Saturday, February 01, 2014

sketching children

I went for a coffee this morning nad the plan was to sip my long black, read newspapers and then spend an hour looking blankly into distance and thinking about nothing (it has been a long week). Unfortunately a girl came in with her parents and have been walking round and looking adorable in her oversized brace trousers. So I spend the rest of the morning pretending that I am looking blankly into distance (so as not to alarm the parents) but in fact sketching the little girl.
Here she is. I am still not sure towards what exactly she is walking on this illustration.



Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Sketchbook from Ghana (finally)

I finally managed to scan in my sketches from Ghana, almost 5 months after we came back. For various reasons (mostly being creatively drained after the intense mornings with the kids) I didn't feel like sketching while I was there so there is only a few sketches and they are rather random.
Like for example this one.

We flew to Accra through Istanbul and spent half a day there.

Our first day in Accra. This is were we stayed. The hostel was called the Diamond Palace and the person who came up with that name had a good sense of humour.

Here is our team, all excited about the wifi connection.

Quick sketches of Kayla and Elliot. Kayla had the most awesome way of pronouncing "yeah, right?'. She actually had a few ways of pronouncing it and in each case it meant something else.

More sketches, trying out gouache this time. This is double outside my comfort zone - painting instead of drawing and people instead of animals.

Sketching on a tro tro on the way to the Street Academy. And Kate writing her daily report.

More gouache sketches - Elliot and Lauren.

Kyekyeku in his famous trousers and Harry. I think this one was taken just after another day of teaching.

This lady painted our nails and was tring hard to convert Kate to christianity. 

View from the fooftop at our hostel and I think one of my favourite places in Accra.



The sketch above is from our trip to the beach. A very lazy sketch and a very lazy day.
And below is the only sketch I made in the Street Academy. It was a day when a local charity came to do a workshop with the kids soit wasn't as hectic as asual and I had a few minutes to take out my sketchbook.

A trip to the National Museum in Accra.

For my birthday Kate treated me to the best thing ever - a weekend at the Elmina Bay Resort. A very much needed break half way through the project. It was lovely to escape noisy Accra and spend a whole day lying under the palm trees, reading, sketching and swimming in the best swimming pool ever. One of the most exciting things was a shower with hot water.



On the way back we visited Emina and Cape Coast. I believe it was the most surreal day I've ever experienced.

Another swimming pool sketch.

And my last sketch from Ghana, a day after we said goodbye to the kids (lots of tears) and a day before we got on the plane.

The kids taught us how to say things in their language Ga. Here is my first lesson and a map of Africa I drew on the flight back to Edinburgh.

All in all, a month in Ghana teaching the kids how to make movies was one of the strongest and most amazing experiences and I don't think any sketchbook (or photos) can really express what it was really like to be there.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

ladybird

I love when I make an illustration and it completely surprises me. Here is one of them. I think it is also the first time I am posting a child character on this blog. No tail, no whiskers!

ladybird

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Picture Hooks Exhibition

The Picture Hooks exhibition at the National Gallery in Edinburgh is open!

Over the past year five of us - Laura Clark, Lesley Barnes, Naomi Howarth, Stuart Simpson and me - have been mentored by more established children's book illustrators - Sue Heap, Natalie Russell, Catherine Rayner, Ross Collins and Alison Murray. It has been a very busy year for all of us, especially the final month when we all had to finish four final pieces for the exhibition.

It was lovely to finally see all the artwork up and enjoy a very much awaited drink at the private view last Friday. The exhibition id open until 16th February 2014 so there is plenty of time to come over and visit if you are around. The gallery also organised illustration masterclasses for those who are interested in the process of creating picture book illustrations. I will be doing one with amazing Viv French on the 7th December. Here is more details.

And some photos from the exhibition.
Amazing artwork by Laura Clark who was laso chosen The Best Scottish Picture Hooks Illustrator 2013. Congartulations Laura!
Picture Hooks exhibition
Illustrations by Stuart Simpson who will have his book published by the Orchard Books. Well done Stuart!
Picture Hooks exhibition
Here is the most awesome walrus Magnus by Naomi Howarth. And the flying rabbits!
Picture Hooks exhibition
Lovely artwork by Lesley Barnes. The story is about a girl whose name is Jill and a dragon whose name is Dragon.
Picture Hooks exhibition
And my illustrations. There is a crocodile, a wolf, a teddy bear and a cat.
Picture Hooks exhibition
As a part of the exhibition the organisers asked us to submit our work in progress, sketches, dummy books, notes etc. Below are sketches by Laura and Naomi.
Picture Hooks exhibition
And my work in progress. I realised I forgot to remove some silly notes from the margins. Too late now.
Picture Hooks exhibition

Here is more details about the show.

Picture Hooks 
Scottish National Gallery
The Mound (entrance from Princes Gardens)
1st November 2013 - 16th February 2014

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ghana

There has been quite a lot exciting things happening recently. I will blog about them soon but first, a very much delayed post about Ghana.

---
Ok...
For some reasons I seem to be unable to write about the project at the moment. I guess the experience was so amazing that it is really diffucult to sum it up in a few paragraphs. I will try to come back to it later and write a few things about the awesome kids we were working with, the volunteers, the films children made and about the experience of living in Ghana for a month.

For the moment here are some pictures:


And also Kate have been blogging a lot while out there on our fundraising blog.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

georgia

A few sketches from our recent trip to Georgia. It was my second trip to Georgia and I must say that Georgia is still my absolutely favourite country.

Konrad reading Milan Kundera, waiting for a flight in Istanbul.

2013-06-27 ataturk airport-s
Some sketches from Tbilisi.
2013-06-28 tbilisi-s
2013-06-29 tbilisi museum-s
Random stuff really.
2013-06-29 tbilisi-park-s
Travelling on a marshrutka (minibus). It takes a while to get used to crazy suicidal driving but it is an experience not to be missed while in Georgia. This one was from Tbilisi to Signagi.
2013-06-30 tbilisi-signagi-s
Signagi is a pretty town set on a hill with some spectacular views to the Caucasus mountains.
2013-06-30 signagi-s
2013-06-30 signagi-st george-s
At Bodbe convent near Signagi.
2013-07-01 bodbe convent 01-s
St Nino's Holy Spring.
2013-07-01 bodbe convent 02-s 
More Signagi.
2013-07-02 signagi2-s
2013-07-02 signagi-s
Ok this is rather random. I have no idea where this bird comes from.
2013-07-03 signagi-s
On the marshrutka to Tsnori. Have I mentioned that each marshrutka we took had a suggestive crack in the windscreen?
2013-07-03 signagi-tsnori-s
Waiting for a marshrutka to Telavi.
2013-07-03 tsnori-s
Chilling out on a hammock in Telavi.
2013-07-03 telavi-s
On the market in Telavi.
2013-07-04 telavi bazar-s
 Tusheti is a remote region in the Caucasus (close to the border with Dagestan and Chechenya). Getting there was quite an experience (a 4 hours drive through a mountaing pass, mostly looking down the cliff and thinking about the trajectory of a falling 4WD while the drivier is happily listening to The Best of Boney M...). 
2013-07-04 omalo-s
Zemo Omalo with amazing medival architecture. I was also trying to learn the Georgian alphabet.
2013-07-04 zemo omalo-s
We went horseriding!
2013-07-05 horseriding in tusheti-s
More sketches from Keselo Hotel in Omalo, a lovely guesthouse we were staying in.
2013-07-07 kselo garden-s

2013-07-07 kselo mountains-s

Back to Telavi.
2013-07-08 telavi-s
On a marshrutka to Borjomi. This one was actually really fun. There was a priest with us, he started a prayer at the beginning of the journey and the whole marshrutka was praying. It actually made me feel better about the whole journey as the driver was particularly crazy. There should be a priest on every minibus in Georgia. Just in case.
2013-07-10 borjomi-s
We spent last few days of our Georgian holidays in resort town Borjomi. Again, I am not sure what's with this bird.
2013-07-11 borjomi-spa-s
 Drinking salty mineral waters, swimming, chilling out, doing normal holiday stuff.
2013-07-11 borjomi-pool-s

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Last week

We had a successful opening of our In Residence exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art. It was lovely to see everyone and catch with people I've not seen for a while. Thank you all for coming! It was a beautiful evening. The exhibition is open until Friday 28th June. Come and see if you are in Edinburgh. We are on 1st floor in the Evolution House on West Port, 10am-5pm.

Here are some pictures with my new drawings and prints:



 And fellow Illustrators in Residence, drawings and prints by Cat O'Neil...
Lasercut illustrations by Astrid Jaekel...
 and linocuts by James Albon:



 From other news,  Zoe from Playing by the Book hosted an online aution with one of my prints. The auction was the last in a series of events we organised to fundraise for our volunteering trip to Ghana.
Big thanks to everyone who took part in the auction and to Zoe for organising it. If you are interested in children's literature, check out her blog as it is pretty amazing.

We are off to Georgia in a few days, a trip I really look forward to. It has been an exhausting few weeks (actually it has been an exhausting 10 months...) and I really feel like I need a break. Also Georgia is in my top 3 favourite places I've visited and I am happy I am returning there this year.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

In Residence Exhibition!

As you might already know I've been working as Artist in Residence at Edinburgh College of Art for the past year. And now all of the Artists in Residence and Studio Assistants are having a group exhibition coming up!

There will be some exciting new work by my illustrator pals: Astrid Jaekel, Cat O'Neil and James Albon (James designed our poster). And also awesome new pieces by other artists and designers from Film & TV, Glass, Jewellery and Product Design!

I decided to create something a different than usual and have a little break from my children book stuff. No cute animals this time! What is more I thought it would be good to get out of my comfort zone and exhibit the original drawings and collages. This is totally new for me as I've been exhibiting both traditional and digital prints so far but never the original pieces. I am really excited about the process and also slightly worried about the final result!

Come and see our show! The exhibition opens next week Saturday 22nd - Friday 28th June 2013, Evolution House, West Port, Edinburgh.
See you there!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

updates

Last few months have been rather busy with all the projects I am working on. Basically having four jobs and doing some additional stuff is quite much. It is tiring sometimes but on the other hand I love what I am doing I wouldn't give it up for anything else.

The residency at Edinburgh College of Art is going very well, I am developing some new illustrations and working towards our final show in June. The students have been busy hanging and finalising their degree show and our job was mostly to provide the moral support (and a little bit of tailoring, decorating and cleaning services here and there) as they were extremely well organised this year. The show looks amazing and it is now open to public so if you are around you should definately come!

Work at the community art centre is going well too. The creative workshops we run are always fun no matter if we make little creatures from recycled plastic bottles or simply splash the paint against the wall.  I am very lucky to be working with such a lovely team and the families and children are awesome too. I am going to make a separate post about our workshops.
 
After two months of fundraising for our project in Ghana we almost achieved our goal! And this is all thanks to you all. You are awesome! Thank you!

And finally some illustration updates. I have been collaboration with an amazing Edinburgh-based author Anna Claybourne. I illustrated her beautiful poem and now we are in the process of submiting the dummy book to various agents and publishers.

Here is one of the double spreads from the book:

I really like these guys and I decided to develop the characters further and play around with other story ideas for them. Here is a few character development sketches:
Phew.... now time to go to work:)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

trip to Poland in July 2012

Ok...it took me a while but here they are - the sketches from our trip to Poland in July 2012.

We arrived to Łódź and here is a sketch of myself (wearing far too many layers for the Polish summer)
and a brave woman who stopped the whole bus and helped to catch a thief.
trip to poland
In Kazimierz Dolny. Konrad is doing his presentation about synagogues and then chilling out
in the garden (slightly overwhelmed by the warm weather - over 35C and
the abundance of plants, insects and other creatures).
trip to poland 
Chilling out in a coffee shop.
trip to poland 
Some quick sketches of the architecture in Kazimierz and extreme sketching on an overcrowded
 minibus from Lublin to Kazimierz.
trip to poland
Iced coffee!
trip to poland
More landscapes and more architecture. I guess this is what Kazimierz is about.
trip to poland
Ola chilling out in the garden. Lots of chilling out and relaxing but it was the only wise thing
to do in these temperatures.
trip to poland 
...
trip to poland
On the way back to Warszawa. Warszawa is cool!
trip to poland
Mada and John's flat and and a map documenting our alternative tour of the city.
(I always find Mada and John's flats very inspiring)
trip to poland
Some random sketches.
trip to poland
More random sketches.
trip to poland
This is when I thought I needed a proper break and decided not to do any sketching for the rest of the trip:)