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.

A Peek into my Sketchbook

Here are some scribbles from our sketch crawl that was back in January.

It was a cold, slushy day so we spent the majority of the time hiding indoors with hot cups of tea. We visited the Scrumpy Willow & the Singing Kettle, City Library, the Laing gallery and finished off at Tea Sutra.

We had more people than ever before at this sketch crawl and it was great to see new faces! Thanks to all who braved the cold to come along and draw.

(Click any image to view a nice big slideshow.)

Hands sketching in Tea Sutra

Various teapots in Tea Sutra

Jessica and Emma sketching in the Laing

People browsing the Laing Gallery

Above: Michael sketching (viewed through a chair)
Below: people in the library

Lunch at the Laing

Laing Gallery cafe - people eating, reading and queueing for food

Scrumpy Willow - first sketch of the day!

Our next Sketch Crawl is going to be in Sunderland - join the Facebook group here, or like our page here to be kept up to date and come along!  All ages and abilities welcome.

Sketchcrawl January

Here is a little plug for our next Sketchcrawl in Newcastle upon Tyne.  This time we're staying indoors because it's bloody freeeezing out there.

On Saturday the 26th of January we'll be meeting at 10am at Scrumpy Willow Singing Kettle (89 Clayton Street, Newcastle - just a 3 min walk from Central Station) and then moving on to the Laing Gallery.  Lunch will be had at some point then, and then we'll make our way to City Library to draw for a bit and then have a look at each others' sketchbooks.

You can come along for as much or as little of the sketchcrawl as you like. If you'd like to be kept up to date with all things Sketchcrawl Northeast then you can like our Facebook page, or join the Facebook group.

Here is our poster. Feel free to share/retweet it on Facebook or Twitter. I'll probably be tweeting about it lots :)

Here's the poster, and a new illustration for my portfolio. Hurray.

Sketching at The Hancock Museum

On the 14th of December a little group of us met at Haymarket metro and went to the Hancock Museum to draw for the day.  It was our second meet up so far and they've both been great fun :)

Here are some of my sketches from the day... click to view larger versions.

I added a bit of colour to my favourite sketch of the day: this group of angler fish, seagulls, whimbrel and a snow hare. Don't think you'd see this lot together in the wild...

If you live near Newcastle and would like to come along to the next sketch crawl, you can 'like' the Facebook page, join the Facebook group, or follow me on Twitter as I'll probably be banging on about it for a few weeks beforehand. 

The Very First Sketchcrawl North East

Hello, blog-readers! Apologies for the lack in updates, but please accept this offer of a fun event in Newcastle as a consolation prize.

This Saturday the 27th of October, people who like to scribble will be joining forces and drawing things all day in Newcastle. We're meeting at 10am at Central Station (by the main departure boards) and will make our way to the quayside, the Baltic, and the Sage.  You can come along for as much or as little as you like - we plan on wrapping up at 4pm and passing sketchbooks around.

All you need to bring is warm clothes, sketching materials, a seat if you don't like standing, a packed lunch or money for food and your beautiful smiling face.

The Official Blurb
"SketchCrawls are organised events for anyone who loves to draw on location. They work a bit like a pub-crawl (without the pubs) with sketchers moving from one location to another throughout the day. To finish, sketchers meet together to chat and share their creations. They're a great way to get inspiration, practice your skills and meet people, turning a solitary activity into a group event!"

We look forward to seeing you there!

You can join the Sketchcrawl North East page, and confirm your attendance on Facebook too. Tell a friend!

p.s. the weather man says it's going to be sunny but cold... definitely get your thermals on!