Thursday, 28 May 2015

At the moment I am working on my new Autumn/Winter designs for the *Artist Not Included card range, last week I finished the Owl, and I have just finished the Cockerel, that is now ready to be Screen Printed.

The most important thing for me with this design was that the character really came across. For me, Cockerels are seriously beautiful birds, wearing their attitude and a cape of feathers like armour on top, only to look down at the mass of fluffy plumes spilling over their skinny legs underneath. It's as if they are wearing a pair of very elaborate trousers! They are very entertaining to watch.

I loved how the sunlight lit up the pages of my sketchbook this week, and Muddy Waters kept me going through drawing each feather.

Next up, an animal that constructs It's nest from shredded honeysuckle bark woven Into a ball.

Sara Hughes, Marlow

Saturday, 23 May 2015

All Photography by Sara Hughes Home LTD
I am very proud to announce, that the lovely Sara Hughes in Marlow, Buckinghamshire is now a stockist of the *Artist Not Included card range.

At Sara Hughes a chair is not just a chair, a table is not only a table. Here, every piece of furniture with potential, a little timeworn or unappreciated, is seen in a new light. 

Specialising In chalk painted furniture with a twist, Sara carefully revives overlooked treasures In her studio using Autentico Chalk Paints. The furniture Is then beautifully arranged in the shop, amongst handpicked Accessories and Gifts.

If like many of us you have a piece of furniture that stands in your home unloved and In dire need of attention, there is a solution at Sara Hughes to suit everyone:

If you fancy doing it yourself: You can attend one of Sara's workshops to teach you how to paint furniture with the beautiful Autentico range.

Designed to be informal but inspirational, the workshops teach techniques including waxing, distressing, foiling and crackling. 

The price of a workshop is £85 which includes: all of the materials you need on the day, tea, cake (where do I sign up?) and a 1 litre tin of Autentico Chalk Paint for future projects.

However, If the instructions for a flat pack kit from IKEA is more than enough creativity to send you into a blind panic, then Sara can transform the piece for you.

Whatever your style you will be spoilt for choice as Sara stocks over 80 colours of Vintage, 25 Outdoor paint colours and the entire range of accessories and waxes from Autentico to transform your piece.

So, If after reading this post your furniture is looking just Shabby rather than Shabby Chic, then there is only one name you need to remember, Sarah Hughes.

Owl - Part Two

Thursday, 21 May 2015

 Well, It took many, many hours but here he is: Mr Owl In pen and Ink ready to be screen printed for my new Autumn/Winter card collection and prints!

Each feather has been drawn individually, so I have as always, been walking around with a permenant Ink stain on third finger for days, to create the look of layer after layer of gorgeous striped feathers.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this because I love the detail and natural symmetry of feathers, and definitely want to do some studies of them individually. I think they would make lovely prints (stay tuned!).

When there is a repetitive pattern in a drawing I am doing, knowing It will take me hours to complete, music is a must. For this Illustration the new Jose Gonsalez album "Vestiges And Claws" which is absolutely magical was on repeat. With each replay I found another note to fall in love with. Absolutely stunning.

Next up, another bird, but this time, one with serious attitude!

Owl - Part One

Thursday, 14 May 2015

I am currently working on my next collection and this is a Great Horned Long Eared Owl at it's first sketch stage. From this point I will trace the drawing In pen and Ink, complete the detail and (hopefully) create the feeling of masses of textured plumage. This will then go on to be screen printed creating rich, fluffy, inky lines. I will keep you updated at each stage, so stay tuned.

The Hedgerow, Threshfield

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

All photography by:
I am very pleased to be able to say that 'The Hedgerow' in the beautiful Dales village of Threshfield, is now a stockist of the *Artist Not Included card range.

Established in 1993 this family run business, is not only a thriving Florist, it provides everything one could possibly need to leave with a warm fuzzy feeling.

The Hedgerow has a Gift Shop, stocking hand picked gifts from all over the world: 

A Coffee Shop, serving hot and cold beverages, seriously scrumptious cakes and light bites: 

And a Floristry School, teaching anything from door wreaths to button holes. A great idea for bridal parties and birthdays!

I really can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon than leaving The Hedgerow with an arm full of flowers, a cheeky treat or two, and ever so slightly high on sugar. Yep, sounds pretty good to me! 

New Stockist : Sparrow UK

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Photography by The Dorset Finca
I am delighted to be able to say that Sparrow UK in Shaftesbury, Dorset is now stocking the *Artist Not Included card range! 

Sparrow UK is a treasure trove of hand picked, British made gifts with something different for everyone. They also run workshops where you can learn everything from Lampshade Making to Needle Felting, so not only will your retail desires be satisfied but you inner creative will too!

Photography by The Dorset Finca
Photography by The Dorset Finca

 To learn more, The Dorset Finca (who kindly provided the photography for this post) has done a brilliant article about Sparrow UK for her Dorset's Delicious Bits series, here

She has also just done a post for a DIY Fabric Dog Crate Cover in anticipation of the arrival of The Hound Of Finca! Who I am VERY excited to be introduced to!

You can visit and shop online at Sparrow UK here :

Or for a truly lovely day out in the historic town of Shaftesbury you can visit the shop:

Swans Yard,

Interview With Author : Torre DeRoche

Monday, 4 May 2015

Illustration by Charley Brunskill / *Artist Not Included

Reading a truly great book is a bitter-sweet experience because, as with every story, it not only has to have a beginning and a middle, it has to have an end.  
After reading 'Love With A Chance Of Drowning', I was so inspired I wrote about it, I did an Illustration about it, but I was left wanting more. Then I found a blog by the author Torre DeRoche, and It was like breaking the spine of 'Love With A Chance Of Drowning' all over again, an online book replacement therapy if you will.
Now, I've read the book, I'm a reader of the blog, surely that's enough? 
Well, no, not really; so I message Torre DeRoche :
Me:  Hi. I really loved your book. I wrote a blog post about it. Would you mind if I interviewed you?
Torre DeRoche:  Yes, of course. 
and so the story continues....

After reading 'Love With A Chance Of Drowning' and in turn becoming an avid reader of your blog Fearful Adventurer, I realise you have some serious guts, and you’re not one for doing things by halves. Where does your taste for pushing your limits and listening to your inner adventurer come from?  

It’s a habit I’ve formed deliberately, because I know that what we believe we can do and what we actually can do are rarely a match, and the only way to know is by pushing limits. I like to experiment with limits. When you move beyond them, unimaginable possibility blossoms, and once you discover that, it’s hard to go back to not pushing limits.  

Packing your bags so many times must train your eye to what is necessary and unnecessary. How have your adventures affected your outlook on material things in everyday life?  

As we become more and more aware of humanity's negative impacts on the earth, it becomes harder to justify taking more than you need. Through adventure, I’ve realised how very little a person needs to survive. In fact, the smaller my backpack, the lighter I am—both physically and mentally—because we tend to attach tiny little worries to everything we own, and the more we carry, the greater the volume of worries. 

Have you ever noticed how the people who drive the most expensive cars are often the most impatient and angry on the road? This isn’t a coincidence. The cost of materialism is your human connections, your empathy, the richness of your understanding, your sense of belonging to something larger than a cluster of objects, and—worst of all—your happiness. By happiness, I mean a rich and lasting contentment and not the surge of adrenalin that follows a purchase. Materialism speaks of soul sickness to me. I don’t have any sense of envy for gratuitously wealthy people anymore. 

As a writer, painter, designer and illustrator you are constantly having to be creative. How do you keep the creative part of your brain in peak condition?

If I had a secret formula for keeping my creative brain in peak condition, I’d be drinking that elixir every day. Instead, my creativity is like a timid snail that has to be delicately coaxed from its shell, and one small bump will send it back inside for hours. I tend to sit down in front of my computer and whistle, “Here boy, come on, come out, I’ll feed you Hershey’s Kisses if you do.” My creative snail likes Hershey’s Kisses. It also very much enjoys naps, procrastination, reruns of 30 Rock, and going in the exact opposite direct to where I’m trying to go.

Your blog is a treasure trove of inspiration, you can literally hear peoples minds opening like popcorn all over the world as you read it. What / Who inspires you?

Popcorn! I love that. 

Most of my inspiration comes from observing people in mundane settings. Through observing, I watch for patterns to see what is working and what isn't, and then I try to articulate that if I have an insight worth sharing. I tend to gain a lot of inspiration through observing and mulling over unpleasant aspects of human behaviour. 

For example, I once watched two men playing squash at the gym, and one of them had a really bad temperament. Every time he lost a point, he’d let out a tense, angry noise, which, I noted, was quite an unattractive trait on an adult. It triggered an aha moment for me: It’s just a game, dude, chill out, stop being such a toxic douche-bag. And I realised it’s never okay to do this when you lose a point—in squash or in life, loudly or quietly. It’s ugly, childish, energy-sucking, and off-putting. It’s also very entitled: Who are you to think you deserve to win every time?

My aha moment was a commitment to myself to always be a good sport about life, to be light about how I play the game, to let go of a lost point quickly, and to never fold into a little victimised tantrum when it doesn’t go my way. Life should be a game played gracefully, with a light attitude. It’s more fun for everyone that way.  

What is your favourite book and why?

I can’t possibly choose a single book. I love too many. There are a few books that I read over and over again, like The Man in the Empty Boat by Mark Salzman and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. They cover themes that are important to me, as though they’re written for me, and I find the voices of these writers to be as soothing as a meditation soundtrack that can lull me into rest.

It's official, you are a woman of the world - if you were given open air time, broadcasting to the world, what pearls of wisdom would you offer?

If I was given open air time to broadcast wisdom, I would probably clam up and laugh nervously into the microphone until it squealed feedback at the audience making everyone clutch their ears and yell ‘Ughhooowww!’  

But honestly? I don’t think that wisdom can be taught, because it’s a knowing that is felt, not a lesson that is imparted. I think you just have to get out there and start experimenting, and find answers through your own trial and error. Be observant. Be open. Be humble. Use your brain. Use your body while it’s still in good working order, and when it breaks down, use the bits you have left until they’re gone too. Because all of it goes in the end, and I think it’s important to keep remembering that. 

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