As an aspiring illustrator and graphic designer, I kind of have an obsession with collecting pens...and stationery + art supplies in general. So like my weakness for cacti and film cameras, if I see a new Pentel brush pen or need an excuse to buy a new roller ball ink pen ( because who doesn't need loads of the same pen) then I go for it. So here is part one of my favourite illustration pens, paints, and papers that I like to use.


One of my most favourite art supplies are Promarkers! I use the pastel colours as I find it gives the loveliest look and they are great for mixing. I use them to mostly draw portraits and I love how when you draw with them they almost look like watercolours. 


Brush pens have to be my favourite things to use when it comes to art tools as they can add so much texture and fun to an illustration or painting. I normally use them to draw outline on my watercolour paintings. The ones I use are the Pentel Brush pen and the Zig Real Colour Brush pen.


Omg! I love the Winsor & Newton Watercolour mini palette. I've got the 12 Farben, 1/2 Napf & Pinsel one and I love it! I think the best thing about it is that it's portable as I've painted on train and in coffee shops with it and I mainly also use it as home because I like the colours so much. You can also replace the colours with new ones once they've been used up. It comes with a little paint brush but I mainly use a water brush pen.


I use many style and types of ink and roller ball pens. I love using them to draw outlines and add details to watercolours and portraits that I create. 


Oh Posca pens...a great staple to anyone's art kit! I mostly love using them to paint or draw onto fabric to create patterns as seen below. I use the thick nibbed one as they are great for creating thick textured lines. Mixing the black & white with colour creates a really fun effect. 


Pink Pig is a new discovery I found when looking for watercolour sketchbooks. I love the quality of the paper and it works really well with the Winsor & Newton paints. I like working mostly on a small scale so I got the A5 books from Amazon and got in natural. 

Becky x


Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the third of the interview instalments is talented illustrator and surface pattern designer Jodie Smith. She creates colourful and fun illustrations.

1.Explain a little about yourself and what you do?

I'm currently in my final year at Leeds College of Art, studying Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern. My style is quite illustrative and playful and this lends itself well to designing for children: children's fashion, interiors, books and greetings.

2.Do you have any favourite techniques?

 I prefer working with hand processes, more specifically collage and Lino print. I enjoy the unpredictability of Lino print and the textural marks made. But I also like the precise quality illustrator gives and think this works well for children too, I am currently in the process of combining the two.

3.What are your favourite art materials to use?

 I enjoy the process of mixing colours with acrylic paint and painting papers, and then cutting and layering shapes to create narratives within my designs.

4.Do you have a favourite piece of artwork you have made? 

I find it hard to like my own work as I am SO self critical, but I think this collage translated through screen print onto fabric worked quite well as the natural textures of collage printed well, and I appliqu├ęd on top with felt to add more tactility to the design. This design was created with the idea of it going on a children's t-shirt as a placement print.

5. What's your preferred colour palette?

I don't have a specific preferred colour palette, but I do work a lot in bright, fun colours as I feel they keep children's more interested in the designs. However my favourite personal colours tend to be mustard, baby blue, navy blue and orange- colours I feel could work well for gender neutral designs that I might focus on in future projects.

6. What influences your work?

I find inspiration everywhere: visiting new cities and countries, antique shops, cafes, craft fairs, children's illustration books, magazines (my go to's being frankie, betty and dot), scandinavian design, the list is endless.

7.Could you show us where you work/studio space?
My studio space at uni looks like this:
My space at home looks like this:

8.What path did you take to get where you are now?

 I studied a BTEC in Art and Textiles before coming to university, and this really helped me prepare for university in terms of coursework (there was and still is a lot of it) and using print facilities/dye labs/studio spaces.

9.Are there any defining moments in your creative career?

 I haven't got a fully developed creative career yet, as I am still a student. However I would say that being on my course has given me so many opportunities such as live projects with Tigerprint and Hallmark. I won a two week placement and cash prize with Hallmark which was a great opportunity and insight into the greetings industry. I also completed a placement with Lemon Ribbon, a children's fashion print company that designs for many well known high street retail brands. This year I was also shortlisted for the Mollie Makes magazine handmade awards under the 'youth category' and got to go to the awards day where I met and presented in front of the likes of Pinterest, Etsy and Tatty Devine, it was a very exciting and surreal day.

10.When did you know you wanted to be an artist/illustrator/designer/printmaker?

Ever since year 8 at school when I drew a mythical beast for a competition with our local art gallery, I didn't think much of it then but it got displayed in the gallery and my art teacher was very enthusiastic about it with my mum at parents evenings. He saw something in my work that early on and encouraged me to take art at GCSE level so if it wasn't for him (doing his job I guess) then I wouldn't of thought much of it.

11.What would be a normal day for you?

  My days recently have consisted of 12 hour days at university collaging, Lino printing, screen printing, designing on illustrator and chipping away at the dreaded dissertation. They are quite full on at the moment but I love what I do so I don't mind too much.

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12.What is your dream project or goal?

 I would LOVE to publish my own children's books, and to work for myself one day within my own studio space, and perhaps even have my own business as a surface pattern design studio with other designers to work alongside and go to trade shows and business meetings across the word with. I also like the idea of having my own shop full of things designed for children.

13.Is there any advice you could give to an aspiring artist?

 It is a really hard industry to get into so only do it if your heart is 100% into it. This makes the long days and late nights and working weekends A LOT easier as you get to do what you love everyday. Also be yourself, so many people try to be someone else and reproduce others work and this doesn't really get you anywhere. Find out what you want and your style - this can take a while but once you've found it it will be worth it as designs with the makers personality shining through really stand out.

Thank Jodie! I hope you have enjoyed the interview!

If you would like to see more of Jodie's work or shop her products here are the links below:


Ok, so my last post was about being productive and then I left almost a months gap in which I had written my next post...which is this one. Well done Becky! I promised myself I would blog more this year but I also think it's good to blog when I'm inspired instead of churning them out for the sake of it, but I promise this post is super good! It's all about my experience with becoming vegan and Veganuary. This year I thought it would be cool to start it off with trying out veganism for Veganuary. I've been vegan before but not for very long so I wanted to set myself a challenge to see if I could hold it out for one month. I've been a vegetarian for 10 years but the thought of being without cheese made me a little sad. But I managed it and not only for a month but until this present day and hopefully I will stay vegan in the future as well! Turning vegan was not as hard as I thought and to be honest it made me a lot more creative with my food. I also found that there are actually lots of food which are vegan and are so yummy! So I wanted to share with you my experience and some tips about being vegan and Veganuary!

Why is being vegan so good? I hear you ask:

It's not as expensive as everyone says

Veganism doesn't have to be expensive. Most foods you would normally eat are vegan such as fruits, vegetables, some breads (crumpets!!) and you can now find vegan alternatives in local supermarkets such as dairy free butter, milk and cheese which are similar prices to dairy products.

For the animals of course 

One of the most important reasons for becoming vegan is to help the animals. Where you research and find out how poorly animals are treated you will begin to find you want to change that.

Vegan food can be amazing

If you research about how to make vegan food or go to the right restaurants and cafes you will experience a whole new world of delicious and tasty vegan food. I recently made vegan mac 'n' cheese and it was the best thing ever!!!

It actually made me more adventurous 

When I became vegan I began to think that my favourite restaurants didn't do or did very little vegan meals but as I researched most restaurants do vegan alternatives and meals. So I started to try new meals that I would have never tried before and really explored new vegan/ plant based restaurants and cafes which I never knew existed. Some of my faves are Wildfood cafe and Saladpride which are both based it Covent garden ( blog posts about the coming soon! )

Some of my fave foods are vegan!

You would be surprised but some of your favourite foods and snack may be vegan! including Oreos, Cadbury drinking chocolate, some crisps, some dark chocolate and more! You can find vegan alternatives of you favourite foods as well such as dairy and egg free pesto ( so good) by Sacla, egg free crumpets, etc.

So if you are thinking of becoming vegan ( have I persuaded you?! ) here are some tips:

Don't worry if you make mistakes

I've made plenty of mistakes when it comes to thinking food is vegan when it isn't or not reading the ingredients properly. It's ok, learn from it and you will become a better vegan. 

Take time to convert to veganism

Some people can't just turn vegan overnight and that is totally fine. If you really want to go vegan maybe try to slowly take certain foods and ingredients out of your diet. Such as meat, then fish, then eggs and then dairy. 

Watch documentaries

If you are still undecided about turning vegan or simply want to educate yourself about the topic then I would suggest watching a few documentaries. Such as Vegucated, Earthlings and  Cowspiracy to name a few.

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