Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm signing off from here for the rest of the year. I want to thank you all for stopping by and reading/looking at my silly ramblings and pictures over the past twelve months. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and I will see you back here in the New Year! Love, Karen x

Monday, 20 December 2010

Envelop cushion and napkins

I just thought I'd mention here that the toile pattern I drew last week is now available on a cushion and a set of napkins at Envelop. I've never bought anything from Envelop before, so I can't vouch for the quality of the print reproduction or the fabrics used, but if you are interested, please visit my Envelop shop and take a look around. The pillows cost from €19.99 and a set of four napkins costs €19.99, with a handling fee of €0.99 per order, and free shipping.

the weekend

We went for a drive in the snow yesterday. It hasn't come down too heavily here, but it's enough to turn the landscape into something completely different. Even things that are familiar to our eyes have become somehow new and magical. I love how the snow reveals the shape of the landscape more than the usual covering of grass does. The photo above is of Ruthin.

Moel Famau (photo by the husband).

On the road to Corwen (photo by the husband).


The railway station at Llangollen.

The view from the Horseshoe Pass coming home.

Friday, 17 December 2010

toile pattern

I've been making more patterns today. Just for fun. This one is a kind of toile with some sad looking deer and hungry birdies as well as apples, cherries and some bushes.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 16 December 2010


You know how it is around Christmas time. I get s***loads of work in, and then I distract myself in the quieter moments with fun and games such as going to the post office, chasing estate agents, freezing my tits off in the house...

Here is a hypochondriac cat who thinks he's got every disease going. It's just his character, he can't help it.

Later today I'm off to Lidl to stock up on canned goods before this predicted snow comes in. Happy days.

Monday, 13 December 2010

My brain is fried

Good morning! I'm so sorry. I have been a bad bunny this last week or two. On the positive side, I've been away earning me some money, which is quite useful, I think you'll agree. On the negative side, I haven't got much to tell you about because I've been holed up in my desk space for days with little stimulation. Let me see...

1. My fingers are still swollen like hams.
2. I've been sneakily shopping on eBay for all sorts of wonderful things, including brown parcel paper. Yeah, it's that interesting around here.
3. We went to Manchester on Saturday to have a proper look around. What a fabulous city! It's the closest thing to a mini London I've seen yet, with great vintage clothes shops and wonderful things to eat. We had lunch at Oklahoma cafe (facebook), which was also a sweet gift shop full of quirky things like Japanese paper balloons and amusing teatowels.
4. I still haven't done Christmas cards. The picture above is one drawing I've rejected, incomplete.

Oh dear...

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Skoda Yeti wins some prizes!

Just found out that the Skoda Yeti campaign that I illustrated last year has won three awards at the DMA Awards. It won gold for the automotive and online categories, and a silver for art direction. Well done to all the lovely people at Archibald Ingall Stretton for a great campaign - it was great fun.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Things have got really out of hand here. I'm inundated with work, panicking about lost hardware, trying to sell a flat, nursing chilblains on my fingers* whilst trying to draw, and just cold, cold, cold. Sorry I've been away. It looks like it will be like this for a while - I got less than three hours of sleep last night :-(

*my dad delicately likened my swollen fingertips to hams. It's not pretty.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

30 years

Yup. It's my thirtieth birthday today. I'm officially grown up! How do I feel? No different really - it's kind of nice to be in your thirties, I think. I feel like my life is pootling along nicely - I have a wonderful husband, I live in a beautiful place (the house is a little lacking but we will remedy that soon, I hope!), and I have an amazing family. I feel incredibly lucky because of these things. My career is going OK - looks like this Christmas will be manic again - and I hope that I'll never give up trying to improve it.

Things have gone a bit crazy round here. It's the usual 'when it rains, it pours' thing with work - three jobs at once, two of them big and lasting until the new year. I am a busy bee right now, but it's all good fun and I'm always much happier when I'm occupied with work. So posting might be a bit lighter around here until next year, but I do hope to find time to keep drawing things to make you laugh.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

hello hello

Sorry, I've been a bit distracted these last few days. Been doing a little job animating an illustration by the very talented Sandra Suy, and preparing to illustrate a children's game for Ikea. I'll try and draw something later today.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Thursday, 25 November 2010

tin toys

I have a real weakness for wind-up toys, especially vintage ones. The one above is from circa 1965 and costs £55 from the ever-lovely Ben Pentreath. You can also get this monkey on a tricycle for £15. Sweet!

Can you tell I've been doing my Christmas shopping? Sadly I keep finding things that I like but nobody else would!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

foodie gifts

These teatowels from Rockett St George would suit me just fine :-) The one above is the seasonal seafood guide, but you can also have a guide to seasonal vegetables, wild food and garden flowers.

This rustic enamel tiffin is also quite charming for a picnic.

Drawn - adulthood 18

As I get older my enthusiasm for the festive season wanes. I just can't be bothered to buy vacuous presents for people nor to pretend that I'm pleased when I receive them... Bah humbug!

Monday, 22 November 2010

vintage Christmas light bulbs

So yesterday morning I was watching this set of vintage Christmas lightbulbs on eBay. The auction was ending around 8pm and the current bid was £3.20. I didn't stick around to watch how much they sold for but I never, in a million years, imagined they would eventually sell for £200! Crazy... So here's a lesson. If you find anything that looks like this at a car boot sale, buy it and sell for a stupid profit on eBay.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Thursday, 18 November 2010


I'm working on some characters for an illustration job that I am hoping I will get - it could be really fun.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

techno f-up

Guys. Our internet will be down for a couple of days at least so I won't be able to post again until it's up. I'm in a local cafe drinking tea and making the most of the free internet there to pick up my work e-mails. Annoying!!! Back soon.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Drawn - insecurities 05

I've been having a kind of 'bad self-esteem month' lately. Bear with me while I try to cheer myself up...

Friday, 12 November 2010


Yesterday in London was a long day. The interview went OK - you know how it is when you have so much to say, and so many ideas but there just isn't time (or you end up sounding like some rambling madwoman...)? I feel like I said most of what I wanted, but maybe I didn't get across how much I care about it all. It turns out that there are twenty-five animators going for just three films, to be made next year, so it will be tough to win the job. We will just have to wait and see.

To top it off, when I got back to Flint, which is twenty-five minutes drive away from home, it was blowing a gale, which was scary enough on the big roads, but when I was just three minutes from home, we were stopped on the road by the police telling us that a tree had fallen down ahead and was blocking the road. So I had to turn round and feel my way home in the driving wind and the dark, via some tiny country lanes littered with other, rather large remnants of tree. I was glad to get through the door safely, I tell you. But then the power cut out just after I'd washed my hair - so I went to bed cold, wet-haired and unable to sleep because a) the wind was too noisy, b) I'd just had a cup of tea and c) I'd eaten too much sugar.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Drawn - adulthood 17

Got the midweek blues. Other bloggers post inspirational poems or happy pictures. I draw miserable rabbits.

All I can think of right now is lunch. In front of something like Bargain Hunt. Oh dear.

I'll be away tomorrow in London for an interview (It's for a short film project that I really want to do. Scary!) so I won't be back until Friday. Wish me luck!

currently watching on eBay

Pinder Versatool engineer's workbench, £220 starting bid.

Sweet blue Memlite lamp, £100 buy it now or best offer.

A pair of vintage school chairs with writing boards. £30 starting bid. Why couldn't they come without the boards?! The blue grey legs are just lovely. The colouring is nicer than these from Tuderhoff:

Set of four vintage school stacking chairs, £200 buy it now.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

life drawing

Eldyne again this week.

Sorry I've not done a drawing for a while. I keep getting distracted doing other things. Maybe I'll do one for later today.

Monday, 8 November 2010

the weekend

Hello. Hope you all had a good weekend. We didn't climb any mountains this week, but went instead on a relatively gentle five-mile walk near Bala. The weather is really starting to get cold now, so I think our outdoor picnics may soon have to stop. Yesterday we had home-made celery and blue cheese soup but it was pretty cold sitting on a stone wall outdoors in November.

Some old-school typography in Bala town :-)

Friday, 5 November 2010

busy busy

Here's a snippet from a pitch I'm working on. Not much, I know, but I like to keep things under wraps...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 4 November 2010


I wanted to have a little dialogue with myself today about painting. I don't call what I do with watercolours 'painting' - it's more like colouring in, you know? I am a drawer more than I am a painter, if that makes sense. But I used to paint, back in the days when the whole world was still my proverbial oyster and I felt like I still could be anything that I wanted. I am sad to say that I feel that my horizons seem to have narrowed since then, entirely through my own fault and timidity, and it has been many years since I last picked up a proper paintbrush. Last time I handled acrylic paint was in 2006. Last time I handled oil paint was 2004. Yeah, that's a while.

For some reason artworks in acrylic or oil paint seem to hold more artistic gravitas than, say, watercolour in the eyes of most people. I can't really explain it - is it some kind of historical relic - that old masters used to sketch and make studies in graphite and watercolour before launching into their 'final piece' - the big, expensive canvas painted in extravagant oil paint? Is it the feeling that a watercolour is a sketch, or often executed at speed that gives it more of a 'throwaway' reputation? Do the solidity, opacity and physicality of thick paint endow it with more artistic clout? Whatever the case, I always argue that there is just as much merit in a well-executed watercolour painting, if not more. The medium of watercolour is unforgiving - you can't just paint over something you've cocked up or it goes muddy, your paper bobbles - it reveals every decision, every mistake and every success. The very best watercolour artists are my heroes.

Richard Parkes Bonington, the short-lived landscape painter, used both watercolour and oil. The luminosity and translucence of his glowing watercolours impress me far more than his oil paintings. There is something wonderful about how an artist must edit all the choices he will make before he commits his brush to the paper, so that every wash that he lays down is the right one, in the right place. The economy and spontaneity of watercolour are qualities that take a lot of skill to master. If you ever get the chance to see Bonington's watercolours, held in the archive at the Wallace Collection in London, I urge you to go. They are breathtaking.

On a more contemporary note, did you see the winner of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition this year? The winner, Emma Haworth, also paints in oil - the image above is the winning watercolour painting, and the image below is an oil painting titled 'The Winter Park'. What I love about the watercolour image is how the medium used is so evident in the translucent tree trunks. I think that is delightful and would like to see it in the flesh.

Anyway, what's my point here? I am no great watercolourist, but I find it comes to me more naturally than other painting media. Maybe it suits my slapdash, can't be arsed, let's get this done quickly attitude? :-) No, I devalue my work this way. I think the fussiness, the forward planning required, and the brave breath that you have to take before laying down a big wash are things that appeal to me. But all that said, I would like to take up 'proper' painting again. In fact, I just ferreted out an array of acrylic paints from our house-moving boxes and have them lined up on the husband's desk facing me like a firing squad. Paint, or die. Now I've just got to go away and think of something to paint! Oh dear.

What do you think about painting? Which medium do you find the easiest to work with? Is it a good thing to push myself to try out new things and leave the comfort zone? Why am I so crippled with fear when faced with a blank painting board, whereas I can face blank paper without similar apprehension?