This week, some of my monsters developed two heads! - inspired by insects which often display a big scary face on their body or wings which isn't actually their face. At long last I worked out how to make Reels on Instagram with the image top left, above, and set it to "What's that coming over the hill" by The Automatic - great fun.
Still working in my sketchbook, I developed the floral theme a little further with my adoration of ikebana. I love the gravity-defying weirdness where truth is indeed stranger than fiction as they spring from preposterously tiny vases or shallow bowls apparently supported by nothing but moss.
I am also preparing some textured Fabriano Rosaspina, a heavy card-like printing paper, for stand-alone works. I'm getting texture by adding whiting to my primer and using lots of scumbling.
Yesterday I had some weekend fun making small yellow flowers from one of the paintings into a repeat pattern, which I am calling Pansy Riot. Can't wait to see it on some products.
A mid-week bonus post - I finished a much softer rose brocade I have been working on at the same time as the watercolour texture patterns. The daffodils are out and spring is definitely on its way, so I used lots of daffodilly yellow against silvery grey to celebrate, and made these two shy little drawings. I particularly enjoyed the Roses marmalade jar drawing.
It was an exciting week, being B's birthday, and my first ever order from my own shop arrived. I can't describe the buzz when I spotted my own design through the packaging. I designed a graphic tee and matching mask as part of his birthday present, and I was actually delighted with the quality of both. I have seen one of my masks in real life before and couldn't believe the detail in the printing, and it is true that you do really have to see what you are producing for yourself - I got full of new ideas and set to work experimenting with a new brocade design I have been working, using painterly watercolours in jewel colours for summer.
I made B's tee in masculine greys and as always was fascinated at the appearance of the printing tile when it is 'turned inside out', it always amazes me that the two are exactly the same design. B loved his gift, that was the main thing, and the mask had its first outing on Thursday when the fishmonger's van came around bearing delicious seafoods for the celebratory dinner.
I had some fun designing a continuous pattern with twigs and blossoms for my Granny's Attic collection on Redbubble. Anyone who does jigsaw puzzles will know the satisfaction and joy of putting in the pieces and making it work! Once I thought up the outrageous name of "Twiggy Bloomers" it absolutely stuck, so please allow me to present my new range below, in grey.
Total snow-melt and a bit o' sunshine is a heady mix! I went mad with spring themes this week, using lots of daffodil yellows and fresh winter rose white with light stony greys. Delighted I made a brocade drawing from last year into a proper pattern, too, and put it to good use, I'm going to have to buy my own leggings now. And a mask and backback. Yup, I'm my own best customer.
I started working on roundels like this in 2019 and never used them for anything. I have been pulling out different drawings this week to put into repeat with some surprising and interesting results, and found them during the process. My interest was rekindled when I saw possibilities for densely figured patterns. I think at the time I didn't really know what they were, so they got shelved until now. I had forgotten all about them, but now I think they resemble crocheted mats and I see good possibilities for my Granny's Attic collection in my Redbubble shop.
This week I began to organise my new patterns into collections for my Redbubble shop. It's a useful thing to do because I can group themes together and be inspired to produce work to harmonise; as my main interest is in interior design, I can visualise throw pillows, blankets and duvets with differing patterns working together in a calm and quiet way. I am keeping 'scrapbooks' like this one on the side while I'm designing ranges, which suggest ideas and combinations for new works.
Pattern-making was my thing this week, and looking back on the work now I am surprised at how much I managed to get through. A few are simply different colour-ways of the same pattern and I still have to double-check my repeats, but an experimental upload to Redbubble looked good. I enjoyed working in a sort of retro 50’s drawing style, it comes naturally to me and flows and suits floral scatter patterns very well.
Believe it or not, what gave me the biggest challenge was designing the simplest thing of all - a polka dot pattern. Easy within a defined space, but try getting an flawless digital repeat without ‘snap to grid’ or pixel counting functions. I had to resort to hacks, diagrams - even maths, horror of horrors! - but I got there in the end. It makes a lovely soft secondary pattern for backgrounds to run behind a primary pattern.
I dressed up Doggie in some of my work to make an Instagram post slightly more interesting than just a square of pattern. If I had thought about it at the time, I would have posted a patchwork image like the one above as a second swipe image, it’s quite attractive. Maybe next time ...
We have so many friends whose birthdays fall between November and January that it has become an annual ritual to make birthday cards as soon as the Christmas cards are done, and it is free licence to mess about with every craft material in the studio (hem, spare room) plus anything I can purloin from B's shed. This year the hot glue gun came in extremely useful.
Looking at these birthday cards laid out together drying, I thought this would make a lovely pattern. It's been a while since I did some pattern-making, so that's something to look forward to for the new year, if not sooner.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
I have been working purely digitally for a while, which I love - but I always end up with a hankering for the human presence of the hand, and the alchemy of materials. Above is a watercolour from one of my sketchbooks, with wax resist and simple, free pen lines, which I made a while ago. I am very interested in designing patterns which could contain this freedom, I haven't figured it out yet, but it's something which has been going on in the background of my mind for over a year. Also, I haven't a clue which pen I used to worked on wax! It has bonded perfectly with the resist - experiments required (and possibly a lot of spoilt pens).
Above is a set of six little monotypes from the same sketchbook. I have always loved making monotype drawings. Using a glass plate rolled with printing ink or oil paint, paper is placed over the plate and I draw on the paper. It means when the paper is peeled away from the plate it reveals a mirror image of the drawing plus accidental smudges and textures. These surprises are exciting, and I use the technique both for illustration and in my Heather Eliza drawings.
This week I began to isolate sketches from my book (I did write about getting my jugs out and working with them, but NO, that's SO wrong!! Raised a few laughs on Instagram, though) . Here is a rudimentary something I put together as an experiment. The original monotype drawing was made on hand-made bark paper which supplies the lovely colour and texture for the fuzzy ink lines, cut out and placed over a digitally created linen-weave background. It may take a while, but I'll see where I go with this.
PS: I decided not to do Inktober on Instagram this year, I just have too many pots on the boil at the moment. I was tempted, but focus is required.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
Birds are everywhere at the moment both in and out of my work. Long skeins of geese gabble across the skies on their way to and from Vane Farm RSPB nature reserve on Loch Leven; and the pigeons seem incredibly tame this year, sitting on the fence eyeing us up as we walk past with the dog. The crab apples are turning red which means plentiful winter fruit for our residents.
I love this time of year, today the sun is shining and autumn colours are starting to glow through the green.
Clipping masks (not face-masks for a change) became an obsession last week when I realised how beautifully different papers and textures sit together in a patchwork resembling a quilt. The scope for experimentation on just one set of shapes is literally infinite, and collecting and collating scans for them is an exciting process.
This ‘Sunday’ illustration uses a bird I drew earlier in the year, together with a garland I painted last year. I deconstructed the bird into separate layers in Procreate, and spent some time working on the garland so I could play around with overlaying a variety of scans. Here, collaged together, are patterns from my sketchbooks, some of the gouache paintings from last week’s entry, a collection of painted textures also from my sketchbooks, pages from vintage books, and a map of Canada (random!)
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
I have been studying and drawing my collection of gypsy purses from time to time since the mid 1990s, perhaps to try and work out why I love them so much. The gouache paintings pictured here pasted into a scrapbook were made back then (long before the days of iPad and Procreate).
I painted details of Indian bags and a black papier mâché bowl also from India, bought in the same shop in Cirencester as some of the gypsy purses; and the crackle glaze decoration on a flask which looks Greek - a thrift-shop find in North London, possibly brought to England by a holiday maker, which makes me think of red wine from sun-soaked country vineyards served in a bistro alongside all the colourful, fragrant foods of the Mediterranean.
The paintings are fun to use for throwback-Thursday posts on Instagram, and the comparison with today’s digital versions is interesting; rich colours and a fascination with tiny stitched details live on.
Thanks for visiting, see you next week!
These two patterns were spin-offs from the second (blue) drawing in my last entry. Working in Procreate allows for a lot of freedom and experimentation with sets of shapes and colours, and it’s very satisfying to be able to produce new works relatively quickly. I say relatively quickly, but a lot of time this week went into designing the little birds - but I’m sure I will use them again in different works!
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 ...