2013: A Year In Pictures

A tentative start to the year. After the end of 2012 I didn't feel like pushing myself to do anything out of my comfort zone. Just happily went to work at Lush, drew for fun and spent the entire month talking to the cat and tending to my aloe vera plants. Highlight of the month = buying a nest of tables in a charity shop. A sign of the times.

Michael Lee and I organised a Newcastle sketch crawl. It was slushy, freezing and there were about 5 of us including Michael and I, but it was great to get out and draw and meet new people. If you haven't heard of Sketch Crawls, they're basically a group of people wandering around drawing/Urban Sketching. Working in a group is fun, and it takes away the self-consciousness of sitting by yourself drawing buildings. Nosy bonus: you can look at each others' sketchbooks at the end.

Work started trickling back in - this fluffy Pooki lookalike (Pookalike, if you will) was the first cat of many. I hereby declare 2013 the year of the cat portrait. This was also the first time i've been commissioned because of someone seeing my work on Instagram. Social media! All hail!

In April I designed a poster for a music festival happening in my home town, Berwick upon Tweed. During this time I was also slaving away with Chris Folwell on an animation to celebrate the Angel of the North's 15th birthday. SLAVING. That rusty angel became my life in April. 

We finally finished the Angel of the North animation and I celebrated by having a little sit down with a nice cup of tea. There was plenty of news coverage, and the animation was featured on Google +. I also turned 24 and went to the Lake District for a break.

In June I got involved with an exhibition of flip books. Scribbling all over books has never been more fun. In the aftermath of the exhibition I did some animation workshops for kids in partnership with local libraries. Highlights include trundling around Gateshead in a mobile library van, in a fashion not dissimilar to Postman Pat. 

Another first for me - a wedding commission. Possibly the most romantic thing i've ever heard; the groom asked for illustrations of the pub the couple got engaged in, the wedding venue, and a map of their honeymoon. These 3 framed original illustrations were given alongside a set of mugs for the wedding guests. In the future i'd like to offer more personalised mugs - they're great fun to design and make!

"Drawings an' That", my first ever solo exhibition went on display at Newcastle City Library. 

One quick building portrait for Cheryl Fitzgerald Photography (pictured), and then I sold all my stuff, quit my job, put my furniture into storage and broke up with my boyfriend of nearly-3-years. On the 21st of September I moved to Florence Italy to work for Family Nation.

October involved Urban Sketching alone around Florence, attending Couch Surfing events, going on a hike in the Tuscan hills, starting Italian classes, meeting other nannies and doing some graphic design for Family Nation.

Month 3 of living in Italy. I started working for Megan Claire cards, doing some art working in preparation for the Christmas rush. I got some more work from a PR company in Newcastle and a few pet portraits for Christmas commissions.  Also WINE.

Designing thank you cards and Christmas cards for Family Nation, artworking for Megan Claire cards, December was a card-orama.

Much as I love Tuscany and my current job to bits, I've decided to move to Berlin in March to teach English.  If I stay a while I'll be able to speak better German, save up for my MA and get some more inspiration from seeing new cultures and meeting new people.

Here's to adventures and quitting everything to go and eat pasta.

Letters Home

Combining the boring task of writing home with the fun of urban sketching :) I bought these blank postcards from Muji a few years ago, and they've been a great travel companion.

Instructions:  Sit down in a sunny spot with an espresso in hand, get your postcards out and sketch whatever you see.

Top: 'Piazza della s.s. annunziata.  Bottom: a bit of the Ponte Vecchio, sketched while sitting underneath a statue after eating some nice cheap pizza. A great location for people-watching, if you like staring at tourists.

The roof of the library near Santa Croce (the view from the gelateria where I tried 'santa croce' flavour icecream. Saints' crosses are tasty. Looks like I might have dropped a bit of ice cream on this one. Not sorry.

Sketched this one in a doorway to hide from the rain. There's some bins. This one is addressed to my Mum... err, sorry Mum. Rainy bins for you.

A little bit of the statue near my bus stop in Piazza San Marco. 

Bella Italia!

Somewhat delayed, here is my 'by the way, i'm in Italy' post.

Everything happened a bit fast, but to cut a long story short I quit my job, packed up my studio, put all my things into storage, found a couple of jobs in Italy, got drunk with friends to say goodbye and then hopped on a plane.

So now i'm in Florence.

I'm still freelancing while I'm out here, and I'm taking the opportunity to do as much urban sketching as time allows. So far my favourite sketch is this one of the Duomo.

Lucie (left) and me (right) being statues at the Giardini Boboli "the bobbly gardens"

Don't mention Eat Pray Love, or I might punch you in the face.