This is how B and I spent our Christmas afternoon - modelling like crazy! These great gifts were from Molly and her husband Ben: miniature kits. Mine was a pack of coloured play clays, referencing my pottery days, with instructions to make a Happy Llama. I did, and made him a little friend and a garden of flowers with the leftovers - I had the best time playing and inventing. B’s kit was a little racing car, rather more challenging than my kit and took more time to build, which kept him busy and in his element all afternoon. It’s so cute and beautiful, and goes really fast on its tiny wheels - not dissimilar to the Caterham 7 he used to run before the Lotus Elise he has now, so it's clear where the inspiration for this gift came from!
We have a £5 Christmas gift rule in our family, and it is great fun. Nobody must spend more than £5 on each other, just put as much thought and imagination as possible into finding a gift. One year I made Theo a bunch of sock monsters using all the odd socks I collected during the year left behind after his stays with us; this year he gave his time to replace the aged fuse-box with a modern trip system for our Christmas present.
For our part, B and I had a lovely afternoon tracking down gifts for under a fiver in the pound shop - we found a 1000 piece jigsaw for Molly the demon ‘puzzer’ for £4.99, and horror slime with a spider in it plus an Aldi Beard Wash for her husband Ben, eminent YouTuber Beardo Benjo who specialises in horror gaming. Look out for a beautifully groomed beard on his channel!
Thanks for visiting, see you next week - or next year, should I say!
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Christmas cards all finished, posted and delivered! The design is a rubbing of the lid of an old Indian box, made by passing an inked roller over Japanese tissue laid on top of the box. Once the ink was dry a shmoosh of glitter glue (obligatory) added a sparkly sheen, which looks speckled in this scanned image.
Somewhat bizzarely, I also got into Peppa Pig this week ...
I often listen to YouTube videos while I work, and one day I suddenly noticed an autoplay anomaly had taken me into the middle of Peppa Pig - Official Channel - I had never seen a Peppa Pig episode before, and I really liked it! I have seen them all now, several times, loving the drawings, fully developed characters, stunning compositional sense and clear, soft colours. The sound track is as good as the animations, rich with fun little touches of giggles, gasps, and 'uh-oh' sounds which carry the stories along smoothly. I find the whole series beautifully put together, and think I can learn a lot from it.
The schoolroom clips are some of my favourites, I love the differences in scale between the characters. I realise I have come rather late to the Peppa party and nobody is going to be surprised by this, but it has made a very happy and relaxed atmosphere in my work space! It's quite inspiring.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week - and in the mean time of course, have a very ...
At last, Christmas card-making underway!
I'm running a bit behind time this year and cutting it fine for International post, but catching up. I should really begin collecting ideas and materials in September to begin the process of Christmas card-making in October, because November and early December get busy with Heather Eliza work for winter exhibitions; I just didn't get around to Christmas things before Hallowe'en, after which time runs away.
Complicated by a head-cold virus which wiped my brain's creative files, I had a couple of false starts, but luckily one feverish night I remembered a carved Indian box I have been itching to make prints from for ages. It bears a central motif which could be interpreted as the Christmas star, so in no time I was back to my excited self, up and running with the printing ink and roller and delighted with the results of a day's work.
A shmoosh of glitter later, plus mounting on excellent cream card blanks (purchased from Anita's on Amazon), and ... this year's cards are a Thing!
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
Before getting into the annual card-making session, I took a couple of days for a brief brainstorming session with pattern. I had bought a new duvet cover from George at Asda during the week and got interested in the old-worldly chintz pattern, so I traced it to see how it worked. Since August, when jungly tendrils first showed up in my 100 days of cats project, I have wanted to experiment with using them in patterns, so inspired by tracing the duvet cover pattern I had a very quick cutting out session and began to play with symmetry and half drops. These quick sketches don’t stand up to close inspection due to speed of work, I would need to design them specifically to flow as a pattern, but I find the movement and delicacy interesting.
Now I’m going to have to have another brain-storming session with card images, because I haven’t the slightest idea what to do for my Christmas cards this year!
Thanks for visiting, see you next week
Welcome to my illustration blog, where I share what I have been up to during the week.
I illustrate under the pen-name of Binky McKee, McKee being my mother's maiden name. Binky was the name of every single cat my great-grandmother kept - about 40 of them during her 94 years of life. Given that, I have no idea how Doggie with his dead-pan expression became my avatar instead of a cat - something to do with popularity on Instagram and lots of jokes with him!
Currently I am working on illustrating a children's book, pattern making, and of course I can't resist a good Instagram challenge such as Folktale Week or Inktober.
I hope you enjoy your visit!
I keep lots of scrapbooks and sketchbooks where I develop ideas and design little creatures. Here's a peek inside one ...
As you may know, I am also known as Heather Eliza Walker.
Click the image if you would like to find out more and visit my other website.
This time, take a peek into my ceramic design sketchbook. I actually made some of the mugs, but I kind of prefer the drawings! The plate designs are painted on paper plates, a most liberating process.
These watercolours are from my pattern sketchbook. I used coloured wax crayons to resist the washes of watercolour, also home-made rubber stamps dipped in bleach then printed on crêpe paper - the bleach takes out the paper dyes.
A sketchbook I used for mark-making with unusual objects - corks, seed-heads, feathers, home-made rubber stamps, my fingers and lots of flicky things ...