Who Says a Leopard Can’t Change His Spots

The idea for this guy came to me as I was daydreaming at work.

A few splashes of paint and a dripping brush later, and this leopard proves that he can too change his spots!

Leopard

There was just something quite entertaining about a defiant leopard with several pots of paint, never let anyone say you haven’t got the capacity to change and grow, and try something new.

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of creativity.

 

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So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

I have not seen Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in years, yet I have had it’s infamous intro tune in my head all afternoon, and I have caught myself singing along to it since.

What triggered this particular earworm, is a bit of a mystery, but it may be to do with getting lost in a daydream as I stared at a poster on my wall, of dolphins swimming under a starry sky…

Whatever the reason, there are far worse songs to have stuck in my head, and it inspired my latest sketch. And an evening spent humming along to a catchy song while drawing is an evening well spent in my opinion!

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Wildlife in Watercolour

Last year, I began to produce work which I could display and sell in the Cafe, where I work.

Another local artist who has displayed her paintings before I did, paints characters from Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows. They are beautifully finished watercolours, so I wanted to produce paintings that wouldn’t look out of place next to hers, but would still be distinctly my own style and subject matter.

Naturally I settled on animals as my inspiration, and watercolours to add a bit of colour and life. I picked animals with interesting patterns and colours, like tigers, giraffes and flamingosTiger 2

Flamingo

Penguin - Learning to Fly

Giraffes became a favourite of mine, I found their patterns challenging but fun to paint, trying to make the different yellows, oranges and browns compliment each other for good results was rewarding. And I enjoyed giving every animal life and expression, imagining them having their own personalities.

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The giraffes became the most popular of the paintings I sold and displayed, I was even lucky enough to have a customer commission one specially when she found I’d sold the one on display.

Selling my paintings in a local Cafe is a small step into the art world, but a step none the less, and it is a reason to keep producing, practicing and improving which is never a bad thing.

And an evening spent painting after a long day at work, reaffirms why I love producing art in the first place, its my happy place.

Until next time! Thanks for reading

 

 

 

Dapper Penguins – First Doodle of 2016

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It was a quiet evening after a long day at work, my sketchbook was on the table and a pencil was in my hand. 

Pretty soon a pair of cheerful penguins appeared in light pencil, greeting one another happily on the page. 

They decided their meeting required an outfit a little more dapper, so I penned them both a top hat, monocle and walking stick each, and they both went on their merry way.

I’m not entirely sure why this ended up as my first sketch of the year, it’s funny where the mind takes you when you decide to draw for the fun of it. I’ve had a couple of people say they remind me of the penguins in Mary Poppins, so I was probably channeling my inner child in some way 😛

I’m sure there will be many more sketches, random and planned in the next year. Time to fill up that sketchbook!

 

 

New Year, New Post

Happy New Year to you all, I hope you all had a relaxing holiday season with people you loved.

I went camping in a place called Kaitoke, which is better known nowadays as the place where Middle Earth’s ‘Rivendell’ was filmed. Even though the set itself has been removed, you can still picture the Elven settlement from the Lord of the Rings films, and of course the nerd that I am was delighted to explore the set none-the-less.

Rivendell 2

The weather held up beautifully the entire week, so we had four days of sunshine and three nights of satellite spotting in starry skies, and I loved being able to explore, swim and relax away from technology. I even spent some time sketching in the shade, dedicating a sketch to sitting under the stars.

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Sometimes its the simplest pleasures like camping and relaxing that make you appreciate life and all it has to offer.

Thanks for reading!

Mischief Monday

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The idea for Mischief came to me one evening while I was staying with my Uncle in Cambridge last year. The notion that mice get up to Mischief while we’re not around intrigued me. And I loved the idea that they’d find different uses for our everyday objects.

Since then Mischief has been on many adventures, over the Christmas 214 period, he made an appearance on numerous card designs which I gifted to friends and colleagues.

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1The thing I love most about Mischief is how adventurous he is, and how easily he leaps from the pencil onto the page ready for new adventures.

During one of his last adventures he ventured into the mysterious unknown, that is the world beneath the water, and met many creatures, totally unlike himself.

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Illustration Escapades of 2015 – Expressions… a throwback

When it comes to drawing and creating characters and expressions, I have always been inspired by animals. We always had dogs while I grew up and I was always intrigued by the idea that in order to understand their personality and their feelings, I had to rely on other indicators beside language, like how they move their ears, their eyebrows, and their tails. I drew people too, but I made a more conscious effort to develop my ability to draw animals more so than people.

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Tattoo request – 2011
Character design – early 2011

In late 2011, after I finished the first year of my degree, I made the decision to practice drawing people more. I took inspiration from Disney for the style and developed characters from Harry Potter based on how I imagined them from the books. It took a lot of trial and error, but I enjoyed the challenge and I was pleased by how they turned out.

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Late 2011

Since then, I have made more of an effort to practice people. I still turn to fanart as an excuse to draw people, its a lot of fun to put your own twist/style on a characters portrayal. And as an aspiring illustrator, my favourite books, programmes and films can be a huge motivation.

Merida 2012
Merida 2012
Random sketch 2012
Random sketch 2012
Red Dwarf 2013
Red Dwarf 2013
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Under the sea – 2014

Of course, there are exceptions to the fan art Under the Sea was inspired by a trip to an aquarium when I visited Naples for a week on my travels last year. It was one of those drawings that made me realise how my abilities had improved as I was able to draw a figure free hand without drawing from a photo. (though I can definitely see how I still need so much practice drawing hands and feet 😛 )

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Belle 2014

Most recently, I’ve been trying to invent my own characters.

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Elle 2015
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Elle 2015

I haven’t thought of a story for Elle, but she is definitely a confident, witty young woman from the early 1900s, seeking adventure and the chance to make her own mark on the world.

There is still a lot of practice to be done until I will feel totally confident at drawing people, even then there will always be room to improve. However, I can see progress, and it goes to show that when anyone puts there mind to something they are passionate about, they can achieve their goals.

Illustration Escapades of 2015 – A handmade sketchbook

Well it’s been a while! I can assure you though, I have not been unproductive in the creative department.

I started off the New Year by making a brand new sketchbook from some scraps of some fabric my Mum had used for cushion covers years ago, and the card board backs from some of my old wire-bound sketch books. I needed a new sketchbook anyway, and making one is a great way of up-cycling some materials that may otherwise be thrown away. Plus any opportunity to be creative and crafty is a good one right?

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The purpose of this sketchbook is purely indulgence. No rules, no deadlines, I am totally free to draw anything! Its the sketchbook that travels with me everywhere I go (along with an over-stuffed pencil case), to be there whenever I have an idea or inspiration, or simply an urge to draw. Having that one sketchbook that goes with me everywhere, is also pretty effective in ensuring that I do keep practicing, having a lack of materials on hand can then never be an excuse for not drawing.

The first sketch on the first page was inspired by animals, this time meerkats. They are an animal that I never fail to visit at the zoo, they are so inquisitive and clever and have such great expressions.

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Of course, that is not all I have done this year, but I’ll reveal some more in another post later this week.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. The binding I used is a Japanese style bookbinding which is surprisingly simple, but makes the book strong and durable, and allows the book to open up flat which is ideal for a sketchbook. The link to the Youtube tutorial can be found here 

Back into Blogging

Sorry for the long absence. This last year has been crazy, I cannot believe how quick time has flown!

Study Update

I successfully completed my degree with straight A’s through the entire final year. I was quite pleased with my finished work. Well… I say finished, I do think I could do a lot more to get the board game to publishing stage, but I decided when I finished the degree I would take a break for a while before picking the project up again. And I still might.

For Zonta

For those of you who are new to my blog and are wondering which project I am referring too, The Loooong Overdue Blog Post and Some Character Sketches are two posts that should explain further 🙂

The time I went travelling

After my graduation in March, I embarked on an incredible three month trip to Europe to visit family and friends, and explore parts of Italy, France, Spain and Poland. It was one of the best (and at times, scariest) things I have done in my life and I cannot wait to go travelling again.

Although I haven’t gotten stuck into any projects, I haven’t neglected my art. I drew whatever I felt like while I was away, whether it be my Uncle’s Squirrels, Tigers, a scene at a park in Milan… I even went through a mouse phase. It was quite freeing just drawing for the fun of it really.

That’s all for tonight I think. I will finish with a few of my sketches from the past couple of months. I won’t leave it so long before my next blog post, so until next time… Ciao!

 

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The Mouse Phase
Squirrels in Uncle Bob's Garden
Squirrels in Uncle Bob’s Garden
Lunchtime in a park, Milan
Lunchtime in a park, Milan

The Loooong Overdue Blog Post!

Just days off 3 months since my last blog post… clearly I need to be more disciplined with updating my page 😛

Still I am here now, and I suppose it is time I prove that my lack of blog activity does not reflect the amount of work I have been doing on my artistic pursuits.

Go Native – The Board Game 

Hours of work and a heck of a lot of paint later, I have finished all of the painted elements (native animal and pest characters, native trees and landscapes) for the game… well I say finished, there are still heaps of native animals I would LOVE to paint as characters but with hand in just 4 weeks away (and counting) there just isn’t time with everything else I have to complete for the game before then.

Some of the natives and pests
Some of the natives and pests
Landscapes
(Left to right, top to bottom) Tane Mahuta, Cathedral Cove, Mt Taranaki, Lake Wanaka

Now I have all the painted elements and they’re all scanned onto computer, I have finally made good progress on arranging the actual game track. Initially I was going to draw and paint the track by hand, scan it on etc. but I felt trapped by this method because there wasn’t any room to play with the track shape and route. So after a talk with tutors I decided I would build the track from numbers so I could still move things around and arrange all of my animals and trees without being restricted by path.

Track-Numbers

As well as my regular path, I am also planning on incorporating a second path, The Rocky Road, that will hold more danger and reward than the main path. For this I have taken inspiration from Shem Phillips of Garphill Games (whose board games are often made from separate tiles that players can use to construct their own board during game-play) and decided to design track tiles so players can build their own Rocky Road (almost as if they were on a bush-walk and decided to go off the Beaten track.

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Kaka Bird

I should also mention, that it was at this point I decided to create a colour palette  that I could use across everything I design (cards, instructions, packaging). I really liked the oranges, blues and soft greens in my Kaka bird, so I picked swatches of colour from his plumage.

For hand in I need to finish arranging my track, design and instruction booklet, cards, Rocky Road tiles and packaging.

Special Topic – Litter Botany of New Zealand

In my last post A Productive Week I posted a sample of the plants I had drawn that were made from discarded pieces of litter. Since then I have completed the project with the finished poster including 9 litter-made New Zealand native plants. I along with my classmates exhibited our posters at Parliament in Wellington for an exhibition called Here Tomorrow. I’ll probably upload an image of the finished poster later, I can’t find the file at the moment… it is somewhere in the mess of folders on my hard drive.

During the project I kept in touch with Keep New Zealand Beautiful who expressed an interest in my project after I enquired about litter statistics way back at the start of the year. I kept them up-to-date with the poster progress and they kept me in the loop about current goings-on in their bids to launch litter campaigns. They also put me in touch with a contact at my local council, so last week I met with them to discuss projects and strategies to make people more aware of the effects of littering and to clean up the local area.

It’ll be interesting to see where this all takes me 🙂

It’s actually scary but exciting to think that I am unbelievably close to finishing my degree (where has 3 years of my life gone!), it’s hard to believe that it has been 3 years since I was thinking the same thing about finishing High School. And to think I never believed my parents when they told me years get faster as you get older…

Well, I think that’s all for now. I’ll try to update again sooner than 3 months time.

See ya!