A week of meals

Holiday meals sm

Last year I had a fun time drawing my food for a week –  over a double A4 spread.

So, I’m about to embark on it again – I’ll try to keep you a bit more up to date on this wacky drawing.


Ooh! My notebook arrived!

img_5544A couple of weeks ago I brought you up to speed with a little project I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks.
A bit of a crazy notebook thing ..

It all looks pretty normal on the outside.

I’ve enjoyed planning out one or two projects using notebooks and thought it would be quite fun to try to design a notebook that I can use to project plan.

Now, I prefer to use A5 notebooks that I can carry around in my bag and I also prefer to have all the pages numbered, so that I can refer to a specific page for a specific element of the project. So, I knew I wanted at least those elements present.


img_5539img_5540But my approach has been a little topsy-turvy; rather than simply designing a notebook cover and then selecting a style of line for the interior pages, I instead opted for a fish-mash of different paper styles for the interior pages.

So each left-hand page is roughly blank, or at least doesn’t really have lined paper, and the right-hand pages have a selection of different lined papers. But the whole thing is presented as if you’ve already collected this diverse range of different papers and stuffed them into a notebook.

So, every page is a different selection of hand-drawn papers for you to collect your thoughts on.


All the pages are numbered (3-66)

The first page is set out so you can use it as a contents page, if you so wish.

It comes with three stickers – so that you can label the front cover

It’s like some crazy scrapbook of a notebook – that seems to encourage sticking in of found articles and scrapes of additional paper.

Available on my Etsy site






And finally!

img_5323Over the Summer I’ve been tussling to create some kind of products.

I produced a couple of little booklets about drawing food earlier in the year, for an online Sketching course I was on with Sketchbook Skool.

Focus and Location


And from those I created a little deck of drawing cards, which are quite fun to shake things up a bit with your drawing.

(And then there’s my ‘naughty “50 Shades of Grape” tea towel)

But four things isn’t quite enough to lay on a craft fair table; so I’ve been having to work on creating a foundation of ‘things’ to sell.

I’ve added about 20 cards onto my Etsy site, so far.

And I’m in the process of making some invitation cards and a third little booklet (Which is a bit trickier than the previous two, as it is completely original illustrations throughout – so taking considerably longer to put together)

Hmm, not quite sure what I am anymore …

Jills HouseWe’re talking 2009 when I discovered Danny Gregory’s approach to drawing when I first started drawing again.10 - Apr - 12 - Creative License

(I realise that it is grammatically impossible to ‘first start drawing again’, but my pre-2009 drawing wasn’t really, truly drawing for a purpose, it was aimless drawing, drawing for the sake of producing a picture of a pretty scene. I was going through the motions, but I didn’t know who I was)

flash forward to now –

and I still see myself as a drawer of things in front of me, but things have changed, and warped.



bg1 As a magazine illustrator – I find myself being sent photos to reproduce and, sometimes, I’m sent ideas which I have to somehow conjure into reality (Elvis driving a camper van is still one of my favourites!) which involve sourcing photographs and manipulating them into a drawing.

This was something I recently had to do with a series of mythological tales. One of my personal favourites being the Tale of Brave Gelert. A faithful hound who protected it’s masters’ infant child from a wicked wolf.











As a card designer – I find myself taking illustrations and tweaking and tuning them in Photoshop.

Adding in, necessary, details; such as the information that is found on the backs of cards.








04-04-caramelised-red-onionAs a writer of foodie booklets – I find myself having to test, and retest (and retest) recipes before I can think about illustrating them.

And having to work out page designs.







It’s quite fascinating finding out what’s just around the next corner; what I’ll be asked to turn my (drawing) hand to next …

Keeping my feet on the ground.

PlateI’ve been experimenting with little ‘incidental’ images to add to blog posts; part of a commission for a friend who has a blog about teaching  – Mr Hill’s Musings.

It’s been an interesting commission, forcing me to learn to use some basic functions of Adobe Illustrator. I’ve always said that computers and technology are a bit like a foreign language – we only tend to learn what we need to ‘get by’.

I know a lot of illustrators enjoy using technology to tidy things up and make clean lines, perhaps even producing a whole project using technology,but I have to admit I like to see that contact with the paper – those wobbly lines, variations in line width and colouring. It just seems so much more authentic to me.


Earlier in the year I had to illustrate a cartoon picture of a couple of pirates having a bit of a disagreement.

pirates 01

I was really pleased with how the basic drawing came out – I liked experimenting with the different forms of line and texturing.

And then used pantomime colours for the colouring;

pirates 02Am I entirely happy with the outcome?

Hmmm … maybe it’s a bit too bright, for me (I do like those muted colours…) But I think it fits the brief of a jolly illustration of funny pirates slaughtering each other .

Urban Sketching Symposium 2016

Sad to be leaving Manchester today.

I’ve had a few crazy days of urban sketching. I’ll write more on this when I get back from my break – however – it was fantastic to meet up with old friends, but also to meet up with people I’ve only been in touch with via social media; people I’ve had conversations with, but never met. I also got to meet a load of creatives who I’ve admired for a long time – in fact it’s been so long that they actually knew me and recognised me! Boy, was that amazing! 

It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.

And everyone was very supportive and friendly.

Now I’m looking forward to the next one – in Chicago! (Mmmm… That might be a bit tricky!)

North Leeds Food Festival

Lucy was doing a Saturday morning course at Leeds University Art Department a few months ago; she really enjoyed experimenting with various art forms and it was a good excuse for Caroline and I to hang out in Leeds for a couple of hours; just enough time to wander into town and grab a cup of tea!

On one of the notice boards there was a poster calling out for volunteers to help illustrate for North Leeds Food Festival. (Facebook Event)

South West - Riverford boxI emailed with my details and now find myself finishing off an illustration for the festival.

Trying to think of a foodie-related thing to tap into people’s feelings about food festivals – especially when they’re focussed on local produce – I figured a ‘fruit and veg box’ would be a good way to go.

Not this particular fruit and veggie box (on the left) as this was one I produced for Ali Ray’s “Pitch Up, Eat Local” cookery book a couple of years ago, for The AA.

So I’ve been working on a fresh box! In fact I only checked out this older drawing as I was completing the Leeds Food Festival illustration; and I think the newer one is a bit more colourful as it includes fruit and vegetables together.


The Pink Lady of Bamburgh

04 Pink smI recently had to illustrate a ghostly tale for a magazine.


The tale of the Pink Lady of Bamburgh Castle, in Northumberland.

The story goes that long ago this ghost was a Northumbrian princess.

She fell in love with a boy, whom her father disapproved of; so sent him overseas for seven years. Forbidding the two to keep in touch in any way.

The girl became more and more downhearted at this separation and in a final attempt to resolve the issue, her father told her that his spies had discovered that the boy had married someone else whilst stationed abroad and that, to cheer her up after this news, the castle seamstress would fashion a dress in the girl’s favourite colour; pink.

The girl dressed in her new garment, climbed to the highest part of the castle’s battlements and flung herself down onto the rocks below.

A little while later the boy returned from his station abroad. Unmarried, of course.

Every seven years the process, in her beautiful pink gown is supposed to wander the oldest parts of the castle, before gliding down the rocky path to the beach, where she mournfully gazes out to sea. Awaiting the return of her lost love.

Day 1

At the moment these three boxes are hanging around me all the time.

Three A5 jewellery boxes that contain A5 pages of three booklets that I’m working on. Number 2 is just about completed.

#the100dayproject, #notfood
Day 01 sm

The 100 Day Project

13051746_938988112886750_811150003194292378_nThe 100 Days Project

via instagram – starts today – The 19th April.

I’m wondering about starting it – 100 … drawings of NOT food – just to prove that I’m not a one-trick pony