Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Asian musicians ...

Getting myself in the mood for our impending trip to Bangladesh-land. I thought I'm unlikely to get any time to do much drawing while we're out there ... so I'd do some while we're still here! Not sure what the groom-chap is doing ... conducting the music (don't generally have conductors in Asian music), or directing traffic ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wedding Wednesday - part 9

Thank you everyone who came and made it such a lovely day ... 5 months in (yes, a bit late ... ), but we got there!

Making process here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thank you Adana

Phew! What a steep learning curve this has been ... Regular readers will remember that we procured an Adana 8x5 not too long ago; but then promtly stopped blogging about it. Well, we have actually been using it, but its been a lot of trial and error over several days. And with college and life, those days have been non-concurrent.

But I am pleased to say now that I think we have it (mostly) down, and have done our first two print runs (they are of the same thing - our wedding thank you cards - we just ran out of cards and had to go and buy a second box of supplies). Anyways, here's a kind of 'photo story' of the process. It's made up of photos from a couple of goes - so there isn't necessarily continuity in what's going on. Here goes... :

We start with my original design - then traced into the two separate colours (at the end I ended up re-drawing the whole thing as one piece and scanned it into Photoshop, and did the separating into two layers that way - and printed the two layers out separately).

Next, printed the layers out on acetate - in negative (for making photopolymer flexoplates).

I'm lucky that in my college they have the fascilities for making photopolymer flexoplates - it's a bit like making a silkscreen screen. There is a thin steel plate with some photoemulsion on it. You place the negative acetate the wrong way round on the emulsion and then expose it to UV light. The exposed bits harden (what you're going to print with), and you wash away the unhardened bits. Here are my two plates for the two colour separations.

Imagine then I've mounted the plates on wood to get them 'type height' and used some quoins and furniture to clamp them in place in the chase. I got some of this fab Caligo Safe Wash ink - and here is me inking the ink disk.

Even before we could print we noticed that the plate was inking up too much. This was not going to do ...

Not only was it over-inking, it was not sticking properly to the wood base. We fiddled with this for LONG time... We tweeked the impression screws; we tried to lift the rollers by putting layers of tape on the edge of the roller bearer (the thing the chase sits in); and all sorts ...

To cut a long story short, Sunshine eventually took the whole thing apart, cut the plates down so the edges were closer to the printing bits, and remounted them on wood that he had put through a special machine that would sand it down to the exact height. We made sure the plates were stuck down well, and we even had to hammer down some of the corners that kept getting inked.

Eventually though we finally managed to get it all working ... first print run we did this plate (with the rings) first - then the one with the figures. The second print run the following week we did the other way round as can be seen here:

I'm not entirely sure why I'm speaking like a child o_O ... also, when changing between the two plates, I did the old screenprint registration trick of taping down some acetate to print on, and then putting a card with the first colour on, underneath the printed acetate to align it properly. The Adana has an adjustable 'lay gauge' that holds the bottom of the card where you want it, and we used a piece of thick acetate to mark off one of the edges. You can see me pushing the card up against it in the video.

Final card to be unveiled on Wedding Wednesday tomorrow ;)

Monday, December 14, 2009

For Lu & Soph & Arran + Sharm & Snowball & Yngve

Boy in the Bubble - Paul Simon (although I had to get the the lyrics wrong, didn't I? Its "miracle" not "miracleS" ... oh well

For all the new families ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rosalind Franklin

Working on some favourite lady scientists ... Move over Crick and Watson; here you have Rosalind Franklin - the structure of DNA would not have been elucidated without Franklin's data and initial analysis .

... and as an added extra, here is some retro DNA ...

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Sorry there hasn't been much update on the blog recently - as life's been quite full with college; lots of dance classes and workshop teaching with DZ; getting ready for our Christmas trip away for the second leg of the wedding; and all sorts of other stuff (including the dreaded dissertation...). There are three big illustration-y projects I want to blog about too - but they are all for people so I'd rather wait till they receive them.

I've also been struggling a bit with my own self-directed stuff, but here's a sketch dump of some stuff I've been doing just to keep drawing...

I wanted to do something about scientists - and here's my attempts at Darwin (why does he always look like Santa?) and Einstein...

... back to those jazz musicians (and other characters ...)

... also been thinking about our trip to Bangladesh in two weeks ...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Handmade Graphics ...

Last summer I was contacted by RotoVision as they'd seen my embroidery hoops all over the place, and wanted to include them in an upcoming book about handmade graphics. They wanted to use my hoops as a worked through example. So I ended up pretending to make a new hoop and photographed myself going through it all step-by-step ...

It was published earlier this month - and my copy came in the post this week :) Am quite happy with how it came out ... no pay, but good exposure ... And to be published in the same book with the likes of some of my heroes - Luke Best, Matt Sewell, Mike Perry ... and many more... nice!

Get your copy here.

Also, the original hoops are currently on sale in my shop. Christmas pressies anyone???

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wedding Wednesday - part 8

Wedding Wednesday comes back with a special announcement - the official (as official as we can get) set of photos are up! We had to sift through several thousand shots from our awesome 'official' photograper, and also all the lovely CDs we received from friends and family - and here you have the best of the best (click on the image to take you to the flickr collection).

Also, our wedding has been featured (and very nicely put together too!) at Aussie wedding magazine/blog Style Collective (click on banner to go straight to the site). Thank you Amanda!

Last but not least - progress has been made on our handprinted thank you cards - yes, we are very VERY late ... but that's because I wanted to make something by hand. Flexoplates and Adanas came into the equation ;) ... If it all gets sorted, that will be a big Wedding Wednesday post next week ...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Erm, I won?

Remember this? Well, my piece was one of the ones chosen to be displayed at the Arnolfini Gallery. And not only that, I found out yesterday that mine has been chosen as the overall winner by judges Amelia Gregory of Amelia's Magazine, Fiona Hamilton of Soma Gallery, and the people from Platform who are running the current 100 days (to the Climate Change Conference) season at the Arnolfini. I won a copy of Gaia Warriors and a (being printed as we speak) copy of Amelia's Anthology of Illustration- "featuring renewable technologies to prevent catastrophic climate change".

I was quite surprised to win, to tell you the truth - but am very glad I did ... and it comes at the perfect time as my dissertation that I'm working on at the moment (and why there has been almost no activity on the blog recently), is all about how illustrators can engage with social/ethical/environmental/sustainability issues.

If all goes to plan, Platform will be using my imagery as part of the literature surrounding this.

*The 10 posters will be on display at the Arnolfini (upstairs) till the end of the week if you want a peek :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


All quiet on the blogging - as I'm mostly busy trying to get through my dissertation - it looms above me ... but as they say, even this shall pass ... and I'll be back to drawing soon.

Also, we've been having a play with the Adana - have made flexoplates at college! - but there are still teething problems with printing. Am trying to take lots of photos as we go along, and will put a photo story up once we get the chance ;)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Kaplan Altior

Brief for a legal-training firm to produce calendar images based on cities in which they have offices.

From the the top, Liverpool; Birmingham (canal locks); and London (Inns of Court).

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Royal Bank of Sustainability

Re-envisioning the Royal Bank of Scotland ...

For an Amelia's Magazine brief...

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Oh! Been very quiet here, hasn't it? Sorry - much busy with many projects/deadlines and getting over over a nasty cold. Here are some drawings of buildings to keep you (temporarily) entertained :)

A cookie to anyone who guesses what ties these buildings together ... ;) All will be revealed next week (when I hand in the final images).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Happy Mag ...

So what were all those kids and bicycles about?

My submission for the Anorak Mag cover design competition...

Its OK, but I feel quietly dissatisfied with the outcome ...

Things I've learnt:
1. I LOVE making - and the 2D-3D crossover
2. BUT it takes a LONG TIME ...
3. And can be a whole lot of frustrating (lucky for me to have the best husband in the world and his collection of camera and lighting equipment)
4. Will go back to plain 'ol 2D and bring the scissors and glue out only for special occasions ...

Set up - oh yes, those laboratory clamps come in handy ...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A boy and his bike ...

Thanks for all the comments on the last post - the most important thing I learnt was: forget translucent vs opaque; the real issue was that the bike wasn't 'simple' enough. Needed less detail ... now our young man can have a bicycle much more suited to him; that he can cycle to the park and lie in the grass and enjoy the sunshine with ...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Translucent? Or opaque?

That is the current question ...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Babes and bikes ...

Today, I have been mostly drawing children lying in fields...

and bicycles ...

Illustration can be a very slow process sometimes ... sigh ...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Picnic time...?

It's nice to go for a picnic .... but you gotta watch out for those soda bottles with lives of their own!!!

This is actually work-in-progress for another project; but I quite like where it is right now ... so I thought I'd make a version that stops here :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bagheera Kiplingi

Inspired by our newly discoverd herbivorous arachnid friend :) Trying to do it in autumnal inspired colours ...

Monday, October 12, 2009


Working on some briefs based on some UK cities ... this is my attempt at Liverpool (I thought I'd do a city I've actually been to ...). Here are a couple of 'work-in-progress' versions ...

Something about it is still not quite right.... maybe I should just let it be and move on to some other stuff for a bit to clear my head of it ...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Enameling ...

My its been quiet here ... hasn't it?

This last week has just been rather hectic and I've only just found some time to sit down and tell you about wat I've been up to - most importantly - an enamelling workshop!

On the bottom left you can see my test piece of copper (yes, I
had laid the liquid enamel on a little too thick!), and then the other two pieces was me playing with some microorganism inspired images ... It was great fun and the tutor was fab - and I'm very inspired to use enameling this year ... just have to work out in what context to use it, and for what projects. It is actually quite a difficult process to learn to control - but when you can, the results are stunning. I'd actually wanted to learn enameling on glass so I could do some work on old labware ... maybe can still do that at some point.

Apart from that, I've also been to London to see Origin part 1; and potter round the Tate Modern (well, mostly its bookshop ... mmmm.. yummy); a couple of other galleries; and spend lots of money at some specialist art shops on some expensive specialist art materials!

Man do I feel poor ... um, and oh yes, a couple of things bought off Amazon have also arrived ... yay! AND we had our first "Ain't Misbehaving", AND we had friends in town visiting, AND I've also been busy with lots of briefs ... AND we've been patiently waiting for Sunshine's sister's baby to arrive ... What a busy week!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Women Scientists ...

Hooray for women scientists! ... Dr Elizabeth Blackburn, 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine for work on telomeres.

I was actually also doing a drawing of her fellow Nobel Prize winner Dr Carol Greider (yay! more women scientists!) too, but it just wasn't a 'flattering' image ...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

For Clara Bow ...

Some work-in-progress ...

Still playing with the colours; and its still quite flat and so I'm experimenting with some textures etc .... hmmmm ....