Friday, 18 May 2018

Blackbird anatomy model

This morning, I found this poor guy under the garden chair.
He is perfect to study for blackbird anatomy and drawing direct from life (death!)
Cause of death: unknown
There is some damage to his flesh, so I suspect the black cat that visits the garden has been practising its hunting skills.
He looks like a fledgling that didn't fledge :-(

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Artist's Fair / World Bicycle Day - June 2018

I've been busy preparing for the next Artist's Fair coming up in June. I've pimped the stall, but as I don't want to spoil the surprise, you'll have to come along to find out how fabulously glittery it is!
Only the best customers buy work from the glittery stall!
I accept card and cash payments 

It's World Bicycle Day slightly before on the 3rd of June, so for all my cycling clients, I made these extra rainbowy!!
Available as A5 framed prints :-)

Friday, 4 May 2018

Ms Blackbird's Home For Peculiar Children

In deciding what to do as I'm trying to get Cloudbusting published, I've decided to test out a few ideas for possible new comics. 

I've spent a heck of a lot of time thinking about various ideas, and my adversity to the fine art world. Which isn't particularly coming from my part, I still consider myself a fine artist - just unable to continue working for free, voluntarily, or applying for arts council grants to be able to work.
The same still applies as an illustrator, I just feel that I'm not ready to make any new fine art work in the current economically abusive climate.

I've been thinking a lot about Bird Therapy, and also my experiences with my son's depression - something that hasn't yet been approached, and my own feminist aspirations. 
So as a test, an experiment, something a little bit Steampunk, I'm developing some characters, and going back to Ms Blackbird's Home For Peculiar Children.
If I were a Steampunk character, this would definitely be it. 
I'd be a wealthy Victorian lady, I'd buy the old Johnson Hospital building, which is a beautiful gothic hospital donated to Spalding, and it'd be our home, but also studios, and all kinds of people with mental health conditions would come for residencies, so it'd be like Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, but not quite. So I've taken the Photoshop images I made for World Book Day and illustrated them digitally.
The top would possibly be one of the first images for a comic. The second is just a Photoshop filter, which gives it a lino print effect.

Other characters in development are going to be my son, whose peculiarity is the fact that he turned into a Kafkaesque beetle, and spends most of his time n his back, and the evil Nurse Cuckoo, who tries to kidnap teenagers like Jareth out of the Labyrinth. 

Nurse Cuckoo is an abusive ymbryne

Finn Blackbird

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Comics and graphics novels about carers

I'm knackered. Most days I work from home with distractions ranging from texts from the dentist to remind me to make an appointment, to messages from the repairs department working on behalf of the Lettings Agents, who seem to care not for my working schedule, and want to come round at any time of the day to clear out the guttering, because of course, us illustrators just have all the time in the world for such things and obviously don't like drawing, to having a son with depression at home all the time, and the erratic nature of his condition that means that some days he'll be up all night and asleep all day, others, he will be up in the morning, but asleep by 2.00p.m, and you can sit around for days and he won't need any help, but the minute he does need something, it'll be precisely when you have a hundred other things to do.

So, I'm sure there are a gazillion books written by people with mental illness, none of which I've had time to read, as I just seem to mostly do all the washing up, even though I hate doing washing up.
There seems to be very few for carers living with someone with depression or other mental illness.

Books I can think of that address caring in an indirect way would be Jane Eyre.

If you google "carers" and "graphic novels" the results come up with books written by people with mental illnesses of various kinds, and books about foster caring, but not for those caring for their own family.
I found some comics made by women caring for family with conditions such as dementia and psychosis referenced in The Inking Woman.

Una - From The Inking Woman

In thinking about my caring role (which gives me a headache, so I've spent most of the morning drinking coffee and waiting for the paracetamol to kick in), I never know where to start. 
I have a wealth of experience as a teen mother of the early 90's (yes, I was one of THOSE for all of a few months before I turned 20) to later becoming a single mother (although I always was a single mother really) and escaping domestic violence, to doing my degree as a single mother, then the recession, then my son's diagnosis. 
Rachel House's 2009 comic strip about the vicissitudes of art school resonates greatly:

Rachel House - From The Inking Woman

I struggled with the CAMHS system and to get my son the support he needed as his behaviour was getting increasingly weird, he was self neglecting himself, and was kidnapped by his girlfriend's mother - an ex mental health nurse that had been struck off. I have never wanted to give her the notoriety of illustrating her crimes before, as she would probably get some kind of perverse kick out of the fame. But she sits in the middle of a Venn diagram between Nurse Ratched and Annie Wilkes, straddling practically every circle of Hell you can imagine.

Nurse Ratched / Annie Wilkes - two evil women in one.

Imagine this woman, falsely accusing you of child abuse, taking your son in against your knowledge or consent, and neglecting him and abusing him whilst committing benefit fraud.


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Artist's Fair Waterside Shopping Centre

Who Ya Gonna Call?
In the days preparing for the Artist's Fair, I heard a crash in the night, and the following morning discovered all my prints upturned on the floor, and cards scattered - it must be a ghost!!

My stall set up

Normally I have a table provided, so it was a challenge to bring my own, as I don't drive. 

New card reader!
 Thanks to customers that paid by card! Yes! You can pay by card :-)

What's the point?!

Shout out to my next door neighbour!

#impvasion Lincoln Imps at Wembley
 Lincoln Imps were off to Wembley, so I made this!

Not just a card, a Helen Dearnley original illustration!
Free card for cheapskates that think £5 for a postcard print is expensive - here's a clue: original fine art postcards sell at £20 in most galleries.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Artist's Fair at Waterside Shopping Centre

Following the Women In The Arts Showcase, I have confirmation for the Artist's Fair coming up on Saturday 7th April - all info here:

The event is free to attend, and I have ordered an all new card reader, so I can take card payments for all purchases of work. 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

WITA!!! International Women's Day 2018

The Blue Room, The Lawn, Lincoln 
Thursday 8th March was the inaugural Women In The Arts Showcase, an event for women creatives working in fine art, illustration, poetry, music, comedy and performance, for International Women's Day 2018.
Located in the recently renovated The Blue Room at The Lawn, Lincoln, which was formerly the ballroom of the old asylum.

WITA badge!

Me at my crib

Always available for custom converse commissions!

Along with artists and illustrators selling work at our stalls, there was a suffragette!

Votes For Women!!
Our hosts:
WITA Witches
The inaugural Women In The Arts Showcase also featured talented women poets, live music, performances, and a DJ.

Melody Clark

Sarah Hughes

If for some very strange reason you missed it, keep your eyes peeled for more WITA events, as there are more planned!