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1. i'm going to clear out my head, i'm going to get myself straight

I've been cleaning up my house recently. And cleaning up my act. I've always kept stuff 'for drawing'. For that day when I finally sit down and draw my stamp, matchbox, buttons, receipts, doll's heads (really), cork collections. Amongst many others.
But, this isn't fitting in with my quest for minimalist living. So there's going to be a cull. Things are getting serious. But how can I get rid of these corks? They are thing of beauty. I've drawn them before (above and below) and I may want to draw them again. They all have their own characters and personalities. They're all slightly different. You can make rubber stamps out of them. They have sentimental.....

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2. I'm walking down your street again

Right, once again I haven't posted here in too long. So, here's a mega post. I won't bore you with words. I'll just show you in drawings and photos some of the things I've been doing (drawing) in all the gaps between posts.
I've been drawing in bars
and in antique showrooms
drawing bikes in galleries
and skeletons in museums,
drawing the guy at the bar of the brasserie
and the girl at the café,
the chip van
and at lunch with my niece
at the cricket with friends
more bones at another museum
whilst working at the gallery
at another bar
on the high street
at a transport museum
and another bike
at another pub
with a sharply dressed man
at a bus station
at a flea market
and at another museum.
Which all tells me that I like old things and spend a lot of time eating out in bars and cafes. Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up.

Have you signed up to Sketchbook Skool yet? The course I teach on starts today. You too may end up drawing your life too if you do. Enrol on 'Seeing' HERE.

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3. How to Do It (self publishing) Yourself

Here's another of my passions folks. Zines. I am a fully fledged zine maker. A zinester, to use the technical term. What is it about making zines I love? Well, it is the whole process. But the main main thing is that it is DIY publishing which means you only answer to yourself. You write, draw, play, create whatever it is that you want to. Totally and utterly authentic. Nobody else has any say, influence or sway over what you want to produce. What can be better than that? Well, making money out of it would be nice. But, that's never the starting point. You'd be sorely disappointed if it was. They are a labour of love. No, the starting point is 'I'm going to make this because I want/need to'. 

It does, however, mean that sometimes we have to flog our creations. So, here's a bundle of my five current zines. Each has a run of 1000. No more no less. And, I've put a SALE on. Normally $50 but I've knocked 20% off so until the end of the week they're just $40.

This is the perfect inspiration kit for anyone who loves drawing or just loves to look at drawings.
Molezine 2
A collection of some of the drawings from my travel themed Moleskine sketchbook. Limited stock.
 How To Draw Like a Loon
Created with nothing but a four colour ballpoint. This zine is all about drawing and handwriting. Filled with lots of exercise for you to try. Including how to make a zine! Very limited stock.
An Idle Daydream
A zine that reviews my favourite (and not so favourite) pens. Also includes some of my favourite blog images from the last eight years.
How to Draw Like a Barmpot
Another tutorial zine. This one focuses on drawing with your imaginations. Includes lots of little exercises to get your imagination working.
The Daily Tamp
A tiny cut-out-and-make newspaper full of stories, film reviews, classified ads and all the usual features of a big full sized newspaper but just tiny.
 
If you'd like to purchase, or read more about this zine bundle you can do so HERE. You will be supporting an artist to create more publications that you won't find on the supermarket shelves.
Many thanks for listening.

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4. Check out the Chun-Li Artist Series Card I made for Fangamer:...



Check out the Chun-Li Artist Series Card I made for Fangamer: Also, don’t forget to take a peek at the other cards, they all turned out awesome!  goo.gl/0aUSNm



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5. the fear of a people sketcher


Yesterday I went back to Gallery Oldham where I'd previously done research for the Museum job that I've talked about in my last posts. This time though I returned for a little mini sketch meet up with some friends.
When I was there last time I made this sketch, below, of the guy who worked in the gallery's lovely Naked Bean cafe. It was a sneaky sketch, I didn't show him but I did post the sketch on Twitter and the cafe saw it. They said that he loved it - even though i'd made him look pretty grumpy in it. Which he wasn't. He was the opposite to grumpy. 
Anyway, yesterday, when I returned and with the knowledge he was happy with the sketch I took the opportunity to get a photo of him with it. He said "I've never been drawn before. It made my day. I put it on Facebook and everything".
think the fear for all of us that sketch people is their response to it. Will they be offended? Will they hate it? I know it's my fear which is why I don't often show them. But his response made my day. This time it paid off.

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6. Multidisciplinary Submission :: Sticky Monster Lab

By Chloe

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Sticky Monster Lab is a multidisciplinary creative studio based in Korea. They cover various mediums from illustration to motion graphics, graphic design to product design. This wide spectrum helps make their work so unique and dynamic. Sticky Monster Lab have great wit and attention to detail which has allowed them to collaborate with Nike, Nissan and MTV.
If you’d like to see more work from Sticky Monster Lab, please visit their portfolio.

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7. Family Hug


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8. tamping!

My new zine, The Tamp, now has an advert. yes, I've hit the big time. This minature zine is not only a tiny newspaper but also a puzzle. The puzzle is putting the thing together and specifically getting the pages in the correct order. It'll only make sense if they are in the right order. I say 'make sense'...
The newspaper has a tiny comic strip, a tiny film and book review, tiny classified ads. So, as the man says 'READ ALL ABOUT IT!'. Limited print run, get your copy HERE.

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9. getting with the programme

So, I'll be honest, this is basically a test post. For a long time my blog has just been chugging along. There was a time, way back when, when I would blog, religiously, a few times a week. Then social media happened.
Like many people, I suppose, I started 'blogging' there. It seemed easier. I'm not really interested in sharing the ins and outs of my life online, or social media, but sharing my artwork through those platforms seemed to make sense. Blogging suddenly seemed like much more of an effort. I mean you had to switch in the laptop and all that palaver. 
I blamed blogging, and blogs, for that - for being behind the times. Not catching up with social media. But it was me that was behind the times and not keeping up with the technology. It hadn't even dawned in me to download the Blogger app. But now I have. 
I took these photos on Friday. My friend and I, Kate of Emily Pickle design (haven't worked out if it's possible to add a link when blogging on your phone. Anyone?) took her 'pencil case' out to the pub to draw. Her pencil case/make up bag is filled with all sorts of goodies I'd never have dreamtof using to draw with. The drawing above is made with glitter mascara, liquid eyeliner and Christmas wrapping tapes amongst other things. I loved experimenting with all this stuff. I'll never look at an old eyeliner in the same way again.

Right, I'm going to put the laptop on to see how this worked out....

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10. Maria Jordan's interview with Sannel Larson


 Sannel Larson - The Total Picture 
An Interview by Maria Jordan 
You may read the whole interview here: Inspiration Station






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11. one of the issues of working with marker pens

That is all.
Bugger.

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12. a bit about creating poster artwork

Amongst all the other illustration work I do, I also co-run Dr Sketchy Sheffield and, so, being the sketching half of the team (my co-running partner is from the performance arts), I create the poster artwork. It's one of my favourite things to illustrate. Because it makes me feel closer to the poster artists, from days gone by, who's work I adore. I wish there were more call for poster artists. These days it's all done digitally so I like to buck that trend with purely illustrated posters (and I wouldn't have a clue how to do it digitally).

Now once we've set our theme for our Dr Sketchy event the idea for the poster image pretty much comes to me straight away. Sometimes without even having to think about it. Really, it's just there. I see it - the whole poster - fully formed. I then just need to put it onto paper.

Our next event (next Saturday, at the Greystones, Sheffield!) will be a celebration of dance. We have performers from different genres of dance modelling and, erm, dancing for us. We have a belly dancer, a breakdancer, a bhangra dancer amongst others. So, already I knew I had to get that info into the drawing. The first and original thought was of the kind of drawing in the image above. I think it's important to go with that initial idea if it has presented itself to you. I love those 'consequences' drawings. I've heard them called other things and somebody once told me that they were known as 'exquisite cadaver' drawings. I think that's such a great name, which conjures up all sorts of weird and wonderful images, so I'll be sticking with that.

I made a few exquisite cadaver sketches, like the one above, to try it out. To see if it worked. I'll be honest with you, I think the trial run above is still my favourite. I guess that's because it was the most spontaneous. Then when I'd got one that I felt would work as a poster image I sketched it out onto a 'proper' bit of paper. I always add the image first, leaving room for the text. Sometimes I will play around with where I want to place the image. I did with this one - I tried her on both sides of the page and central before settling on this composition.

For the text I always quickly research (Google) posters or fonts until I find something that fits. For example, I'll Google 'Bollywood poster fonts' or some such thing. This one was a combination of various fonts because of the variety of dance genres. When I find a font I like I loosely copy it. I don't measure out the letters, nothing technical happens, I just copy it by eye (is that even a saying? It looks odd now it's typed out). I don't want it to look exactly like the fonts I find. I want it to be my own version of them.

Anyway, that's a little (ish) explanation of how I create my posters. Now anyone want a poster illustration? I'm for hire. I'm always for hire.
 

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13. it's that time again

Sorry to have to pedal my wares here, guys. But, believe me, I have to.
There is free postage on a Bumper Pack of goodies on Etsy until Sunday. The Bumper Pack includes my book, 5 zines, badges, tote bag, postcards and stickers. Get yours HERE.

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14. i drew a car


The Jaguar E-type has recently been voted Britain's favourite classic cars in this poll. I was commissioned to produce a drawing of it. It's not surprising that it is in the number one spot as it really is a thing of beauty.

I used pencil (a soft thick 4B) and marker pens, to make this drawing, both of  which are drawing materials that I've recently started using. I've never been much of a pencil girl. It doesn't really do it for me, but I kinda like these soft pencils now and again. The marker pen has been a revelation and I can't get enough of them these days. I did all the darker tones and areas with the markers, and it struck me that at one point I would have filled all that in with tiny cross hatched fine lines. Just the thought of doing that, now, brings me to tears.

You can see the rest of the list of Britain's favourite cars, and if you vote you can actually win this drawing HERE.

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15. Illustration Inspiration: Stephanie Graegin, Illustrator of Peace is an Offering

Stephanie Graegin spent her childhood drawing and collecting fauna. These days, she lives in Brooklyn, is still drawing, and has managed to keep her animal collection down to one orange cat.

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16. the clay pot against the iron pot

A little while back I was asked why my book was more expensive in my shop as opposed to on Amazon. It is a good question. It is a fair question. I tried to answer it in an illustration. How else?
It is an issue that faces all of us that run a small business. There's no way of competing with the big guys, no way at all, there is no point in trying. But we do have an advantage over them and that is the service we give.
I am not making big bucks off my book, hell, I forgot to even mention, in this illustration, that I have to buy my book off my publisher in the first place - as well as the currency conversion and bank charges that that entails too. That's before the, above, process even begins. No, I'm just scraping by. Always just scraping by.
But when you do buy from a small business or independent seller/artist you are also supporting them in creating their work. Thank you for that. I really don't mind where people buy my book from. It is an honour that they do buy it at all.  
I'm glad I was asked this question. It's an important one and it gave me the chance to try and answer it. Quite coincidentally, I was chatting with my publisher, whilst I was in the middle of this drawing, about the price issue when he said "in French we say 'le pot de terre contre le pot de fer'. It's a kind of  David and Goliath" and that's how this drawing got the title.

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17. Illustrator Submission :: Dean Gorissen

By Chloe

CCueBooks Gorissen-Kinglake+Cookbook+Family Gorissen-LSJ+Sherlock Gorissen-TenLittleElviTitle

Dean Gorissen’s illustrations are packed with character. His warm colour palettes and subtle textures add depth to his work and give a slight retro feel. Dean Gorissen has worked for a large variety of editorial clients and has also illustrated several picture books.

You can see more of Dean Gorrisen’s work here.

 

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18. Guest Author and Illustrator, Kathleen Bullock Visits Write What Inspires You


I am delighted to host author/illustrator Kathleen Bullock. It's not too often that an author is also an illustrator. Come along for a glimpse into Kathleen's creative world. Take it away Kathleen...

In earlier days I worked my art in oils and watercolor, pencil and pastels, even the occasional collage. I’ve always been an illustrator at heart, rather than a classic ‘artist’. With a new world of electronics on the horizon, I saw that I’d have to adapt to creating artwork for publication in an electronic format, and I have. It’s a challenge to minimize the digital look of electronic art and give each piece the casual look of ‘top-of-your-head’ sketchiness that I so love, but I’m starting to get there.

I used Photoshop to create the artwork for Olive and the Great Flood. This meant that I could control the color and images on each page for consistency. Each separate piece of art is on its own invisible layer. I can eliminate or correct any of these images before I fix the art on a single layer. The pages then are sent to the publisher as individual jpegs for publication.

You can see my evolving styles on my portfolio web site, www.kathleenbullock.carbonmade.com

Also, look for my next book soon to be published by Guardian Angel,


I hope readers will enjoy reading Olive and the Great Flood as much as I did illustrating it.

Olive and the Great Flood tour schedule http://childrensauthorconniearnold.blogspot.com 

Guardian Angel Publishing 

Amazon  


There will be two drawings at Connie Arnold's blog tour conclusion on the 28th for a copy of Ms. Arnold's first children’s book, Animal Sound Mix-up and a dove wind chime.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author



Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!



Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist
















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19. can't talk now I'm sketching a band

Here's another sketching opportunity that came my way recently, I got to go into a studio to sketch band. A local band, including a couple of members I know. I realised that I've never actually been into a studio before. I could have spent hours, days, in there drawing all the equipment.
 I have some larger drawings that I made in my Moleskine sketchbook, but these drawings I made in a cheap little pretend Moleskine that was about a quarter of the price. I'm not somebody who moans about the Moleskine sketchbooks being expensive. I actually don't think they are. Or, at least, for me it's well worth the price for the amount of time, effort and love I put into filling them. But, there is something to be said for these cheaper sketchbooks. You're less precious about them and about wasting the paper which gives you the freedom to make different kind of drawings. More sketchy.

Anyway, here are some sketchy sketches. And, here, if you are interested are the band, Sharma. If nothing else just check out this first track. I think they're good. Really good. You can watch them HERE.

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20. Best Friends Daily Sketch

I am so unbelievably blessed with some very open, honest, and funny girlfriends. I've always been one who struggles with friends, but as an adult, I believe I have some of the best and strongest relationships I never thought possible.

One of these friends is fellow illustrator and work from home mom, Candace Camling. We are so much a like, yet so very different, and I adore this about our relationship. We can be very honest, borderline offensive honest, and still want to talk to each other. I find this very special and I treasure it.

"Explore all the World" illustration by Candace Camling

She's on her way to New York today for a very important trip. She's attending the SCBWI conference where she will be presenting her top notch portfolio to directors, editors, and participating in the illustrator event (sorry, I don't know ALL the details). She's on her way to the top as a children's book illustrator.

I thought of her this morning as she's beginning this fun adventure. I've been able to help her out with printing her portfolio, and I am very honored to be there for her. She helps me out by being my soundboard for those really rough days and nights all about being mom or struggling artist.

She's my light for today, reminding myself that you get what you put in. She puts in long hours, money, perseverance, and hope for her career, and I'm inspired by that.


Visit Candace's blog and her portfolio!!!

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21. hot off the press

Calling all creative folks, with something they want to promote/advertise/flog. Ever advertised your new book/project/blog/Page in a newspaper or magazine? Of course you haven't. You're a creative - you'd never have the money for that. And anyway, why advertise in a big corporate glossy magazines with huge numbers of readers who, quite frankly, do not deserve to see (ignore) your ad? No, what you want is to be seen by a lot fewer people, but the right people. What you want is to advertise in a small self published, cutting edge, do-it-yourself ethos zine.
What you get; a small (tiny - this is my tiniest zine yet) unique hand drawn advertisement. The space is approximately an inch squared. Just enough room for a logo, a web address, and a few of words.  All for five British pounds. Above is a couple of pages from my How To Draw Like a Loon zine. Your ads will be similar even though the zine layout is totally different.
Spaces are very limited, and as I'm hoping to get this zine to the press on Monday, time is limited too. Take advantage of this offer now. Interested? Get in touch.
Support self publishing. Support a fellow creative to keep on creating.

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22. The Wonder of Butterflies

"Maiden"

Do you ever find yourself sitting and watching a butterfly, and then realize minutes have passed, finding yourself wondering why they are just so magical?

I do... all. the. time.

I'm drawn to art with butterflies (especially collage), I'm drawn to the colors, the way the wings flutter, their gentleness, their life stages and how we make that into a metaphor for life, all of it! I love them so much I even have a butterfly, a painted lady, tattooed on my right shoulder in memory of my grandmother...who also loved the butterfly.

But I am still drawn to the question of....why?

"Danielle"

According to the light research I did from the Butterfly Conservation site, and other pages around the web, butterflies have two purposes in nature, aside from being beautiful.

They pollenate, and they are food.

Yep, they are at the bottom of the food chain. They're food for birds, mammals, and reptiles. Like, food for everyone. One of the most wondrous and beautiful visions on the planet get eaten more than anything else.

I'm not trying to depress you with this news. When you sit and think about it, here's what is concluded:

They are a source for life. They feed everyone protein, vitamins, and nourishment.
They pollenate flowers so that their seeds will spread and the earth can continue to give back.
They bring beauty and peace to us in our gardens.
They share color and pattern throughout a mostly green, brown, and blue environment.

And, they give us hope through their life stages of metamorphosis. A demonstration that we are all beautiful from the inside out, and if we are truly ourselves we will shine brightly.

They are a symbol of rebirth, to start anew because they do! They live two lives, one as a caterpillar, the other as a butterfly.

"Birth of Twilight"

You find so many butterflies in my work because of these thoughts. They will always make me wonder, but I think the simplest answer, they are BEAUTIFUL, is why God put them here. Yes, they have a purpose, to nourish, but that is part of the beauty.

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23. at the junction


On Thursday evening I went to an Etsy team event in Manchester. For those, not in the know, if you have your own shop on Etsy you are also a part of a huge worldwide community of Etsy shop keepers. Amongst that community there are a whole host of teams - places where traders can connect and discuss what matters to them. And, sometimes events and meet-ups come out of those discussions. So, I went to see what goes on at these events - I've observed from the outskirts until now - and, to sketch the event - which, too, could be seen as observing from the outskirts.

The team in question is Etsy MCR. Based in Manchester (obviously), this is a really pro active team of Etsy traders. Over the evening we had talks from members, local creative businesses and a live Skype chat with Etsy UK HQ. It was really inspirational. I've very much come to realise the importance of getting our and about, networking and connecting with other creative folk and small businesses recently.
This realisation has become heightened, of late, now that I've finally, after all these years, taken the leap and given up my day job. Eeeeek. Woohooo. Arrrgh. YAY. Shit. Oh.Oh dear. Oh yes. Okay. Help. Yay. Eeeek. Woo-fecking-hoo. Yes, that's pretty much what's been going through my head since doing so. Anyway, more of that in another post.
Back to Thursday. And, back to the gorgeous setting of Sugar Junction, in the wonderful creative Northern Quarter of Manchester. And back to Etsy. I'll be honest, I've never made the most of the Etsy community, teams or the tools they have to offer (I've never really had to as I've always had that comfort of a monthly wage) so this has all been bit of a revelation.
It heartens me to know that there are so many people beavering away, turning their passion into a small business, and understanding all those issues and concerns that I too feel. I really do sense a sea change in the way people shop and they way people think about where, and why, they shop these days - since the recession. It's been a long time coming and I guess it takes something like a recession to question those things.
 This is the time, if we want it, for the whole shop local ethos to flourish. Shop local and shop independent that is. Shopping in a way that puts money and investment back into our communities - whether that be our local communities, and high streets, or the worldwide community of small independent businesses who are doing all they can to keep their head above water.
Actually, this, just might have, unintentionally, turned into a post about giving up the day job. Sorry about that.

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24. will draw for money

Thanks for the interest in getting your own classified ad in my new zine. The spaces are now full. Sorry, if you didn't get one. You must be quicker next time!

This little zine (and I mean little) is probably (definitely) the most complicated layout I've ever worked with yet. It was born out of an idea I had when I saw some of the mini zines that people are making. I really wanted to have a go.
It also had to cheap to make. Very cheap. Basically, in true tradition of zine making, it had to be produced with a photocopier. A photocopier and a bucket load of creativity.

I spent my childhood making stuff like this; tiny little books. I haven't made anything on this scale since then. The pages are all double sided too, which complicates things further. It's been a concern, after doing all this work, that when it was all folded up and cut out it might not even work.
So, I crossed my fingers and had a trial run....and phew! It works. It actually seems to work.
I'm hoping it'll be for sale in a day or two. Please come back if you'd like a copy of my first  tiny teeny weeny ziney.

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25. a strange dust lands on your hands

This week my class, at Sketchbook Skool, has come around again. The course is called 'Seeing' and is about, well, seeing. Really looking at your subject and perhaps seeing all those details that, if you weren't drawing, you'd never notice. I try to demonstrate this through one of my collection drawings.
Here are a couple of my drawings of one collection - my friend's collection of keys to be precise. They belonged to her father who had all sorts of collections. Most of these, I believe, were from model railways and clocks. I love keys. I love the symbolism of them and all the stories they could tell and doors the could unlock. I'm particularly happy with the drawing below. Don't know why. I just like it.
If you're interested, you can find out more about becoming a student at Sketchbook Skool HERE.

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