As I needed a new profile image I painted a fresh self portrait. As an illustrator it doesn’t feel appropriate to use a photograph for professional social media profiles. It’s an opportunity to give a sense of myself and my work.
Lovely illustration agent, and teacher, Lilla Rogers reviewed my Instagram feed in November and seeing the following portrait gave some advice which I’ve now had the opportunity to put into practice.
As I’m developing my illustration skills my self portrait timeline is a measure of ongoing artistic development. I’m sharing this as I’m pleased with the progression, and to bare my past work in the hope that this inspires people to keep practicing at whatever you wish to improve. The portraits below go gradually farther back in time.
A self-portrait can possibly be seen as self-indulgence but a lot can be learned by learning to observe and portray the features. As it’s face one sees most often, although in reflection, and it’s always available as a subject it’s a helpful subject to draw or paint.
Learning the techniques, materials, surface, observation, brush dexterity and choice of hues all plays a part in this progression. I find myself using a range of brush sizes, tube and cake watercolours, and am very surprised that I am often holding a magnifying glass to paint tiny details.
I use the mantra – Practice Makes Better, as I don’t believe in perfect; and I think that the pressure of attaining perfection can stifle experimentation, and thus can also inhibit progress. So I practice, practice, practice…
I look forward, next, to simplifying my portrait and maybe using a concept to communicate more. Here’s to seeing where the future leads.
The below is a bit of an anomaly, I feel it’s quite good compared with some of what came after, but no path is ever completely straight.
I’m sharing this because everyone has to start somewhere, and is a beginner at the start of a new endeavour.
Enjoying the journey, whilst developing is, in my opinion, a wonderful exploration. I wish you luck in your creative practice and those activities at which you’re determined to get better. What is it you want to develop skills at? I’m interested to know how you motivate yourself forwards?
Here’s to a creative 2021, hopefully one where we can all enjoy more freedom.
These editorial illustrations are prompted by the #matseditoriallive ‘Communication’ brief. I hope you enjoy seeing them.
My latest watercolour work for a project about connectivity, poignant at this time whilst we cannot meet and be with loved ones.
The phone is the gateway to family and friends whilst we can’t visit them.
Messages, voice, and video time together.
A sweet concept for the illustration prompt ‘partnerships’.
I saw a couple riding their bikes holding hands in Spain, I was enchanted, so romantic and implies such a close bond.
My husband and I love biking as it feels so free and open to the air and weather. It’s rather a muddy activity with the current ground conditions though.
Love through letters
Love comes through the letterbox, whilst we cannot meet in person. Holding something that a loved one has written and held can make us feel closer, and can reduce the miles between. Royal Mail carries the love between us and helps it flow.
We will hug again
Lockdown 3 is teaching me that I love hugs. I look forward to when it is safe and legal to hug all the people I love (not all at once).
These ladies are two beautiful souls.
I’m confess, I’m missing my friends. Made this watercolour animation where the love travels like a balloon caught on the breeze to go safely between us across the distance, and above the restrictions of lockdown 3.
There will be so much joy when we can meet and spend time together, and can be in the same place.
Creativity is such a blessing at this time. I find drawung, painting, and sewing feed the soul and help self expression, and can calm emotions.
I painted my sewing machine, and my favourite sewing equipment in the same colour palette.
I hope you are managing to connect with those you love, and that you’re doing ok. Aren’t these such strange times we are living in!
Thanks for your support; making the work is keeping me going. I’m determined to refine and reduce the space between what I conceive and what I create.
If you like the work please give it a ‘Like’ and share it with those to whom it might be a comfort. I’m grateful for feedback and shares as it really helps me to keep making new work if I feel it is making some kind of positive difference.,
Here are my most recent blog posts. Please pop back soon, some exciting news is imminent.
I had a wonderful start to 2020 with skiing in France and Bulgaria, and little did I know when watching Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall in March that it would be the last theatre visit of the year. Since we first went into lockdown in March my creative work has been enjoyable distraction and focus. As a result it’s been a productive year for my art and illustration work.
I have explored editorial illustration, children’s picture book work, and the themes of food and travel. Enjoyed the wonderful Make Art That Sells global community, and also the UK/US illustrator group that I’m blessed to be part of.
After a day skiing in Les 3 Vallees, France I relaxed by painting ski related equipment.
This initiated the Ski A-Z book project which I have worked on throughout the year and will be in book form in early 2021.
Sharing these ski illustrations on social media led to an exciting client commission, which I will be able to reveal in the coming weeks – watch this space.
Here are my favourite ski illustrations of 2020 (that aren’t embargoed). I find that often the favourite pieces are breakthroughs in terms of the detail, materials, and/or techniques.
My intention with the project has been to demonstrate the joy and emotions of skiing and related activities in a way that is often less apparent in photographic images.
There are people who are at their happiest when skiing, unfortunately many of them aren’t able to ski at present, I hope they can feel some comfort by seeing the work and vicariously having some ski escapism.
I’ve had a number of people requests prints of the ski work, so I’m pleased to reveal that I’ll be producing limited edition prints in 2021. Follow my blog for more details when they’re available. If there are ski illustrations that you’d like to be included in the selection made into prints please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Top 9 of 2020
Here are my overall favourite 9 pieces of 2020 across ski, travel, food and character design…
I worked hard on the first to show an expression of joy in this freestyle skiing pose. The second was a children’s book character I created for the Make Art That Sells Illustrating Children’s Books briefs. The third was a painting of juxtaposed elements of our biking holiday in Flamborough, the stunning scenery and incredible bird life.
The fourth was for an illustrated travel memoir of heli-skiing in Russia. The fifth is a conceptual illustration for Apres-Ski fun, my entry for the AOI World Illustration Awards. Sixth was my favourite piece from a number of dessert illustrations.
Seventh – the delightful feeling of calm and seclusion when enjoying some quiet time after skiing, warm and snuggly as the temperatures drop outside. I contacted Eddie (the Eagle) Edwards for a quote about the feeling of flying, and created this illustration from images that at Eddie provided. The ninth was a festive illustration/animation of steel deliveries at Santa’s Metal Workshop, commissioned by steel stockholder K Steels for their social media channels.
A particular highlight of lockdown, and since, were regular ‘Art Chats’ with my friend. We simultaneously worked on our individual creative projects on video calls. Being able to see the development of each other’s work, and to get ‘work in progress’ feedback, was helpful, I have found that chatting can help to divert the conscious mind and allow the subconscious to create in flow; the art nirvana that one can experience in particular circumstances and creative activities.
In the course of the chats my friend created an entire 2021 calendar of bird watercolours. You can see his work at
For me personally good has to come out if a challenging situation, and thus I’ve made it a productive year with development of my skills and evolution of my illustration work. Here’s to a good 2021. Enjoy this short illustrated gif…
Thank you for each view, like, comment and all the support in 2020. Sharing my work gives me the impetus to continue to create, and to push myself to be able to more and more effectively express concepts visually.
It is always my mission to spread joy and inspiration so I hope that it contributes to the positive vibes going out into the world consciousness.
Beaching can be a state of mind. For the past few years I’ve found that having a beach bag available for when relaxing in the garden can help transport oneself to the relaxation enjoyed whilst relaxing on holiday.
Months of lovely warm, sunny weather for most of lockdown have been ideal for garden beaching. I used the pretty colours of Inktense and my travel industry know how to illustrate the contents of a beaching, at home, bag.
Thanks so much for being here and taking the time to look at my work. If you need bespoke illustrations to support a change for good project, please get in touch.
I’ve created some garden sign designs of ice-cream and ice lolly nostalgic summertime themes.
Ice-Cream painted sign. The wonderful, iconic 99 ice-cream, here in a tasty wafer cone, with chocolate at the end. 😋 Poster design to enhance the garden shed. Adding some fun summer icons.
The second design, with the same colour palette, again in acrylic paints was themed on the Fab ice lolly.
Nice weather meant it was possible to get outside and paint.
Have a Fab day! Fab ice lolly themed poster art. Enjoyed painting this piece. Please scroll sideways to see the work. Research was fun, and tasty 😋. The fab lolly is a product which is still going strong after more than 50 years!
It’s been a tumultuous and busy past couple of weeks for most of the planet. I’m determined to keep sharing uplifting work, both new illustrations and ones from my back catalogue when they are relevant.
The situation has moved fast and already has provided reflections on gratitude, for what may have previously have been undervalued, and the situation its is a reset of perspective of who is, and what is important.
Sending heaps of kindness and wellness to all those who are unwell or suffering.
I’ve been busy adapting our home for lockdown, had to make heart wrenching strategic business decisions, as well as finding tech solutions to replace face to face demonstrations. I’ve managed so squeeze some time in for illustration, which is therapeutic and can hopefully brighten someone’s day. This art from my heart follows…
I’ve been finding the terms used such as self-isolating and social distancing as having very negative connotations, and wondered whether putting a more positive slant on staying at home might make this feel more enjoyable and therefore sustainable. Here’s an example of this work, I’ll be developing these ideas and responding the World Health Organisation (@who) Creative Brief to communicate the key messages.
Home and family are everything. Despite the restrictions we must nurture our minds, bodies and relationships all from within our home. Thankfully technology can bridge between those we love but do not live with. Our families have come together for some great multi-generation live video calls which have been a great distraction and really made us laugh.
Here are a round up of the posts from my Instagram, to uplift and reassure.
This is for all those suffering with fear and anxiety. You are not alone. These feelings are understandable in this situation, so try to go easy on yourself. Comfort yourself with reassurance that you are safe and you are loved.
If there is someone that you feel would also like to see this please share. Spread the love. 💕 #stayhomestaysafe
There can be great joy in nature and this lovely season. Flashback to this watercolour painting from last year created as a book cover design.
The bright flowers are blooming to herald Spring, the birds are singing, daffodils shine bright. The sun radiates low into the rooms to warm away winter. Beautiful weather last week made the first days of lockdown easier as the garden is springing to life and the birds are full of energy and song.
Stunning spectrums that I spotted in our kitchen, cast by a refractive book cover being hit by the sun’s rays.
Have Courage, Hold On. We are stronger than this thing. #alonetogether
I sprayed this positive quote from Audrey Hepburn in our garden, as a reminder, and for a little spray painting therapy.
Relaxing retreating in reading at the end of the day.
Watercolour and digital. You might recognise this scene from my chalet picture. Worked with a work in progress scan digitally to create this piece with a work in progress scan digitally to create this piece. #stayhomesavelives
Enjoy the Great Indoors. Whether you choose to scale your stairs for a work out, adventure to far flung places on Netflix or enjoy some Eastern philosophy on your yoga mat, wishing you a lovely day. #stayhomestaysafe
Created this house in watercolours on wet then developed this further to create the composition at the top of this post…
And finally: Only Tweet the good. Trying to only share positive and factual content. The birds are so active around our home, their beautiful song so clear in the stillness.
Thanks for being here. Stay safe, stay home and if there’s somebody who you feel would like to see my work please share the blog with them.
Been busy painting for #matseditorial2020 Make Art That Sells assignment about reducing meat in the diet, and its benefits for the environment.
Completed this editorial assignment for @makeartthatsells
I’m pleased with the outcome, although I’m uncomfortable being prescriptive, but that was the nature of the brief.
This is stage 1 to create a number of icons and to illustrate the concept of optimism.
I then moved on to thinking about the composition and how to communicate the tone of the article.
My preferred concept at this stage was this advertisement style editorial illustration rough.
I found that working with the elements on tracing paper allowed me to play around with the composition without having committed to drawing on the normal paper. I was then able to scan this and arrange it within a client document for discussion/ approval, before the next stage.
In addition to the final editorial illustration at the top of the article here is an animated gif of my editorial illustration.
Interesting brief from which I learned a great deal. I enjoyed it more than expected by finding what I could enjoy in the subject matter.
I most enjoyed painting the tractor and vegetables.