator’s dream. Every company, school, building and town has a mascot; an insanely cute and colourful creature. And every building is bright and colourful. In Tokyo old and new co-exist, one minute you could be in Blade Runner, and the next you’ve been transported back in time to a peaceful park, a golden temple or wooden shrine. The two major religions (Buddhism and Shinto) also seem to co-exist peacefully. One of our guides said that the Japanese people are superstitious rather than religious, working elements of both religions into their private lives. At one of the temples there was even a place for having your car blessed!
And the food! My love of Japanese food was one of the reasons I wanted to go in the first place. Ramen, sushi, okonomiyaki, tempura, katsu, sukiyaki, the list goes on. The most difficult thing about it was choosing where to eat, particularly in Tokyo where there were so many restaurants it often seemed an impossible task to pick one.
We went with Inside Japan, who organised everything for us like train passes, maps, suggested itineraries, guides and hotels. For someone like me who isn’t a super intrepid traveller they made it so easy to access a culture so different to my own. That, along with Google maps, a Japanese phrasebook app, and lots of mime made it surprisingly easy to get around and experience a taste of this amazing country.
Christmas is now but a distant memory. A chocolate covered haze of train journeys, watching Indiana Jones films, the crunch of wrapping paper, and of course, Lego. Since then I have been working hard on an exciting project which I will hopefully be able to give you the full details of very soon…in the meantime here is a sneak peek of some artwork which didn’t make the final cut for the project. I’m also just back from an amazing holiday in Japan so I will hopefully have some Japan inspired artwork up very soon!
I know it’s a little bit early, but I started thinking about this year’s xmas cards and came up with this London winter scene in various colours. I hate to contribute to the media and high street onslaught which initiates the xmas panic earlier and earlier each year, but I just couldn’t help myself…I’m not proud. Happy pre xmas!
I basically spend my life preparing for the zombie apocalypse* and I think that running will be crucial for survival. This is the main reason that I go (occasionally) to the gym; so that I can outrun a flock (or is it gaggle?) of zombies when the time comes. There are of course other things that will ensure survival, like a boat, an axe, and actual survival skills. But for now I’m focussing on the running. I think I’ll be ok. Unless they are the rage type zombies, then I’m screwed because they run fast. Maybe I need to learn to ride a horse or a bike…