Archive for July, 2013

Something a little different this week…

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I’ll be working on these some more over the next week with the aim of getting them printed and ready for sale very soon 🙂

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It’s been a busy and very happy week here at The Gift Shed, I’ve been working on two sets of illustrations over the past fortnight and both of them are now finished.  Hoorah!

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Here’s the first set:

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And the second set:

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I’m really proud of them.  I love these cups (and the teapot!), and it’s been such joy to put them on paper.  Of the individual cup portraits my favourite is the spotty one, which is slightly wonky – just like the real thing! 🙂

Do you have a favourite from this lot?  If so please post a comment as I’d love to know what you think.

These two sets are going to be printed as notecards, and should be back from the printers late next week.  I’ll post a further update as soon as they’re ready for purchase in my Etsy shop.

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Although I buy a lot of craft magazines I rarely bother making the little gift/project that comes on the front of most of them.  Homemaker magazine’s free project in their latest issue was too cute to ignore though, so I gave it a go.


The little kit looked good, so I cut the pieces out and then had a look at the instructions…


…which were pretty woeful, so I promptly ignored them and did it my own way.  I added some detailing to the wings, and also sewed the bird together with the wings and feet tucked in for a neater finish.  I have to say that the printed pattern wasn’t very good – none of the pieces lined up properly, which was quite irritating.



I stuffed the top two thirds of the owl with toy stuffing, and the bottom third with some cheap rice.


He’s pretty cute, and I’m pleased with the finished object, but am still hugely unimpressed at the incredibly basic instructions provided in the magazine.

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There’s been a lot of painting and drawing going on in my studio this week (which you might already know, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook), but I’m saving that for another blog post.  Today is just for some rough sketches I did on Tuesday evening.

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I was at an open air opera evening at Mapesbury Dell (which was jolly good fun), and was idly sketching some of the people around me.  My favourite is the little boy who clearly wasn’t enjoying a particular song as he was trying to cover his ears!

Important lesson: if you don’t use your fountain pen regularly (when it’s full of waterproof ink) then it will clog up.  I need to clean my pens and then start using them more often to prevent this happening again!

Why not pop along to Timballoo and see what Jenna’s been up to recently?

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A couple of years ago I turned one of Matt’s old Cyberdog t-shirts into a notebook (which he ended up keeping), and this week I gave the same treatment to a very moth-eaten FCUK t-shirt.


As you can see, the t-shirt was in a very sorry state:



The lower half of the t-shirt was even worse, so it’s a good job the pictures were on the top half!  It was a bit of a nightmare to work with, as the cotton of this shirt was extremely thin and floppy, but I persevered and here is the finished book.





As he’s going to be using this book at work I thought it best to put the more polite of the two pictures on the front cover!  Matt’s been using his Cyberdog book and gave it back to me to be refilled with fresh pages, so here’s a shot of the two upcycled t-shirt books together.


Do you have an old t-shirt which you’d like to see turned into a notebook?  If so please do get in touch, commissions are always welcome!

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Last year I was asked to make a Carcassonne themed book, and it was a thing of beauty.  At the start of this year I was approached by another games enthusiast who was interested in some Carcassonne books of his own, but due to logistics it wasn’t a particularly feasible project and I thought that was that…

…until mid-April, when I received another e-mail telling me he’d be in the UK for three weeks, and asking if I’d be able to make him a couple of books after all.  Of course I said yes!  So when he arrived in the UK he posted me the tiles he wanted used on the books, and here’s how the finished books looked.





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We then arranged a very hurried meeting at a tube station on his last day in London, meeting up just hours before he was due to fly home.  All a bit frantic, but it was lovely to put a face to the e-mails, and he was pleased with his books!

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In last week’s sketchblog post I showed a flower illustration from start to finish (click here if you missed it).  That one was done using Derwent Aquatone and Graphitint pencils.

This week I’ve done one using my new Inktense pencils (also by Derwent), to compare the difference.  I’ve not posted the photos from every stage of the drawing, but enough for you to see the progression of the piece.








Now let’s have a look at the two finished pieces side by side…

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The Inktense is far more vibrant (as one would expect!), but I do like the subtle tones of the first one.  I’ll have to try this again with another medium next time, might be nice to build up a little collection of them 🙂

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Wednesday WIP

Another load of leftovers…


…yields another baker’s dozen of notebooks.


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It’s been one of those weeks which has seemingly flown by, yet I don’t seem to have got much done.  Hmm.  Still, here’s another flower illustration from start to finish (this one was a mixture of Derwent Graphitint and Aquatone pencils).

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