Pattern by hand

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I really loved creating the last pattern I painted by hand inspired by one of my illustrations, so I decided to try making another one. This one is inspired by my Song Thrush illustration. I created motifs from the background foliage, flowers and berries in the illustration. Here's a link to the basic concept on making a repeating pattern if you'd like to have a go!


Once I made the initial repeating tile, I traced over it several times using a black pen and layout paper (similar to tracing paper) to test the repeat, I love this part as you can really see the pattern working (or not!).


Then I traced it onto thicker paper (that would take the acrylic paints) using pencil and a light-box, this takes a while!


Once the pattern is traced onto the large sheet of paper I start painting the pattern. I usually paint all the repeating elements of one motif first or those of similar colours.


I loved the Himalayan Honeysuckle flowers and berries, they're such a great shape. The flowers are the flowers of the blackberry before they're blackberries and the foliage is bramble foliage.


Then it was time for all the little details, like the veins on the leaves, the highlights on the berries and the flower centres.


Then I had to paint the background, I picked a nice slate grey. It did take a while to paint around everything but it was very much a meditative process. And before I knew it...


I was almost finished! There's something magical about hand-painted paper, it just feels so special to touch! I scanned it in two parts because it was bigger than my scanner and used the original painted paper on a special project. You'll see in my next blog post!


I hope you enjoyed looking at the process! Thanks for dropping by today! : )


Penny Slider Cards

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


In the September issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine I made some circular penny slider cards for the 'Something for the Weekend' feature. I had made penny slider cards before but I'd never tried the circular version so it was a fun challenge. I used Lawn Fawn stamps to make the card.


The mechanism is very simple and the whole card is quite easy to put together and there's a free template at the back of the magazine to make your life even easier! So if you haven't tried kinetic cards before why not give this one a go! Pick up a copy of the September issue (147) if you don't already have it! : )


I'll be back soon with a new hand-painted pattern based on some of the florals in the background of my last bird illustration. It turned out great! : ) That's all for now, thanks for dropping by!


Bird Illustration Challenge - Song Thrush

Monday, September 7, 2015


I'm back today with a new bird in my Bird Illustration Challenge (you can view my archives to see previous birds), this one is one of my favourite garden birds in Ireland, the Song Thrush. This one turned out a bit more realistic and detailed compared to some of my previous illustrations. I'm still working on figuring out my style and what feels right to me, it's definitely a journey! I look a few photos along the way as I was painting this so you can see how it developed.


If you're wondering why I paint everything white first it's because of the dark background, if I just painted colour directly onto the dark background without the white the colours would be much duller and not so vibrant. An old art teacher taught me this, it really makes a big difference!


I love the markings on the Song Thrush, they have such a striking front, they really stand out in the garden! I used acrylic paints for this illustration, painted onto watercolour paper, nothing too fancy or expensive!


I picked some bramble foliage, blackberries (mine aren't quite ripe yet) and some Himalayan Honeysuckle to use as reference for the background, I didn't paint these as realistically as the bird. I wanted to try and create a more patterned feel, I think some of the background might actually work as a pattern! The flowers are the flowers of the blackberries before they turn into berries!


We have loads of blackberries around the edge of our property, I think it'll be a few more weeks before they're ready to eat though! I have a great recipe for apple and blackberry pie!


This is the Himalyan Honeysuckle, they really grow well here, they are tall, graceful looking shrubs, with bamboo-like stems and lush foliage. The beautiful dangling flowers turn into big juicy berries that the birds absolutely love!! They're a great source of food for the birds when the weather turns cold!


In an attempt to help develop my style I've started a daily sketchbook practice, you can check this out on my Instagram page where I post these daily! I haven't been doing it long but I highly recommend it, you don't need to spend long on each page, I'm using an A5 sketchbook which isn't too large. At the moment it's a mix of sketchwork, painting and hand-lettering but it can be whatever I want it to be! Have a creative week! Thanks for dropping by! : )