Sunday, 10 February 2019

The power of beautiful things

Hello and happy New Year!

With the start of new things, new thoughts and new work,
I find myself
aware of the need to write not only
what I do, but more of how I feel doing it.

2018 has been hard, but everywhere are to be spotted treasures.
I was flooded by doubt on my work, as my transition to
a career into illustration
found myself struggling to take time off from personal things
and easy it is
to loose passion.

After all, I started the new year
experiencing the healing touch
of beautiful things.
We are all different, and so is
what we consider beautiful.
So, here is some things that make my heart smile

PATTERNS: I recently bought this book

and looking at it was more 
than eating the nicest piece of cake ever.
I wonder why patterns are so appealing to me,
maybe because of the thoughtful balance of colour, shapes and lines ?

FABRICS: specially wool and natural textiles,
have given me a sense of a story,
I loved re-using scraps of textile to create art
and to sew bags and things out of
gradma dresses ( textiles where so nice in their quality, in the past!)

GREEN LIFE: I find plants having
a wise, strong and delicate

I love going to garden centres, even just to take pictures 
( and more often than not, I can't resist buying something!)

I have tried hard to make a nice garden in my tiny backyard
and in some ways , I am happy with it.
A pond, moss and rescue plants are happy there,
and I managed to grow grass where all neighbours told me it was impossible.

COLOURS: yes, again colours is food for the eyes,
and for the soul. Look at this illustration by Carolyn Gavin,
isn't it nourishing our eyes?

I am a very colourful person, and for a period of my life,
for some reason I stopped to wear colours.
Now I discover that is vital to my mood and 
energy level.
I bought this book and I love it, it has inside a lot of 
colour combination according to the mood they suggest.

LANDSCAPES: that's when I feel I belong to a bigger Plan.
I love open spaces and they really bring back to perspective
all the everyday worries for me...

Sometimes, in the learning stage of a new life,
it's easy to feel lost.
But when we were small, if we gave up when trying to stand up, we would walk today...
what did keep us going at that time?
We still have it inside... let's bring it out!

That's why, I hold tight on the things I love.

My new year resolution
is just to play more
even at work.

Hope you can do the same, in your own way!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Folktale week 2018

Another month
another challenge!

In the previous post I described my first experience with Inktober, a
31 days drawing challenge,
and here is another one.
Differently from Inktober
Folktale week was not only about drawing,
and it was the FIRST time ever that it was on this year.

Folktake Week  is an art challenge
hosted on Instagram
by a group of artist and illustrators around the globe
(like Tanja StephaniDevon Holzwarth, Sofia Moore)
It takes place in a week, this year from
November 12 to 18
and it doesn't have any technique requirements at all.

In fact, it can include painting, drawing, photograph, video, all sort of arts.
The only requirement so far,
as I understood,
is about the telling of a story, either existing or created.
It is like a community assignment where
we push each other to make steps towards our goal of illustrating stories,
either drawing characters, scenes, making colour studies or a dummy.

This challenge is probably more niche like
then Inktober,
but given my interest in illustration ,
I gladly  took part!
This time, I very broadly followed the prompts,
and did my own studies for
Little red riding hood.

Even from this challenge,
I came away enriched.
I spent some of the most fun time
drawing with just coloured pencils,

and trying out some setting studies,
which I had never done in this way before.

I think having an assignment and
having somehow commit to the event
I felt more motivated .
In fact, from long time I said I needed to try
illustrating a classic, but never got round to it.
So I'm thankful to the opportunity to invest in myself
even through this art challenges!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

My first Inktober


(WEAK was the prompt for this drawing)

If this word sounds a bit unfamiliar with you,
it did to me until this year, too!
Inktober is a 31 drawing challenge hosted on
the social media app
by the renowned illustrator Mr Jake Parker in 2009.
Since then the event grew bigger and bigger.
Basically, each day of the month we challenge ourselves to make a drawing,
not a finished artwork or a colour study, just a drawing, 
as simple or complex as we want. 
For 31 days in a row.

 STAR was the prompt for this drawing)

I decided to give it a try, and 
even if I couldn't persist every single day (it,s harder than you think!)
I did most of them.
I was very happy to follow the official prompts, as
I think Jake is a teacher, and he knows how
to challenge and sparkle the imagination.
Sometimes the most boring words are the most difficult 
to illustrate in a new way.

(EXHAUSTED was the prompt of this one )

Also, having to post the drawings on our Instagram feed, 
everybody strives to do his/her best.
It becomes a real challenge, also a real community of people 
achieving, struggling, cheering, and crying.
All because of pure passion!


What I can say, and it was hard to believe
when I started,
is that now I love to find time to draw.
I don't fear the white page of the sketchbook anymore,
because I can do things for myself,
warm up my hand,
drawing from imagination, from reference, 
and even study my favourite characters from other illustrators 
 I always write date and who is my reference, 
as I think it is nice in the future to see who influenced my days!

(EXPENSIVE prompt)

For Inktober, I decided to try something new
( which is I think also part of the challenge)
and did my drawings on paper, then imported most of them in Photoshop
and played with ink brushes a bit.
So I became even more familiar with my new digital tools
and that was immensely helpful.

(SPELL prompt )

Now , do I recommend Inktober for you?
Yes, either if you are a pro, or a beginner,
because I could see that assignments
pushed me more than what I normally do .

(STRETCH prompt)

I haven't been taking part to art challenges before, 
now I will hunt for more interesting ones, and let you know!

Wednesday, 15 August 2018


Hey Folks, thank you for visiting my blog!
We had a gorgeous hot ( sometimes too hot!) summer here in the South Coast of the Uk
and I have spent as much time as possible outdoors.

I have taken again the habit to draw outside, from time to time, and it's something that I love, because is very meditative.. and it makes me discover even more nature's treasures. I miss sketching people and children, and I didn't find yet the right solution for this.

As every summer, naturally I feel the desire to learn and experiment with new mediums, and this time I discovered PHOTO TRANSFER, a method that allows to transfer an image on different materials.

here the background has been done with a photo transfer on thick paper

People use different methods, and I tried a few... for now, the most relevant has been using InkAID alchool solvent (called Transferiez) with INKaid films, following a Skillshare class with Cathy Anne White.
But I didn't have very good results so far, as I didn't have the time to experiment a lot and this is just one of those things you have to do to understand, also given that every physical environment has got a different degree of humidity, heat, and these details make the difference. It reminded me about Icons making, when we had to do the gold leaf foiling, which is very volatile... that was so tricky! 

some of my first photo transfer experiments, where I learnt that dye based inkjet printers
easily bleed ink ... good to know! I compare two different test and one look more set but more faded too..

As I mentioned in my previous post, I upgraded my technology, buying a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. So far what I can say, is that using a drawing software with a stylus pen is a fantastic experience.
 I come from a Mac so I still find it a bit hard to switch to the Windows interface,
but I'm sure it is justmatter of time.
I recommend this tool for pattern making, for avoiding the frozen shoulder that I had trying to use the mouse to draw, and for illustration, because it makes everything easier.
But I noticed that sometimes, having to many tweeking choices is not always good, as I find myself so undecided about layout after a while ! Problems we don't have so much in the analogic process.

here I managed to do my first pattern repeat using one of my paintings

I' m now creating new artworks, 

updating my website and portfolio, working on my new greeting card designs 
(out soon in my Etsy Shop!) 

and studying, always studying to improve my skills!

Lately I have enjoyed the book "The Noble Approach", which is the testimony of the work of one of the most eminent designer in the animation world, Maurice Noble. I'm not an animator, but this book tells so much about visual storytelling, color schemes, layout, that I recommend it to anyone that wants to understand more about this matter.

I have 2 favourite podcasts at the moment: 
 your creative push, check them out!

In this summer I discovered the work of

and I have loved studying their approach to images.

I feel the autumn would like to be born soon and I still didn't start my new knitted hat, so I can't say I'm ready, so I'd better go and make a start before the wind starts to blow all the leaves of my head!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Upgrading and sketching!

What have I been doing lately?
good question!
As always I tried to connect with nature, that's always the number one on the list!

Also I started to  get back to my sketchbook,
as I joined the fantastic two weeks of
Sketchbook Revival 

a free workshop held by Karen Abend,
where 24 artists shared their approach to creative practice, 
their techniques and insights.

I was lucky that my Illustration teacher Nina Rycroft
( check out her website, she s on Skillshare, and a brilliant teacher indeed!)
was one of the featured artists, so she told her students about it.
And there we were, surrounded by boosts of creativity!
It was so much fun to try new things, 
and go back to old things,

because as you may guess, being a self employed artist and illustrator,
often we are so critical of what we produce, 
and then it's more difficult to enjoy our own art.

So, in these two weeks, I went back to do art for my self and..
oh, it was so liberating!

Also, I have been trying to update my technology, 
as for some time I have been thinking of getting a graphic tablet.


My laptop also, is trusty and old, repaired and tired,
so I though: ah, I will get one of the 2-in-1 fancy new  convertible laptops..
Little I knew then stepping from the Apple world into the Pc world 
I would have been overwhelmed by information...
I bought a Surface Book 2, fantastic device, but then I discovered
it doesn't have a great Adobe rgb gamut
(oh yes, I didn't even know what it was at first, but quick I learned)
and for artist that work for print, 
is something very important, as it is related to the 
CMYK colour spectrum, so the one still is mostly used for print.
So after so much research, and no wanting to go back to Apple
( only because they switched to a completely different 
colour gamut approach with their late models)
I decided on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro,
which primarily is a professional graphic tablet,
with an in built computer ..
Not ideal for writing, but I'll let you know.
the only alternative would have been a Dell 2 in 1 laptop, 
but something didn't feel in my chords about that.
So , as boring as it can seem,
this are my past weeks of work and research.
What's next?

My first wedding design collection 
with my lovely and trusty printers at Context Design
( more new to follow on that, stay tuned!)
and a dream camping holiday in Snowdonia,
which I am looking forward so much!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Shop updated!

Good news!
My Etsy shop is now
with all the new cards designs
of the spring/summer 2018!

These are really the most colorful cards I have ever seen
in my range..
which seems appropriate for the lightest
time of the year!

They arrived just in time for my trip to Italy
(so that I could bring some with me !)

and it was so much fun to 
take photo of them, choosing fabrics
and objects, looking for a sunny spot
(in the Uk it can be quite a hard task!)

and also for the right food and flowers
for a color match!

I even went round the corner to Queen Victoria's house 
on the Island where I live,
'cause she's still got the best garden of the neighborhood!

And most of all , they arrived in time for 
my exhibition at the Quarr Abbey

and people literally loved them so much,
that I couldn't keep up getting them ready!
What a joy, after all the work done!

I didn't create a dedicated post for this exhibition, 
as I accidentally deleted all my pictures in the phone
but here I could rescue for my Facebook page

a little video where I show you around,
trying to keep it short to make it easier to load
in every device!
Hope you can see it!
If not, just check here

After a little holiday with my family
(we went to check the stones at Stonehenge
where still all right)

i took part in the wonderful 
a 12 days full immersion and FREE course
to help creative people to start and keep up
with their creative play time!