I was asked to create a mural for the Sheffield Farm to welcome school children visiting on educational trips. Luckily for me bright, bold, quirky and playful are totally my style and all very appealing to kids so it felt the perfect project to be my first large public painted piece. I would love it if more schools or businesses in Sheffield commissioned me to do mural work like this. It’s big and messy and makes me feel like a kid again!
The base layer was black paint. I started with a very basic pencil layer to indicate composition. Next I painted the piece with emulsion paint using a digital drawing I had created as a guide. I found it important to step back every now again and check the proportions of my work. This is a necessary step in big pictures, the bigger they are the more difficult it is to control distortion.
It took several layers of white before the piece started to look anything other than a bit of a mess. It’s important never to get disheartened if your piece looks bad at the beginning because they most often do! The benefit to the emulsion was that it dries pretty quickly so I could continously work on the piece. For the most part whilst waiting for a section to dry I could work on another, and by the time I’d finished the original section would be pretty much ready to start on again.
To finish the piece I used posca markers. These pens are like magic and work on pretty much anything. They aren’t the cheapest but there is no comparison between official Posca pens and other more inexpensive products masquerading as similar to Poscas. Nothing I have found has come close (although please comment on this post if you wish to challenge me on this!)
If you want to know anything more about the process, leave me a comment or get in touch!
This month I have been taking part in a multitude of drawing challenges. Namely the following Instagram drawing challenges for October 2018:
For those unfamiliar the challenges consist of prompts created by a variety of instagram artists of varying instafame (I think it’s fair to say that) from Inktober being the daddy of them all to #superradhalloweenchallenge seeming a shiny new and fun development.
Self styled cool kid Craig Gleason is responsible for The Season of the Bad Guys Club and every artist’s biggest girl crush Mab Graves brings the tour de force that is #mabsdrawlloween challenge. The aim is that you take a prompt for everyday of the month October and create an illustration for it that you post on your instagram using the hashtag.
It seems fitting that in the final days of this year’s challenge (also my first!) that I reflect on the last month’s work.
And the winner is…
Mab’s Drawlloween Club was the winner for me and I completed Mab’s prompts on the vast majority of the days. It’s not just that her prompts appealed to me but also that seeing the variety of ways she responded to the prompts (yes I know that she wrote them!) was totally inspiring. Seeing her drawings, felt creations, photography and dolls blew me away and made me want to push myself too. I have also always been someone who feels an intense desire to make things out of EVERYTHING. Paper, digital, clay, textiles and even stuff destined for the bin. Mab inspired me to feature a few knitted, diorama and sculpted pieces throughout the challenges as well as pen drawings and digital art.
Unfortunately what I also discovered was that Inktober does not seem to be for me. I only ever covered it a couple of days. In the context of the others it was just harder to get excited about. Who wants to draw something ‘tranquil’ or ‘flowing’ when there’s another prompt next door with Yokai or Cryptids? I know which one I’m going to do. But then this in itself gets me thinking for next year. Often I find myself someone who finds staying in their comfort zone the most uncomfortable thing to do. I feel like I’m taking the easy way or not challenging myself enough.
Ultimately, isn’t it most useful as a freelance illustrator to encourage ourselves to practice gleaning creativity from a prompt (or brief) that might not immediately inspire us? I for one seem to be deciding too quickly and could that mean I am missing out on inspiration and opportunities that are there, just hidden a little deeper? Part of it was also my own intention to focus on improving my digital skills which I really think I did ( check out my instagram and decide for yourself!)
It’s a commitment
One overwhelming thing that I found was that the challenges were addictive and invigorating! I had read and heard that the challenges are exhausting, as if this is some necessary evil to progress. However, despite hitting some brick walls along the way in terms of approaching prompts I always found that inspiration came and I delivered something each day. Some days I even managed to cover up to 3 prompts (and I cannot begin to tell you what a busy month it was for me outside of these challenges too, when you’re truly excited and inspired by something you can always make some time and energy for it). I would definitely recommend doing at least one of these challenges to any artist in 2019 as a way to find new artists as well as a way to practice and hone your own style too.
Below are details of upcoming fairs and art markets I will be hosting a stall at across Sheffield over October, November and December 2018. I am planning to add more outings over these months and will update the Events section if the website as I do.
26th- Eagle Works Launch, Little Kelham, Sheffield
17th- Art is Quay, Dorothy Pax Bar, Sheffield
24th & 25th- Whirlow Hall Farm Christmas Fayre, Whirlow, S11 9QF
8th- Heeley City Farm, Heeley S2
I’ll have some new prints and ceramics at these events, so pop by to have a look at something new and say hello!
Looking for something in particular? Drop me a message on my contact form or find me on Instagram and let me know! I can make sure to bring it along especially and maybe even keep one aside for you.
If you want something, don’t be afraid to ask! I will keep my commissions ughout the Christmas Perios, but remember my processing time for bespoke orders can be up to 3 weeks so I recommend ordering before November 16th to be guaranteed your custom piece in time for Christmas!
It’s, my ceramics won’t be available for purchase on,one or mail delivery so if you want to grab one of my ceramic pieces come and find me at one of my fair dates 😊