June 6, 2012 § 11 Comments
Every illustration project has it’s own journey, I thought I might share a bit about this one…
I’d been wanting to do something with mixed media for a while – something with collage and natural fibres. I’d imagined a handmade book, lovely to hold with a gentle story nestled within its pages. When the Trimmings Comp arrived it was an irresistible opportunity. I’m a huge fan of Carly and Amy’s work. Their fabric is beautifully designed and they have an uncanny ability to choose perfect palettes.
The gorgeous images above gave me an inspiration-fueled start. So by the time my pack arrived all I could see within the clear envelope was a beautiful, somewhat deconstructed kite. And when I saw Rebecca‘s lovely piecing I knew exactly the form it would take. Cutting and assembling all those little pieces was incredibly relaxing (Clever gal that Rebecca! )
When it came to the book design, I decided on a concertina fold because each double page could be read as a mini story and the whole book could still be opened out to reveal an overall connection. I also wanted to play with both sides of the paper, changing an assumption formed on one side by a quick flip to the other.
When it came to the story, the kite was my ending but what I needed was the rest. It turned out the story solution was right under my nose but all my over-thinking made it invisible to me. After an insane week of ‘going no where fast’ I stopped, remembered the importance of simplicity and finally listened to my gut. I focused on the simplest idea and suddenly the little details could breathe.
I learnt a lot on this one – I dabbled in the craft of bookbinding, learnt heaps about glue, percentages of colour and the power in a shot of neon. I got stuck trying to score and fold watercolor paper that was too thick for a crisp fold and was bailed out by the good advice of a friend. But whatever challenges it brought up I loved every minute of it and would do it again in an instant!
Thank you all for the amazing feedback, I’m more thrilled than you could imagine! Thank you Carly and Amy for such a fun opportunity, truly it’s impossible not to make something lovely with your fabrics. Best of luck to everyone who entered! Please vote for your favourites here.
Images | Kites, Hey Andre! | Happy Kids Kites, CubaGallery | Stitching by a sunny window, Rebecca Sower | All other images, Alisa Coburn | To view larger or for licencing click on image titles. Images are subject to copyright.
April 24, 2012 § 5 Comments
April 17, 2012 § 10 Comments
I love the Easter holidays, they force me to get out from behind my desk and into the the sunshine with my little buddies.
I’m not sure who enjoys it more, me or them. Although I have my suspicions.
Our days have been beautiful, crisp, clear and packed with mini adventures.
We’ve discovered Silkie chickens have wild hairdos
It is possible to sneak up on a peacock.
A pony’s nose is lovely and soft in the palm of your hand, but their teeth are not.
And the most beautiful green field in the entire world is in Collingwood.
Hope your Easter break was full of lovely surprises too.
March 23, 2012 § 5 Comments
Whilst checking out some of the squillions of Etsy films on setting up shop, I stumbled upon this one on the work of Sophie Blackall. It’s such a beautiful, gentle film to watch I was genuinely disappointed that it wasn’t longer. I loved finding out more about the way she works – putting down a detailed monochrome layer of chinese ink and then applying colour washes over the top. I think you can buy the Met poster you see her working on here.
Having been thoroughly inspired I found another Sophie short on Youtube. But even better, it belongs to fifteen short films made for the recent ‘Drawn in Brooklyn’ exhibition at the Brooklyn Library. Each on a different acclaimed childrens book artist, how they work and how they feel about their brilliant, culturally rich neighbourhood.
Such a nice way to spend a Friday morning – in Brooklyn, taking in great illustration and great coffee. Maybe one day I’ll make it back there in person.
November 3, 2011 § 13 Comments
I’ve been turning three toddler dresses into preschooler skirts, all without eye of newt or a slippery toad – much to the disappointment of our budding zoologists who’d be more than happy to help me find either.
Feeling pretty chuffed at how well they all turned out and how you can’t tell that the bodice of each dress, which had been well dribbled and gooped on, was ever there at all. Love that! … Is that a wart on the end of my nose!?
In other news – just like magic my stitchy mojo has returned strangely coinciding with the arrival of some gorgeous fabric from Belinda. Part of a stunningly beautiful parcel of Gretchen Mist goodies she sent me just before my blog break. I can’t stop looking at it. It’s so much better in real life than I can capture through the lens. All those sketchy details are lovely and the cloth itself is buttery soft. I’m going to have tough time cutting into it for sure. Hmm … wonder if Belinda has a wart on her nose?! ; )
For more Creative Space hocus-pocus visit here.
September 8, 2011 § 19 Comments
Spring has truly sprung. All the tell-tale signs are there – I have an awful *SNIFF!* snotty cold and the littlest possum and I have been madly cramming small jam jars with ‘suburban wildflowers’ (ie. a loose term including anything rangy that no one will miss).
I’m grateful for these scrappy little bouquets. I’m no green thumb, I have no lush borders erupting blossom – but I am working on making my foxy card part of a series of four sleepy woodland creatures. So it’s helpful to peer at the intricacies in each flower and steal design ideas from the best source possible. Of course the upside of having a cold is I can stick my nose right in each one; pollen hasn’t a chance of getting up there… Bees, however, are another story.
Hope you’re enjoying the changing seasons wherever you are. Happy Creative Space Thursday!
September 2, 2011 § 10 Comments
Hi there. Somehow a couple of weeks have snuck between posts. It’s all MOF’s fault (aka a Month of Finishings). After my last post I realized that I am completely serious about it. Yikes, that almost sounds responsible…
But I have to tell you about Jane…
It was fantastic! Was there ever any doubt. I decided to leave the novel till after seeing the film to enjoy it in it’s own right. I’m glad I did, it didn’t disappoint. Mia Wasikowska captured all of the complexities of Jane beautifully. Michael Fassbender was the perfect Byronic lead. And the production design was breathtaking. I particularly loved the wonderfully dark night scenes. Not a single hint of blue ‘moonlight’ in the background. Creaky Haddon Hall was swathed in inky black pierced only by a low flickering flame. Lots of long menacing shadows. Perfectly chilling!
At it’s end I was ejected onto a dark empty street dazed and completely satisfied. Itching to somehow capture that oppressive atmosphere on paper. The contrast between the stoic rigidity of society at the time and the wild natural world all around it intrigues me; feeling reflective of the imprisoned passions within the people themselves. It reminds me of Jane Campion’s ‘The Piano’ that way.
The images above were discovered on Flickr. I love the intense colour and atmosphere in each of them. The first is one of a fascinating series of rare Daguerreotypes owned by Rob Stevens. Some of these priceless objects were dug up in flea markets - imagine that! I love the subjects intense, almost burning, gaze. Such an intriguing portrait.
The two breathtaking landscapes below it are by photographer Irene Suchocki. Do check out her work. Eye Poetry, the name of her site is the most wonderful description of it. Every image has a beautiful narrative quality that I find completely compelling.
I’ll have things to show v.soon thanks to MOF. Sure feels good to say that! What pops up may seem a little all over the place but at least my pile of loose end projects will be shrinking. And now that the spring cleaning bug has bitten that has to be good.
Images | 6th Plate, Rob Stevens | Spying on a Tree, Irena Suchoki | Il Sentiero, Irena Suchoki | Jane Eyre 2011 Movie Poster detail, Design by BLT & Associates | Jane Eyre, Tiffany Lin | Pencil sketch, Alisa Coburn | To view larger or for licencing click on image titles. Images by Rob Stevens and Irena Suchoki are used with kind permission and are subject to copyright.
August 8, 2011 § 6 Comments
Spent a good part of the weekend doing boring, but necessary, domestic stuff and househunting but did manage to squeeze in some loose ink sketching. Can’t help noticing my current leanings in this one. Having loved the delicious gothic edge to Black Swan I’m ‘champing at the bit’ to see Jane Eyre; especially after reading this. I even have a babysitter all lined up. I can’t wait! There is endless cinematic beauty in pairing wild dramatic landscapes with human fragility. And nothing better than watching a strong woman weather all that is thrown at her and remain true to herself.
Images | Morning light in the valley, Alkiza | Pressed Flower, Sun in her eyes Tumblr | Geister, Westpark | To view larger or for licencing click on image titles.| Sketched portrait in ink and watercolor on paper, Alisa Coburn
July 12, 2011 § 7 Comments
Look what he brought me today!
This is my beautiful brooch from the Flowerpress Brooch Swap. Thank you Jesse, I absolutely adore it! Made by the hugely talented Jesse Breytenbach from Jezze Prints it has travelled all the way from Cape Town ready to be fawned over and shown off to all and sundry by me. (I will do an excellent job of that Jesse, promise.) Check out all those teeny-tiny perfect stitches and french knots! And the lovely cards all packaged beautifully … contented sigh! There’s nothing for it, now I have to find an elegant new coat to do it justice.
Susie did I mention what an inspired idea your Brooch Swap was. : )
June 22, 2011 § 14 Comments
For a while now I’ve been thinking about opening a little online shop and I think I’m ready to take the Etsy plunge. But before I leave dry land I thought it might be time to reveal a little more about me. (Yep, that’s me up there. Eep! I’m usually on the other, much comfier side of the camera) If you check out my About Page you’ll find it all updated including this, the only dodgy holiday snap of me to be found ’round here.
Although feeling super silly about it I realize that it has other huge benefits. I have been drawn into the amazing and wonderful world of Pinterest where time no longer seems relevant. I don’t know how long I’ve spent in here pinning away but I’m seriously loving it. I love that I can have loads and loads of boards and I can theme them or go all chaotic. I love seeing everything all at once and noticing patterns and rhythms in them. So addictive!
I wish I’d packed some chocolate and I’m not sure how long my water will last. But at least now that you’ve seen my picture I’m hoping someone will find me… eventually… if they don’t start looking at boards themselves… Sigh! Scratch that, please someone just throw me in some Green & Blacks.
My Pinterest link is now in my sidebar making friends with my Flickr account. Come and look, if you dare!
June 14, 2011 § 9 Comments
There is something a little romantic about foxes. I have to admit before living in London I’d never given them much thought. Never wondered if there were anything in the sly, craftiness badge. But late one night, on my way home through the sleepy streets of Southfields I came face to muzzle with a sleek red fox apparently out for a stroll. I stopped, he stopped. We both stared for what seemed like an eternity. Then, having deduced that I wasn’t much of a threat, he continued on his way. You’d guess a little more briskly and in the opposite direction, since I am a tad larger. But no, no, no. He strolled right past me. Right under my nose at an entirely leisurely saunter. Bold as brass.
That’s a kind of confidence you just have to admire. And to be cunning, to be a trickster I imagine you would have to have bucket loads of the stuff. Which brings me to the title of this post. I finally have a project I wanted to try out on my Gocco, and since it’s been, ahem, quite a while since my last Gocco frenzy I may need a bucket load of daring myself.
So this last week it’s been all busy-ness on paper rather than online. Designing, illustrating, mixing inks, working out how the whole registration thing works, playing with how much pressure to apply etc. etc. and writing lots of notes for next time. Oh yes, there most definitely will be a next time, I already have a design in mind. I’ll post some pics of the finished print soon and hopefully the winter light will play nice.
p.s. Thank you so much for all your sweet comments about my little snoozing fox. I can’t tell you how chuffed I am that you like him and you took the time to say. You are sweeties one and all! I’ve just finished nestling him in his packaging and he’ll be on his way tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done, so far there have been so many gorgeous brooches. Such a fab idea Susie!
May 18, 2011 § 6 Comments
Lately I’ve been drawn to the palette in these beautiful images. Nut browns, Delphinium purples and mustard yellows. I love the sombre feeling of the purples and browns and how even just a touch of yellow instantly lifts them. Speaking of brown, did you know that nut brown was the most loved colour of the Edwardian Era? It’s true. So much so, it was thought to be very unfortunate to be blonde. I always wondered why brown was ever present in early 1900s clothing and homes.
I love putting together image montages, it’s become a valuable part of the process for me and a lot of fun. It helps finding an atmosphere for an illustration. But I’ve been wondering whether it would be even simpler to start up a Tumblr or Pinterest page like this or this… hmmm.
Images | Untitled, Lesley Kerr | Misty Forest, Tariel | Edwardian Portrait, Otto Sarony Co. | Life is Love, Yves | Morning Awakening 1876, Eva Gonzales. To view larger or for licencing click on image titles.