It’s amazing what you can acheive when you set yourself a simple task. Just draw every day. Seems simple but it’s actually difficult to maintain. I thought I’d failed at #the100dayproject because I just wasn’t able to keep up with drawing an animal and flowers every day. But here’s a selection of what came out of just ten days. There’s also magpies, peacocks, pigeons and penguins still in progress. I’ve started thinking about how I could incorporate some of them into a nautical children’s collection. And I have found one of my favourite colour palettes yet by photographing banksias. So it’s worth doing these things because it’s a start and you just never know where it will go.
I’ve been madly trying to put together a LookBook. I say madly because I get obsessed with this kid of thing and can’t sleep until it’s done. I can still see a few silly mistakes but it’s time for a break. It was a really great exercise and I’m glad I did it. It highlighted a few sneaky inconsistencies in my palettes and patterns. I’m pleased with the results.
Finding colour palettes is one of my favourite things to do. Fortunately it sometimes fits in with one of my other favourite things to do - taking my insane dog to the farm to chase rabbits. She’s really daft and hasn’t a clue how to catch a rabbit, but it’s hilarious watching her try.
Often the colours on the farm are crisp and beautiful. At the moment it’s all muted tones of greys and yellows because it’s the Australian summer. A few months ago there were beautiful little wild hedgerow flowers everywhere. I took photographs and used the Illustrator eye dropper to pick out a super pretty colour palette.
Then I had a play with the colour mixer in Illustrator, also one of my favourite things to do! This is a pattern in my Small Adventures collection. It’s the same collection of colours, one using the brighter tones and the other with a limited number of colours.
Sometimes it’s really great to look back on past achievements to get some perspective. I started illustrating when my children were really young. The projects I’ve worked on have been really varied. I’ve illustrated almost 20 picture books. It was when I was illustrating ‘Eva’s Imagination’ that I rediscovered a real passion for pattern design. I painted the whole book in Corel Painter and in the final stages I absolutely loved playing around with the colours and adding patterns to liven up the pictures.
Looking further back though, one of the most satisfying projects I ever took part in was the Sketch Book Project. I’m not sure what possessed me to create a pop-up diary for every day of a month, but when I look back on these pictures it reminds me of the mad fun times we had when the kids were small. In business we’re told to create products that sell, follow leads make suff that’s ‘Insta-friendly’. This project didn’t do any of that, I just loved doing it….and now this little book is in the Brooklyn Art Library. My eldest has told me that when she gets to Brooklyn she’ll go and find it.
I heard a ‘thing’ yesterday that I’ve never heard before but it made a lot of sense to me. ‘Post-trauma growth’. 2017 was a crappy year for us as a family for many reasons, but in 2018 we grew. One of the best experiences was going away on holiday to an island off the coast of Queensland. The place wasn’t flash. Our little hut, bathroom and beds were full of salt and sand all the time. But it was two weeks of heaven and we know how lucky we are to have had it together.
A month or so before we went I had started entertaining the idea of creating patterns for fabrics. Something I have always longed to do but didn’t think would be possible. I came back with hundreds of photos and sketches of all the fabulous oddly shaped flowers and put together a collection of patterns I was happy with.
It started me off on a process that I hope I will continue to use. I don’t live in Queensland but it is very beautiful where I live. So taking time out to walk the dog and stop whilst I’m cycling to take photos of plants, shells and interesting shapes is part of my routine now.