During April for MATS Bootcamp we were asked to create a magazine illustration that could sit alongside a magazine article written by Beth Kempton the topic of Wabi Sabi.
Wabi Sabi is a Japanese view that nothing is perfect, everything changes, that that’s OK – and in fact there is beauty to be found in that imperfection. Beth’s article, which was an extract from her book Wabi Sabi:Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, focused on how it’s helpful to accept change in order to be more resilient when change inevitably occurs.
It took me a long time to work out what I was going to draw for this assignment but in the end I decided to illustrate the bamboo that Beth referenced in her article. I also came across lots of examples of cyanotype photography online, which inspired the textured background and white leaves.
I don’t know if it was coincidental or not but around the time I made this illustration I kept coming across quotes and articles about accepting imperfection, including a quote from Stephen Hawking, which was on the front cover of Flow Magazine (issue 29). I think maybe this was something I needed to be reminded of and it was helpful to have it reinforced.
There’s one more assignment for MATS Bootcamp but in the spirit of being comfortable with imperfection, I’ve decided to give myself permission to skip that one and continue focusing on my current 100 Day Project, which you can follow along with on Instagram.
In letting this go I feel like I’ve given myself some space to think about and plan the next pieces of work I want to make. Is there something you can let go of that would help create space, either physically or mentally?
Like last year I’m taking the Make Art That Sells Assignment Bootcamp course right now. It runs until May and each month we receive an assignment from Lilla Rogers. This time of year can often feel a bit slow for me in terms of making work and finding inspiration and motivation, so having some structure to work with can really help.
Our first assignment in February was to design a floral journal cover. We were each assigned different flowers to include in the design and mine was Lily of the Valley. The image below is my final design and I decided that I would place that design across the spine of the journal to make it more dynamic and interesting.
I made some other floral arrangements based on the same design and they’re now for sale as a greeting card and postcard set in my Etsy shop.
In March we were given a very unusual assignment, which was to design a set of salt and pepper shakers. The brief was very open and we were able to take it in any direction we chose. I usually do better with more structure than that but I worked through some ideas and decided to keep things fairly simple with these bunny shakers. I imagine they’re be made from ceramic but I could also picture them in wood.
I toyed with the idea of designing them as wooden salt and pepper mills rather than shakers but the idea of twisting the bunnies’ heads, potentially leaving them the wrong way around seemed almost gruesome!
I’m now waiting (im)patiently for April’s assignment and I’m also giving some thought to joining in with the 100 Day Project again this year. It starts on 2nd April (2 days’ time) and I’m still not sure what my project is going to be. Any suggestions?
Just before Christmas I decided that I wanted to create an illustration for each of the 12 days in the song. When I looked it up I discovered that there are quite a few different versions, so depending on which one you sing, you may have 9 dancing ladies or 12 pipers piping, or even ships sailing or bulls roaring.
I decided to go with the version I was most familiar with, which turned out to be one of the oldest versions, although probably less common than others.
I also started creating patterns that would co-ordinate with each image but as I started this series quite close to Christmas the patterns fell by the wayside. I hope I can get back to working on those but we’ll see. For now, here are the 12 images I created for the song The 12 Days of Christmas.
I hope you’ve had a fun festive season and a peaceful start to 2019.
P.S. To stay up to date with what I’m working on and see some work that I don’t share on the blog, sign up for my monthly email newsletter and receive a discount off your next purchase from my Etsy shop.
At the end of last year (and at least once before) I’ve shared a series of 12 photos – one from each month of the previous year. Here’s my selection from 2018.
Looking back through photos and choosing your favourites from each month is a nice way to remind yourself of what you’ve done, where you’ve been and how things have changed. Sometimes it sparks ideas of things you might want to do more of in the coming year. I purposely chose images that weren’t things that I’d drawn, as a way of stepping back from my sketchbook and looking at the bigger picture.
Could you scroll back through your photos from this year and choose a favourite (or 12)? What are they? Are there any pictures that you’d forgotten about?
I hope you’ve been enjoying the festive season and have time to rest and enjoy yourself.
I wanted to let you know that there’s a sale on in my shop right now. Lots and lots of items have discounts of up to 40% and if you’re in the UK, shipping is free too. I have plans to introduce some new products to my shop over the coming months so if anything sells out now it probably won’t be coming back.
If you have any questions or difficulties placing your order, just let me know and I’ll do what I can to help.
And if you’ve bought from my shop over the past year, thank you very much. I really do appreciate it. Wishing you a peaceful end to 2018.