Filling the new house with art… (Part I)

As I may have mentioned a couple of times, Max (my boyfriend) and I moved house last week and we’ve been trying to make it as cosy and homely as possible. (You can read our moving story here). And, with both of us being illustrators, we needed to get some pictures on the walls asap, and I thought I’d show you what we’ve got so far.

All of these bar two pictures were ones we brought with us from the old flat, and it’s so nice here because we don’t actually have enough pictures to fill all the picture hooks anymore! That’s the thing with renting – you can’t always bang nails into walls whenever you want. But I think we’re quite lucky with this place because there are already loads of hooks and nails everywhere, and we are allowed to put in more “to a reasonable extent”. (What is a reasonable number of pieces of art to have in the home, hmm?)

So starting with the…

Living Room

 

img_5352.jpg

This illustration is by the fab Holly St Clair, it’s a new one I bought just before we moved and I LOVE IT. The foliage in the image works well with the house plants we have in the room (but more on that when I do my house tour). You can buy this print at Family Store and definitely check out Holly’s etsy shop here.

IMG_5440 copy

The next picture is one I bought from Fine Little Day on our visit to Sweden last year (2016). I love dala horses and think this minimal but bold colour palette works well with the room (and our swanky new orangey-red sofa). You can still buy the poster online here.

IMG_5442

This little neon riso number is from We Are Out of Office – I’ve bought quite a few prints from them in the past and they never disappoint! Also dying to get my hands on some of their pins soon!!

IMG_5443

One of my faves, this “Pugert Smith” drawing was actually made by my good friend Matt, who you can find on Facebook and Instagram. He perfectly combined my two loves – pugs and The Cure.

The Kitchen

Next up is the kitchen (in our old flat we had one nail in the kitchen – here we have about 7 and a Welsh dresser)…

IMG_5444 copy

This is a print I picked up in the House of Illustration in London a couple of years ago (well worth a visit!). It’s by David Lemm and more info about the backstory can be found here – sounds like it was a very interesting public project around mapping (but I just saw it in the gift shop and fell a little bit in love).

IMG_5355 copy

This cutie is from Ohh Deer, designed by Gemma Correll, and I think it does a good job of summing up being a millennial. Also – now we have room to actually dance around our kitchen so it’s totally apt. And goes perfectly with the duck-egg and cream kitchen cupboards.

IMG_5356 copy

This is one of Max’s prints by Atelier Bingo. I think it really perks up the kitchen space and we have it above our dining table so it feels lively and uplifting (which is especially good at breakfast time when we’re both half asleep….). You can buy it here.

IMG_5445

And here is our Welsh dresser! It’s built in and so (obviously) came with the house and it’s so so nice having somewhere to put little pictures and ornaments and things we collect! At first I was thinking about the fact we don’t own any teacups or cake stands and so wouldn’t fill it – I was wrong! (Also – how weird is it that all of Max’s birthday cards were sea-themed!)

IMG_5446

I bought this card a couple of years ago for Max and it was the picture we had up on our single kitchen hook in the flat so I’m glad we can keep it on show here. It’s from the Printed Peanut and you can buy it here, and there is also an art print of a similar design here.

img_5447.jpg

This little guy is by Lydia Coventry and I think it was a one-off but you can find her other bits on her etsy shop. I love it so much. Those eyes.

IMG_5449

This is a print I got with a zine, both by Thomas Colligan, that I bought from Rope Press at Glug Brum in March. If you’re a creative person, definitely see if there is Glug event near you – they are invaluable! They have talks on by people in the industry and street food and art market stalls and it’s just a great evening out!

IMG_5450

This is another print I got from Glug Brum, this one in March 2016 I think? It’s by Print Wagon and I love it! He printed them to order out the back of his van, it was great fun! I plan to reframe it before hanging it, but for now it’s on the kitchen counter. You can buy this print here (but be sure to have a look at his other prints too – they are all so cool!)

 

That’s half the house done – keep an eye out for Part II where I’ll cover the bedroom, studio and entrance hall (oooh).

Thanks for reading,

Amy x

 

 

Wandering around the Welsh countryside (We’ve moved house!)

Hello!

Apologies for not posting for over a week, Max and I finally moved house on Monday! We’ve been so busy unpacking boxes and spending too much money in Ikea for the last six days, but everything is coming together so nicely now. (I hope to do a “house tour” blog post soon, so keep eyes peeled for that!)

This morning we went out for a walk near our new house, exploring the landscape, saying hello to the sheep, etc. I thought I’d take some photos and bring you guys along!

IMG_5357

Map and tea in hand, we wandered around, scampered up hills and got barked and ran at by the cutest spaniels ever.

IMG_5366IMG_5370IMG_5373

The views looking back were pretty incredible! (Yes, that’s a castle.)

IMG_5369IMG_5379

There were loads of interesting looking plants and flowers, definitely want to paint them!

IMG_5358IMG_5372IMG_5371

And I braved a walk through two sheep fields (turns out they tend to walk away from you).

IMG_5384IMG_5387

Then we reached a cow field and they’re a bit bigger and scarier, plus Max pointed out it was lunchtime (he’s on the ball, that one) so we headed back.

IMG_5395

And then we came home and had some lunch! I forgot to take pictures of that (-10 blogger points) but we had fried avocado, pepper vegan cheese and pesto wraps – do they have a name?

Hope you enjoyed having a look at those photos, like I said I promise lots more house-related posts really soon because we’re pretty much settled in now and it’s GREAT. Let me know if there’s anything specific you want me to talk about.

Laterz,

Amy x

The Jacket of Glory – Part III: Ohh Deer & uStudio

Part three is here! (Check out parts one (Pin Club) and two (AdamJK & Veronica Dearly) here)

Every Thursday I share with you a little bit more of my pin collection and this week is time for all the pins and patches I got from illustrated gift stores Ohh Deer and uStudio.

Starting with Ohh Deer, all of these were designed by illustrator and pug lady Gemma Correll, I got the white pug back in early 2016 not long after I decided to start the jacket, and the black one around valentines day this year. Love them so much.

IMG_5265

I also got these, the first patches I got for my jacket, from Ohh Deer and I was so chuffed I managed to find the perfect coloured threads to sew them onto my jacket with! (It’s the little things…)

IMG_5267

Earlier this year, uStudio released a load of pins and patches (and the patches are shiny) so I had to get some! They are actually the first ones I got to start off the back of the jacket and they are looking swish.

IMG_5268IMG_5269

If you’re around Bristol, you should definitely pop into their shop because it’s full of amazing stationery and homeware, as well as pins and patches – it’s just great!

You can check out Ohh Deer and u Studio on Instagram if you want to fill your feed with cool illustrated stuff.

The next instalment will be coming next Thursday (by which time we will be in our new house – eeeeeeep!) – see you then!

Amy x

15 Tips for Making the Most of Art School

I recently graduated from Hereford College of Arts and I wanted to give you some tips on how to make the most of university; art school in particular. I just want to add, I didn’t live in student accommodation so can’t really advise on anything like that, but good luck if you are!

1. Be weary of buying too much stuff before you start.

For starters, if they give you a list of books to read over the summer, borrow them if you can. I still have a copy of Sagmeister’s Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far that I haven’t done more than flick through. Animal Farm and the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy are always good for adult you’s bookshelf though.

If they give you a list of materials – you probably don’t need to waste money on a drawing board you’ll end up leaving at your parent’s house and won’t touch, but things like pencils, inks and paints are probably a good shout. In fact, it was thanks to the list I got from uni that I discovered gouache – now I’m in love. More on that here.

2. Go on trips.

Yes, they may seem expensive, but that £400 trip to Berlin is going to be so worth it. They act as inspiration, but also a break from the studio/desk environment and get you exploring somewhere new. I don’t regret going on any trips as part of the course, I feel like they all helped me stay inspired and develop my skills throughout the three years I was studying. It may take some budgeting, but go if you can! Which leads us onto the next tip…

3. Budget.

This may seem the most obvious tip but it’s SO important. Over the three years I was at uni I managed to afford trips to Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Sweden (three times), London (three times), Glasgow, Totnes and Edinburgh. I lived in a flat that was more expensive than student accommodation. I ate well, socialised and had everything I needed. And now Max and I have enough savings to rent a two-bedroom house straight out of uni instead of having to move back in with our parents until we’ve paid off our overdrafts like most students have to. Now, I know the amount of money people get and have to spend is totally different around the country, and around the world, but I will be writing more posts on how I budget in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

4. Don’t forget your student discount!

Nowadays you don’t need to spend money on an NUS card to get discounts, sign up with Unidays and Student Beans with your Student ID and you’ll get plenty of discounts! Also, don’t be shy to ask if a shop does student discount – might save you money!

I miss mine already…

5. Be at uni even when you don’t have to be.

I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. You are going to develop so much more and have a much more enriching and worthwhile experience if you physically go to uni every day, or as often as you can. For starters, it’s good to get into the habit of having a working schedule, but also the tutors, equipment and studio space that you’re paying ALOT of money for are all there.

6. Make your space inviting.

The worst thing about our studios was that they were so white. Like yeah, you get better lighting, it offsets things nicely but you need to make your space yours. Stick up all the postcards you’ve ever found, make a bunting, stick stickers everywhere, just make it a space you want to be in. We even got a load of spider plants in our last studio because plants are the best things ever. If it’s not against health and safety, I would even recommend getting a communal kettle so you can make your own tea/coffee throughout the day. Make it like a second home.

7. Go outside every now and then.

It’s so important to remember to get some fresh air every now and again. A short walk can do amazing things for your creativity and productivity. Take a sketchbook if you want.

8. Use workshops/facilities.

I definitely needed to listen to my own advice with this one. HCA has amazing workshops for ceramics, metalwork, woodwork, 3D-printing, screen printing and so much more, and I feel I didn’t make the most of them. You should. Remember you’re paying a lot of money to be able to access these things, learn some new skills! Expand your practice.

 

9. Your tutors know their stuff.

Now I know HCA is different to a lot of art schools because it’s so small and there is a lot of tutor contact. My tip is to talk to your tutors if you’re feeling a bit lost or need some specific advice – you don’t have to wait for them to arrange tutorials.

10. Your peers might also know their stuff.

I definitely feel having contact with peers helped improve my work, it gets especially interesting when people find their niches and you get someone who loves AR teaching photoshop to a computer-averse children’s book illustrator. It’s great. Make friends. And then talk about your work to each other, often.

11. Don’t be afraid to talk to visiting lecturers.

We were very lucky and had loads of visiting lecturers over our time at uni, from illustrators to event hosts to portfolio experts. Do not be afraid to talk to them if you’re interested in what they do, or think they might be interested in what you do. Just be friendly and make contacts, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself! They’re just people.

12. Find your own projects, or at least tailor set projects to you.

Your biggest asset is that there is no-one else on this planet who is identical to you. Your life, the way you see things, the way you think, the way you draw is totally unique. Embrace that and make sure you find a way to enjoy your projects and make them personal. Some, especially in first year, may seem restricting and uninteresting but you’ve got to find your angle. If you enjoy it, you will create better work.

13. Set yourself false deadlines.

This one is easy, but so effective. Tell yourself your deadline is, for example, a week before the actual deadline and be strict with it. Then if something happens that takes you longer, you’ve got an extra week buffer room. Try it, it takes so much stress away.

 

14. Take a sketchbook with you everywhere (and use it).

Again, this is something I needed to take my own advice for, especially in first and second year. Make it somewhere you can doodle, write notes, sketch, paint. Make it a scrapbook. Make it personal. Now, this is the important bit, you do not have to show it to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you do a crap drawing or get coffee all over it. It is your place to record your life, and if you’re happy with it then great, show the world. If not, it doesn’t matter, you will get so much better just by using it regularly.

15. Don’t expect everything you make to be perfect.

I’ve put this one last because I feel it’s the most important. It took me far too long to realise this, but you can’t worry about creating something that’s not perfect because you’ll never create anything. That’s why I think having a sketchbook that’s just for you is great for getting into the habit of just drawing, painting, collaging, writing without the pressure of making something that’s worthy of being shown. You will make something great. Just don’t be afraid to make something crap first.

 

Hope these tips help! Let me know what you think.

Amy x

ps. you can find my work at my website, or on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

 

Punky Pins had a seconds sale and I couldn’t resist.

So yeah, I was recently browsing Punky Pins’ website and they had a huuuuuuuuge seconds sale on so who am I to deny myself some beautiful additions to my collection? (Also – supporting independent businesses is a good thing to do, yo).

Firstly, I’ll explain what a seconds sale is – it’s when a seller has surplus slightly flawed products, in this case pins and patches. So, for example the colours might be slightly off, the enamel might be slightly scratched or it might just be slightly flawed in some other way. I will be honest, whenever I’ve bought seconds pins I have almost never noticed they’re flawed. It’s up to the seller to decide what qualifies as a “seconds” pin and usually I think they’re pretty generous.

The first thing to fall into my basket was this banana patch which I thought was very apt since I legit ate 2.5 bananas yesterday morning without even meaning to.

FullSizeRender 13

Then these sewing machine and rad pins jumped into my basket and I will be honest, it was very difficult choosing between the purple rad pin and the one I got. But I’m so happy with them!

I did notice with the sewing machine pin that the purple looked slightly off compared to the pink and I think that’s probably why it was seconds, but honestly I love it so much.

FullSizeRender 14

Then I got this gold anchor pin (was also available in silver) and it looks so detailed and delicate (in design, not construction) that I might put it on something else where it’ll hold its own a bit more.

IMG_5187

I also got my first enamel necklace! I’ve seen these floating about, along with keyrings, but this is the first I’ve owned one, and it’s so cool!

 

IMG_5201 copy.jpg

So that was my haul, hope you enjoyed it! Last time I checked, the seconds sale was still on over at Punky Pins and what I got is only a fraction of the amazing things on there so do go and check them out!

Amy x

Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache vs. Turner Acryl Japanesque Colour Gouache

I started my gouache journey three years ago when it appeared on a list of recommended supplies when I started art school – I went for Daler Rowney’s Simply Gouache because it was the cheapest I could find.

Throughout the course of art school I, like everyone else, struggled with finding a medium that excited and inspired me.

I dabbled in gouache a few times throughout those three years but really started falling in love with it a couple of months into third year. I just thought it was great because you could use it like watercolour or use less water and have it be pigmented without the plastickiness (yes, that’s a word now) of acrylic. It’s also so much better for doing fine details than acrylic. It’s just great.

Once I knew I wanted to try out more colours and things I came across a set of Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache on Cass Art for £11.95 for a set of 10 (RRP £47.99) and asked Santa for them very nicely. (They are currently at £19.95 and I haven’t seen them cheaper than that since – I think I was very lucky!)

I haven’t looked back since.

So much more pigmented, smoother and just vibrant and beautiful.

However, as a poor student, I couldn’t afford more in different colours or anything and the Turner Acryl Japanesque Colours were recommended to me as a cheap alternative (I got a set of 12 for £8).

Something I didn’t realise at the time but may be worth bearing in mind is that they are acrylic gouache, which dry to a matt finish and aren’t re-wettable, unlike traditional gouache which is re-wettable once it dries in your palette (life saver) and dries to more of a velvet matt finish on paper.

I tried them a couple of times and found them really gritty and strange so they ended up going in a drawer for about six months until recently when I was packing all our things ready to move house and decided to try them out again – and I don’t think I gave them enough credit before.

So I thought I’d do a bit of a comparison/review type post, starting with how they look with varying amounts of water added:

IMG_5241 copy

I noticed that the Japanesque paint kind of reached a perfect level of dilution and then became very even in coverage, which you can see in the fourth square along on the bottom row. As the W&N paint requires less diluting to get even coverage, I can see a tube of the Turner Japanesque lasting sightly longer.

IMG_5242 copy

I don’t know if you can really see it in this image but the Turner Japanesque Colours (top row) look slightly gritty, and I’m not sure if that’s the case with all acrylic gouaches or just these ones. Also, the colours are less vibrant than the W&N ones, but that may just be the set of colours I bought.

The W&N paints are also a lot thicker straight out the tube, but I find that they really don’t require much water added to make them the perfect consistency to paint with so they don’t lose much, if any, pigmentation.

IMG_5243 copy

I definitely prefer the W&N Designers Gouache personally, just because they’re re-wettable which means less waste and less clean-up and the colours are so vibrant and smooth.

However, if you’re on a budget or you want a matter finish, I would definitely recommend the Turner Acryl Japanesque Colour gouaches. Considering they’re the same price, they also make a much better starter set than the Daler Rowney Simply gouaches, in my opinion.

I think with any art materials it’s going to be a case of trying out different things and seeing what suits your work and your budget. If you just start off with one colour from a couple of different ranges and see what works well for you, you can decide what you prefer as they all have their own pro’s and cons. But I’d definitely say give Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache a go!

 

A quick disclaimer: I didn’t realise until after I bought them but the Ivory Black and Primary Blue in the W&N set I bought aren’t vegan. Winsor and Newton have published a list of their products that contain animal-derived ingredients here.

 

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any favourites or suggestions for me to try,

Amy x

The Jacket of Glory – Part II: AdamJK & Veronica Dearly

Following on from last week’s Jacket of Glory post, I thought this week I’d share my collection of AdamJK and Veronica Dearly pins and patches.

First up, AdamJK. I ordered some bits off his website when his book Pick Me Up came out for preorder and I think it might have been the first time I’d ever ordered anything from the US – I was so hoping they would turn up and not be broken and not cost me loads of money to receive etc etc.

IMG_5151IMG_5137

I love his work so much, totally relatable and I think it does a great job of bringing out my inner emo.

I got this awesome pin of the book, I think it was a limited edition preorder thing?

IMG_5144

I also got a cool pencil (which I can’t find) and I’ve packed up the book ready for moving house so I can’t show you that either (lol, I’m doing well at this blogging lark, aren’t I!)

Here’s a picture of the book from his website:

Image of Pick Me Up

While I was on there looking for that picture I found a load more pins and patches I think I need. Well that wasn’t a very good idea was it, I have no money. Don’t let me click back onto it…..

If you haven’t seen the book, it’s an interactive one – its full of prompts and really nicely illustrated pages that encourage you to write things down and draw things and then come back and reflect. Essentially, an amazing self-care tool! It is available on Amazon in the UK but I’m sure your local bookshop would appreciate you asking them to order it in for you to buy from them. 🙂

I also managed to pick up one of his ‘feelings’ pins in U Studio, Bristol, which was amazing! (They recently stocked his new spinner pin and then sold out like instantly – cry).

IMG_5153

Next up is pun-queen Veronica Dearly! I got the Sleep Appreciation Society patch from her website (after drooling over it for quite a while) and then signed up for Pin Commandments, which is a monthly pin subscription like Pin Club but with just their artwork. It’s £6 a month and every month I get so excited to open that envelope!

IMG_5148IMG_5143 2IMG_5155IMG_5156IMG_5157

Now, I think Pin Commandments is a great option if you love VD’s work, because you know you’re going to enjoy the pin, whereas Pin Club is good if you want to be introduced to more of a variety of illustrators but it’s not guaranteed you’ll love the pins (although if you look at their back catalogue you can see they are all pretty cool)!

I love all of my AdamJK and Veronica Dearly pins and patches and I hope you do too! Please go and have a nosey at their websites and social media because their work is amazing and you’ll love it.

Tune in next Thursday for another instalment of  THE JACKET. OF. GLORRRYYYYYYY

Laterz

Amy