I’ve been visiting Chats Palace often lately, after dark, and seen some great live music there. Maybe I shouldn’t be talking about it because it’s a bit of a hidden treasure at the moment which is what makes it so special. Still, I drew the Palace to express my fondness.
I used my old Hackney Town Hall illustrations to learn how to make a GIF.
(Doff of the cap to Miss Holly Wales.)
As I’ve been preparing to illustrate a picture book, there’s been so much to enjoy in the research stage. I spent some afternoons in book shops sitting on the tiny stools in the children’s sections (strictly during school hours), devouring stories like I was still five years old. I’ve also learned a lot through blogs like picture book makers about the talented adults who know how to speak to children in the language of pictures. And one of the most eloquent illustrators I’ve discovered in the process is Yasmeen Ismail. At the Bookmaker’s Studio exhibition at the House of Illustration I picked up Specs for Rex and read through it twice and then a third time with my Ma because that felt like reading it for the first time again. The characters have such energy and warmth. A lion cub with a glasses complex, why that’s me! …
Rex has new glasses and he HATES them! He does NOT want to wear them to school, and he tries to hide them – in the strangest places! But it’s pretty tricky hiding specs that are so big, and round and RED . . .
It’s funny how things turn out, though, because Rex’s specs end up winning him a gold star, and a new friend. Even better, he can SEE properly.
Now, most recently Ismail has published a story called “I’m a girl” about a tomboy. Hoping I can get a copy at Bologna Book Fair next week.
2014 is a big year of weddings in my circles. I’ve just returned from the wedding of my sister-in-law, who celebrated on a beautiful hillside in Mpumalanga, South Africa. These are the Save the Date cards and invitations I designed for Sarah and Harshil.
Last year I moved my studio back home and set up in the corner of a room overlooking the River Lea and Hackney Cut. With one of the finest views in east London I quickly set to work on this illustration. The project began with taking photos of the activity on the towpath and sketching the most frequent passers. Some of my favourites are the swans and cormorant who have a strong contrast but co-exist happily, often cosying up by the weir; the shaggy black dog who walks past every day and seems so joyful to be outdoors that it always makes me smile to see him; and the great swaying plane trees who watch over everyone.
The illustration follows the style of the Picton Pattern, except its current format benefits from the inky texture of the gouache paint. A few weeks ago photographer Jørn Tomter visited me to document the progress of the painting for I Love Chatsworth Road.
I also couldn’t help turning this illustration into a pattern as it lends itself well to a repeat. I hope to see it as a wallpaper eventually.
I’ve been working on a lot of patterns lately. Today I finished a design inspired by the beautiful scenery in ‘Les Revenants’, a french drama about a mountain town beside the resevoir. The Happy Accident is a double layer landscape watercolour painting. The image was developed to the soundtrack by Mogwai. Below are the stages of the process so you can see how the Happy Accident came to be…
I just came across these beautiful hand-crafted aprons. Sewing an apron is a project on my very long to-make-and-do list, but I might acquire one of these until that day comes. The Apron Company is one of many fresh new local businesses taking root in Hackney. Quite the opposite of ‘hackneyed’.
A recent watercolour painting…
Aesop are responsible for a range of skin, hair and body products that apparently transcend the cosmetic and embrace a philosophy broaching literature, whimsy and red wine. Regardless, they have set up shops across some of the greatest cities and worked with brilliant architects to create immaculate interiors. I enjoy going inside an Aesop shop, treating the visit like a cultural, rather than a retail, experience. I’ve yet to spend my money there. My attempts to take photographs in store have always been awkwardly diffused by the sales assistant, but fortunately Dezeen Magazine has a number of articles detailing the designs seen below.
City Plaza, Hong Kong by Cheungvogl / Collins Street, Melbourne by Kerstin Thompson Architects / Islington, London and Tiquetonne, Paris by Ciguë / Fillmore Street, San Francisco by NADAA