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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

Identity crisis

So far this year I’ve been on a journey to live my life in a way that’s within my means. Whilst it’s so easy to compare yourself to others, sometimes you have to remind yourself that you’re you, with your own individual needs. The past few months in particular have felt really significant in terms of identity and adapting the way I live to enable me to go about my daily life in a reasonable, albeit limited way, thanks to fibromyalgia and the host of trials that it brings.

The past few weeks have been focused on the way I create. My creative identity. This is something I relish in – a huge part of who I am, despite the health conditions that can sometimes seem like such a dominant part of life. But whilst I’ve adapted my daily life, I’ve battled with the creative process. So what do you do when the way you’ve always worked is not always doable? I started to actually feel quite excited about the possibilities and the chance to experiment, but that openness recently brought with it a sense of aimlessness and a questioning of where ‘I’ was in all of this. I did a lot of soul searching (as I often feel art comes from the very ‘being’ of who I am) and looked to other artists for inspiration. Finally, after much thought and experimentation, I feel I’m making some headway to getting the balance I need between detailed work and more laidback work. For a few days I explored the illustrator in me, and just went with the flow to try some children’s book illustration.

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Whilst I found this relaxing I couldn’t let go of my love of detail, so combined this sort of illustration with more intricate pattern.

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I realised I felt I had to fit in to a specific category: am I a ‘children’s book illustrator’? Am I a ‘fine artist’? I now realise I can combine elements to work around my difficult days when I’m in a bit of a ‘fibro fog’, to keep doing what I love.

In other areas of my creative life, I’ve been busy trying out a new bag pattern, using upcycled material to create useful (and unique!) pouch-style shoulder bags (picture below). I’m also thrilled to share the news that my piece ‘Flower Power 2’ was chosen to be shown in the current Penarth Pavilion exhibition. You can visit the website here. The exhibition runs until 28th August.

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Once upon a time…

A while ago an acquaintance asked me to illustrate a children’s story they’d written about a little adopted kitten. I based some of the illustrations on places I’ve been/lived.

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Experiments with pen

My latest piece, step-by-step. Love the versatility of ProMarkers!

Title: The Autistic Brain

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Monthly tutorial: chickpea bites

Every now and then I like to stray from my usual creative tutorial and bring you some vegan inspiration instead. Today we’re making deliciously healthy chickpea bites, which are perfect for a picnic, and can be topped with anything you can image!

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ingredients

  • 120g tinned chickpeas
  • 70g oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp flax seeds
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Dried dill and rosemary

method

Sometimes in vegan cook books and recipes you’ll see something called a ‘flax egg’. This is in place of an egg in the recipe, and is made by mixing crushed flax seeds with water, which creates a quite gelatinous texture, just like an egg. This is the first thing you need to do in this recipe. Crush your flax seeds, add 1 1/2 tbso of warm water and set aside for 15 minutes.

‘Oat flour’ is simply ground oats. You can be a bit creative with your flours if the mood takes you, and can find almost any flour you can imagine in health food stores, and now even most supermarkets, but oat is often the cheapest. Simply take 70g of any oats (rolled, whole etc) and blitz in a food processor.

Next, open your can of chickpeas, drain using a colander or sieve, rinse, then dry on kitchen towel.

Put your chickpeas into your food processor and blitz (you may need to stop every now and then to push them down). You’ll be left with a slightly crumbly consistency that will ‘compact’ when pressed down.

Place your chickpeas, a generous amount of herbs (and a pinch of salt if you like) your oat flour, and flax egg into a bowl and stir through. You want an almost dough-like consistency, which should happen when you begin moulding the ingredients together.

Heat your oven to 160 degrees (fan) and line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Form your dough into small cracker-sized rounds, pat down, and place on your baking tray.

Brush these with a little olive oil, and bake for 5 min, flip, then bake for a further 10 min.

The consistency should be slightly bready.

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Supermarket’s have come on leaps and bounds with their vegan-friendly foods. Most now stock their own versions of vegan cheeses in many exciting new flavours!

 

 

Creative chaos!

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Chaotic! That’s the best way to describe my creativity lately, flitting from one project to another depending on my mood. I’ve been in search of inspiration in many areas, from spending time in beautiful natural spaces (which often stirs something in me) to searching pinterest for art, sewing, interiors, and everything in between. I’ve been re-visiting pieces and photographs, working on my seascape (yes, finally tackling it again) and searching my photo file to create a ‘thank you’ piece for a kind health professional.

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That’s one tip I’d give anyone embarking on learning/developing artistic skills: compile a reference image folder. That way, when the feeling to draw/paint strikes, you only have to reach for your file for inspiration. Mine is divided into sections: places, people, flower/plants and misc. It also encourages an interest in photography, and is a way to capture a little part of your day. I often carry my digicam with me, even if I’m going somewhere familiar. The beauty of natural spaces and even man-made spaces/views is that things are constantly changing, so there’s a constant supply of new material to work with.

Sewing-wise I’ve been letting my creativity have free-rein, and have been creating a colourful panelled skirt with bright colours, beautiful patterns, and those little details that bring a piece together. I found the perfect fabric which I immediately saw the potential in the moment I set eyes on it.

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Although my clothing project is a little behind where I’d initially planned by this point, I’ve decided the best route to take is to take my time making and researching, and to try to enjoy the creative process, which is in keeping with my objective to be more ‘in the moment’.

 

 

Monthly mini review: Derwent pastel pencil set

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Product name: Derwent Pastel Collection

Price: £16.00 – £53.98 (for 24 piece set)

Rating: 3.5/5

About: A tin containing 24 pieces: 8 conté-esque hard sticks, 14 pastel pencils, 1 sharpener, 1 putty rubbergood

  • If, like me, you tend to use a lot of detail then pastel pencils are for you! I found I had much more control than when using stick pastels and was able to do finer details.
  • Whilst pastels can be quite mucky, the beauty of these pencils is that they leave your hands clean.

 

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  • This set can be pricey, and prices range hugely depending where you look.
  • Availability of individual/replacement pencils can be limited. My local hobbycraft didn’t stock them.
  • One thing I feel would make the set more complete is a blending stump.
  • Not suitable for large areas.

 

conclude This set gave me an excuse to get stuck in to a medium I don’t use of a regular basis. It’s suited to those who’ve dabbled, but want to gain more experience in this medium, and those who have struggled with larger pastel sticks. This set is great for detail enthusiasts, rather than those who prefer to work on a larger scale, and more for those with a real interest in art as opposed to being something you drag out on a rainy day for the kids. Although not my favourite medium, I enjoyed experimenting, and plan to use them again.

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‘Thirsty work’

 

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Osnir Narcizo ‘Heisenberg’

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Hannah (Melomiku)  ‘Tobi the Recon/Spy’

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Susan Mitchell – ‘Work in progress’

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Monthly tutorial: Mini album

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  • Cutting mat
  • ruler
  • craft knife
  • pencil
  • paint brush/glue spreader
  • PVA glue
  • mounting board
  • decorative/patterned paper

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Start by cutting out your pieces. You will need two large pieces measuring 8 x 11 cm, two smaller pieces at 1 x 11cm and 1.4 x 11cm, and a slightly larger piece at 3 x 11cm.

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Now you need to arrange your pieces in the following order, with the side you want to be covered facing up.

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Now to attach your pretty paper! Put a dollop of PVA glue in a jar and mix with a little water until smooth, and ‘paint’ a thin layer on each board.

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Use something with a smooth edge to press out any air bubbles.

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Flip your book the right-side up and fold over/neaten your edges, sticking down with more PVA.

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You’ll need to score your paper where it will bend to avoid it tearing. You can use something such as a knitting needle, or use a proper scorer.

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To close your book you can use magnets or Velcro. I opted for stick-on Velcro.

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Your book is almost complete! Now you need to insert your pages. There are many ways you can do this depending on what you’ll be using your book for. If you want a sketchbook, simply attach a blank pad (similar to this one – check sizing) or if you’re creating an album like I have you can opt for a concertina-style pull-out.

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Measure 28 x 14 cm of moderate-heavy density paper (as opposed to card) and score at even intervals. Optional: I added a decorative edge using a paper punch. You can find all sorts of these online and in craft stores.

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Apply glue dots or double-sided sticky tape to the part you will be sticking to your album board, and firmly press into place. Now add your photos!

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Last minute lovelies

Father’s day is fast approaching, but there’s still a little time! Support small/individual creative businesses (whilst also getting something truly unique) by checking out the creative offerings below….

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I love the little sketches Tina Martin of DaisyWings uses for her cards. This one would be perfect for a gardening fan. Visit DaisyWings on Folksy

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As a fan of print, this card really appealed to me, and Heather’s online shop is full of wonderful hand-printed items.

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When I stumbled across Claudine’s Folksy shop I was intrigued by the eclectic mix on offer. From silhouette artwork like the example above, to painted shells and clay sculptures, this shop is full of colourful and creative offerings.

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Sometimes simple gets the job done perfectly. Allistair’s cute illustrations will make any Papa Bear smile!

And finally, my own illustrated card, complete with detachable illustration.

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First steps

It’s been a while since I posted, and although I’m not tip-top I feel as though I’m taking the first steps on a long, but ultimately positive one. After years of pain that has got increasingly worse, I finally have a diagnosis. I feel it’s a bitter-sweet thing, as now that I know what I’m dealing with I can tackle it head-on by researching my condition, and trying things that have helped others. I’m hopeful that physiotherapy will prove useful, and I’m keen to explore all avenues. In terms of my mental wellbeing I feel this is just as important as my physical wellbeing, and feel as though, for the first time in a long time, my mind is open to new ways of thinking and living my life. It’s early days, but I feel a change is afoot.

I’ve been keeping up with ‘Project Speedy Sketch‘ and am quite excited at the prospect of curating an online mini exhibition to share with you. I’ve also been experimenting with pens after stumbling upon some unbelievably detailed work that I never imagined could be achieved with this medium. To keep myself busy I’ve been taking my sketchbook along with me to various places keep my mind occupied and teach myself how to use this medium. I often use fineliner, and have tried brush pens in the past with no real breakthrough, but was inspired by how these talented artists (see end of post for awe-inspiring work) managed to achieve such works of art! I’ve been dabbling with Winsor & Newton promarkers and find myself currently ‘on the fence’ as to whether this is a medium I’ll pursue.

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In addition to this I’ve also been putting some finishing touches to my Spring/summer children’s clothing collection, and have donated some pieces to charity. As my health has been quite tricky this year, I’m gearing up for a ‘proper’ launch when I’m feeling stronger. I’m thrilled to bits with the tags I had made by RibbonReelPrinting on etsy, and as the story behind my clothing is such a significant part of what I do, I’ve added a tag with an explanation on to each item.

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I’ve also taken my Folksy shop off ‘holiday mode’ and re-listed some of my items. I’ve also added sections to make it easier to navigate. If you’re looking for a unique card for Father’s Day (don’t forget – June 18th!) then take a look at my cute illustrated keepsake card.

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I’ve got loads more so share with you over the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled for new book reviews, vegan recipes, and lots of inspiration. You can find a list of all previous reviews and inspiration here: List

To finish I’m leaving you with some ink work that will leave you amazed! (Click names to visit full online gallery)

Ekaterina Putyatina

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Ekaterina produces artwork that’s so realistic it could almost be a photo! Her attention to detail is what really drew me to her fantastic work.

 

Wheeler3030

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New to Deviantart.com but so far I like what I see! Each piece in Wheeler’s gallery is jam-packed with interesting detail – each time you look you notice something different.

 

 

Sydney Nielsen (SydneyNielsenArt)

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As soon as I saw Sydney’s gallery I was hooked! Her work is bursting with colour and life. This piece appealed to the side of me that loves pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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