January

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The first few months of winter have come and gone! There have been a lot of changes for me too! There has been a wedding, a Norwegian Christmas and a change of location.

I’ve been doing a lot of planning for my business this year and now January is over, things are starting to fall into place. I like routine to keep up my flow of projects, however that has been quite difficult this past while. Now I have just finished setting up my workspace in my new flat, and I have some weeks free of client commissions to focus on exciting projects I have lined up in my head. I am hoping they can help push my work in a bit of a new direction. I’m also really keen to make contact with new clients in Norway, and I will be hopefully posting about creating some more local themed illustrations to help with that.

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A lot of my client work over winter has been emailing and sketching roughs so I haven’t had much to share online. However, I did get some time to sit down and do some media experimentation with my painting. I decided to paint a cuckoo as I had seen them on the local mountain this summer and was fascinated by them. A few pages of sketches on layout paper and I was ready to paint.

I was hoping to see what would happen if I painted with no prior colour planning and just stuck at it for a few hours. I am pretty happy with how it went, so it’s a definite incentive to play around with my process more. The colour planning and the then inevitable laborious colour matching on photoshop was really beginning to take the enjoyment out of painting for me, so I am happy to try out new methods, even if that means my final aesthetic changes quite a bit as a result.

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Over December I attempted the challenge of swimming every day in the fjord. Unfortunately, as I probably should have anticipated, there was absolutely no sunlight to tempt me out into the water. This wasn’t helped by a couple of weeks of temperatures below -10°C! I think I maybe made it in for half of the days, and this is probably a lot more swims than I would have managed without the goal.

However, when January came I was determined to keep up a routine of cold water dips. I appreciate how helpful it is for my mental health to have something like that – especially in January! For the last two winters I have aimed for a once-a-week outdoor swim goal, and I can happily report that this January I have managed it – even getting in one extra swim!

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Well that’s January – I hope that I can keep those swims going and keep up a positive mindset as the year goes forward. (I can now say I have swam in 1°C water for the first time!) I have a lot of interesting and exciting illustration ideas in my head, but I feel I am not jumping into them when I have the chance as I have been held back by frustrations with my painting technique. Hopefully more experiments and practice over the next month or so should get me where I want to go and I can start creating those artworks I have been dreaming of for so long!

Illustrations for Turf and Grain Magazine

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Last month I had the pleasure of working with Simon from the Irish magazine Turf and Grain to create these illustrations for their latest issue. The theme was creativity and the issue features some amazing talented and inspiring makers from around the island of Ireland.

With these artworks I managed to create the work with 50% traditional techniques at least, which made me very happy. It is a challenge to try and mix digital and traditional media together sometimes with out it looking too distracting but I am very excited to be making progress with it!

Great Malvern – An Unusually Excellent Guide for Curious Explorers

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This was a really fun project working with Great Malvern Route to the Hills to create a family activity book and local park map for the town.

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Here are just a few of my favourite spot images designed for the book. I love projects like this as they allow me an excuse to delve into the rich historical background of an area and to research some fun period clothing!

http://www.routetothehills.co.uk/

Millican Travelogue Illustrations

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This year I had the pleasure of working with Millican bags on a number of very exciting projects. My favourite was producing the cover and map of the world for their new Travelogue publication!

I am really hoping to land some more map jobs this year so the timing for the project was perfect. There was also lots of research to be done for the different travel locations but this is always my favourite part of map illustrations!

Since doing some research into traditional Welsh quilt making at the beginning of the year I was really eager to use some of this inspiration in my Illustration work. The wonderful design team at Millican were amazing to work with and let me run with my ideas for the cover which definitely has some of these lovely pattern influences in it!

The travelogue is going to be sent out with Millican product orders and used at trade fairs and I am really excited to hear people’s reactions to it!

 

 

Poster for Lost and Found

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A couple of weeks ago I worked with Lost and Found brewbar and cafe to create an updated poster for their new food venture – Pizza Night!

I had a lot of fun working with them with their Feast event poster last year. I really love their appreciation of good design and ethos around quality local food so was very excited to work with them again.

I hope the poster brings across the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of their food events and wish them all the success for the future with their evening events. Coleraine isn’t very lively place at night (yet!) and I think it would be amazing to see some continental cafe culture making its way across the sea to Ireland!

Illustration for PNT Bicycle Magazine

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This month I am really excited that my work has been published in the Polish cycling and bikepacking magazine PNT! The whole publications is laid out and designed beautifully with some amazing photography!

As always, I am so pleased to be able to take part in spreading the word on the benefits and fun that can be had when exploring nature and the outdoors on two wheels! Dzięki PNT!

Norwegian Bikepacking Book – Villmarkssykling

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Last year I had the pleasure to work with Mikkel Soya Bølstad on his latest book about adventures by bike in the wilderness and nature of  Norway. I have been following his adventures and photography for a while on instagram so was really excited to work with him.

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I was initially just working on the maps of the bikepacking adventures he features in the book but at the end of the project I was asked to illustrate the cover as well! The designers did a really nice job on the cover so I was very happy with this surprise extra work!

I went to the book launch in Oslo and got my first look at the finished book and it was everything I had been dreaming of and more! In my second year of uni, just after I completed my first solo bike tour in the Hebrides, I searched all over the internet for beautiful photography showcasing adventure cycling. I was really hungry for visual inspiration but I hardly found anything at all!

Fortunately, there has been a lot of positive interest in bikepacking recently, and now websites like bikepacking.com are doing a great job at providing beautiful stories and photography to inspire you to get out there on your next adventure. I think Mikkel’s book perfectly embodies all those things I was looking for when I first started getting into travelling and camping with my bike. Now I just have to up my Norwegian translation skills so I can read it!

Christmas Card Design

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This year’s Christmas card was again inspired by an Irish poet. I used the words of Seamus Heaney from his poem An Ulster Twilight  as inspiration for the design and had plenty of fun researching into the poet’s background and story.

Designing with pattern I wanted to show various important elements from the poem but I also tried to include some atmospheric details too, as for me the poem conjures up some beautiful cinematic and peaceful imagery  like Lough Beg that I felt had be painted too.

I am not sure yet what I will come up with for next year’s card but it would be great if I could keep up the theme of my home in Northern Ireland. I find it really inspiring to explore things like folk history and rural life when I am working and would love to do more things like this design. Until then, have a great cosy Christmas holiday!

Feast – Poster design for Lost and Found

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This was a really fun commission from Lost and Found coffee shop for their series of evening gathering events, celebrating local food.

Based in Coleraine, on the North coast of Northern Ireland, Lost and Found has quickly become one of my favourite local businesses that have popped up since I left home to study in Cornwall. I love their ethos and appreciation of good design and can’t wait to see more inspiring events from them in the near future!

Oh Comely Magazine Illustrations

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A few months ago I was very fortunate to be asked by Oh Comely’s new editor, Lara Watson to be the guest Illustrator for Issue 31 of the magazine.

The theme of the magazine was adventure which was really exciting for me as I was given free reign with the inside cover illustration. Of course I had to draw a bikepacking illustration!

Getting to do some different spot illustrations like these mini golf details was also a new challenge for me and I will definitely do more paintings like these in the future!

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Editorial pieces on pirate women and the Unnecessary objects brought on Franklin’s lost expedition to find the Northwest Passage.

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I am so happy to be a part of the Oh Comely magazine as their articles were a big inspiration for me while I was studying in Cornwall and I look forward to reading many more great issues to come!