I love creating illustrations based on places, and working on this Thaxted project was no exception. This historic and beautiful village is in Essex, and is home to many quaint and beautiful buildings. I supply Gifted, a gorgeous gift shop in the heart of the village, and after a conversation at a recent trade fair I was asked to create an illustration that we could apply to a number of products. Their outlet features in the bottom left of the design below, and is currently a lovely red colour as per the image!
Thaxted is known for Morris Dancing festivals so of course some dancers had to feature on the design, as did Dick Turpin’s Cottage, the house that Gustav Holst lived in for a number of years in the 1900s and well as John Webb’s windmill, that can be found just outside of the village.
I have included a number of images of the products below. Get in touch if you would like to discuss a project for your location!
As November seems to be passing by at an alarming rate, I am busy working on fresh designs to launch in the new year, which includes some location specific work. I have spent some time focusing on locally themed art over the last few months. My coastal body of work has always been close to my heart. The early designs were inspired by Robin Hood’s Bay. However, they were never meant to depict those places specifically, to the point that the products wouldn’t sell elsewhere. I have done the opposite of that this year, and created some prints that are entirely meant to represent the local area. I began in April with my Whitby map design. I’m proud of this piece of work. It took way longer to finish than I thought it would; but then again most of my favourite pieces of work do.
Robin Hood’s Bay
This made me feel inspired to create other pieces, with a local focus. So far I have concentrated on Robin Hood’s Bay. My upbringing in this quaint village was perfect, and I have always felt lucky to have been brought up in such a picturesque location. I have just received my first run of prints and cards based on the village, and tea towels are set to arrive next week!
Amidst all of the time I have spent working on art and thinking about the type of designs I want my collection of products to include for 2018, I have finally got around to refreshing my branding. When I first launched my business, I very quickly settled on a logo. It featured ‘Jessica Hogarth Designs’ in a perfect rectangular shape and really does not represent what I am about as an artist at all. I always hoped that my business would take off, and become my full time living. However, I guess I didn’t think seriously enough about my branding at the start, and what all of my products would grow to look like featuring this logo down the line; if that actually happened. I considered changing it after a year or so, and didn’t. Finally over 5 years on, with the help of one of my amazing friends (Megan of Megan Claire), I have a new logo that I believe echoes the feel of my work.
I used to refuse to use black in any of my personal illustration work, thinking it was too ‘hard’ for some reason, and always opted for navy. That too has since changed. I use a lot of colour in my work, particularly blues and mustards tones. That said, I was reluctant to settle on just one for my logo. Therefore, the original version of it is simply black wording on a white background with the option of altering the colour, dependent upon how its being used.
The circle will be used for stickers and such like, and they too will vary in colour depending on where they are placed.
A large proportion of my business is actually the card publishing side of things. However, I primarily see myself as an illustrator and surface pattern designer, hence the tagline. My love affair with surface pattern began in second year of art college. I find myself wanting to put every design I create in to a repeating print, but of course, that’s not always practical.
I am really excited to have a more consistent brand identity, and one that I feel really represents me.
The image below shows some of the newly packaged tea towels. The blurb will accompany a selection of the product packaging.
The run up to Christmas will see me heading to London for meetings, and a photoshoot with Yeshen Venema. I’ve also got a couple of local festive markets, and of course, lots of designing to do!
It’s weeks since I posted about my trip to Chicago and I intended to follow it up with a post about the rest of the holiday, so, here it is! Chicago was definitely the full on part of the trip, so having the most relaxing few days ever in Cape Cod and Boston afterwards was just lovely. I have always wanted to visit New England. The trip left me yearning to spend a few weeks there, ideally in October. I’d love to just do some travelling up the coast when all of the leaves are changing colour and it’s not very busy.
We flew in to Boston on a sunny Friday afternoon and had a couple of hours spare before heading to Cape Cod for the weekend. We popped in to the Society of Arts and Crafts, and had a lovely chat with Carrie and George who were working there. I couldn’t believe it when I saw my wooden coastal postcards (in collaboration with Timbergram) on sale.
We then boarded the fast ferry and headed to Provincetown for the weekend. The ferry was a great way of getting to P-Town and I’d recommend it to anyone heading to ‘The Cape’. The sun was just beginning to go down as we reached the port, and the view from the boat was lovely!
We stayed at the Gaslamp B&B which is highly rated online and it didn’t disappoint. The hosts were incredibly friendly and made amazing breakfasts. These were served in their private garden and we were able to use the hot tub at our leisure. The other guests were so friendly and we spent Saturday afternoon socialising in the sun with them. I have never been to a town that is so lively, yet feels so relaxing to be in. We walked, hired bikes, sunbathed/napped on the beach, climbed the Pilgrim Monument, shopped and of course ate a lot!
My food highlights were ice cream from Happy Camper (so good we went twice in one day), and our evening meal at the Lobster Pot. This is a famous restaurant situated right on the edge of the beach in the centre of town. Despite growing up by the sea, I cannot stand the taste of seafood. So, I opted for a chicken and veg dish, that was absolutely cooked to perfection.
On Monday morning we boarded the ferry and headed back to Boston for the final two days of the trip. We walked part of the Freedom trail before getting distracted by food and tasty Downeast cider at Quincy Market.
The next day we headed to Harvard and I’d really recommend the guided tour. This was particularly topical for me, as I’ve recently become obsessed with the US tv series Suits. We naturally had lunch at Pinnocio’s pizzeria and wandered the campus of this world famous university.
It was also great to wander around Charlestown. This is a district of the city that I was familiar with because of the movie The Town. I loved looking at the colourful wooden houses. The weather was great so we wandered back over the bridge to Quincy Market and enjoyed another fantastic lunch, washed down by more cider!
The food highlight in Boston for me was breakfast at The Friendly Toast, which was conveniently a stones throw from our hotel in Back Bay. I had coconut pancakes (twice), topped with chopped nuts, whipped cream and chocolate chips. It was delicious! We had to wait for a table but it was really worth it, and the service was great.
It’s never nice when a holiday ends but I felt particularly sad to be heading home this time. A few days of soaking up the sun, eating and drinking was exactly what I needed. I’m now working hard on new designs to launch in 2018. Watch this space for those coming soon!
I have been collaborating with the RNLI since 2013, when I developed art work for their summer 2014 product collection. That was one of my favourite projects to date, and I was thrilled that the range was a big success for them. Some of the range can be seen below. I really like illustrating fish. This contemporary and fresh colour palette made for a light and bright set of products.
I have worked on a few projects for them since, including creating artwork for a family calendar, and a diary. The most recent design is this one (below). The artwork is available in a pack of Christmas cards. They can be bought from RNLI shops and via their catalogue now.
Work with me
If you are an art direct or buyer and would like to see more of my work, then head to my design portfolio page, and request a password via the contact form.
I have followed people doing drawing projects on Instagram before. It’s great to see the collection of work that they build up over the course of a month. Flora Waycott’s cat drawings for Inktober were delightful. Some projects are longer, like the 100 day project. When I read about this Instagram challenge launching again on April 4th, I decided to go for it and see what I could achieve.
The first thing was deciding what to draw. People tend to choose a theme and stick to that for the duration of the project. At this point I was in the midst of preparing for Surtex and pondered what could add the most to my portfolio before I went. I wanted to draw something that tied in with my Instagram account since I’d be sharing each daily illustration on there. After a bit of consideration I opted for buildings. I have drawn hundreds of architectural structures over the years and it’s something I really enjoy. It would probably be beneficial for me to choose a theme I am not as familiar with going forwards. There is a limited amount of floral work in my portfolio, so focusing on something like that next time would be good for me.
Even though I am a designer for a living, I have never drawn something every single day for 100 consecutive days. As it happens, I still haven’t. My 100 day project fell by the wayside at day 54. I felt like I was really getting in to a routine ahead of flying to New York for Surtex. I’d often do my drawing late at night before heading to bed. It felt satisfying to do something creative at the end of the day.
Aside from a couple of days whilst in NYC, when I posted photos of buildings instead, I managed to keep on top of the project until after I came home. I often find it hard to focus on designing when there is so much admin to do. This is something I am working on getting better at. after all, my main job is supposed to be creating beautiful patterns.
I posted images daily on Instagram, and made sure I scanned and saved the art on my computer. When I returned back to the UK, I kept up with the drawings for a little longer, but then catching up in the studio seemed to take over. I couldn’t even seem to find 20 minutes in a day to draw. Despite not making it to 100 days I am happy with the illustrations I created.
Some of the buildings were made up, whereas others were drawn from photographs. A lot of these drawings will most likely never be used in a project as such, but that wasn’t really the point of me doing the challenge. The image below shows the majority of the drawings completed during the 54 days. It’s satisfying to see them all together! I used the hashtag #100daysofbuildingsjh which means they can all be viewed together on Instagram.
New art as a result of the 100 day project
The most enjoyable part of the project, was drawing a selection of Parisian architecture. I have focused on Paris as a theme many times before. The intricacy of the stone and ironwork that adorns many of the buildings in the city is stunning. This also means there is lots of detail to be captured within a drawing. I gave myself 20 minute time limits when drawing landmarks such as the Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame. Without this I could have easily spent an hour on each drawing. Working quicker allowed the illustrations to be a little more spontaneous. There are some examples of these below.
After a few days I had enough illustrations to think about putting them in to a design. One thing I was keen to create was a brand new architectural art printed on a banner for Surtex. I decided to work on a ‘map’ of Paris, and then changed it in to a repeat format for the show. I really enjoyed working on this design, often late at night in the studio with no distractions. The result (shown below), is probably my favourite piece of work to date. Going forwards, I aim to work on similar pieces based on other famous cities.
Other new pieces of repeat print work included a winter themed pattern and some New England inspired coastal buildings. I also created some placement prints on a Christmas theme.
Despite not managing to complete the 100 day project, I feel quite satisfied with what I have achieved. I’ll be keeping an eye on Instagram for other challenges, such as Inktober, and aim to take part in one of those later this year.
PG Live seems to come around quicker every year! It’s a two day greeting card trade show held in the Business Design centre, Islington. It was my fourth time exhibiting, and it’s an important even in the trade show calendar. It brings in visitors from over 40 countries, including some top UK buyers. Max Exhibitions Ltd organise the show and they really go all out to ensure exhibitors and buyers alike are very well looked after. As a result of this, everybody has a wonderful two days! Visitors are greeted by women wearing dresses made from greeting cards. These have been donated by various exhibitors, and they have an official opening on the first morning of the show!
Image copyright Max Ehibitions Ltd
Unlike other trade shows, there are people going around with tea and coffee trolleys offering free refreshments which is lovely. What’s even better are the free – yes free lunches! It can cost a small fortune purchasing dinner at other trade shows, and PG Live offer a meal to every exhibitor and visitor to the show. This years menu didn’t disappoint and you even get dessert! The dining room is sponsored and decorated by a different exhibitor each year. Gorgeous card company Lagom are celebrating their 10th anniversary, so they took over the dining hall and decorated it with monochromatic geometrics and large colourful balloons.
I am pleased to have just launched new greeting cards, and you can see some of them below. If you are a wholesale customer you can browse the range here.
The first night of the show sees a lively drinks party take place in the dining room.
Image copyright Max Ehibitions Ltd
I was thrilled to receive a Sunshine Ticket from the multi award winning shop Mantons. This is a wonderful outlet situated in Port Erin on the Isle of Man. Retailers that have been shortlisted for a RETAS award receive tickets to spend with publishers of their choice at the show. Here I am pictured with director Chris Beards. I am thrilled to be supplying Mantons with my colourful cards!
Image copyright Max Ehibitions Ltd
There is an image of my PG Live stand below and then a section of the Deva Designs stand, whom I have worked with since 2014. I love working with repeat patterns so it is a pleasure to produce art for licensed gift wrap and bags. This years offering showcases my signature illustrative style. My wraps are the three bottom left designs. The Christmas patchwork and skiing scene can also be seen on roll wrap, bags and tissue.
The Ladder Club at Pg Live
Whilst PG Live was a great show, a number of exhibitors, organisers and retailers were saddened by the loss of industry legend Lynn Tait. Lynn lost her battle with Myeloma, just days before the show. Lynn owned a thriving outlet in her home of Leigh-on-Sea. She also wrote articles for Progressive Greetings magazine as well as being a photographer. I best knew her for setting up the Ladder Club seminars, which she organised alongside Jakki Brown (editor of Progressive Greetings magazine) each year. The seminar days are intended to help greeting card publishers that are starting out, and give them the support required to grow in this thriving industry. I attended day two in 2014, and since then Lynn became a friend. She was admired by many and was hugely respected in the industry.
Lynn has helped hundreds of publishers over the years through her seminars. More recently, anybody that has attended a seminar has been able to join a private Facebook group. A mixture of new and experienced publishers all support each other and offer advice on all kinds of card related topics. I felt honoured to be asked to join Lynn on the admin side of this in 2016, and Megan (of Megan Claire), came on board recently. Megan and I will now continue to run the Facebook group and Lynn’s legacy will live on.
It’s a tradition to have a ‘Ladder Club’ photograph each year at the show, and the 2017 one can be seen below. There were lots of members exhibiting, some for the first time. The flowers and text are a tribute to Lynn, who is going to be really missed.
Image copyright Max Ehibitions Ltd
Looking ahead to 2018
PG live was the last trade show for me in 2017. I will be at Spring Fair next February, where I’ll be launching 2018 Christmas and loads of new cards!