It was a amazing opportunity to work on a collaborative project with Christine O'Neil the writer of Princess Imogen's Independent Day and the team from Walker books and Mumsnet in this children's book commission for The Book of Bedtime Stories.
Here's a lovely review of the story from a young reader in the Guardian!
Memories for Nan's Coffinis a lovely story written by an extraordinary women from New South Wales- Helen Snodgrass. Although we never met in person I felt a strong connection with Helen throughout this project. Of all the stories she has written this one was very important to her and I am very pleased to have been lucky enough to help her create this picture book.
Sadly last year Helen lost her battle with breast cancer shortly before her 59th birthday.
"As a clinical nurse consultant in oncology she treated patients, counselled families, trained staff, improved processes and made valuable contributions to nursing association and government committees for over 20 years.
Helen found a special place in the hearts of everyone who knew her and was a skilled 'baby whisperer'."
Her devoted, long-term partner, Vaughan.
I'm in contact with Vaughan, another special person I have met through this project and we will be looking into the possibility of having Helen's story published in the future. In the meantime here of some pages from the book Memories for Nan's Coffin.
Dusters is the name of the Children's picture book I produced for my MA final project.
It is based on childhood memories of time spent with my Grandmother, growing up in a small town in the North East of England.
My Grandma had the ability to transform everyday activities into exciting adventures and this story is a representation of her sense of fun and the joy she brought to my childhood.
I was over the moon to have my work for Dusters highly commended in the Macmillan Prize for Children's Books in 2012.
These images were produced for Rocking baby a company focused on providing good quality products for babies and young children.
The aim was to capture the joy of childhood while incorporating Rocking Baby's colour palette and a hand drawn, retro feel to the website.
Concept drawings for new exhibition areas within the International Centre For Life.
North Chocolates is based in Newcastle upon Tyne and produces the most amazing chocolate from great quality ingredients.
I worked closely with the founder Bev Stephenson to produce the artwork for their range of Angel of the North inspired chocolate. The aim was to represent the iconic sculpture while maintaining a handmade feel.
I've been trying to get out and about more to sketch some local landmarks and places around my community. I usually just do a few quick sketches in pencil or pen and then bring them back to my studio to work into them using different mediums.
I love using dip pen and ink to recreate the scene or work on a different scale using a light box. I also like to experiment with layers using colour and texture and try to create an image that represents the atmosphere of the place as well as a likeness of the landmark or buildings.
These are a few I have been working on recently. I'm hoping to get out more this year and capture some of the stunning natural and historical places around the North East- Not forgetting the interesting people enjoying them!
Submissions for the House of Illustration competition to illustrate Michael Morpurgo's War Horse.
I worked with The School of Health and Social Care at Teesside University to illustrate a comic strip about coping with persistent pain. The aim of this particular strip was to encourage people to express their own descriptions of the pain they live with on a website called the Pain Toolkit which aims to inform and support people who suffer from a range of issues surrounding persistent pain in their lives.
Part of the project was to design a character to represent pain itself. I really enjoyed finding a way to bring such an intangible subject to life through my illustrations.
I always make sure I carry a sketchbook, just in case.
These are examples from a few of my sketchbooks. Some of them are research for commissions, many of them are from just being out and about, traveling to work or waiting to pick up my kids.
I love looking at other people's sketchbooks- see what you think!
South Marine Park
Dad at school, 1950's
Down by Minchellas
Waiting in the swimming pool cafe...
Dusters- Joyce's memories
To create one ink drawing every day during October.
Created by Jake Parker in 2009, Inktober has grown in size every year since.
My brother bought me a sketchbook for Christmas entitled "One Sketch A Day" back in 2015. Since then I have kept a daily sketchbook and rarely leave home without it.
It's been a great way to practice my drawing skills but it also allows me a few moments a day to just stop and take a moment to connect with the space I'm in. Often I find myself sketching on the metro train- there's plenty of interesting subject matter and it makes the journey fly over!
I like to look back through my sketches occasionally- it's become a visual diary of my life. I have made a point of not editing out any of the sketches- (even the terrible ones!) because I feel it's more important to keep a record of my thought process and the moment in time I have captured.
For the record- biro is my favorite sketching medium, it responds so well to the change in pressure and speed and can be used for different textures and shading. I would like to add a bit more colour in future though.
Here are some of my favourites, to see the full project click here.