Sunday, April 24, 2016

Finally Online!

Wow, it's been the culmination of a project stretching back 3 years, but today, FINALLY, the Cult of Doll Almanac is finally up on line, free for anyone who would like to see a collection of fantastic hand made dolls and read a collection of short stories all loosely connected by.... well, I'll let you find that out ;o)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Araminta WIP pics

Here, finally, are some work in progress photos of the doll I have made for the Cult of Doll project. Her name is Miss Araminta Rookswood, and she is the central figure of the Cult of Doll Almanac who brings together all the  other stories. We will be publishing the Almanac on Issuu this Sunday (24th of April) so check at or Facebook page for the link, it's free!
Not only will you meet the finished Araminta doll and get to read her first adventure, but you will also see, brand new dolls (and read their accompanying stories) by all of our incredibly talented members: Melanie Ashton, Asphyxia, Brian Blacknick, Jenine Davidson, Sarah Faber, Valerie A Gladstone, Gwenda Hague, Hally Levesque, Kailee Maree, Richelle Nicole, Rhissanna and Cynthia Toy. I has been such a joy to work on this and get to bring it to life with such a lovely, creative and jolly nice bunch of artists and I hope lots of people will come and join us to enjoy the results.
Never fear if you can't make it on Sunday, once published it will be there for anyone to read and enjoy forever :o)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Just 12 days to go!

Eeeekkk... still lots to do! Please join us on the 24th at our Facebook page for...

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Walking Dead...

My money's on Abraham, s'all I'm saying ;o)

Monday, March 28, 2016

more faces

Still experimenting, drawing faces, doodling, working ideas out...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

sketching faces again

My progress to somewhere new is starting... don't know where I am going yet... she looks a bit angry... maybe because the person who drew her is trying to stick to their diet over Easter with chocolate everywhere!!! ;o)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Taking some time out...

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and decided that I'm not even sure continuing to have an Etsy shop makes any sense for me. The new look banner was an attempt to get back on track but my heart really isn't in it. Not right now at least. Back even a decade ago (before the internet became my selling stage) when I had free time from my freelance design work I would paint, draw, make things and generally enjoy myself. I never felt any pressure. Sure, I used to do occasional craft fairs and sell things I made - but there was no guilt when I wasn't making things specifically to sell.

Etsy has been a great experience for me, a much happier one than selling on Ebay ever was. But, creating items to put up for sale, has a very different vibe to making things for myself, to decorate my own home or give to friends as gifts. The problem has become that I feel like I need to keep putting fresh things into the shop and popping up on the internet with something new to keep people interested. I just don't get the free time to do that very often and big gaps between projects mean that everything has become very scattershot and unfocused. So I feel as though I am constantly failing: I guess that my etsy shop has become a rod to beat myself with.

I've decided the best course of action is to just close the shop for now, so that I stop feeling guilty about it. I have a lot of work to wrap up on the Cult of Doll Almanac, to get it ready for publishing on the 24th of April.... and then I just need to be quiet and let a new direction develop organically. I enjoyed doing the 28 Faces challenge recently, even though I didn't have much time to devote to it and know that drawing and painting must become the focus of whatever comes next... but I have no plans, let's just see where that takes me. I think that is quite a nice way to start the Spring proper ;o)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Almanac is coming together!

Well, sadly, the 29 Faces challenge may have fizzled out in the same way as most of my free-time projects (because I inevitably don't have that much free time!) but the mammoth 'Cult of Doll' project (which I have been putting together for the last few years) is finally coming together. So proud to finally share with you the cover of our first online publication, The Cult of Doll Almanac! It will be ready to finally launch on April the 24th. There will be updates, new imagery and little previews available as the countdown to the big day continues over on our Facebook page if you would like to join us there. Remember that although we will publish on the 24th (and hope to make it something of an event) this free publication will be available to view online from then on indefinitely.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

29 faces, doll face

Too tired to concentrate on this anymore. Did all the usual Saturday stuff today and some freelance work too... nothing on TV this evening (surprise!) so thought I would try and get back into the swing of this challenge :o)

Friday, February 19, 2016

29 faces.... brief interlude!

Errrrr.... you may have noticed a brief pause in the "29 faces Challenge" posts? Currently working really long hours so no time for play, normally service will be resumed as soon as possible! ;o)

Friday, February 12, 2016

29 faces, Miss Araminta

Wasn't in the mood today really but just doodling and trying to get back into the habit of drawing Miss Araminta so that I can finish the illustrations for the Cult of Doll Almanac. We publish in April and i haven't been able to work on it for the last few months... she still doesn't look quite right, but hey ho... time for bed!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

29 faces challenge, a familiar face

Feeling really yukky the last few days, just finished some freelance and so did a quick image of a famous Male face... I love drawing people with lived in faces and love cuddly old "Srrrrrrr Ian's" twinkly eyes... he always looks as though he's thinking something a bit naughty - and probably is!

I see lots of people on Etsy and ebay selling their traced celebrity faces and feel a bit turned off by that as you have to use an image that a photographer already put a great deal of effort and thought into. The image is really theirs. So I'm a bit miffed that I couldn't find the name of the photographer who took the original image here!

Obviously you use photographic reference for portraits of people in the news if you are a commercial illustrator or caricaturist... and I do think it's a good exercise every now and then. You still have to make lots of decisions and I think people who are not feeling too confident about drawing faces can gain a lot from it, teaches you to observe very closely :0)

Right, I think I may go back to bed or spend the rest of the day on the sofa because my head feels like a lead weight and my stomach keeps providing a rather ominous soundtrack to proceedings! :o(

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

29 faces, more doodles leading somewhere

Had the day off so kept doodling and this has actually lead to some finished roughs for two paintings with a new main character and some little critters to go with her. Having lots of fun... I'm glad that it has gotten me back into real world pencil/pen on paper drawing as I need to finish the Araminta comic book story for the Cult of Doll Almanac and I have been avoiding starting back on it... I think I've loosened up again now though :o)

Monday, February 8, 2016

29 faces challenge, more scribbles

Have got pin up girls with those Victory Roll hairdo's on the brain at the moment... doodling while watching The X-Files... hope it improves (the drawings AND The X-Files!) :)

29 Faces, furry face

I guess I don't really rise to challenges over the weekend ;o) I did do a quick pencil sketch of George the furry person last night so that will have to do... I hate the new inbuilt scanner that came with my printer. Couldn't face dealing with it last night as still I haven't figured out how to bypass it's own rather basic scanning software so that I can import direct to Photoshop. I need to get my head round it so that I go back to drawing by hand. More later...

Friday, February 5, 2016

29 faces challenge, pin-up girl

Still on the Mac (bad girl, too lazy to dig out a sketch pad so far) and someone asked me to draw a 50's pin-up girl so have been doing lots of research and I guess it came out here too, mine has gone a bit Disney though ;o)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

29 faces... an extra one!

Really bored this evening, nothing on Tv and too tired and sneezy to work... so drew another quick sketch

29 faces challenge, day 3

I feel a bit yukky today and this sketch is my least favourite so far.... more tomorrow, think I will get the sketch pad out :o)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

29 faces, day 2

Here is today's sketch, another Skype doodle :o)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

29 Faces, todays sketch

Haven't got time of space to track down a sketch pad and pencils (plus clear all the books off the scanner!) so today's sketch was done straight into photoshop with my wacom pen while I was on a Skype call. I like doodling and writing notes while talking on Skype and I gave myself as long as the call lasted to work on this, 12 minutes in total :o) More tomorrow

29 faces

I just saw this challenge, better late than never surely? I am working away on design and other projects at the moment so my faces will be quick doodles and messy sketches but something to keep me going until I can get back to doll making and art in a more committed way. The Cult of Doll Almanac will finally publish on April 24th and after that my time is my own again and I will be making dolls! Yay :o)

Until then, tune in the see a face a day and check out the other artists taking part (will add links when I find them) :o)

Monday, January 11, 2016

RIP David Bowie

Such sad news to lose the wild creation of the imagination that brought colour and inspiration to so many dull suburban teenage years, RIP David Bowie but all your chameleon creations live on...

(yes, I know, ironic that I chose mainly Black & White photos!)

Friday, January 8, 2016

to craft or not to craft...

That is the big question facing me right now!

As I am sure I have mentioned many times before, I am mainly a freelance designer/illustrator. My work is
unpredictable and can sometimes be for very long hours for a few weeks at a time. An email comes in or the
phone rings and all plans go out the window and the rush starts. I really enjoy my work and being based from
home has a lot of advantages...

In theory making dolls and crafting to sell through my etsy shop in the quieter times should be the perfect thing
to keep me from climbing the walls. When it all works out it is exactly that and provides a great relaxed
alternative to those time pressured work days. I found out early on that doing commission art/craft items is not
an option, however, as freelance work always has to take priority and cannot be scheduled. A few disgruntled craft
buyers who demanded to know WHEN their item would be finished put me off that. I don't blame them for being
upset, they were paying me to make something for them and just wanted to know why it was taking so long, but
as the craft items are so labour intensive and cannot be sold for anything even approaching my Freelance hourly
rate... well, they had to take a back seat.

There is also the issue of space, I just have a small work room in which my Mac and drawing desk have to compete
with space with my doll making and sewing things, all the painting and creative supplies.... if that gets a bit out of
hand I find it makes me very distracted while I trying to concentrate. It's like a Jekyll & Hyde room! Possibly
the biggest  woe with having an Etsy shop I am forced to neglect much of the time is that it simply gets forgotten
by the world at large if you don't keep promoting it. In the same way that this blog may never be read by a single
person, my etsy shop becomes "off the beaten e-path" very quickly. People with successful on-line businesses put
in  A LOT of time promoting their presence on Instagram, Twitter, etc.... but there simply isn't the time for me to
devote to a successful Craft business while freelancing... and crafting does not pay the bills! When I have a few
days off I always trawl through the internet catching up on crafters whose work I love and it just makes me feel
guilty that I am not doing more.... but there are only so many hours in the day, just 7 days in the week and the
years keep rolling by so fast!

So right now I am undecided as to whether to reopen my etsy shop or just let it gather dust. In a virtual way of
course ;o)