COFFEE SHOP FINDS: REVIVAL CAFE


Have you ever visited a place and been amazed by the charm of it? With original mix-matched mid century decor, kitchenware, decorations and just a whole lot of 50's and 60's vibes, Revival has it all. Revival cafe is situated in Bexley and is run by the mental health charity Mind and volunteers. I Visit not only for the lattes served in retro style teacups, and the Bob Marley vinyls being played on the record player but, also because it raises money for a charity close to my heart.

You'll often find the locals enjoying a cup of tea served in vintage teapots, listening to the likes of old and modern music played on vinyl whilst taking in the colourful and interesting interior of the cafe including records on the wall. I have not only enjoyed the coffees they serve but they do some pretty good homemade cakes and treats too. Recently Revival cafe have had a slight do over by re arranging the furniture and creating a new and exciting menu, including a panini named after The Beatles!

INTERVIEW : ARTIST & ILLUSTRATOR CLAUDIA GUARIGLIA

Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the fifth of the interview instalments is talented artist and illustrator Claudia Guariglia.

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

My name is Claudia and I'm an illustrator living in London. I love all sorts of visual arts, with a thing for photography and drawing, and in the process of getting back into block printing. I'm still trying to make it but hope to start working soon as a freelance artist!

2. Do you have any favourite techniques?

I'd say that what I like the most is painting, but I do mix it up quite a bit. I really like experimenting, so it doesn't matter which technique as long as I'm having fun and colour is involved. As much as I do love working in black and white from time to time, I could not imagine not working in colour.

WANDERING THROUGH BRUGES


Back in March I took a short trip to Bruges. So I thought I would share with you some photos I took. I absolutely loved my time there wandering through the cobbled streets, passed the canals and looking at the beautiful and quirky buildings and houses. There were bikes everywhere and some really cute cafes, chocolate shops & restaurants. 

HERE'S TO TAKING THINGS A BIT SLOWER


I've realised that slowing down and breathing is something I really need to make into a habit. Why am I always trying to rush things or feel I need to be doing a certain thing or a certain person to fit other peoples need? So I need to recharge and sort out my mental health which is why I've closed my Etsy shop for a while. Maybe this will just give me the chance to relax and focus on what I really want to do which is to create. I've basically taken a gap year this year and if this is the most important thing I learnt from it then I think it's a pretty good thing to learn. Not only do I want to slow down and do things at my OWN pace but I also need to start thinking about myself. Hopefully slowing down will help me to actually realise what I want to do and let me take actual care of myself. 

CHILLED WEEKEND MORNINGS & RECENT SKETCHBOOK PAGES


I found that it's good to take Sunday morning easy and have started to use the time to relax and do what I love most, draw and paint. What's great about the recent weeks is that early mornings in my home are mostly full of sun and it's so lovely to sit with a cup of coffee and paint with the warmth of the sun on my back. It's moments like these that make me feel blessed to be here. I thought I would show you some of my recent work from my sketchbook. A lot of my recent work has been inspired by botanics and plants. This is because my mum is a gardener and so there are always lots of pretty flowers in the garden and about million orchids in the living room which is where I spend some of time creating artwork.

INTERVIEW : SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNER AMY HODKIN



Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the fourth of the interview instalments is talented 
surface pattern designer and illustrator Amy Hodkin.

Explain a little about yourself and what you do?

My name is Amy and I'm currently in my final year studying Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds. I love to draw and design patterns for a variety of things.

Do you have any favourite techniques?

MY FAVOURITE ART TOOLS | PART 1


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.

PROMARKERS

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

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.

WINSOR & NEWTON COTMAN WATER COLOURS

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.

ROLLER BALL PENS

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. 


POSCA PENS

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 WATERCOLOUR BOCKINGFORD BANANA BOOK

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

INTERVIEW: ILLUSTRATOR & SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNER JODIE SMITH

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.

Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 16.57.18.png

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:


6 WAYS TO GET OUT OF A CREATIVE RUT


Oh, creative block! How I wish you wouldn't cloud my mind. But wait, there are so many sources of inspiration around me, I just need to know where to look. So, as a blogger and a creative I constantly hit a wall when it comes to writing or drawing but I've managed to find some ways to break through that wall. So here are my tips on fighting creating block and getting your creative juices flowing. 

  • LOOK AT OTHER BLOGS


My favourite thing to do is look at other blogs to read and gather inspiration. I follow a lot of creative blogs & travel blogs which are also topics that I write about. They may write about a certain topic that you have your own different views about or maybe you could recreate a blog post in your own style. This is also great if you are an artist or illustrator as even a simple colour palette or photograph can spark inspiration.



  • GO ON PINTEREST TO FIND INSPIRATION


This is probably the No.1 way to get your creative juices flowing. You probably already have a pinterest account so I most likely don't need to tell you this but Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. Whether you like art, baking, design, travel or fashion...it's all there! 

  • READ MAGAZINES


One of my favourite magazines to read is Oh Comely which is a new edition to my magazine stack. I also read Mollie Makes and I must take a look at Frankie magazine! Magazines are a great source of inspiration when creative block strikes and if you're not to precious about your magazines you could even cut out your favourite articles and images and make a moodboard or put them in a sketchbook for inspiration. A certain topic, illustration or photograph in a magazine make spark a new idea. 



  • ALWAYS CARRY A NOTEBOOK/SKETCHBOOK WITH YOU


Gurl, I always carry a notebook or sketchbook with me! I always find inspiration strikes when I bored on the train, or sipping coffee in a cafe or even when I'm trying to sleep! Jot down your thoughts or draw your ideas in a sketchbook and then you won't forget. Then you can come back to it anytime and use it a source of inspiration.


  • LOOK AT YOUR OLD BLOG POSTS


Old blog posts are hidden gems! For me as an artist I am always looking at my old drawings and thoughts that I put on my blog. I may like a particular new style that I tried out that I want to try again but forgot, or may have started a series but not finished blogging about it. So get a cup of coffee, flick through your old blog posts and have a look and read.


  • SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVELY THINGS


This could be plants, posters, flowers, cameras, books, sewing equipment, wall art...anything. You can even find inspiration from the most mundane of things. If you're an artist having plants and objects around you are not only pretty but are great for illustrating. Having a shelf of books will be handy to flick through and can help you gather inspiration and make you feel more homely. 



I hope you have liked reading this post and if you have any more tips on how to get your creative juices flowing I would love to know! 

INTERVIEW : WITH ILLUSTRATOR CARLY WATTS




Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the second of the interview series is talented illustrator Carly Watts. She creates colourful and beautiful illustrations that are inspired by animals and nature. 


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

I'm an Illustrator and designer currently based in Sheffield. At the moment I'm focusing on my little online stores but I also offer custom illustration commissions, such as blog headers and portraits. I love illustrating nature and animals, and I'm inspired by folk & decorative art. I adore colour! 

2. Do you have any favourite techniques?

I primarily work digitally these days which is perfect for me because I can be a little indecisive! This gives me a chance to play around with colours and textures and switch things up if they aren't working. Every single illustration starts off as a rough sketch on paper though. It took me quite a few years to get into digital illustration, I used to use watercolours regularly but I've totally fallen out of practice now! 

3. What are your favourite art materials to use?

If I couldn't work digitally anymore for whatever reason, I think I'd probably use gouache and ink! All of the equipment I use to make art right now is super basic. I literally draw with a mouse and don't have a fancy graphics tablet. I think this goes to show that any material is viable though, anyone can get started anytime with what they have! 

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

I actually really love the 'Fly Through Space' pattern I made recently. It's such a simple piece but the colours really appeal to me and I loved making a retro space themed piece. It sort of reminds me of something you might see at Epcot! 


5. What's your preferred colour palette?

I love to experiment with colour and I'm always looking for colour palette inspiration on Pinterest. I like working with deep, rich colours - blues, purples and greens. I also love using gold in my work, especially when I can add a slightly foiled effect. 

6. What influences your work?

Nature and the animal kingdom influence my work more than anything else. Whenever I'm stuck and unsure of what I will illustrate next, I always turn to animals to inspire me. I also love looking at vintage folk art, particularly for the vivid, unusual colour palettes. 

7. Could you show us where you work/studio space?

Unfortunately I don't have a proper work space at all! My boyfriend and I live in a small apartment and he has claimed the only desk space! I just have to make do at the moment which is fine, sometimes you just have to make the most of what you have. 



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

I've definitely taken a bit of a convoluted path to get to where I am now.  I studied art at college but then went on to do a drama degree! I then realised that I preferred the set design aspect of it which led to me getting interested in illustration. I've also worked in shops, and even in schools! There was no clear path for me (maybe there isn't really one for anyone!) but I just followed my instincts and hopefully I'll be able to grow my business even more next year. 

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

Last year I was fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in Secret 7" which is a charity initiative. They take 7 tracks by 7 of the best know musicians in the world and then press each one 100 times to vinyl, artists from around the world then have the chance to design artwork for the sleeves which are then sold for £50 each - all of the money goes to a different worthy cause each year! It was a particularly special experience for me, because the exhibition of the sleeves was situated at Somerset House! 

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

It's a little bit of a cliche to say, but I've always been interested in art from a young age! When I was at college I was incredibly interested in becoming a fine artist, I just didn't think it was a particularly realistic goal at that time. It's really special to be able to create art each day now. 



11.What would be a normal day for you?

If I have any commissions on the go, I would usually start off by creating a rough sketch on paper and sending it off for approval before I start on the digital version. If I'm just working on new designs/patterns for my shops, I like to do a little research to start with. I have lots of Pinterest boards with colour palette ideas and little things that have inspired me. I will do some sketching in my pad and then scan my drawings so I can start working digitally with them. I also have to set aside some time to upload new work to my shops - a little boring but it has to be done! 

12.What is your dream project or goal?

I would really love to be able to have my illustrations published in a book in 2017! I'm currently working on an entry to a Folio Society competition - the winner will have the chance to illustrate Mansfield Park so I'll see how I get on!

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

Experiment with all different types of media and never stop learning and practising! Don't worry if you sometimes lose your inspiration, you will always get it back - just keep scribbling and sketching. Set up social media accounts and share your work/connect with other artists - this really helps with motivation! 

14. Is there anything else you would like to add?

If you really dream of becoming an artist, please don't give up! Even if you don't have a lot of time to create, just keep going with it and utilise whatever resources you have. Start out small and keep building.


Thank you so much Carly! I hope you've enjoyed this interview!

If you would like to follow Carly or see her work here are some links you should be sure to check out! :





MY CREATIVE PROCESS: DRAWING PEOPLE & TIPS


When it comes to drawing people I still have a lot to learn, but it's one of my most favourite things to do. I love being able to create different expressions, details, paint glasses and my most favourite thing, the hair and use bright colours and patterns. So I thought I'd show you my process of illustrating people. I've not been in the most creative spirit so this new project will hopefully help get my creative juices flowing. First of all, what I find easiest is painting with a water brush pen as it means I can paint quicker.


I find that the eyes are probably the most important part for me when illustrating people as they hold a lot of expression. You can also size up the other features better once you perfected the eyes. I like to play with bright colours when painting the hair and different hairstyles create a really fun vibe.


So here are some tips on illustrating people:

Experiment with facial features 
By experimenting with different facial features you can find what style you like. So draw lots of different eyes, noses and lips using different materials such as watercolour or brush pen and then pick your favourites that are most aesthetically pleasing to you.


Find your style 
By finding your 'style' you feel so much more confident when painting people. Your style could be something small and simple such as a signature look. This could be painting the cheeks in a certain way, adding marks to the face or hair, drawing the eyes in an unusual way. Try to draw in a way that is different to other people.

Design is in the detail

Adding details such as freckles, cheeks and glasses can really create a detailed illustration and add character and lots of personality to your drawing. It can also guide you into creating your own personal style.

Create a colour palette
This tip you don't have to do but creating a color palette can help when painting people and clothes. You can then use these colours for the skin, hair, eyes, and clothing / accessories. Choosing a colour palette can be really helpful if you are combining illustrations of people with a setting.

Experiment with different hair styles
This is probably my most favourite thing to do as I love unusual hairstyles. It can also add a lot of personality and character to the illustration. Try drawing hairstyles you wouldn't normally draw or find hard to draw. Use different colours and most importantly have fun with it.

Pratice, pratice, practice!
This is the most important tip of all! The more you pratice the more you will improve in your illustration skills.



I hope you have liked reading and have found some of the tips helpful! Do you illustrate people? I'd love to see your work!! 

PAINTING IN COFFEE SHOPS


Painting in public such as places like coffee shops can be very daunting at first. I can be quite shy when showing people my work and it the thought of it made me anxious. But, I found a little coffee shop that I've been going to for quite a while now called Chin Chins coffee house. It's local to me, it's cosy and totally relaxing. So I got my little Winsor and Newton set out, my water brush pen which is a godsend and my pink pig watercolour sketchbook and started doodling. I've found some of my favourite paintings and watercolours have come from this and it's also a good way of starting conversations and even telling people about your work and shop. I find having company helps but I've even managed to paint on my own which is a small win for me.

I found that once I showed my work people really liked it and asked for more such as commissions! So never be scared to paint in public. I'm now even selling my own hand painted cards which are only available in the ChinChins coffee house!!

In other news I've decided to not apply for uni this year and instead focus on my health and well-being, January hasn't been the most amazing start but it has helped me realise I need to focus on my self and painting in coffee shops helps with this by relaxing me. It's also helping to build up my portfolio so when I do apply for uni I'll have more recent and experimental work in my sketchbooks!

This seems to be going off on a tangent so I'll leave it here for now. Thanks for reading.

Do you paint or doodle drawings in coffee shops? I'd love to know!

MY ENAMEL PIN COLLECTION



Collecting brooches and pins is something I've always enjoyed doing! For many years I've built up a vast collection of vintage pins but that will be for another day. Today I wanted to share with you the start of my new collection of modern enamel pins created by some of my favourite artists on Etsy. I love retro stuff, feminism and plants so you can't be surprised that I picked out pins that resembled these three things. Why I love collecting pins so much is because I love art & illustration, patterns, typography and colour and I love seeing these techniques explored in pins that you can wear. Each one if totally different and the added details make them so interesting. I also love textured pins where you can feel the outline. 


One of my favourites is this peace girl power enamel pin. I love the colours, the typography, the silver and the little love heart details in the nails. 


So if you wanted to know which great artists I bought these cute and charming enamel pins from here's the info ( All found on Etsy) :

Monstera Leaf Pin - This Way To The Circus

Girl Power Pin - Zabby Allen

Cacti Cup Pin - Water sounds

Sofa Cat Pin - Peskimo

House Pin - Finest Imagery

Thanks for reading! My pin game is strong, how strong is your in game? Do you have a pin collection? I'd love to know!

INTERVIEW: PRINTMAKER & ILLUSTRATOR ALEESHA NANDHRA


Welcome to the new artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the first of the interview series is talented illustrator-sometimes printmaker Aleesha Nandhra. She creates awe inspiring screen prints/illustrations that have a playful attitude and are full of colour and fun. So without further ado here's what she has to say: 


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

I am an Illustrator-sometimes Printmaker from London. I solve visual problems for clients, as well as constantly producing nee work that I feel others will enjoy!

2. Do you have any favourite techniques?

I love mixing things together: drawing, painting, collage -I really enjoy printmaking too.

3.What are your favourite art materials to use?

 Pencil, fine-liners and gouache paint

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

That is so difficult to answer...I make every piece for different reasons, and in different ways... I can't pick! A couple of favourites from this year are my comic "Grief" that was printed in Issue 13 of OFFLINE my Space Travel inspired cards.

5.What's your preferred colour palette?

I don't have a preference in terms of colour, but I do try and limit the palette I use every time. I feel that it helps me make quicker decisions because there are less options. I use red a lot - it's my favourite colour.

6. What influences your work?

Music, travel, food, packaging and good stories.

7.Could you show us where you work/studio space?


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

After completing my A-Levels I went on to study Illustration at The Cambridge School of Art I graduated in 2014, and have since done some part time teaching, freelance work, in-house work at a toy stationery factory, and completed a screen printing internship. Now I am where you fine me now! Still doing quite a few of these thins. It's nice to be creative busy.

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

The first time I went to WHSmiths and picked up a magazine with my work in it...that was a big deal. It was amazing to see my work in this tangible thing that someone could buy.

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

I've always loved drawing, and art. I think I always knew that I wanted to pursue something creative. I decided that my work fitted best in the world of illustration when I was looking to study Art/Design at higher education and visiting lots of degree shows. Everything just naturally grew from there!

11.What would be a normal day for you?

Waking up and going or a run, then after showering and having breakfast I like to be at my desk before 9am to check emails (and instagram...) Then I go through my to do-list and check what needs working on first, put some music on, and get to it! At some point I do stop for lunch...and a few cups of tea, but I like to be at my desk from 9-5. Of course some days I head over to Print Club to do some screen printing, or I head into school to do some teaching - it just depends on what day of the week it is. :)


12.What is your dream project or goal? 

My dream project or goal would be to create work for a band or musician - gig posters, album artwork, merchandise etc. That or create illustrations for food packaging.

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

I feel that I am still in the early ages of my career myself! So I'm not sure what other advice I could give other than: Keep working hard and what you love to do!

Thank you so much Aleesha! I hope you've enjoyed this interview!


If you would like to follow Aleesha or see her work here are some links you should be sure to check out! :