Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Illustration Videos | Behind the Scenes

Hello everyone. Just a quick post to let you know that I have been busy making youtube video's throughout the month of May. I've been offering advice to new illustrators, showing my work in progress & some snippets from my personal life too!

If you're interested, please do have a watch & subscribe if you are that way inclined!

Mayday 1

Mayday 2

Mayday 3

Mayday 4

Mayday 5

Mayday 6

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Illustrations for Darling Magazine Issue 15 | Watercolour

A recent commission from Darling Magazine to illustrate an article about home economics and homemade cleaning products. They were kind enough to send me a copy of the issue all the way from the US and it's a beautifully produced magazine - more like a coffee table book than a fashion mag. Very pleased to have been involved! Read more about the issue here.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Women Who Own It | Beatrix Potter


Women Who Own It is an ongoing project exploring how personal possessions tell the story of the pioneering women who owned them.

Personal projects are precious things. I've wanted to start a project of my own for over two years now but life is busy and running your own business is even busier. I've been striving so hard to build my portfolio and work on as many varied projects as possible; I haven't had the time to produce art for the sole reason I started in the first place: because I love it.

I decided that 2016 would be the year I put aside the excuses and began a self initiated project, no matter how busy I was, and no matter how scary the prospect. Personal projects are precious because they can breathe new life into a creative practice; just as I was beginning to feel smothered by strict briefs and deadlines. I hoped to explore a theme I was truly passionate about and create work not restricted by page layouts and client identities, and this is the outcome.

I've felt close to Beatrix Potter from an early age. Not only did she undertake a similar profession to mine but she was also a passionate watercolourist with an undying love for painting and recording the wildlife of the English countryside; I sometimes feel as if we would've been friends. But beyond her worldwide celebrity status as an author and illustrator, her personal life has always intrigued me. She was strong-willed and independent - putting her work before finding the husband society expected of her. She was determined to pursue her vision, both in her work and in her personal life - buying Hilltop Farm despite being advised against it and keeping book production costs low with the aim of them being more accessible to children.

Beatrix’s relationship with the natural world was consistent, running throughout her lifetime like a clear water stream. I imagine her as a strong, confident woman without vanity, rambling over the peaks of Cumbria to observe the natural landscape and searching for fungi to take home to study. She was very interested in mycology, and studied fungi from a scientific perspective as well as an artistic one. Her fascination with the mushroom world resulted in paintings that are praised for their scientific accuracy and consulted by mycologists in identifying mushroom species, even to this day. Her focused pursuit towards a better understanding of her subject matter and also the world around her, is a trait I greatly admire and hope to emulate.

She wrote about nature at a time when it had little value in society - when the destruction of land and wildlife was more popular than the preservation. Beatrix left over 4000 acres of land to the National Trust upon her death. It takes patience but also courage to block out the distracting opinions and actions of those around you; she had the strength to focus on her own path and because of this her uninfluenced way of life made her both happy and prosperous.

Beatrix Potter was an author, illustrator, conservationist and natural scientist. She was also a land-owner who collected unusual chinaware, bred prize-winning sheep and studied the cross-sections of mushrooms under her microscope. She was, and continues to be, a huge inspiration to many.

 Objects in the Beatrix Collection: 

Bird skull, ink bottle, pen nib, dolls house bird cage, dissected mushroom. 
Dolls house food from The Tale of Two Bad Mice.

Cumbrian fern.

Key to Hilltop Farm.


Staffordshire porcelain sheep figurine with hollow tree trunk, owned by Beatrix.

China cup owned by Beatrix.

These original paintings are for sale in my online shop, as well as a very special run of Beatrix Collection prints. There will only ever be 20 of these so if you'd like one, order sharpish!


I also made a video to explore some of the themes behind the artwork. Watch it below and do let me know what you think.

I am open to suggestions of women who you think "own it" to study for the next instalment of this project. Please do leave requests and suggestions in the comments. Thank you!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Watercolour Birds for Tsz Shan Monastery | Bird Paintings

Common Tailorbird
Great Egret
White-Breasted Waterhen
Common Emerald Dove
Common Kingfisher
Scarlet Minivet
Chestnut Bulbul
Black-throated Laughing Thrush
Chinese Hwamei
Yellow Bellied Prinia
Scarlet-backed Flower Pecker
Fork-tailed Sunbird
Japanese White-Eye
Collared Crow
Large Billed Crow

One of my bigger projects of last year, and also one of my favourites! Over 60 birds painted for the Tsz Shan Monastery in Hong Kong, for an exclusive calendar given to special guests.

Want to see how I painted these? Watch the video here:

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A New Book Project | A Wilder Life

Hello. It is I, the owner of this very neglected blog. I have returned to share a very exciting project that I started working on in August of 2014. As of today, I hold the finished product in my hands and it's beautiful.

This is Wilder Quarterly's first book, A Wilder Life, and it's a seasonal guide to "getting in touch with nature" which includes chapters on seasonal recipes, apothecary, DIY, foraging, and self-reliance among many other topics. It's a project that I'm proud to have been a part of, not least because the book is a thing of beauty and my illustrations share pages with work by photographers Krysta Jabczenski and Claire Cottrell.

Autumnal produce

I was asked to create watercolour illustrations to accompany many of the themes around nature, including seasonal produce to grow in your garden, medicinal plants to collect for tinctures, teas and homemade beauty products and wildlife to spot throughout the year.
Healing gemstones
These spot sized illustrations can be found in list from throughout the book - the crystals illustrate a chapter on beauty and healing. 
"Different cultures use crystals and gemstones differently - some complementary therapies encourage placing the stones on the body to connect to the body's energy fields or chakras, while others prefer the use of wands or pendulums. As nature lovers, we prefer to appreciate the stones for what they are: marvels of nature."
A Seasonal Apothecary 
The book contains a wealth of information on using foraged plants as well as spices and herbs to treat illness, soothe anxiety, boost the immune system and treat the skin along with many other uses. A recipe I'm excited to try is for a 'Calendula Salve' which uses the orange flower pictured above in a balm to soothe dry and cracked skin.
Colourful American birds

I also painted a series of still life watercolours that didn't quite make it into the final publication but that I thought I'd share below, because I quite like them (and waste not want not!).

An At-Home Herbalist Pharmacy

 Tasks to Do Around the Home

And there you have it. A big project that took up many months last year, which has cumulated in a book I'm extremely excited to take some time out with, with a cup of tea and a cosy corner. It's always a pleasure to work with independent and interesting clients, and Wilder Quarterly publish content that's "for people enthralled by the natural and growing worlds....‘a life through the lens of the growing world’— indoors and out, culture, travel, food and design." Which sounds just about perfect to me.

Buy the book here.

(P.S Many more botanical illustrations to share - but I'll include them in an up-coming post!)

Monday, 7 September 2015

Gloucestershire Old Spot Pig

Gloucestershire Old Spot Pig

Butchers Knives & A Bunch of Herbs

Mason Jars for Salt & Pepper

Some recent work for a local business opening soon in East London - Artisan Cured Meats from Lured & Cured.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Cruelty Free Skincare | CLEANSE | Plus Illustrations

A slightly unusual blog post from me today, on a subject that I don't presume to be the most knowledgeable about. Skincare. Beauty. Cosmetics.

I don't claim to be an expert, mainly because my most authentic self is a bit of a slob. In an ideal world I'd never have to make myself presentable and do any of this preening but someone somewhere set the bar of how groomed we modern humans should aim to be, and that means that I at least need to wash my face.

So I do. And I quite like the routine I've designed for myself, which is surprising. The turning point for me came when I decided to go cruelty-free with my cosmetics. It is completely unacceptable in my eyes, to allow animals to suffer & live in misery, for the sake of a few frivolous lotions & potions. I don't want to associate with companies that allow their products to be tested on animals - to me that's like poking a rabbit in the eye on a daily basis.

So here are my favourite cruelty-free products. They might not be vegan, but they bypass that hurting-animals-with-chemicals thing, and I've been surprised at how much I've enjoyed using them, despite my slobish ways.
Camomile Cleansing Butter | The Body Shop

I take a blob of this and massage it into my face and it just dissolves my makeup. It's very satisfactory, there's no scrubbing necessary, and if you have sensitive skin like I do that tends to be sore after a day in the elements or in makeup, this is such a soothing relief. I use a hot muslin cloth to wipe the butter and the makeup away.
Foaming Face Wash | Green People
This smells amazing, like geraniums on a summer's morn. Kind of. Also its the perfect wash if you have sensitive, slightly dry skin that is sometimes prone to spots or shine. I've found my skin is much less oily and I've had fewer spots since using this.
Glow Tonic | Pixi
I think this has got to be one of my favourite skincare discoveries since I started seeking out cruelty-free brands. At first I was a bit sceptical, but within about a week of using it, my skin was brighter, smoother, and the annoying under-the-skin-bump/spot that I'd had for about a year disappeared. Amazing! There are a few things to bear in mind whilst using it though - a) if you have sensitive skin, once a day may be better and b) sunscreen is extra important as the toner can make skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Another tip - if you are concerned about the need for not-very-environmentally-friendly cotton wool pads - I bought some reusable cotton rounds from amazon. They are supposed to be breast feeding pads but they're perfect for applying the toner. Just wash and reuse!

I hope you found this helpful! Stay tuned for part two about the cruelty-free oils and moisturisers I use as part of my skincare routine - or watch the illustrated video I made below!