Monday, 29 June 2015

Jack Merriott.

I recently visited the Mercer Art Gallery here in Harrogate. Their current exhibition is called In Graphic Detail and includes drawings and paintings of Harrogate and the surrounding areas amongst others. One of the first you see is a Railway poster by Jack Merriott, I have been in love with this style of illustration for a while now so I though I would have a closer look at one of the artists who created some of them...

Knaresbrough, 1954

Jack Merriott 1901 - 1968
Unfortunately information about the aforementioned artist is hard to come by on the internet but finding images of his work is easy enough. From what I can gather he created many posters for British Rail and also watercolour landscapes.

Harrogate, 1957

Torquay, 1958

Cornwall, 1952

What I think really pulls me in with these is the colour, bright and cheery, designed to make the destinations look attractive and inviting. Most importantly for me is that with these posters (not just those by Merriott) you can see the beauty of this country and very often, the place that you live, through the eyes of an artist who will show it to you in a new light.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

What Have I Been Looking at? No. 3

Looks like I can call this a series now? Maybe...

Anyhow, here's a little look at the things which have been infiltrating my eye holes.

The work of Charles F. Tunnicliffe, (website easiest to explore via the index) I found this lovely article about him and how he worked which features an interesting video about an exhibition of his work. I am particularly fond of his wood engravings and sketchbook work.

His work is featured in a book I borrowed from Harrogate library called Drawing Birds. A fascinating look at ways to approach the study of drawing birds, bringing my attention to work of the artists featured. A super useful book I'm sure I will return to time and time again.

Moving away from birds but still keeping within the theme of nature today I discovered the work of artist Peter Eastman via the live blog Miss Moss who visited his studio in Cape Town. Particularly his series Deep Chine, more information on which you can find here

Lastly, whilst looking for the Harry Potter books (FINALLY decided it was time I read them) in the aforementioned library I came across J.K Rowling's book A Casual Vacancy and decided to read that instead. The H.P. books I'm guessing I will have to venture into the Children's section for...

Monday, 15 June 2015

Painting Practice.

So, having finished for summer I decided I would put my time to good use. The first little project I gave myself was to complete a painting. This included everything from sketching out thumbnails for composition to the very last stroke of the paintbrush. I'm reasonably happy with the end result but it is just a start and I hope to get better, trying different media until I find one that suits me and the way I work.

Here's a few progress shots...

Cloud practice was SO much fun.

Trying to get that perspective right... Trying.

The end result, I think I managed to get some atmosphere in there at least?

Thursday, 11 June 2015


After months of demonstrating amazing self restraint and will power I cracked. I just HAD to buy it. I mean, its a book, thats what student loans are for right? (Besides food and stationery of course.)

And my goodness it is a beautiful book at that. Written with idea of cramming a whole museum into one book, this book museum (bookeum?) is 'curated' by Jenny Broom and Katie Scott. Previously featured on my blog here.

Full from cover to cover with Scott's stunning illustrations this is definitively not just a book for children. It is written in a way that simplifies complicated knowledge without dumbing it down, reinforcing the declaration that the museum is open for visitors of all ages.

My favourite gallery is No. 5 featuring the bird Exhibits and my favourite illustration of the book, the Emperor penguins.

Katie also recently announced a new book in concertina form about evolution called The Story of Life which I am super excited for! Lastly I just want to finish by saying that if you don't smell new books the second they arrive in your hands, well, maybe we should reconsider our friendship. Seriously. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Sketches. No. 1

I'm now two and a half sketchbooks into my drawing practice and I think its safe to say I have improved since the very first page I drew in a Barcelona cafe over a year and a half ago. My first sketchbook took a year to complete! Don't worry, the pace has definitely picked up! I have finally decided to scan in some pages so I can share with the world my sketching journey.

This first post of pages has a theme of animals. I have well and truly been inspired and captivated by the wildlife and beauty of the green spaces which can be found in and around Carlisle. I often find myself compelled to capture this beauty which inevitably leads to disappointment, its an impossible task. 

So, whilst I work on my landscape skills here are a few sketches of the fauna of Britain (and penguins, always penguins...)

Saturday, 6 June 2015

I WILL be posting more regularly (I promise!)

Ok, here is just a heads up that I fully, whole heartedly intend on putting up a post at least once a week! I am now set up for the summer at my sister's house so I will make myself a weekly schedule of all the things I want to achieve in the next three months!

For now here are a couple of nice views of Derwent Water I took on a trip to Keswick before I left Cumbria...

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Well, that's it I suppose.

I have finished my first year as an Illustration student at the University of Cumbria. It has absolutely flown by and I have have the best few months of my life. Here are some photos of the result of our last project in which we did really well. (I'm not just saying that either, we got a pretty good grade!)

There will be one left over after we have finished making them so let me know if you're interested in a comment.

 The cover is hand embroidered taking a good few hours to do!

Bound in a concertina/accordion style it folds out to just over 3.4 meters (!) 
Below is a sample of the 18 illustrations included in the book.

Top two illustrations by Leanne Smith

The rest by me!