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 as she wrote it after receiving a terminal diagnosis. Helen wanted this story to help people to talk about grief and bereavement with children and loved ones. I am very pleased to have worked with Helen to help her create this picture book.
Sadly 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 Helen’s partner Vaughan, another special person I met through this project. Together we have been working towards finding a publisher willing to take Helen’s story on board.
We are very excited to be in the process of working with an independent publishing house at the the moment to discuss a first edition print run next year. More news to follow!
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.
Centre For Life
It was very exciting creating these concept drawings for new exhibition areas within the International Centre For Life.
The drawings were used within a funding application to create a new maker space and a space themed exhibition.
The bid was successful and I cant wait to visit when the spaces when they are open to the public.
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 getting out and about sketching 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.
These are a few I have been working on recently. I'm aiming to capture some of the stunning natural and historical places around the region. Not forgetting the interesting people enjoying them!
North Shields Fish Quay
Submissions for the House of Illustration competition to illustrate Michael Morpurgo's War Horse.
I love working with inks, especially black indian ink and even biro.
Here are some illustrations I created for Inktober the annual social media project set up by Jake Parker in 2009.
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
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.