I got back from my summer holiday just over two weeks ago. It was a mixture of full on sightseeing in Chicago, followed by three of the genuinely most relaxing days of my life. These were spent on Cape Cod, and then three more days in Boston. My friend and I had both been harbouring a desire to visit one of America’s largest cities for some time, and I am so glad we did.
We stayed in a hotel overlooking Millennium park, home to ‘The Bean’ (formally known as Cloud Gate). The park is in the east of the city and is right next to the shores of Lake Michigan. This was an excellent base point as it was right near to the loop train. This made it easy to access any area of the city that we wanted to visit. We did a lot of walking on our first day, which included The 606 – a 2.7 mile trail designed for walkers and cyclists alike. It is elevated from traffic and gives a lovely view out across the neighbourhood. It is similar to the Highline in New York, which I wrote about here.
Chicago From Above
We rounded off the day with a trip up the 108 storey building Willis Tower. The viewing area which is open to the public is on the 103rd floor, but a super quick lift means you get there in no time at all. It is the second tallest building in the USA, and offers incredible views across the city. The landscape is so flat and you can see for miles and miles. We went just before sunset. It was great to see the city lighting up as the sun went down, and it was the perfect end to the day.
The view from Willis Tower
One area that I would recommend to anybody to visit whilst in Chicago is Andersonville. This district in the north of the city (nearest Metro stop is Berwyn) is an old Swedish settlement. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and drink. We had lunch at Hopleaf, a bar with a Belgian inspired menu and plenty of beers on offer. There was a delightful stationery store and framers called Four Sided where we both bought ourselves some souvenirs.
We spent the next couple of days wandering the Old Town, watching fireworks at Navy Pier (Wednesday’s and Saturday’s in summer) and eating lots of food. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra played in Millennium Park one clear warm evening, which was a lovely unexpected treat.
Jazz in Millennium Park
The highlight of Chicago for me was the architecture boat cruise which is run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. A docent volunteer leads the tour and our guide was incredibly knowledgable. We opted for a twilight cruise so by the time the hour and a half was up, it was dark and the tall buildings lit up the sky. The particular tour is listed in the top 10 on TripAdvisor in the whole of the USA!
More Places to Dine..
No visit to Chicago is apparently complete without sampling a deep dish pizza. Lou Malnati’s was our pizzeria of choice and it didn’t disappoint. A simple margarita with a pepperoni topping was delicious and I wish we’d had time for more!
Other food highlights included a waffle breakfast at Eleven City Diner on Wabash Avenue and the liquid chocolate drink at Goddess and the Baker which has three locations across the city, including Wabash Ave.
Goddess and the Baker cake and biscuits. My friend bought the birthday one despite her birthday being in March.Apparently it was tasty!
Eleven City Diner.
Thank you Chicago (and my friend), for a wonderful 4 days in ‘the windy city’.
I worked on a freelance project last year with Bounty – an organisation that supports mums through pregnancy to the birth of their children and then to toddler and pre-school. The brief was to create designs for use on changing bags and accessories. Bounty wanted two gender neutral designs. After exploring various concepts the team opted for a 2 colour print design. The simple and contemporary geometric print has been applied to high quality textile products and can be bought from their website now
I love working on freelance briefs for companies who apply my art to products that I am not manufacturing myself. There are some images of the final products below.
I am very excited to announce details of a new book that Pavilion have just published! It is called House of Cards and is by Sarah Hamilton, the pioneer of the Just a Card campaign. The purpose of the book is to educate the reader about the history of greetings cards. It also gives step by step guides in order to make your own cards. It covers utilising a variety of print and production methods.
Jakki Brown, editor of Progressive Greetings Magazine, organiser of PG and all round lovely person opens the book with a history of greetings cards. The book has various chapters, including one about licensing artwork, which can be a lucrative way of making money through art and design. I have done a lot of licensing over the last 5 years so was happy to contribute to this chapter.
It was an honour to be asked to be the digital illustration contributor, and therefore have my very own section in the book! I talk about my inspirations as a designer, as well as my studio. My chapter shows you how to go from thinking of your own card idea to finished design. The idea is that your final artwork is digitally printed. I include instructions on creating a drawing you want to colour and print by hand. I then give an in-depth step by step guide to vectorizing and colouring the art in Adobe Illustrator.
There are ten step by step chapters in total, and other methods of creating art include paper cutting and screen printing.
Where to Purchase House of Cards
The book is available to buy from good shops including Waterstones as well as online here.
You can find details of where to purchase my own range of cards here.