Sunday, 24 November 2013

Corporate Cat (there's an idea!)

Yesterday I finished my first ever week of full time work. And you know what? it was actually all right considering. Everyone there is really nice and although i'm in a very low position (probably the lowest) at a very large bank it still feels a bit better than selling people crisps. I have tonnes of stuff to learn  know very little about how banks work but generally i'm feeling pretty good about it, I was so worried I was going to detest it! (Oh god, they've already gotten to me, haven't they?!!) It's good to be a busy now, rather than mooching around all the time. Now that I have less time to myself (especially with my work at the boarding school too) I feel more encouraged to get other stuff done. Like silly drawings of lazy animals!






Will suggested that I try drawing comic strips a while back and this is my first attempt. I've always liked the idea of manatees doing mundane things, although i'm not sure if getting ready for a first date counts as mundane! If you want to check out some properly good comic strips have a look at Hark! A vagrant!, they're hilarious and they'll definitely be the inspiration behind my own comic strip attempts! As you can see I didn't stretch myself too much with this one but it was fun and I'll definitely try again to see if I can come up with some better ideas! 

So this is my life at the moment! Working and sleeping with a bit of drawing in between, Having two jobs means that my only day off is on Sundays but I don't mind so much as I love working as a boarders mistress (that's the official term, hilarious right?!) so it doesn't really feel too much like a job.

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

I wish I thought of that II

clockwork mouse unisex sweatshirt
            Huzzah I finally have a second one of these!
I came across Kathy and Eileen's work when I was selling a few illustrations at Electric Kitsch and had to try really hard not to spend all my money on their stuff! I ended up buying their fox tote bag and a turtle pillow as a gift for Will.
This might sound a little weird but there's a certain creepiness to some of Eileen and Kathy's illustrations and I mean that as a compliment; the reason why I bought the fox tote bag was because I liked how the fox looked a tad evil!

I e.mailed them a while ago and this is what they had to say, enjoy!


First off, tell us a bit about yourselves!
Hello, we are the two Co-Founders of Y.h Clothing, Cathy and Eileen, we are identical twins and are based in London. Y.h Clothing is a handcut and handprinted lino apparel brand, and its name is formed by our two Chinese names, Yin and Hing. Cathy loves colour and studied a BA in English Language and Communication at King's College London before getting back into art, and Eileen studied a BA in Illustration at Middlesex University and likes cleanliness and potatoes.

Have both of you always been interested in art and what prompted you to start your own brand?
We have both always loved art and drawing since we were little! Alongside Y.h Clothing, we're both respectively Freelance Illustrators (you can check out our Illustrations on our Facebook pages (www.facebook.com/CathyKwanIllustration and www.facebook.com/eileenkaihingkwanillustration). We are also members of The Drawn Chorus Collective (www.facebook.com/DrawnChorusCollective), where we have just finished a group exhibition called, 'The Greatest Show On Earth', showcasing illustrative re-imaginings of circuses, freak shows and fairs in Literature alongside many other talented Illustrators - we're now looking forward to our next show in Summer 2014!

Y.h Clothing was thought up over a charming cup of tea together. The idea was to create a handprinted brand that had a true handmade touch to each product. Unlike most handprinted apparel brands that screenprint their products, Y.h Clothing uses lino (or linoleum in full) printing. To those unfamiliar with lino printing, it's a printmaking technique where the design is cut into a plate of lino, and is then inked, and in our case, hand burnished and printed onto fabric (or paper). So when you buy something from Y.h, we can proudly say that each design is designed, illustrated, hand linocut and handprinted by us two Illustrators. 

Who or what inspires your artistic technique, brand and style?
Y.h Clothing aims to create peculiar and beautiful designs for individuals looking for something a little different. The design process is done together, so what inspires us respectively, inspires and affects the final designs. Bold shapes with fine lines. Strange yet beautiful subjects. 

Arthur Tote Bag
What are the main differences between both of your artistic styles? 
The indisputable main difference is the use of colour. On one hand, Cathy's art is bold and brazen with colour; and is inspired by all things retro, Japanese pop art and pop culture. On the other hand, Eileen's work is romantic yet inspired by things that scare her and is muted black and white pencil; she adores detail and fine lines. However, despite our styles being strikingly different, our work also carries subtle similarities; such as peculiar shapes and forms and lithe characters.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to start their own brand and to those looking to improve their artistic skills?
Spend time planning and developing your brand and product - what makes you special? Who is your target audience? Is your product something people would want? If it's handmade, how will you affordably produce stock? Etc. Don't rush things at the beginning. If you're working alongside a business partner, similar to us, then communication and compromise are very important - set targets and continuously check that you're both on the same page! And lastly, be ready and willing to overcome all kinds of obstacles. Y.h Clothing is still growing, but after several collections and with our recently launched, Autumn/Winter '13 Collection "Tick Tock Tick Tock" - which in both design and look has been our favourite collection so far - it's been a blast! (Please check it out www.yhclothing.co.uk)

For improving artistic skills, it sounds cliche, but practise practise practise. Draw for at least a few hours a day. Keep challenging yourself. Also, look for what interests you as a creative and as an individual; these can range from other artists, to music and hobbies. It all leads to what fine tunes and defines your own artistic style and identity.

Awesome Bear Christmas Decorations sold at a craft fair
Thanks so much to Cathy and Aileen, make sure you check out their Facebook and Twitter to see what they're up too!
I hope you love Y.H as much as I do!











Sunday, 10 November 2013

Mish Mash


First of all I FINALLY GOT INTERNET SORTED IN THIS PLACE! Thank you tethering! So hopefully i'll be back to blogging more consistently. I'm just back from a lovely week in London, I'm surprised to say that I actually really miss that place and I was really quite sad to leave. I stayed with Will in his lovely new house and we pretty much spent most of our time eating in very middle class pubs in Dulwich (I had the best pumpkin pie ever). I also graduated! Woo! The actual event itself was a tad underwhelming, there was a lot of queueing and looooooonnng speeches (which mentioned nothing about the humanities) but it was held in the beautiful chapel and painted hall and I felt like a G in my cap and gown. I also got the chance to catch up with some friends it was all just generally lovely...
I was quite sad to be back until I got back to boarding and some of the girls seemed genuinely quite happy to see me (this was most likely them trying to get on my good side so they could stay up later) and some even gave me a wee round of applause when I told them I graduated, it was all very adorable. It was exactly what I needed. The kids are all right! 
I was just looking at the last picture and was thinking about the halloween party we had in boarding, all the girls had to dress up and most of the girls put a lot of effort into their costumes it was so cool to see them get creative! One of the girls stuffed her onsie and put a mask on it to make it look like it had been dragging her off somewhere , a couple of other girls dressed up as minions (they didn't buy the outfits they made it all themselves and even dyed their cloths!) and My personal favourite was the head boarder's - she cut two holes in her top (she was wearing another top underneath!) and called her self Regina George. A mean girl reference! That was obviously my favourite out of the bunch.
So that's the shortish story of what i've been up too. I have a week of till I start my new job so this week I shall relax and draw, I'm looking forward too it! 
Here's a random assortment of pictures:


Lazy animals (more of these to come)

I've forgotten the name of this cat... is it bad that I find any animal with a cone around their neck hilarious?

The band playing at Liverpool Street Station, I love stuff like this, I'm pretty sure it was for poppy day.

Twat in a hat

Halloween lanterns that some of the girls made

Monday, 21 October 2013

Penguin Obsession


I am like listings magee right now and they are mainly penguin based one's too. I just love drawing these little guys, they're so cute!

As much as I love drawing them (and manatees!) I'm starting to think I should think of something new to draw... I've sort of been considering sloths lately because one my best friend loves them and I always love a lazy animal... I should do a lazy animal series, that could be fun!

That's something for me to think about, in the mean time here's some more listings:

Penguins Birthday Card
Add caption
Penguins Christmas Card
Hippo Thank You Card
Manta Ray Card

Thursday, 17 October 2013

For Sale!


Finally got around to putting up some more listings! I had to go over to my sisters to steal a bit of internet but she kicked me out before I got the chance to put everything up but I'll be doing that tomorrow. Here's a bit of what's gone up so far...


Manatee Christmas Card I

Manatee Christmas Card II


Cow Christmas Card

Bear in Pants Christmas Card

Granny Pants Christmas Card

More to come!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Lately...


I'm a bit crap at blogging consistently as maybe a few of you can tell and I've started to think that maybe I should just accept this, I mean obviously try my best and all but sometimes certain things are out of your control. The internet at boarding here is AWFUL, i'm sitting in the library at the moment in the hope of finally getting a post out. Ocasionally I'll wonder why I even blog in the first place, but after scrolling through some previous posts I've come across some ideas that I had completely forgot about! So I'll definitely be keeping it up.
It's been a hectic month, I've really been enjoying working at the boarding school - the girls can be little scamps when they want to be but they're all very sweet, at first I found it difficult to be stern with the girls if I needed to but I'm getting used to it now! I also got job as well! Woo! It's just another retail job but it means I can finally start saving for travelling! Other than that I've been hanging out with friends a bit and a cetain Ginger came to visit which was lovely! Here's a few pictures...


Boob Buns from Beth
One Damned Good Pavlova (if I do say so myself) I made a chocolate cream instead of using just whipped cream and it went down pretty well.
Carrick A Rede rope bridge is no where near as scarey as it used to be.
Cute wee house
The Giants Causeway just before my camera ran out of battery.





Saturday, 31 August 2013

I wish I thought of that #1: Harriet Curtis Designs

Tropical Frog by Harriet Curtis


OH my god I am busy magee right now, one week after coming up with a very basic blogging schedule and i'm already off it! I started my new job on Tuesday and got thrown into the deep end by taking 18 girls ten pin bowling (with two other new members of staff). Initially I was terrified with the idea of being responsible for all these girls but it all managed to go rather smoothly (i.e. no one died.) One of our other  responsibilities as members of staff is to try and get the kids off their iPads and laptops so I'll looking forward to setting up some craft activities with the younger ones. I love an excuse to do a silly little art project that I wouldn't be able to get away with if I wasn't working at a school! I'm still job hunting too so drawing has taken a bit of a back seat once again, although I should have some new stuff posted soon!

In the mean time, here's: 'I wish I thought of that', a monthly feature where I chat with artists and illustrators that I admire and who I am also extremely jealous of! My artistic jealousy inspires me to try harder to create my own style and hopefully it will inspire the odd person who reads this too.

First up is the amazingly talented Harriet Curtis! Let me tell you how I stumbled across her work - I was lucky enough to live right next to Greenwich Market when I lived in London. I walked through it daily on the way to work, university and to see friends etc... It's great in many ways, they have amazing food and antique markets, along with a big general one that can have anything from shoes, to clothes, to craft, to palm reading. After a while though, I found myself getting a little used to walking through this place, I dandered through it once a day (usually more) and as a student I didn't want be tempted into buying things! So the market became a bit of a blur to me. One day however, I was walking through with a friend and Harriet's stall automatically caught my eye, I asker her if we could stop and have a look, I'm very glad we did!

It's been a while since I've seen some truly original artwork at the market and even on Etsy (whilst I love Etsy, sometimes there's only so many moustaches and Owls I can handle), Harriet's work is vibrant and unique and I wish I held the same natural talent she has for watercolours. My personal favourite is her 'Bright Orchid' print which you can see on this cushion here:

Bright Orchid Print on Cushion

I messaged Harriet while ago and asked her a few questions, here's what she had to say:

First off, tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a Textiles Print Designer with a BA for Textile Print from Winchester School of Art. I am currently working from a lovely studio bursting with creativity, called 'The Papered Parlour' in South London. 

In November of last year I decided that I wanted to create my own brand, so I started up 'Harriet Curtis Designs'. Up until this point I had worked for two very different designers. This gave me an important insight into how a business can be run, but also enforced my conviction that I wanted to create my own designs and label. 

Nature is obviously a big part of your brand, is there anything or anyone else who inspires your work?

I draw and paint from the natural world because the colours and unusual organic shapes are so inspiring. Kew Gardens was particularly helpful in this regard as it has a wonderful collection of exotic plants and flowers. My ideas, however, are not solely restricted to nature as I find interesting palettes and forms in all areas of life. 

London is such an exciting city that it would be hard not to be inspired by the soaring landscape and culture around me. The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition is always an unexpected mix of work from around the UK. I particularly liked Grayson Perry's tapestries, as creating a narrative in art has always been important in my designs. My Tropical Collection focuses more on motif than narrative, but I still find interesting stories inform my work. 

The design company 'House of Hackney' illustrates how you can create ranges of both quirky narrative-based prints of animals 'up to no good', alongside beautiful painted plant repeats. This combination of different ideas that still contain a strong 'brand-aesthetic' is something I hope to achieve in my own work.

Tropical Toucan


What do you have in store for the future of Harriet Curtis Designs?

In the future I want to create more large-scale botanical designs, (like my tropical botanical print) as I find the scale very effective for interior products like curtains. I want to expand my range of products with an emphasis on home accessories, as I have always been excited by interior design. 

I also hope to set up an online shop for my products, as well as selling at more markets in London. I have a stand at Greenwich Market, which has been a great way of creating public awareness for my new brand. Spitafields and Covent Garden Market would also be good places to start selling my products. 

 Finally, What tips would you have for any aspiring artists or illustrators out there?

I think it is important for any aspiring illustrators or artists to get themselves known to the public as soon as possible. This could be through social media like 'Facebook' and blog sites, through to markets and exhibitions. Promotion of your brand will expand your customer pool, as well as interest new whole sellers and investors. 

I would also say it is important to keep up to date with the latest trends by looking at blog sites like 'Print and Pattern', magazines, newspapers, films, music, shops etc. It is not only informing you on what's the current 'flavour of the month' but could also give you new ideas for designs.

Finally 'perseverance' is a word you have to remember when embarking on a career in this industry. Nothing worth doing  is ever simple and easy. For every low point, however, there is a high, and nothing beats the feeling you get when you make your first sale!

Aubergine Fabric
(I bloody love aubergines!)

Wonderful stuff right?! Thanks so much to Harriet for chatting to me and for all the great tips she gave too. If this lady doesn't go far I will eat my hat!


Check out her website here!
and her facebook pagehere!

Hope everyone's had a great week!

A
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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Back to School

So after graduating university I've decided to go back to my old high school! Working there will definitely be interesting. I'll be working at the boarding department that I myself boarded at for two years, so it will definitely be a little strange to be going back there as a member of staff. The thing is...  I had the most fun when I was breaking the rules there (dorm raids were my favourites!) and I'm a bit worried that I'll end up rooting for them when they break the rules too!
It will have to be silent rooting, under the disguise as sternness, I don't want to be getting into any trouble myself and when I think about it, I'm sure I'll get a little cranky when they don't shut up and go to bed!

In other news I have been drawing, not quite as much what with packing/job applying but at the moment my camera's out of battery and my chargers some where in the midst of my suitcases! I thought I'd take a  leaf out of Paiges blog and do a little back to school post! Stationary shopping before school starts was my favourite thing to do, so here's some pretty things from Etsy:

Pencil Holder from Less and More

Linen Pencil case from Hello Violeta

Mini Notebook from Wit and Whistle
Leather Canvas Backpack from DuDu Leather

Science Chalkboard Notebook from Newton and the Apple



Thursday, 22 August 2013

Trees again



I haven't had an awful lot of time to draw lately as I've been spending a lot of time looking and applying for jobs so this has all that I've had the chance to do really. I've also been trying out some sketches for a children's book that my friends writing, it's been quite difficult but it's good that I have a good excuse to push my self into drawing things that I would usually shy away from (by that I mean people, I'm terrible at drawing people.) I'll post more about this next week though.



I actually don't really like this drawing of the turtle playing in the leaves. Don't get me wrong I like the idea of it, it's just the execution of the idea I have a problem with. I wasn't going to post it but then I thought, why not be honest? I know I'm not exactly Da Vinci here but sometimes my little drawings can be particularly underwhelming.

One of my best friends is coming over tomorrow so today my day shall be full of tidying up and food shopping. I'm going to be a nice little hostess and make her some sweet potato soup, I haven't seen her for bloody ages so I can't wait to catch up with her! I should really get packing this weekend actually, as I'll be moving to Belfast on Tuesday! I'm pretty excited, yesterday, when I was handing out C.Vs there, I bumped into another one of my besties who was with a friend of hers so we got some coffee and chatted for a bit (well they chatted, I felt a bit ill for some reason - but I'm fine now!) This is what I've missed the most about Belfast when I've been in London, sure it doesn't quite have the culture or the awesome museums but it is nice and small. You could never just bump into a friend whilst in London (actually I did actually bump into a relative once!) and I'm really happy that it'll be much easier to see them now!

So what are your weekend plans sexy reader? I am very nosey and would love to hear them!


Monday, 19 August 2013

Drawing Challenge: Trees

I'm worried that last 'o' looks like an 'e' I'M NOT THAT BAD AT SPELLING I PROMISE.
So as you can see my challenges are just so damned complicated (they aren't) but when all you draw are silly animals, drawing pretty much anything else can a bit daunting.

I thought I'd do trees this week because they're are just great aren't they? That and the other day I was really bored so I just parked myself at my desk with a pen and paper and told myself to just draw SOMETHING... So I drew some trees. There are loads of different kinds of trees in Greenwich park and I regret not taking some pictures whilst I was there because some of them were so cool! I ended up using the ones around here in Ballyclare as a reference instead.

Poor guy!

Of course I had to incorporate a penguin in to my drawing challenge again, I just can't get enough of these guys. I'm glad I did though because I really like the drawing above.

I didn't paint or draw as much as I would have liked this weekend as it was really busy but also really fun and exhausting. After going to a friends BBQ a small group of us took a trip to the Mourne Mountains, I wish I had some photo's but rather annoyingly, I forgot my camera! But to be honest, it's probably for the best as we didn't get to the top of any of the mountains! In our defence, one of the guys was an hour late and we had to make sure we got back down in time for the bus... It was still loads of fun though and now we've reminded ourselves what it's like up there we'll be better prepared next time.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!



Friday, 16 August 2013

Penguins under the influence

What started out as a nice little plan to incorporate some floraly goodness in to some drawings turned into an idea involving some messed up penguins. I think it happened because I thought their bellies looked a little trippy and I kinda just ran with it...


It all started innocently enough...
Then BAM he's gone off the rails!

I think I might make this in to a little comic strip (I've been thinking... GANGSTA PENGUINS) or something, it's something I've been thinking about trying for a while since Will mentioned I should give it a go but i'm going to focus on that another time. In the mean time I've been drawing manatees:



I'm very aware that I spelt 'woah' wrong, but apart from that blunder it was fun to do some silly drawings again. I love Malcom the Moustached Manatee... I love any fat animal.

In other news, I'm actually letting myself do something this weekend! (I'm trying to be good and make sure what little bit of money I have spreads out over the month!) So I'm off to a birthday BBQ and to a trip to the Mourne mountains which I'm excited about, hopefully I'll get some good pictures!

Hope you enjoy your weekend,

A
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