Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Shrewsbury


Just a little postcard from Shrewsbury - looking particularly picturesque in the frost the other January morning... and then again at sunset the same day.
River Severn in Shrewsbury by Alice Draws The Line


Monday, 14 January 2019

Notebooks...


There are a range of A6 notebooks in the Etsy shop now. From the back row, starting at the top left, we have the tree identification one with tree species with their names accompanying the species. In the middle at the back is the fungi notebook. At the back right is the garden birds, this, like the tree book has the species identified on it. 

In the middle row, starting on the left we have woodland animals, in the middle; a collection of ferns and bracken, then honey bees on the middle row, on the right.

Finally on the bottom row is the pheasant notebook

All of these are made from 100% recycled paper, and there are 36 blank pages. You can shop for them all by clicking here

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Sketchbook kit

I have been using the same kit for my drawing a day sketchbooks for a while now and thought I might share it in more detail here. 


As you may already know, I do a drawing a day, everyday. Very occasionally I miss one but, thankfully that is rare. In 2018 I didn't miss a day. The idea was to do a directly observed drawing each day, to improve my observational and drawing skills. 


In order for it to be as likely as possible that I'll take my sketchbook / sketching kit with me, I've refined it over the years so that it is now really compact and fits into any bag and often a pocket. 

I'm not really a fan of pencil. I don't like it smudging - or rather, that I smudge it with my hand and from being on my hand it then goes everywhere. So now I only take a pen. The pens themselves have changed over the years. Muji used to make a bargain one that I loved, which you could use and then almost instantly paint over and it didn't smudge or bleed. But the last few I had did both of those things which made me more wary and I started looking at other options. 

This is the one that I've settled on. The UniPin fine line, which is water and fade proof, pigment ink. This one is a 0.1 and my favourite thickness. I do have some 0.05 (I think) which I sometimes use. 

The little paint palette I've had for years. I can't remember where or from who I had it or when it was. I know I had it for a long time before I actually used it. The box is Rowney, but many of the paints aren't the original ones. I'll do another post just looking inside the palette and talking through the colours I use / rarely use. 

Next up is the waterbrush. Again I'm not sure of the make of this one, but it is round tip rather than a flat brush which you can also get. It might be one that I got when I visited the Seawhite of Brighton Factory Shop a while ago. 
These are brilliant as you fill the barrel with water and therefore have water with you wherever you go. To change the colour / wash the brush you just squeeze more water through and it cleans the bristles. 


Lastly, and possibly the most importantly is the book itself. For a while now I've been using a Seawhite of Brighton hard-backed A6 sketchbook. I like the size for the reasons above - big enough to draw in but small enough that I can actually take it anywhere - out for a walk or to the pub, no issue. 
The paper is thick enough to hold watercolour, but not so thick that there are too few pages in the book. I had started using just one side of the pages in previous books, in case I sold the artwork, but as I haven't been selling originals from the sketchbooks I've reverted back to filling it all, both sides of every page. 
I've also started putting stickers on the spine to say the start and end date. This is particularly helpful if I'm looking for a seasonal study, I can work out what time of year I would have drawn it and hopefully look in the right sort of book. 
Some of them I've also started putting stickers from my Sticker sheets (available in my Etsy shop ;-) !) on the front covers, this is just to tell them apart and also hopefully jog my memory about which book I drew what in. We had Seawhite of Brighton sketchbooks when I did my Art GCSE (1999) and A'Level (2001) - I've been a fan since then.
I have a little stash of A6 sketchbooks to use over the coming months, some portrait like this one and others landscape. The bulldog clip helps keep it closed in my bag/ pocket so the pages don't get damaged, and also to hold the pages open when I'm drawing - handy if out and about and it's breezy. 

For some lovely sketches from people out and about do look up the hashtag #walktosee on instagram, started by the illustrator Helen Stephens.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Favourite books

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me

At Christmas, after I had posted the final orders from the shop, I collected some favourite things from around the house to enjoy over the break between Christmas and the New Year.

I went through my bookshelves and selected books that I've been thinking about but not got as far as to get them out and have a good look at them, re-read, or even start reading them. It's a big and heavy pile and I didn't get through them all and so I'm still working my way through now and thought I'd share here.

I'm going to work through the pile as you see it above.

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me sketchbook

 First up we have a sketchbook. This is a brand new A6, hardbacked, landscape book by Seawhite of Brighton. It's the next one in my pile - I'm not quite able to start it yet as I haven't finished my current one but it's there, poised ready for whatever might fill it's pages. These are my current favorite. Small enough to fit in a bag or pocket and to be closed by a bulldog clip to save the pages from scuffing, or being kept open while painting with the same bit of kit (I'll do another post about the sketching kit I think).

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me Beatrix Potter
 Beatrix Potter is a hero of mine. I have a collection of books about her and this is the latest. I haven't read it yet but am planning on carrying it about until I do!

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me Tara Mohr
After hearing a lot of people talking about this one and Tara Mohr herself being mentioned a lot on podcasts I listen to and instragram feeds that I follow, I thought I would investigate for myself. So far, so gripping. Interesting and thought provoking. I'm nearly finished but think I might just start again when I'm done and make some notes. 

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me Danny GregoryAlice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me Everyday Matters

 This is Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. This book is responsible for my Drawing a Day habit. I got this book for Christmas in 2008 and also received a sketchbook. I'd been considering doing a drawing everyday and had asked for the book but actually receiving it and enjoying the pictures and accompanying writing made me actually do it. Danny talks about drawing what we actually see rather than what we think we see, and draws a lot of very ordinary, everyday objects (hence the title). The apple on the back cover is a favourite - how many times do we eat an apple and not give it a glance? I couple of times I've tried to recreate this - drawing quickly after every couple of bites - causes you to work quickly and to eat fruit - win, win!

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me Forest Bathing
 As some of you may know, as well as my illustration and hand lettering work, my career used to be teaching and training outdoors - specifically in the woods as a Forest School Leader and Trainer. Although I no longer do this full time and have recently been made redundant, I have a huge passion for being outside and in woodlands. Last summer I took a course in Mindfulness in Woodland Settings and it's opened up a new way of working outside. Following that course I bought this book - Shinrin-Yoku; The Art and Science of Forest-Bathing, how trees can help you find help and happiness. It's interesting and has lovely photos, and just like the woods, I find it nice to dip into and out of.

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me Toast and Marmalade
 Emma Bridgewater - another hero of mine. This book, 'Toast and Marmalade and other stories' also has lovely photos - lots of home life and holiday pictures as well as her iconic designs. It is her story of how 'Emma Bridgewater' the brand came to be and I loved reading it - shows that dreams can become reality if you put the work in.

Alice Draws The Line: Books that inspire me Keeping a Naure JournalBooks that inspire me by Alice Draws The Line - Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth

 This book 'Keeping a Nature Journal' by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth is one I found in an art bookshop years ago. I think it might have been in a bargain section - it was a lucky find anyway and reminds me how valuable sketching is. Quick, seasonal studies, documented in any way -these have the lovely addition of handwritten notes and details which I adore. There is something very appealing about handwritten words that accompany pictures I think.

Reads that inspire me by Alice Draws The Line
These two magazines I've had a subscription to for the last few months. The Simple Things has nice imagery (although I'm not that keen on this cover!), recipes, and nice, seasonal articles. In the Moment magazine is newer to me, but has had some nice articles about creativity, mindfulness and the seasons which crosses across many of my interests. 

Books that inspire me by Alice Draws The Line; Ptolemy DeanBooks that inspire me by Alice Draws The Line; Ptolemy Dean preview

 This is a big book. It's lovely. Many of the illustrations fill double pages. It is Britain's builds, Place and Spaces: the unseen in the everyday by Ptolemy Dean. Stunning drawings - all done in wobbly inky lines with generous watercolour. Accurate interpretations of just as it says - the unseen in the everyday. Lovely normal views that he has taken time to capture through drawing.

Books that inspire me by Alice Draws The Line; Pattern by Orla KielyBooks that inspire me by Alice Draws The Line; Pattern by Orla KielyBooks that inspire me by Alice Draws The Line; Pattern by Orla Kiely

 I like the endpapers alone in this one. There are many books I love the end papers of - maybe that'll be another blog post one day! This is 'Pattern' by Orla Kiely - again just a lovely insight into a brand. Such iconic designs and style and nice to see a bit that is behind that - like the colour swatches on the right hand picture.

That's all for now - I'm off to pick one of these back up and continue where I left off with it.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Lovely orders and new packaging

I've been slowly making some changes to my packaging over the last couple of months. I have started to use corrugated card instead of bubble wrap, brown paper instead of plastic mailing bags and eco paper tape instead of parcel tape. 

The below two pictures show the wonderful selection of orders received over the Christmas period, and the same but parcelled up and ready to go. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year!

As some of you may know, this year I created a botanical wall calendar from seasonal studies in my sketchbooks. 

This is the January image with added identification labels.

January by Alice Draws The Line

Monday, 31 December 2018

Calendars


The 2019 Wall Calendar featured seasonal sketches drawn in a wreath shape with the date written with a dip pen in the centre. 
Each of the illustrations were from my sketchbook studies and were drawn in the month that they feature in. 
Each month in 2019 we will have a closer look at each of the images and identify the flora. 

The 2019 wall calendars all sold out, but there are Birthday calendars in the shop still. You can find these here. These are perpetual calendars that feature the dates, but no days of the week for each month with a seasonal botanical illustration.