Wednesday, 16 April 2014

From monochrome to colour

I was looking through my old sketchbooks from art college and uni and they were filled with a variety of colourful sketches using all different medias. There was an old fashion sketchbook where I had to explore texture and colour of a dragonfly and use these qualities in my final clothing designs.  I used coffee and inks, sparkly papers, wax crayons, foil and netting with a dusting of glitter! 

Although my drawing and illustrations have improved dramatically from then my sketchbooks are filled with cute characters and ideas but are missing that touchy feely characteristic of my old sketchbooks that were filled so much they wouldn't close. I love my neat and monochrome sketches and when I look at them I can see them in colour in my mind's eye. This is ideal for first draft sketches to clients.

So I decided that I need to add some colour into my drawings and sketchbooks. Not all obviously as I love my pencil work.  Just every now and again I'd like to so some quick, colourful sketches as my full colour work in acrylics can be time consuming!

So I opened my parcel and it felt like Christmas with all my new promarkers. I've never used them so I'm going to have some fun getting to grips with blending them and making some quick colourful sketches. 

Hope they look good :-)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A Thought for Thursdays

My Little Animation

I would love to see my work in animation and hopefully one day one of my book ideas will be turned into one.  Fingers crossed :-)

I thought I would share this little video with you as I am currently working on an exciting new project where character movement is being addressed. A lot of research into how the body moves and lots of sketching will be happening.

So in the meantime you can watch my little video where it took me ages to get the ship and the sea to move and getting the music just in the right spot ha ha!  My hubby had to listen to hours of the same sea shanty track and didn't once complain ha ha! It features the characters on my picture book idea about three pirate sisters and baby Issy based on my newly found family!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Adoption - A Picture Book with Roots

From a very young age I was told I was adopted.  I didn't really understand it but I got my first Sindy doll at the same time.  I loved her.  She had auburn hair, with a blue shift dress and little red shoes.  She was beautiful and had the most amazing eyes.  From that day on I was in love with Sindy dolls and still to this day if I see an original doll it brings back a lot of fond memories of the hours I spent playing with them as a child. 

After initially being told I was adopted it wasn't mentioned much and eventually became a highly taboo subject.  This resulted in me not looking for my birth family until last year which resulted in a massive family fallout as I looked for them in secret for fear of losing my adoptive family.  Unfortunately I was ostracised for finding them and lots of lies were told about what was known.  I was afraid even in my twenties and thirties to look for them as I didn't want to upset anyone but after a fall out with the golden boy of the family I was being lied to and ignored I thought I needed to find them as I felt so alone.

It has now been seen that I have turned my back on my adoptive family and that I am ungrateful for what they did for me.  This is so far removed from the truth and there has been so much venom spread around with pleasure at my expense. They couldn't even tell me my auntie had died and used the funeral as a character assassination project to turn the whole lot against me.  One family member even told me to get on with my life and I've always been spoilt and am a liar.  Absolutely shocking considering she doesn't even know me!  Only a couple of my amazing adoptive family rang me up or messaged me to ask me what was happening as they were intelligent enough to know that there is more to one side of a story.

No one understands the pain of being rejected at birth throughout the years especially teenage years unless they have been adopted themselves and even then we are all individuals and deal with all major lifetime events very differently and there shouldn't be any judgement put on anyone wanting to find out about their roots!

To be told at 15 years old... "No wonder they kept the other!!!!" during an argument haunted me until I found out I had a sister last year... in fact I have four sisters :-)  And the fact it was denied that they knew "Nothing!" and telling others this when I actually know they knew a lot more than they care to admit to even people closest to them is quite disturbing to say the least.  

Why air my feelings about this on a public blog you may ask?  Why? Because I want other parents of adoptive children to understand what their child may be feeling.  My sister-in-law has adopted a child and came to me for advice.  Just be open and honest.  Don't keep things from that child as they will be questioning where they are from.  Support them if they need to know their roots.  This doesn't mean they are ungrateful or turning their backs on you.  It means they just want answers.  You will always be their Mum and/or Dad.  You are the ones who have nurtured and supported them and this will never be forgotten.

My sister-in-law has been making a little family album for their child with photos of both adoptive and birth family and letters and just little paragraphs to just let their child know how loved they are.  How amazing.  I would have loved something like this.  It would have answered so many questions.  Their child will grow up feeling loved and eventually when they are all ready they will meet and become an extended family.  I'm very sure if things were different my birth family would have welcomed my adoptive family with open arms as they are so thankful I was given great opportunities in my life as they were unable to give me a secure home at the time.

No matter what throw away comments have been said about talking to me about adoption and being supportive about the prospect of looking for my birth family.  It is all untrue and I was certainly not trading them in for my birth family.  It has been a year since they spoke to me and thankfully I am  a much happier and stronger person in spite of this. Seeing such tragic events like the death of Peaches Geldof and the pain and heartache her father and family are experiencing it has really hit home that they are getting on with their lives with no intention of reconciliation and not even one face to face interaction.  I know if me and my son fell out I would go to the moon and back, walk on glass etc. to have him in my life again.  That said, the trust has gone and I am surrounding myself with positive people.

An adopted child is for life and not to be thrown away when they don't turn out as you'd have liked them to!
With this in mind I have decided to write and illustrate a picture book for all parents of adoptive children to give to their child when explaining what adoption means and hope to find a publisher who sees the importance of dealing with such an important issue.  Mental health is being more widely addressed and from experience and hearing other friend's stories about their experiences of being adopted, parental and familial attitudes and support are highly important in the mental wellbeing of the adopted individual.

And to all you haters out there I'm not particularly bothered if you find this self indulgent and full of lies. I am dealing with this my way and you only know what you have been told and you aren't even remotely knowledgeable on this subject! 

Thankfully I am a strong character with a great support system of family and friends and hopefully my bad experience has a silver lining and I can create a book that becomes indispensable to adoptive families.  A cute animal character is in it's development stages alongside my other picture books including "Pearl"

Crossing my fingers :-)

Childhood Memories - Fashion Plates

I absolutely adored this as a child and would love to still own it.  I'm sure it was thrown out when I left home.  I think I may have to try and buy one for nostalgic reasons.  I would spend hours creating catalogues of different outfits always doing a variety of colours for each outfit.  And the plates had textures on the back so I could create patterns on the outfit.  I remember designing a summer dress and using the flower template and creating a multi coloured ensemble.

I also collected paint sample cards and would use their colour names as description colours for each design.

My friend Debbie and I would spend hours making catalogues, booklets and characters.  She had the Fashion Wheel but I loved the way the fashion plates seemed to me at the time like a proper design system :-)

Does anyone else remember this too? Or better still own one?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A Thought for Thursdays - More Great Creative Advice

Some great advice especially the one where you should take a break.  I have had so many ideas outside the studio.  I could be shopping or in the bath or even out with friends.  Someone or something triggers off that tiny seed of an idea.  This is why a lot of artists and designers carry around a sketchbook or notebook.  I have ordered the cutest Pink Pig sketchbook.  It's tiny but a great size to go in my bag :-)
I also find that my IPhone is invaluable.  I take photos or type in notes plus there are loads of great apps to make lists, take notes and doodle.

And the most important bit of advice ever...

If you believe you can do it... You will :-)