Saturday, 1 December 2007

I'm back

I've been neglecting this for a while, partly due to work stuff, partly because I've lost some momentum. I've got a few freelance design jobs on at the moment, which is good in a way (I can keep paying my bills!) but also quite depressing at the same time. I was a graphic designer for years and the whole reason I quit was to focus on the illustration side of things. Being back there doesn't make me feel too great...
The pet portraits are still coming in and they are a welcome break from the computer, but they're not my passion like the books are.

Monday, 23 July 2007

the kite runner

What started as a three illustration project is rapidly developing into a book (although obviously not 'the kite runner', that's already been done...).

Here's the final illustration for the exhibition in Portugal, but alongside this I have a raft of sketches, a new additional character, a storyline and even some text! An agent in New York has expressed an interest in seeing dummies, so watch this space...

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Rotterdam Summer Carnival

Talk about great timing! I got an out of the blue chance to visit Rotterdam. I've heard good and bad things about the city and was looking forward to going (for the old harbour part of town and the architecture) but worried it might be a bit bland and soulless with all the modern buildings. Anyhoo, got to pick my dates and chose 27 - 29 July, and that Saturday turns out to be the day of the Rotterdam Summer Carnival street parade and after carnival party! It looks like a really great atmosphere and I can't wait to take lots of pics. I was looking for some inspirado for my work - looks like I'll have plenty now. Just hope I can still find a hotel room....

Thursday, 12 July 2007


The first illustrations (not the final artwork) for my new book idea. I like to think of it as 'Where the wild things are' meets 'Alice in Wonderland' or something like it! These two, and one others, will go to the Illustarte 3 exhibition in Portugal.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007


My first rejection letter! I was prepared for it I suppose (I am a natural pessimist anyway but it was taking so long I was beginning to hope just a little...) but it is still disappointing.

Here is what the letter said:

Thank you for sending your work to Little Tiger Press for us to consider. Unforunately, the material isn't suitable for our list.
I'm afraid we are unable to enter into correspondence on material we haven't accepted for publication.
Wishing you success in getting published!
Warm regards
Melinda Tallier
Little Tiger Press

Guess I better start toughening up!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Spent today pondering my idea and looking forward to starting work on the first illustration (one of the downsides of having a two year old - no work gets done while he is awake!)
The sketches for these were done earlier in the week but it's always a bit of a surprise to me how the final artwork will turn out. I always have a very clear idea in my mind's eye but they don't always end up looking anything like it.
At the moment I am happy with them but only time will tell!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

I had a lightbulb moment - I quite often drift into a kind of reverie while drawing the dog portraits and this one come to me while drawing little Tiggy and Sam (above). I'm working on it now (and don't want to give too much away just yet!) but I'll also upload some of the draft sketches. I'm doing the final artwork in pastels for a dreamy feel.

As is normally the case, I now HATE the Beltane illustration with a passion and cringe inwardly at the thought that I actually sent it to Italy. It's one of those strange conundrums - while I'm working on something I'm totally absorbed and feel so positive. The moment it's finished I can see everything that's wrong with it and end up thinking it's complete SH***! I'm not sure if all illustrators are afflicted or if it's just me.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Where have you been?

It's been a while so I thought I should update (in case I'm not alone and there is someone out there). The illustration for the Italian exhibition is finished and in the post, so now I'm just waiting to hear if it will be selected or not. If it is, it will be touring Italian cities from February 2008 until 2009 - maybe I'll even manage to go and see it! I've also done a couple more illustrations for Juno magazine, apparently there have been some positive comments about the ones that appeared in the last issue so hopefully this will eventually translate into more work...

There has been no word back from the publisher yet. I knew I would have to wait a few months but it really is beginning to get quite frustrating - I can see now why the best advice is to have another project to start immediately, otherwise I could go insane waiting and of course, you can't send it to another publisher until it's been rejected (multiple submissions are very frowned upon apparently).

It didn't work out with the oldies club (hubby was afraid of losing another dog so soon after Koshie, which is likely with an old dog), so now we're looking into rescuing a greyhound from GAGAH Have really been researching it and it's disgusting that the dog racing industry is getting away with quite honestly.

Monday, 16 April 2007

old dog, new tricks

Still waiting to hear from the publisher about 'At Night' (you can see a spread above) and feeling unable to concentrate fully on any of my artwork. I have a pet portrait with a deadline looming and have made a good start on the Fire & Light illustration (well, have the roughs done anyway!).
The sunny weather is making missing my dog almost unbearable (we lost our Siberian husky boy almost three years ago now). I'm currently driving Andy mad looking at rescue dogs!! I've found the most gorgeous, sad and abandoned boy here I really want to go for it. There's nothing quite like a meander on the beach with a dog to restore the creative soul - but now I'm waiting for the rehoming lady to get back in touch to see if we are possible candidates for rehoming him. More waiting...

Saturday, 14 April 2007

paralysis by analysis

I heard this phrase the other day and it seems to sum up how I feel at the moment. So busy trying to find new outlets for my work that I haven't produced anything for a couple of weeks. Even commissions I already have to do (like the pet portraits) are sitting untouched. The illustrations for the fire & light exhibition exist in rough form only and work on the folklore book has completely ground to a halt. Today I feel a bit of a fraud even calling myself an illustrator.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

end of an era

Last day at work today... 11 years, tens of thousand of pounds worth of design pitches won for the company, and my bosses didn't even say goodbye, nevermind thank you (and obviously no present!). Eventually, 10 minutes before I was due to finish, I went to say goodbye to them (just good manners after all) and one of them had already left! Still, think the other one felt really small, well I'd like to think so but hey, probably not! I even worked until 8pm last night on the last job I was doing for them - nice to know it's all been appreciated!!!

Fortunately, the people and clients I work with more than made up for the pathetic pair of scrooges. They baked a cake, gave me a much appreciated amazon book voucher, the Kooks & Kaiser Chiefs cds, two bottles of Faustino and a bottle of champagne (and they'd written two amazing poems for me too). Going for a drink with some of them on Friday and made them this card to say thank you. I'm really going to miss working with them.

It most definitely is the end of an era. After leaving work, I came home and my very ancient cat, who has been failing for a few weeks now, died at 5pm. I couldn't believe it at first, she was such a survivor, but she really has gone. Lots and lots of tears and full of guilt at not spending enough time with her over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

illustrative schizophrenic and gaelic pronunciation

I've moved on to the next project. I'd like to do a series of cards/prints based on seasons and weather. My style is constantly evolving and changing, I don't know if that's a result of keeping going with design, portraits and illustration at the same time? I'd like to think you can still tell it's my work but then sometimes wonder if I'm just an illustrative schizophrenic!

It's my last day of work tomorrow [I handed in my notice three weeks ago] and I start my new job on Monday. I'm completely hyper tonight - so excited! - I've worked there for 11 years and I'm just itching for a change. Will have to start swotting up on my traditional Scottish musical instruments and gaelic pronunciation!

Monday, 26 February 2007

The White Stag

I've been working on the illustrations for the Scottish folklore book - this one is for 'The White Stag'. I've also had the opportunity to exhibit in Padua in Italy in December so hopefully that will be a great opportunity for my work to be seen in Europe (the exhibition is touring Italian cities in 2008/2009).

No word yet from the publisher! I worked out if it can take two to three months to hear back then that's only 4-6 submissions in a year - it could take forever!

Sunday, 25 February 2007


I'm playing the waiting game now. The best thing to do is to keep working on the next project - that way I won't be too disappointed if my book idea is rejected. I'm currently working on an illustration for 'The White Stag', a traditional Scottish fairytale and will be 'unveiled' as Illustrator of the Month on the BRAW website on Thursday!

Sunday, 18 February 2007

I quit!

Also forgot to mention, I resigned from my design job last week. Not quite as brave as it sounds (I'm moving to another job as an arts administrator). But still, I'm hoping the change of scene (I had worked as a designer for the same [unappreciative] company for the last eleven years) will do my creativity some good.

First submission

My little book - 'At Night' - is out there. I sent my first submission of the initial text and illustration roughs to a publisher two days ago, so hopefully I will be charting the pitfalls (and successes?) of getting a book accepted and published, or the trauma of rejection - only time will tell!