Just thought I'd share a few of the faces that have made me smile over the past week or so... and to set you a fun creative challenge for the weekend!
Collage Club quickies
The Collage Club at Lunar HQ last week was something of a “no pens shocker” to the system! I’m not much of a ‘collager’ (collagist?!) so it was good to get out of my comfort zone and throw some shapes on the page in a different way. And, as ever, it’s always good to see different people’s creative responses to the same prompt: just take a look at the variety of the images produced in the 3 minute portrait challenge!
Happy hippies & new sketchmates
From Bolton to China, we were an international bunch at Wednesday’s Social Sketchup: united by our creativity and curiosity to experience the joy of group sketch! It was my first event at The Doodle Bar and it’s a really fab (if hard to find) venue: replete with chalkboard walls upon which customers are welcome to doodle as they drink.
As well as a MASSIVE discoball on the wall, we produced some awesome collaborative artwork together: including the happy hippies we created in a game of exquisite corpse!
My next Social Sketchup is at Drink Shop & Do next Wednesday 19th: get your tickets here!
New BFF @ the Crisis Cafe
The Crisis Café in Shoreditch is my new favourite lunch spot – not least because of this flame-haired lady! The food is cheap, fabulous and all proceeds go to Crisis, who work tirelessly and brilliantly to tackle homelessness. If you live or work in the area, GO THERE!
As you can see, the staff also have incredible taste in screenprints! Speaking of which...
It’s only taken me 4 weeks, but my Pink Hair Don’t Care and Conehead screenprints are finally available to buy online! They went down a storm at the Illustrator’s Fair last week – so grab yours while you can!
It’s been quite hard to keep up this time, but I’ve been dipping in and out of the Couture Fashion Week show reports and doing the odd sketch here and there! Here’s a quickie I did of the Galia Lahav show.
And now that I’ve shown you mine, I challenge you to show me yours!
I’d love to see your interpretation of the same image, so if you fancy getting creative and can steal some sketchy time this weekend: draw it and show me the results! (Tag me on Instagram or post on my Facebook page!)
“You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.”
Diane Von Furstenberg
I had so much fun at the *House of Illustration Summer Fair yesterday!
My pink hair screenprints and new totes seemed to go down well with the crowds (including my mate Gold Soup (see below): as did my pink pineapple, pink pen, pink sweets and my own pink hair! I’ll be adding all my new print, notebooks and stuff to my online shop this week.... watch this space for PINKNESS!
More important than the sales I made however, were the lovely people I met and the inspiring conversations I had - both with my customers and fellow stallholders, including:
- The lovely Alezeia (pictured below) and her co-stallholder Iluros: both of whose work I love and whose stand design/backdrop was THE BEST! Alezeia hails from Spain (where I used to live), so I had a lot of fun attempting to practice my rusty Spanish! Hoping to meet them again someday soon to talk about SKETCH.
- The Hero of Switzerland boys: my neighbours for the day who provided much by way of cock books, sellotape and general giggles. I’ve been a fan of their work since I first spotted it at Pick Me Up back in 2012, so it was great to finally meet my Heroes! Amazing guys with inspiring stories to tell - and pictures of weird cats to share. Hope to see you again soon tits!
- Holly May: a bright young art student and new owner of one of my Alice notebooks (see the likeness?!). She reminded me a lot of my teenage self and we talked a lot about creative fears and ‘finding your style’: a common concern among emerging artists which I too think about and question – do I even have a style? She also asked who inspires my work, which isn’t really something I’ve given much thought but has got me thinking… and I feel a blog post coming on! Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to watching her on the road to creative success. GOOD LUCK GIRL!
As well as the people, it was great to be trading on the grounds of the House of Illustration, which – as a lifelong lover of all things illustrated – is something of a mecca to me. In fact, someone should re-name that place The House of Inspiration!
It epitomises, homes and plays host to things I love: including staging events that promote drawing and help to inspire and spark creativity in others. And I’m living proof of the powerful impact events such as yesterday’s summer fair can have, for it was at that very same fair and place 3 years ago where I started to re-discover my love of drawing - and discovered a new love of drawing faces on balloons! Before that day, I hadn’t drawn much since my A level art days: but look at me now, a full-blown sketch addict!
3 years ago: titting around and getting creative at the HOI summer fair
Same place: still titting around but this time on the other side of the stalls!
If you’ve never been before I urge you to visit the place. There's always a great exhibition and they have an ACE gift shop! It’s just one of those magical places that buzzes with a special kind of creative energy and character that is hard to describe but easy to discern and feel when you’re there. And if you do go, take a sketchbook!
That is all. Happy Monday!
*NB: I don’t work for The House of Illustration and haven’t been paid to write this! I just LOVE.
This month I shall mainly be:
House of Illustration Summer Fair
Come check out my print and product collection! (And buy something!)
The House of Illustration summer fair in 2014 is what inspired and propelled me on my 'creative journey', so I'm mega-excited to be selling my wares there on Sunday 9th! I launched my first ever product and print collection at their Christmas fair in 2015 and can't wait to meet and greet all the crowds - and reveal some of my latest work!
If you're in London and fancy a lovely day out, browsing and buying some fabulous art from 150 of London's finest illustrators, designers and makers (including me!) - come along!
I'll be the one with ALL THE PINK! And balloons. And FREE SWEETS! .
My new DD tops & tees!
I'm busy screenprinting and shooting a new collection of summer tops and tees: watch this space!
It's couture fashion week sweeties! COUTURE FASHION WEEK SWEETIES!
Couture fashion week kicks off today in Paris, so it goes without saying that I'll be doing a fair bit of sketchbooking! I'm still a little bit obsessed with drawing Chanel's AW16 couture collection (see above) and can't wait to see the latest...
AND ALSO THIS:
In the hope they have the same effect on you, here are 5 things that made me smile this week:
It’s been a scorching week in London and I’ve been sweating away screenprinting at The Print Club, producing this rather apt Conehead among other things!
I joined Print Club a few weeks back and it’s all been something of an experiment - as is all my art tbh! It’s a much messier and slower process than I imagined, but I’ve loved scrubbing, exposing and inking myself in ways I never knew possible. It’s always great to learn a new skill and there are so many exciting possibilities with this printing method that I can see it becoming a huge part of my work….
*Note to the feeble: screenprinting requires a hell of a lot of upper body strength – and/or someone with it closeby (cheers to Pavel and the guys @ Print Club for helping me to, er, pull!)
What do you get when you cross some illustrations of dolls, some others of balloons and 10 minutes messing around on Photoshop? My new blow-up dolls! Not sure where I’m going with it but I feel it might be somewhere…
My week started off on a pretty shit note to say the least: but I was much cheered up and on by this dress. Life sucks sometimes: but more dresses like this the merrier.
@ Caboodle Magazine
Another thing that made me smile: Caboodle magazine and the lady at the helm of it. I’m busy writing a feature for the forthcoming issue and very excited to be heading up north to shoot with Kayti next month. She’s one of those incredible, multi-talented, creative tornados that you just can’t help but want to be like/hug/bottle up and serve to the world! #girlcrush ? Absolutely!
The Fashion Sketchup
The flyers have arrived and ticket sales are ON for my brand-new fashion art workshop at Saucer & Spritz!
Somewhat hidden away up at the top of OASIS store on Tottenham Court Road, S&S is a real gem of a place and the perfect setting for an afternoon of fun fashion sketching with yours truly!
As they serve up pink scones, unicorn toast and other fabulous things, I’ll be serving up 2 hours of fashion-inspired drawing, colouring and creative challenges! I’m also going to get people working in teams to complete a special Project Runway-style challenge, in which stylists from each team will get to roam the store to select an outfit for their team model, who will then pose for the rest of the group to draw at the end.
Last but not least, I can't write a list of fabulous things about this week without mentioning my FRIENDS! I couldn’t have got through this week without them: especially this lunatic pair, ‘modelling’ their new custom-made Dulcimer Draws tees!
I spend a lot of time (and a fair bit of money!) testing out new art materials each month, so I thought I'd start reviewing and sharing some of my best finds right here on my blog.
Here are my top finds for June:
Flying Tiger Coloured Pencils
24 Shades of YEY!
At £4 for 24 these pencils are incredible value and surprisingly decent quality. In fact, when I used them at a workshop a few weeks back at least three people asked where I got them! Cheap pencils tend to be scratchy and produce a rather anaemic effect: but - without too much pressure - these produced a really impressive depth of colour.
So, can you tell which of these sketches (of the same Vivienne Westwood AW17 look) I created using the £4 Tigers - and which one using my posho Prisma pencils?
The one on the right? Correct! And I think I prefer it out of the two. And just to prove my point about how good these pencils are, here are a couple more faces:
Flying Tiger Watercolours
Chic on the cheap?
I wanted to incorporate some painting into one of my workshops but needed to find something affordable to use: so I picked up this £4 Watercolour set to roadtest ahead of the event. (Well no-one wants to host a party and serve up the watercolour equivalent of Lambrini, do they?!) Whilst the depth of colour they produced isn’t great and they’ve got a slightly grainy and chalky texture, they definitely do the job if you just to have a bit of a creative play around.
Just so you can see, here's how they compare and contrast with my Windsor & Newtons (on the left):
Caran D'Ache Chunky Watercolour Pencils
The bigger the better?
These chunky watercolour pencils turned out to be one of my best accidental, 'went in for something else' buys ever. I have a tendency to work in mono and use a lot of thick black lines in my illustrations, so it was great to challenge myself to produce something using just a single colour: to play with all the different textures and effects I could create with just one of these pencils.
They create a much denser finish than lots of other watercolour pencils I've tried, which can often be quite chalky and pale. At £2.50 each they're not cheap, but they'll definitely last longer than my Tombows and - as illustrated - you only need a couple to create some vivid new work!
Despite the obvious shit bit, here are 5 fabulous things that happened to me this week:
1) My portrait of the lovely Emma Gannon hit the big (and small) screen in a major Microsoft ad campaign! Although they seem to have doodled with the original a bit, I'm still pretty proud that one of my random early-morning sketches is getting its 5 microseconds of fame!
2) I learnt to screenprint on paper and pulled these 5 fabulous Flashdancers: all up for grabs on my shop! It's always great to learn a new skill and to fully understand the process.and potential of these things. Although obviously time-consuming, it's so versatile and I can't wait to get back in the studio and experiment some more.
3) I had a very lovely meeting with Lunar HQ: an amazing 'co-working creative studio and pop-up shop' just up the road from the equally amazing goats (at Hackney City Farm). Can't wait to go to Collage Club there in July!
4) I saw My Life As A Courgette. By that I mean the film - not me having some sort of existential courgette-based crisis! It's a a beautiful story and visually stunning - packed with amazing illustrations! Highly recommend it.
5) I discovered Unicorn toast! (How did I not know this was a thing?!)
This month I shall mainly be:
Balenciaga: Throwing Shapes
New print collection out now
I'm excited to reveal my new collection of Balenciaga illustrations: created to mark the opening of the Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition at the V&A.
Rather than focus on early day Balenciaga silhouettes, I wanted to create something fresh and focused on some of the recent collections. And Picasso has been such a huge influence throughout my creative life that it seemed fitting and instinctive to weave it into this project: to create illustrations that fuse the styles of both of these iconic Spanish masters.
The resulting illustrations are quite a departure from my usual style, but I'm loving them: and I hope you do too! It’s been hugely liberating, surprising and exciting to work on: so I suspect more fashion + art mashups on the horizon…
It goes without saying that I'll be heading to:
- Graduate Fashion Week @ Truman Brewery - this weekend!
- The World Of Anna Sui @ Fashion & Textile Museum
- Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion @ the V&A
- Fashion Illustration Gallery Fair #2 @ The Bluebird Shop
I'm also hoping to make it to Frida Wannerberger's Fashion Illustration and bookbinding workshop on June 17th. I adore Frida's work and it's a fab opportunity to learn from a master of the craft: so fingers crossed I'll be there!
Getting cosy and creative with Caboodle!
I'm writing a feature on 'the joy of sketch' and heading up north to talk colouring and collabs with the adorable Editor of Caboodle, Kayti Peschke.
Watch this space!
AND ALSO THIS
I write this as I sit on a train, heading to visit a hugely talented and creative friend of mine: someone who has been a huge source of inspiration and support throughout my creative ‘journey’. She’s a modest girl, so I won’t mention her name: I’ll just say it rhymes with Wemma. Anyway, I digress.
I write this as I sit on a train where, 10 minutes earlier, a girl in her mid twenties plonks herself down beside me, whips out her iphone and sticks her headphones on. My heart sinks and I think: great, another digital zombie who’s going to sit scrolling, ‘socialising' and distracting me as I try to work throughout my journey. But then something brilliant happens: she puts her phone to one side and whips out a colouring book and a set of coloured pencils. My heart leaps.
I’m busy working on a new colouring book so can’t help but take the opportunity to do a bit of research. I ask her: what is it about colouring in that you enjoy? Is it the satisfaction of colouring within the neat lines? Or is it just the sheer joy of putting pencil to paper and creating something colourful and wonderful: the satisfaction of completing and customising an image based on whatever mood strikes you? It’s the latter, she answers.
I’m not a regular consumer of colouring books: I prefer to sketch and create things from scratch. But anything that gets people to down their digital tools and put pencils to paper gets my vote! Colouring has become so mainstream and popular that it's not uncommon to find at least 5 different colouring mags on the shelves of Sainsbury's. And, in a world so replete with digital distractions and stressors, it's easy to see why. The simple art of colouring-in is meditative, restorative and - best of all - doesn't require wifi. Colouring, drawing, sketching: it all quietens the mind and forces you to focus: and there’s nothing more gratifying than the feeling you get when you complete a work: regardless of how 'good' you feel it is. It's done, you did it: you brought it to life on the page in a way that only you could and can.
I’m all about making art and drawing accessible to all: especially those who say they “can’t draw” (there’s no such thing!). I use a combination of both colouring and sketching activities at The Social Sketchup workshops I run, and I’ll be doing the same in my new book too.
My book will be out in the summer: meanwhile, here’s a FREE COLOURING SHEET for you to be getting on with! It would be fab to see your colourful hat designs on Instagram - #dulcimerdraws ! If you're stuck for inspiration, take a look at some of these fabulous designs created at a recent Social Sketchup!
They came. They sketched. But did any of them meet their match?
Well, as Cilla would say, "I won't be buying a hat"!
But the crowd at Tuesday night's Sketch Appeal seemed to have a great time nonetheless: getting up close and creative to test their connection and 'sketchual chemistry'!
As well as drawing ALL THE FACES and producing some beautiful balloon art, they worked together to create an amazing set of undateables / "Tinder dates from hell".
I also took the opportunity to crowdsource some creative ideas for a commission I've recently been given. My good friend Joanna has asked me to design her wedding invite and (for once) I'm a bit stuck for ideas: so I asked people to pair up and design her one instead!
She knew nothing of my cunning plan...until I called her on FaceTime and asked her to pick a winner that is! She was so impressed and touched by what people created that I think she shed ACTUAL TEARS.
So, although Sketch Appeal didn't generate any new matches on this occasion: it did generate some fab new artwork, chat and connections - and made one bride to be very happy indeed!
The next edition of Sketch Appeal is on Wednesday 7th June @ The Doodle Bar. So if you're single and up for a fun and fast-paced night of casual sketch...come join the fun!
After being seduced by the (rather attractive) salesman at Apple, a couple of weeks ago I buckled and bought myself an IPadPro!
It seemed like such a great idea at the time, but I've gotta say I'm finding it hard to set my usual sketching tools aside and pick up something digital to draw with. The work I've produced so far is patchy to say the least! But I love an experiment and I'm determined to improve and love it (as much as I loved that sales guy): hence I've started a
30 DAY IPAD CHALLENGE!
Watch this space to see how I get on and at the end of each week. Practice makes 'perfect' and all that...
We’re almost mid-way through the year and I'm all too aware I need to up my blogging game: 4 posts in 4 months just ain’t good enough!
But it's hard to find the time, in between all the drawing, working, drawing, working, drawing etc. : that or it's too easy to get distracted by things like this...
But from this point on, I shall endeavour to step up the blog: starting with this round-up of the two amazing Fashion Illustration workshops I attended last month:
Workshop 1: With Sue Dray
Inspired by the current exhibition of the late great Jo Brocklehurst's work, the first was led by the fashion illustration LEGEND that is Sue Dray. I’m a huge fan of Sue's work and style, so was thrilled to meet her at last: and she was every bit as inspiring, energetic and down-right fricking fabulous as I expected!
It was a pretty intensive afternoon: 4 hours of non-stop sketching our model/muse Mankoo, powered on by Sue's expert guidance and top punk playlist! Drawing from life requires such focus and pushes me way out of my comfort zone. It also forces me to let go of perfectionism; enabling me to lose myself in the process rather than worry about the end result. That said, I was actually pretty pleased with what I produced: it’s amazing what you can do with 4 hours, a model, an awesome tutor and a shitload of random art materials!
Workshop 2: With Montana Forbes
The second workshop was led by Montana Forbes; equally fab but minus the punk and very different to Sue’s.
After talking us through her work and influences, Montana set us to work on a variety of collage, watercolour and mixed media activities; stopping only to discuss and review our work in between. I'm always fascinated by other people's style and individuality of expression; to see how diverse the interpretations of the same subject matter are across the group. Here’s a little snapshot of the styles and skills that were shared and shown: plus the quick speed-portrait sketchange I did with one of my classmates!
The Jo Brocklehurst Exhibition is running until May 14th and is well worth a look if you’re in London!
On finding my style - and getting bored with it...
In the initial months following what I now refer to as 'That moment at that life drawing class when I re-discovered my long-lost love of drawing and realised what it was I was put on this planet to do', I was worried that I'd never find my way to a distinct style. Friends argued otherwise, but I was convinced my work would never have a strong enough identity or consistency.
Over two years on and I know I've finally found that style, but the 'problem' I face now is that I get bored! It's great to see the consistency and personality sing through from the pages of my sketchbook, but in the name of creative play and progress I like to experiment on a regular basis; to try out new tools and techniques that enable me to push my work further. The last thing I want is to feel/get stuck: a fear and feeling I'm sure many artists and creatives share.
Sometimes it all goes 'wrong', but sometimes these little 'sketchperiments' throw back some real gems. For me, it's the sketching equivalent of the masterchef invention test: take a few random ingredients (art materials), throw them in the pan (sketchbook) and see what your hands can work up! And on that note, I'm starving: so will leave you to enjoy a few of my recent sketchperiments...
At last: I've picked my top 10 beauty looks from the epic mountain of sketches on my Spring/Summer 2017 drawing board!
I'm particularly loving (and will be attempting to recreate!) the:
- Thick black liner flicks at Osman
- Vivid blue eyes at Jean Paul Gaultier
- Facial embellishments at Preen (time to get the old flower press out!)
- Creative colour combos at Maxmara
- Bold use of blush at Kenzo
New York, London, Milan, Paris... SKETCHUP!
With the AW17 Fashion Week whirlwind finally over, it was great to set aside my sketchbook and host another sellout edition of The Social Sketchup this week!
For this month's edition, I'd curated some special catwalk-inspired activities; including magazine cover design, make-up colour-ins and the grand finale: another showstopping dressmaking challenge! This month's winning design had something of Chanel AW17 & Cleopatra vibe and was made by a talented team of co-workers from X!
Take a look at some of my favourite shots and sketches from the night - and watch this space for news of the next Social Sketchup!
Things got a bit messy at The Social Sketchup last week: messy in a colourful, creative, charcoal-covered way!
There's nothing I enjoy more than getting creative and encouraging others to do the same, so I'm always in my element at these events. And as usual, the Sketchup crowd surprised and surpassed themselves with their incredible creations, including Picasso-style portraits and paper dress designs that wouldn't look out of place at Couture Fashion Week!
It's a joy to watch people experiment and grow in confidence over the course of night, then see them leave armed with sketchbooks and buzzing from all the creative action - and all the cocktails!
Thanks again to all who came for making the night so fabulous. The next Social Sketchup will be in March. Watch this space for details!
2 weeks to go until the next edition of The Social Sketchup @ DRINK SHOP & DO!
This month's edition will feature balloon art, colouring, portrait drawing and a team dress-making challenge, as well as a few Cubist twists: inspired by trip to see the Picasso Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
There are only a few tickets left, so if you want one GET ON IT!
Pick up an original piece of fashion art: fresh from the Dulcimer Draws drawing board!
So, how are you going to make your life even more fabulous this year? New job? New hair? New man?
Why not start with the basics and get something in your life that will make you feel good every day throughout this year - and beyond?
1) Bag yourself a beautiful bargain from my new Sketch Shop
2) Place it on a prominent place/wall as a daily reminder of how #FABULOUS you are
3) Repeat the above and fill your whole house/year with fabulousness!
Each month, I’ll announce a ‘secret’ flash sale on a new collection of original artworks, which will be available to buy exclusive on my site, on a first-come first-served basis!
I’ll be revealing the first collection, The January Blues, on Instagram very soon: so be sure to follow me there to ensure you’re first through Dulcimer Draws’ doors!
This December, whilst you're busy getting off your faces; I thought I'd share one or two of mine!
In the absence of time to create anything more spectacular (than a #cheeseadventcalendar !), I've decided to countdown to 2017 with some of my favourite portraits from amid the masses I've produced this year. I draw every day, so you can imagine how things have stacked up - in a rather Santa's Grotto-esque way!
If you're not already doing so, follow me on Instagram for a daily shot of 'Fabulous Faces'!
Hurrah: It's time to get my annual grump on about how fricking freezing it is and how I really, really must move some place warmer!
The only good thing about this season (apart from the obvious festive ding-donging) is that we all get to buy - or at least lust after - some fabulous new winter coats!
So, in the name of busting those winter blues, I decided to revisit some sketches I did during A/W 16 fashion week and pick out a few favourites. (see below)
And now, back to being a miserable bastard.