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!
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.
It’s been a little while since I’ve written a blog post, as there has been so much going on. Christmas seems to come and go very quickly these days, mainly because I tend to exhibit at Top Drawer in January, and there is lots of preparation to do for that. I’ve also been working on some new pieces of art for a licensing collaboration. I’ll write more about that when it launches but there’s a few pieces below.
I have also been working with local food company Whitby Seafoods. I created two pieces of art, designed to showcase the British manufacture of their products, with emphasis on their HQ in Whitby. It has been great to collaborate with another local business.
January also means the launch of new cards and licensed gift wrap and bags. I showcased my brand new ‘Colourful World’ range at Top Drawer earlier this week. The designs showcase my love of architecture, finished with a lovely shiny gold foil. I have been working with the lovely people at Deva Designs for 3 years now, and I am delighted to have some art on their 2017 product range, as seen below.
It will be 7 years this year since I graduated and I can’t believe where the time has gone! I exhibited at New Designers ‘One Year On’ in summer 2012, when my business was still in its early stages. I am thrilled to have contributed to their latest blog post which discusses the show and why it’s such a good opportunity for new designers to showcase their work to an exciting but competitive industry.