New Family Traditions

I loved illustrating this book so much!

It was for Running Press in the US and written by Meg Cox. It's packed full of great suggestions on  how to create personal family rituals and traditions - it has a really imaginative and cosy feeling text. I also loved working in two colours plus tints for the interior illustrations and as well as the forty illustrations I also produced a few repeat patterns that were used as backgrounds throughout the book.

This project was a bit like reading a good book because as I got near the end of it I felt a little sad it was almost over!

Illustration for Selvedge Magazine and Memories of Little Grey Rabbit

Above is an illustration for Selvedge Magazine. I think it was for the issue before last  - to inform readers of all the different opportunities there are to connect with the magazine.

Lately I've been trying to have a clear out of old magazines but my few Selvedge ones I've bought over the years definitely won't be going in recycling! It's such an inspiring magazine, and I love the size and paper, I know that I'll want to refer to them in the future.

And below a buttercup repeat using the hive idea.

I've always been intrigued by hives since seeing this picture in "Little Grey Rabbit's Birthday". One of my most loved books from childhood and probably the book that made me decide at six years old that I wanted to be an illustrator. Margaret Tempest was the first illustrator I could name and I still adore her work. I particularly loved looking at the endpapers and still dream about living in this house in a forest!

Now I need to clean the blue ink off the glass on my scanner!

Rug design for Land of Nod

My simple spiral design is now on rugs for Land of Nod.

So much of my work is for books and magazines and so it's initially created on paper and then ends up printed on paper  it's interesting for me to see something finish up on a different type of surface. This was such a "flat" image it's wonderful to see the added depth and texture that the hand tufted wool adds.

One minute Promo Video for Surtex

This was made for Surtex - the surface design and stationery fair in New York that my agents, Lilla Rogers Studio, attend in May. Surtex were asking us to make up to one minute films promoting our work/brand to show on a screen at the fair.

Dennis offered to make a little film for me so I gave him some jpegs of my surface design work and left him to it. Well, mostly left him to it... I went in his office a few times and started being a bit "can you do this can you do that ish" but luckily I had a commission to complete by the end of the day so managed not to be too interfering!

I think just as it is sometimes easier for someone else to put your portfolio together this feels like it captures what I do much better than if I'd tried myself.

Circus Ceramics for Cosmo China

I've been having lots of fun at Cosmo China in Bloomsbury recently painting plates and mugs and eggcups and butter dishes etc with this circus theme. It developed from the blue circus design I did in the spring as part of a collection of circus themed repeats. And they came from the little sketch above from my sketch book in the winter. I love the way ideas, themes and projects can grow and in doing so change form.

Party Pup Pyjamas for Boden

I was waiting until a friend’s gorgeous little girl could model these dog pyjamas for me then Charlie my draught excluder stepped in and volunteered and suddenly he seemed like the ideal model! Though he is a little long on the body for them :-)

They are available in the Autumn/Winter collection as little girl’s pyjamas both on the UK and USA sites. To be asked by Boden(a dream client) to draw dogs at a party(a dream subject) made it a dream commission!

Bluebell Time

When it comes to flowers I know I'm June my "all time favourite" will be floppy pink peonies and a couple of months ago my most loved flower was blue hycinths...but for May it's always bluebells.

A couple of years ago we had a picnic in this bluebell wood. Although there are many at the moment growing in clumps in the parks and gardens of London, I'm hoping we'll make it to the countryside in time to see a forest full!

Surtex, PrintPattern and Gone to Earth

This weekend my agents and several of the other artists they represent will be at Surtex in New York - the big surface design fair.

Last month I was busy designing a Blurb book as my 2010 portfolio and printing out repeat patterns to send to Lilla for the show. One of my oldest and loveliest friends came to stay for a couple of days and helped me print out repeats and make choices for the book.

One of the things I love about being an illustrator is the autonomy/self sufficency and the sense of achieving stuff on your own - but sometimes when you get support from someone else you realise just how nice (and sometimes needed) that is too! The other great thing about having Katie to stay is we always line up a little film show for her. This time we watched one of my most favourite films "Gone to Earth" - beautiful, magical Powell and Pressburger film about a girl and her fox. I've just discovered it was an inspiration to Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" (but don't watch the youtube montage to the end if you plan to watch the film!)

I also have some work on the always fantastic Print Pattern Blog earlier this week.

Birch Tree Bag for BlueQ

A week or so ago I received some samples of the bag I illustrated last summer for BlueQ. We were staying at our friends' house when I was working on the project. They have a long thin garden with apple and fig trees and a vegetable patch at the end. For three mornings in a row a squirrel came to the garden - I think he though I might need a model - because on the third day he tap-tapped with his little paw on the patio window! When I finished the project I didn't see him again.

The other lovely thing about doing this project was it was a collaboration with Hallie a freelance designer based in New York. It was my first time of communicating on a project using skype - talking can sometimes be so much easier than writing and it's so nice to feel you know someone a bit by the end of the project. Hallie doesn't have a "complete website" as yet but I love her front page just as it is.

Perfume Bottles

I've been collecting perfume bottles since I was six and last autumn I finally got my "London Collection" out of old shoe boxes and into a cabinet. I also have many in Scotland and when home last year I drew some and recently made these repeat patterns with them.