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1. a bit about making art commissions

 I thought I'd just share a bit about the making of an art commission as I've been working on a few of them recently. I also thought I'd post about it because perhaps, just maybe, sometimes, some folk don't quite realise what goes into these things.
So, I was commissioned to draw this beloved Land Rover in front of this beloved house.
 Now, I'm not really one for drawing from photos, things would have been a damn sight easier if I were, but I like to really get a feel for the place I'm drawing. There's absolutely nothing wrong with photos and I took a few as visual prompts/reminders, but I started with sketching from life. Which, living in the UK, and specifically the north, means one thing; standing/drawing in the rain.
So I got a load of en location sketches together; some of the Land Rover, some of the house, some of the Land Rover and the house. I made them on various papers and various sizes with various materials. Then, when I was chilled to the bone, I went home to work on the finished drawing.
...into the wee small hours of the night. Well, morning.
Then with some sleep between us I started again. I'd been building up to adding the colour, and putting the red door in. I say building up, but I mean dreading. I knew that bit of colour was make or break for the picture.
Then I totally panicked that I'd made the picture to feminine. So, I spend more time worrying over the colour and making it more red than pink. Then I spent a bit more time worrying that they'd hate the it and be really disappointed. This is an obligatory stage in the whole commission making process, I find.
Unfortunately, I haven't got a photo of the whole thing. It was A3 in size and I don't have a scanner big enough.
So, there's just a little insight into what goes into making commissioned artwork for somebody else. To be honest, it doesn't even scratch the surface. I haven't even mentioned the blood, sweat, tears, anxiety, deadlines, avoiding deadlines, procrastinating, deadlines and avoidance. Next time.

 Oh, I needn't have worried so much, he loved it. But, I know I'll go through it all next time too.

I currently have FREE shipping worldwide on all of my original drawings (including a Land Rover Defender) in my Etsy shop HERE. I truly appreciate, more than I can say in words, being supported in this way. It keeps the wolf from my door.

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2. Happy Birthday to Joni

Made this little sketch to celebrate the birthday of Joni Mitchell. My idol. My hero. My inspiration. I've pinched - I mean, been inspired by - her lyrics more than any other artist, to use in my work, as blog post titles, as life coaching. Happy Birthday Joni (her birthday was actually yesterday, but I did draw this late last night so it was kind of in time, although as my family and friends will tell you my birthday cards, presents and wishes are always, without fail, late).
A young Joni in, my new drug of choice, the Pentel brush pen.

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3. two week sketchbook challenge

 The good thing about not blogging regularly for a period, is that you build up lots of work to post when you finally get back on it. Here's a project I completed earlier in the year.
So, I saw this post on the rather excellent Doodlers Anonymous where somebody completed a sketchbook in two hours. TWO. HOURS. I loved the idea.
 And, I had a couple of new cheap sketchbooks that I'd got in some sale. It gave me an idea of what to do with them. I should say that they were quite big sketchbooks (over 70 double page spreads) and so I set another goal; TWO WEEKS.
Which would pretty much mean taking the sketchbook wherever I went (including Ikea) and drawing even more obsessively than normal.
I started the sketchbook at a life drawing session that I used to attend weekly. It was a good place to start as that week we were focusing on drawing body parts, which meant I could fill up quite a few pages of feet and hands and, well, other bits.
And whilst I was totally pissed off that my washing machine was playing up, I did get a few drawings done waiting around at the laundrette.
I drew my friend's dog and I drew photos of my friends on my window sill.
The thing you have to do while speed drawing in this way is to ditch the fine liner pens. I pretty much used thick pens for the most of it.
I was also going to say you need to forget the detail, but I seemed to capture quite lot at my friend's gorgeous canal boat home - in both the one above and below.
Now it comes to something when you get home from another trip to Ikea, drop your bags on the floor and draw that, but I was determined to get that book finished.
The cat was not impressed.
Obviously these are just a tiny selection of the drawings I made. And they'll never be my best. But that wasn't the point.
It was a challenge, and I wasn't going to give up. I kept on pedalling.
In some places I had a field day.
Like at the antiques auction.
Where there was no shortage of things to draw. I was even sketching whilst bidding.
And I did it. And one of the things that pleased me most about finishing the book was that I finished it exactly two weeks to the day, at life drawing. And with the same model that was posing when I started.
So, if you're ever stuck for something to do, start yourself a two week sketchbook. Give it a go. And yeah, sometime in the near future I'll be giving the two hour sketchbook a bash.

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4. Illustrator Submission :: Daniel Arriaga

Post by Chloe


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Daniel Arriaga is an illustrator based in the USA whose work often tells a narrative, depicting fun characters. He has worked in various departments at Pixar, and also Disney. He has helped to produce films such as Wall-E, Up!, and Wreck-It-Ralph. Arriaga combines digital art with a subtle painterly style to bring his work to life, and his clever colour palettes create a nice ambiance in all his work.

If you’d like to see more illustrations by Daniel Arriaga, please visit his portfolio.

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5. On Henry Moore and stuff

A few weeks ago I visited the fabulous Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. I love this place, plus, even better, there was a Henry Moore exhibition. 
I came to Henry Moore later in life. In the last couple of years, actually, I'm pretty sure it was on my first ever trip out with the Urban Sketchers to the YSP. Anyway, wherever whenever, now I'm a big fan. 
It's just SO drawable.
Earlier this month, when I had a grip on #Inktober - before it ran off in all directions - and I was doing an ink drawing a day, I came across my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.
It hadn't been used much at all. In fact I hadn't seen it for years. But when I opened it I found this wash (above). Now, I have no idea what I was thinking way back then when I put it on the page, but just looking at it with all that time between us, I could only see one thing. You're thinking the same, right?? You can see it too, yeah?
Yes, exactly. 
So I came up with my very own Henry Moore reclining nude. An Andrea Joseph inspired by Henry Moore for day nine of #inktober

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6. Digital Illustration Up Close: Behind the Art of Amazing Places

christy haleReleased this month, Amazing Places is a collection of original poems hand-picked by acclaimed anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins that celebrates some of the amazingly diverse places in our nation. It has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, which calls it “a broadly appealing testament to the American landscape and people.”

The gorgeous illustrations in Amazing Places are a uniquecollaboration between artist Chris Soentpiet, who created the rough sketches, and Christy Hale, who brought those sketches to life by adding color and detail. We asked Christy to take us behind the scenes and show us her process for working with Chris Soentpiet’s illustrations to make Amazing Places come to life:Amazing Places

Christy: I have selected the longhouse piece to show the art process used for creating the art for Amazing Places:

1. Chris Soentpiet’s rough sketch
amazing places rough illustration

2. The editor and art director requested modifications. Below is Chris’s tight sketch reflecting those changes.

amazing places rough illustration 2

3. The printer scanned Chris’s sketches and then I received the digital files and my work on the art began. I made some additional changes to the original sketch based on editorial suggestions.

amazing places illustration rough

4. I changed the pencil line to sepia to give it some richness.
amazing places illustration sepia

5. To add color to the art I needed some reference for longhouses. I did some image research. Here are two of many pictures I found.

amazing places reference picture
ca. June 1997, Midland, Ontario, Canada — Animal furs and drying tobacco hang inside a building at the Huron Indian Village. — Image by © Robert Holmes/CORBIS


6. I added colors in transparent layers in Photoshop. I wanted to simulate the beautiful watercolor effects Chris is known for. Each layer was a different color. Sometimes there were multiple layers of the same color in varying transparencies for more subtle effects.
Below you see the sepia line with one color added.
amazing places illustration sepia 2

7. Here is the sepia line with seven colors added.
amazing places illustration sepia 2

8. Here is a screen shot showing the many layers in the Photoshop file.

amazing places illustration photoshop

9. Here is the final image with all the colors. For each piece in the book I worked with a limited palette. In the long house piece there are many, many different neutral colors in varying values. I used color value, intensity, and hue to help direct the eye in each composition.

amazing places final

Christy Hale is the author and illustrator of The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan, a Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year selection, and Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building, winner of a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor. As an art educator, Hale has written about artists for Instructor magazine’s Masterpiece of the Month feature and workshops. Hale lives with her family in Palo Alto, California. Visit her online at christyhale.com.

Purchase a copy of Amazing Places here.

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7. inky update

I'll be honest, I have no idea where I'm up to with Inktober. But that doesn't mean I'm not inking away. In fact I haven't stopped. 
And my love for ink grows by the day. I've always loved the intensity of ink, and have used it in the past, but always ended up drawing with my paint brush in a very controlled way.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to take an expressive ink workshop by talented fashion artist and illustrator Tracy Fennell. I absolutely loved it. I really feel this is what I've been looking for.  
I'm always trying to improve my skills, always wanting to learn new things when it comes to illustration. I love drawing so much that I just want to keep learning. I want to learn anything and everything. 
So, yes, I'm very much loving ink and Inktober - even if I have no idea where I'm up to. 

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8. raining cats and dogs

Still keeping up with #inktober (just about) and the last few days have been all about cats and dogs.
Not sure where it came from, some dark recess of my mind no doubt. Actually this poodle has been trapped inside trying to get out for ages. 
I've also been trying to work outside of the sketchbook. Not that I'm giving up in the sketchbook. NOOOOO way. I'd never do that, my sketchbooks are my favourite places to draw and that was the problem.
I just felt I couldn't draw outside of the sketchbook. And when I feel like that about some drawing related thing, these days, I challenge myself to....well....challenge the 'I can't' thoughts and feelings. 
So, with that in mind, I've decided to use up all of the scraps of paper I have around the house. It started with my bicycle challenge (the one where I felt I could never draw a bike so I drew fifty in a few weeks. Actually, I'm not sure I've blogged about that yet) I gathered every bit of blank paper in the whole house and have started drawing on them. 
A friend of mine bought this 1920s music paper for me so I drew on that. I drew on the cardboard backs of sketchbooks. And on brown paper. On old water colour pads. Anything that's been hanging around. It's getting drawn on.
 Like this poodle, if it's a bit of paper that can be drawn on then it won't be hanging around for long. It's going walkies.
Cat and dog drawings available HERE.

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9. Ruth Cobb a Guest Post by David Redd

Ruth Cobb (1878-1950) was an English illustrator and writer, particularly noted for portraying children and dolls in colourful costumes.  Some of her full-colour plates may be found disbound and sold separately as prints (“My First Pet”) or reproduced as modern posters (“Little Girls of Other Lands”).

My First Pet & Little Girls of Other Lands

Ruth was born on 14th June 1878 to Thomas Cobb, a future novelist but at the time evidently a tailor in New Bond Street, London.  Curiously Ruth’s birthplace is stated as 164 Regent Street, later the sumptuous studio of Victorian society photographer Walery.  However the family soon moved to Tunbridge Wells where her sister and brother were born.

All the family became busy writers, but young Ruth was determined to be simply an illustrator.  She worked first in a studio then as a freelance, eventually selling to magazines as varied as Chatterbox, the Autocar, the Builder, and Punch.

Notable success began from 1902 with her three books in the Dumpy Books series, where Richard Hunter’s verses accompanied Ruth’s vivid colour sketches of Dollies, More Dollies, and Irene’s Christmas Party.  (Other Dumpy titles included one by her father and two by Mary Tourtel, pre-Rupert.)  She then produced larger-format books such as The Wonder-Voyage and A Trip to Fairyland, and provided illustrations for books by others.

The Wonder Voyage - front & back covers 

Meanwhile her holiday sketches of old buildings started seeing print, eventually blossoming into a long secondary career of illustrated articles.  For adults she decorated works such F J Harvey Darton’s A Parcel of Kent, her brother’s first novel Stand to Arms, and – a striking dust-jacket – E H Young’s 1930 best-seller Miss Mole.  However she remained devoted to children’s art.

Ruth Cobb cover art (Image The Bamboo Bookcase

During the Twenties and Thirties Ruth contributed to an astonishing number of children’s annuals and miscellanies for Blackie, Collins, Nelson, Tuck and others.  At times she provided both text and pictures for stories or articles.  Some young readers could not resist colouring her black-and-white drawings, and surely a portfolio of her children’s sketches would make a lovely colouring book for modern times.

However, this long extension of the Edwardian Summer in children’s illustration was ended abruptly in 1939 by the outbreak of World War II.  Ruth’s market was shattered, and so was her whole way of life.  A memoir states: “She went to live with relations in Sussex.  There, she did a lot of voluntary war work, became President of a Women’s Institute, did map drawing, for the War Agricultural Committee in Lewes, and spoke for the Ministry of Information.”  Typically, a 1941 lecture of hers was “Some of London’s Bombed Buildings.”

Later she resumed her work for periodicals, and as the war ended she began producing a quartet of slim illustrated topographical books, all well-received.  Evidently she suffered a sudden heart attack, being found dead on 7th December 1950.  Her wartime struggles seem to have deepened her appreciation of liberty; the first chapter of A Sussex Highway is entitled “The Beginning of the Road”, its main illustration dated shortly after VE Day.  The final chapter of her final book commemorates Thomas Paine, author of The Rights of Man.

Charming as those late adult books were, it is for her delightful children’s illustrations that Ruth Cobb will be remembered.

Illustrations from The wonder voyage

Note on Ruth Cobb’s family.

Her father Thomas Cobb (1853-1932) was the author of nearly 80 popular novels and many shorter items.  Her sister Joyce (1890-1970) produced poems, articles, short stories (notably WWI fiction) and one novel.  Her brother (Geoffrey) Belton Cobb wrote approximately 70 crime thrillers.  Ruth herself created only a dozen books of her own, but contributed to over a hundred more.

Note on signatures.

Her preferred location was generally the lower right-hand corner, as “Ruth Cobb” or “ruth cobb” sometimes boxed or enscrolled.    Smaller drawings bore initials “r c” or perhaps nothing.  In Edwardian times, the plates for Dollies etc were unsigned, while larger paintings gained a stylised slanting “R” within a “C”.  Sketches for adults published then or as late as 1953 were signed “Ruth Cobb” in handwriting, with smaller items initialled.

Grateful thanks to The Society of Women Writers and Journalists for providing the picture of Ruth Cobb and for other kind assistance. David Redd.

I would like to add my thanks to David for sharing this very interesting article.   

The Miss Mole cover image is from The Bamboo Bookcase, other images supplied by David Redd.

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10. Teoh To Me (a reference you'll only get if you're British, unless the Chuckle Brothers have gone global)

Check out this lovely review of my book by Teoh of Parka Blogs. For those of you who haven't yet got a copy it'll tell you all you need to know about the book. Apart from the bit about me being French. I'm not. I've just always wanted to be!
Thanks so much Teoh.
You can get hold of a copy of my book HERE.

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11. Ink on Kinder

Hello, it's me and I'm blogging and I'm still doing daily inky things for #inktober. Yesterday I did inky things up a mountain. Or a Peak. On Kinder Scout to be precise. 
Landscape probably wouldn't be my subject matter of choice, but I'd never rule any subject out. These days I love to tackle something I wouldn't normally tackle. 
But I don't really know how to approach landscapes, that's the problem. Or the challenge. 
So, I approached these rocks and this landscapes in the way I know how, by seeing them as a 1950s textile design. Did it work? I dunno. 
To be honest, I don't care. I had fun trying. And that's what #inktober is about for me. That's what drawing is about. 

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12. Inky October

#Inktober Day 2 

In my quest to blog more (this always goes 'tits up' as we say in the UK) I've got on board with the whole Inktober thing. A day late, but I'm on board now. 
#Inktober Day 3 

Now, I'm truly rubbish at doing these things. Almost as soon as I commit I start resenting having to do a drawing a day for a month (or however long the thing is that you've signed up to) and then it just becomes a massive chore. But it has been a while since I've committed to any such thing, and I draw everyday anyway, so I'm giving it a bash. How hard can it be?
#Inktober Day 4

Another reason that participating in Inktober makes sense is that I am going to be taking a couple of Tracy Fennell's ink workshops during October. I really feel that need to push my work in a new direction. To take it somewhere exciting and I've always been a massive ink fan. So, no doubt, after the classes I'll be itching to experiment with all the new techniques.
#Inktober Day 5 

So that's the story so far. I'll post the rest as I go along. I will, I will, I will *trying to convince myself*. 

Some of my Inktober sketches are for sale, in my Etsy shop, HERE

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13. Illustrator Submission :: Sarah McMenemy

Post by Chloe

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Sarah McMenemy is an illustrator based in London who began by illustrating many of the beautiful houses in the city. Her portfolio now contains an abundance of painterly work depicting stunning architectural works around the world. Sarah McMenemy’s work has appeared in a range of magazines which have covered finance, beauty, architecture and home decor. If you would like to see more of Sarah McMenemy’s sophisticated colour palettes and characterful illustrations, please visit her portfolio.

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14. Illustrator Submission :: Lea Taloc

Post by Chloe

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Lea Taloc has combined her passion for the kitchen and illustration to create beautiful works which often appear in food blogs and magazines. Through her art and graphic design techniques she is able to convey emotions and add visual embellishments to every day life. Lea Taloc’s work has a bright and airy feel to it which is refreshing and cheerful. 

If you would like to see more of Lea’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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15. i got the blogging blues

No matter how many good intentions I have, I just can't keep  my blogging up. I sometimes even forget it's here. I can Facebook, Tweet, Instagram and even Flickr, but I just can't get into a blogging habit. 
Here, I bring you some flowers to apologise. Thanks to those of you who still visit. I'm not sure why you would. I hardly ever seem to. For those of you who keep up with yours; HOW do you do it?
Flowers for sale HERE

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16. Illustrator Submission :: Saskia Rasink

Post by Chloe






Saskia Rasink is an illustrator, based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her work has a bold, graphic style and the warm, sophisticated colour palettes used gives her work a mid-century feel. She often depicts maps and architecture inspired by her passion for traveling. She is also inspired by Scandinavian design, interiors and nature.

If you would like to see more of Saskia’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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17. Three Times the Fun with Ben Wood’s Picture Books

Contrasting colour palettes, use of mixed media, energetic and always adorable themes pop from the pictures in all three of these books. But there are differences, too. In my opinion, illustrator Ben Wood knows just how to adjust his tone perfectly to suit the nature of each story.   The Bush Book Club, Margaret Wild […]

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18. Editorial Submission :: Sarah Ferone

Post by Chloe





Sarah Ferone is a freelance illustrator based in Philadelphia. Sarah Ferone’s background in painting and art history, and experience in designing for advertising has allowed her to develop a distinct, individual style. In addition to editorial, Sarah Ferone also works on packaging and books. Her work often has deep narrative and a beautiful handmade feel.

If you’d like to see more of Sarah Ferone’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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19. Bears IN SPACE!


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20. come out to play now the light nights are here

A few of my bike drawings here. You know when something kind of unintentionally becomes a theme? Well, that. And when a theme comes knocking on my door I do love to go out to play with it. 
Watch this space if you like bikes, or art, and specifically bike art. 

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21. 100 Bicycles

Here's another of my current projects and obsessions. I'm not entirely sure where it came from but it's quickly taken over. Bikes, bikes and more bikes.
 It probably really took hold when I visited the Eroica Britannia festival this year. It's a festival and celebration of cycling. The cyclists ride through the gorgeous Peak District on pre 1987 bikes. So lots of wonderful vintage, classic and iconic bikes to look at and draw.
 The thing, I find with bikes is they are not easy to draw. With all their angles and proportions and round wheels and whatnot, they are difficult little blighters. But I love the challenge of something difficult. Once you get to grips with it and start getting it right there's a great feeling of satisfaction.
So, I think that's where this all started. The bike thing. I always remember reading, when I first started drawing, that you've never really got the handle on drawing something until you've drawn it a hundred times. Now I'd probably agree with that.
 And so in September I'll be holding an exhibition, with a friend of mine artist Kate Yorke, called 100 Bicycles. Yes, the title pretty much explains it. We'll be exhibiting one hundred bicycle drawings. Sketches mainly.
I really can't stop. I really mustn't stop. And while I'm loving it why stop? I'm adding some of these sketches to my Etsy shop at very reasonable prices (cheap!) so if you're into bicycles grab yourself a bargain HERE. You'd better hurry though, they're going quick!
 PLUS, for this weekend only, anyone who purchases my Andrea Joseph Bumper Pack will get a FREE bicycle sketch. Check that out HERE.

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22. Illustrator Submission :: Nick Bear

Post by Chloe





Nick Bear is a professional artist with a passion for illustration. His style is bold, colourful and often full of character and humour. This has made him popular among game production companies and his illustrations have featured in some of the world’s most popular games such as Plants vs Zombies 2 and Bejeweled Blitz. If you would like to see more of Nick Bear’s graphic illustrations, please visit his portfolio.

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23. ‘In a World of Imagination’ – Interview with Anna Walker

Anna Walker; master creator of picture books encompassing emotion, wisdom, sensitivity, adventure, charm and humour. And equally as gentle, creative, genuine and profound as her delightful stories and pictures is the author / illustrator herself, with which I had the utmost pleasure in meeting recently at her Mr Huff Exhibition. I am honoured that the […]

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24. ‘In a World of Imagination’ – Interview with Anna Walker

Anna Walker; master creator of picture books encompassing emotion, wisdom, sensitivity, adventure, charm and humour. And equally as gentle, creative, genuine and profound as her delightful stories and pictures is the author / illustrator herself, with which I had the utmost pleasure in meeting recently at her Mr Huff Exhibition. I am honoured that the […]

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25. Illustrator Submission :: Ohn Mar Win

Post by Chloe

















Firstly, I advice you not to look at Ohn Mar Win’s work if you are feeling slightly peckish! Her work is so packed full of delicous looking treats, it will leave you reaching out for a sneaky snack.

Ohn Mar Win is originally from Burma and now lives in the UK and it was this journey that led Ohn Mar Win to drawing as a method of expressing herself, after all, art is a universal language. She is inspired by food and all things retro and vintage. The textural, handmade quality to her work really brings it to life.

If you would like to view more of Ohn Mar Win’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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