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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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Resurrecting the old

Recently my focus has been a bit all over the place when it comes to where to direct my creative energy. I’ve been dipping into my children’s illustration course then reviving old projects and feeling the need to work on those. Over a year ago I started an autobiographical piece that after a bereavement I felt unable to complete. I thought that that would be that, I’d never have the inclination to finish the piece as it reminded me of a difficult time in my life. However, the other day the urge to get back in to some….forgive me for this term….’serious’ art overwhelmed me.

It’s been a little while since I did what people in my life know me for, which is more fine art (not including the still life we had to do for one of the units in my course). As some of you may know over the past year I’ve been turning my focus more to less precise work and embracing the freedom of illustration but I do miss that feeling I get when I get really engrossed in detail. I’m having mixed feelings about beginning work on this piece again but I have this feeling that right now I’m supposed to be out-letting some emotion with it.

The other project I’ve brought out again is one I worked on years ago after the loss of my beautiful Springer Spaniel. Wanting to create something good from something bad I used the box her ashes came in to create a piece of work that had meaning behind it. I called it ‘The Fairy House’, but in a way it’s like a memorial piece. A lot of the materials I used represent something meaningful.

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‘The Fairy House’ by Hanna-Mae Williams

 

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‘The Fairy House’ by Hanna-Mae Williams

In addition to the box that made the main structure of the house I used twigs collected from places I visited regularly with my dog. The field I used to walk in with my Nan (who has also now passed), moss which I dried from places we’d also walked, and even the shells on the roof have their own story. Many years ago on freecycle someone was advertising a box of craft materials that had belonged to their late wife. They wanted them to go to good use as his wife had spent many hours enjoying crafting with them. I promised they would and so they became part of the Fairy House.

Some of the elements are handmade too; I used polymer clay to make tiny mushrooms that are ‘growing’ out of the roof, the blanket in the shell bed was knitted and the little pillow was a section of an old teatowel that I embroidered. A lot of work went into this project, yet for the past year the Fairy House has been sat in a shed. Now feels like the time to tidy it up a bit and decide where it belongs.

I’m enjoying my volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society and am incorporating my love of craft and all things creative into the session I’m doing. I feel like getting creative can have a positive effect on our wellbeing, even if only for the time we’re doing it.

I’m yet to visit the Da Vinci exhibition in Cardiff (I mentioned in my last blog about the nation-wide exhibitions that were being held to mark the 500th anniversary of his death) but as it’s running until the beginning of May there’s still plenty of time to get there. Since I started researching the Italian Renaissance during my A levels (13 years ago) I’ve had an interest in the subject and artists from that time. I love the use of symbolism and considered using this era in my dissertation but opted for the Symbolist Movement (late 19th century)…you can see why.

This week I’m allowing myself to just be creative in whatever way I feel. How much I create and how much I engage with my work is often dependent on how I’m feeling. This week I’m feeling in need of some freedom, to outlet emotions with whatever project feels right at the time.

 

 

 

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Final leg of the learning curve

This month I’ve been talking a lot about perspective with this month’s review being the book ‘Perspective & Composition’ by Barrington Barber (you can read it here). I’ve been continuing my learning curve with practising using the 1-point and 2-point perspective method and looking up examples of good perspective artwork.

I found this youtube video to be particularly good in clearly explaining the method (click to open new window): ‘How to Draw in Perspective for Beginners‘. Youtube can be a great resource for art enthusiasts, particularly those who are teaching themselves.

I’ve been a member of the website DeviantArt for a while now (my first account was set up in 2006!) and I’ve always found it an inspiring place as you get to see other’s art work and browse whatever topic takes your fancy. This past week I’ve been taking a look at ‘perspective’ and here are some pieces that really caught my eye, some because they clearly show the use of perspective lines. Click the names to be taken to the profile.

TitaniumDream

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‘Perspective Practise’ by TitaniumDream

I like how this piece is a mix of imagination and theory. You can clearly see this is an exercise in perspective and can see the 2-point perspective lines.

EpHyGeNiA

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‘Anatomic Perspective’ by EpHyGeNiA

In the book I reviewed last week there were various examples of where perspective can be used. The human body was briefly covered and this is an example by EpHyGeNiA.

 

LisaCrowBurke

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‘2-pt Vertical Perspective’ by LisaCrowBurke

I love this piece as it’s so interesting. I think it’s a great example of an interesting perspective but I think it’s made so much more than that by the inclusion of the pigeons.

 

 

Next week I’ll be bringing you a special St David’s day tutorial and I’m excited to say that soon I’ll be visiting the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition: ‘Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing‘ to mark the 500th anniversary of the famous artist’s death.

Three to see!

As my blog followers will know, I love to find enthusiastic artists out there and give them a bit of exposure here. There are so many talented individuals out there whose work just needs to be seen and shared! As I’ve been working on my large Mabinogion piece (if you missed the post about this you can find it here: link) I decided to have a dig on Deviantart (you can follow my account here: hmwillustration) for some Celt-inspired work and came across some superb pieces. It was difficult to narrow down my favourites but after much deliberation I’m sharing my top 3. Be sure to check out each artist’s profile, or better still let them know what you think of their wonderful work! Please remember that the copyright belongs to the artist.

 

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Roberto Pavic  (DeviantArt name: roblfc1892)

Roberto has been a member of DeviantArt for many years and his gallery is full of interesting photography and tattoo designs. He has a whole gallery folder dedicated specifically to Celtic tattoo design, with my favourites being his Celtic dragons. Also look out for the exquisite ‘Swallow’ and ‘Ravens’.

(click image for direct link)


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Rachel Arbuckle (DeviantArt name: CelticArt)

Rachel is from Italy and has a love of Gouache paint. Her gallery is entirely dedicated to Celtic designs and is a treasure trove of intricate work. Below is one of my favourite pieces, titled ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’.

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Lucie Ondruskova (Deviantart name: LucieOn)

Lucie is from the Czech Republic and works a lot with watercolours. Her gallery has a collection dedicated to her ‘Knotworks and Patterns’ which are made truly unique with her interesting application of watercolour and small additional details. Below is ‘Celtic Butterfly’, just one of many beautiful pieces of subtle knotwork.

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Next week i’ll be posting my usual ‘Monthly Tutorial’. This time I’ll be showing you how to develop your ideas.

What’s in store for November?

It’s hard to believe it’s November already! This year has flown by in a blur. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, about where my illustration is leading me, how I want to utilise my creativity and where it’ll take me in the future. Trying to meet a deadline I’ve fallen into the mindset of my current piece being more of a chore than how I want my time creating to be. When I allow myself time and space, art is my therapy. When I relax and just go with the flow and allow myself to really get in tune with my work is when I actually produce the best results and really engage with the process. In the coming years I’d like to look further in to art as therapy and hope that starting voluntary work working with people with Alzheimer’s will bring the opportunity to bring someone pleasure and a mode of creative communication.

Here are some of my recent rough sketches for the piece I’ve been working on. The piece itself will be made up of many elements and I’m currently working my way through each one, until I feel happy with the final version that I’ll then transfer to my prepared paper.

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The piece I’m working on is based on The Mabinogion, a collection of medieval Welsh tales. The stories are full of adventure, peril and mythological creatures, such as dragons and the cyclops. Above is my interpretation of a ‘Coranian’. The Coraniaid appear in the tale of Lludd and Llefelys and are a race of people that are said to be like a plague; their hearing is so intense that it’s impossible for them to be harmed as they always hear when danger is coming. When I’m creating characters I like to do some visual research. For the Coraniaid I researched medieval clothing to get a sense of what sort of things they would wear, and as the Coraniaid are said to be small i imagined a stocky build. I’ll be talking more about creative processes later this month in my monthly tutorial.

Later this month I’m hoping to visit an exhibition in Peterborough hosted by the City Gallery titled ‘Fabric of Society‘. As someone who’s interested in textiles I’m looking forward to seeing this and will be reporting back in my monthly review next month (the exhibition runs until January).

Next week I’ll be reviewing, as promised, another of Brian Froud’s  unconventional works: ‘Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Letters‘. If you haven’t already read last months ‘Goblins’ review, you can find it here link.

 

 

Autistic and artistic!

It’s hard to believe that it’s October already, this has been a difficult year of significant loss for me but I finally feel like I’ve got my passion for art back. Lately I’ve been working on two projects, though one has taken a bit of a backseat as I’m focusing more on developing my more relaxed illustration style (which I’m doing through designing Christmas cards) whilst the other I have a feeling is going to go down a more detailed fine art route.

I’ve been enjoying just sketching out some ideas and building on them and it feels good to be creative but not worry so much about detail and the piece being ‘good’. I’m focusing more on the feeling rather than the technique. Whilst it feels so satisfying to finish a detailed piece I feel more inclined to think ‘i’ll spend this spare time working on that piece’ when it’s more relaxed. It’s not the most serious of subject matter but I’ve been working on creating a cute card design that’ll give a ‘cosy’ festive vibe.

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These are obviously just the very first steps, just my first rough sketches. Now that I have some ideas though I’ve started transferring these ideas onto mixed media paper (i wanted a bit of texture so I chose fine grain heavyweight paper (you can read all about selecting the right papers here: Choosing the right sketchbook )

As well as cracking on with my art projects last Friday I went to the Welsh Autism Show in Cardiff which was packed with information and resources. What I was especially pleased to come across was some fellow ASD artists and their brilliant work. Find out more about their work by clicking the names below. (Please bear in mind images are copyright).

Michelle Chick

Michelle is based in South Wales and has qualifications from the University of Wales in Cardiff. Her art is so detailed and she uses a variety of mediums, from watercolour to gouache and acrylics.

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‘Goldhill’ Michelle Chick
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‘Castle Combe’ Michelle Chick

 

Patrick Samuel

I loved how colourful and expressive Patrick’s work was and how he’s embracing neurodiversity rather than seeing it as a barrier.

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‘New World’ Patrick Samuel. Acrylic
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‘Time for Reflection’ Patrick Samuel. Oil pastel

 

Chris Baker

When I saw the work Chris had on display I was amazed by how realistic his drawings were. In fact, my companion thought they were photographs! It’s evident how much care and attention goes in to each piece. Chris is a self-taught artist and is available for commission.

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Chris Baker. Pencil

Have a creative week!

 

Out with the old

I’ve been dying to get stuck in to some artwork lately, especially as my Sakura Pigma Micron pens arrived yesterday but my time has been taken up mostly with packing things up to move. I’ve been having a good sort out of my art and craft materials and going through old pieces. My collection of past work has been piling up over the years, so I’m considering being ruthless and finally parting with some!

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As I’ve known my current neighbour for over a decade now I wanted to make her a special card to say goodbye rather than just buy one. Since I’ve been experimenting with children’s book illustration lately I decided to go with a cute design which would be good practice in this area.

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I’m already thinking of my next project and the deadlines I have. For the past couple of years I’ve been involved in the Y Galeri Caerffili Winter Exhibition and as soon as I get myself settled I’ll be starting work on this year’s entry. I have so many ideas in my mind and at the moment am doing a bit of reading on my subject choice (which is top secret for now!). As it’s going to be quite an involved piece I think it’ll be my main project for the rest of this year. Next year the charity Viva! are holding an artwork auction and I’ve been asked, as part of ‘Art for Animals’ to contribute a piece. It feels wonderful to feel excitement again over projects after a very difficult beginning to the year.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly review: Derwent Graphitint pencils

After postponing this review it’s finally here! The promised Graphitint review. Here’s what you need to know…

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Product name: Derwent Graphitint 12 Tinted graphite pencils

Price: £5 (without postage) – £20.96

Rating: 4/5

About: A set of 12 tinted graphite pencils which can be used dry as you would a pencil/watercolour pencil, as well as brushed over with water to ‘soften’. They give a subtle colour finish.

observations

I was so excited to try these out, not knowing quite what to expect;  would these handle like graphite pencils? How would I get tone like I would from B-6B? I was keen to get stuck in, and they didn’t disappoint, though did take some getting used to. I initially made the mistake of setting out using them as I would normal graphite pencils, but these are something different entirely. I soon realised that these pencils are a medium all of their own; not quite a watercolour pencil, not quite a graphite pencil, and like when you’re just starting out with a new medium these need a little getting used to and a little practise.

Due to cost I opted for the set of 12 (having just given in to the temptation of Derwent’s Inktense watercolour pencils)  and rather than feeling as though I was limited by not having the available range of 24 colours, I came to realise it was the very fact that I had a limited palette that put me in the right direction in terms of use. When using graphite pencil I focus on tone, when using colour mediums to depict reality I try to get the colour as close to reality as possible, but this is a mistake when using this medium. Because these pencils offer only a tint, and therefore limit your ability to depict the colour of the animal/object in reality, you will not achieve exact likeness, and therefore must treat these as what they are: a combination between graphite and watercolour pencil – bear colour in mind, but also bear tone in mind. It really is about not boxing yourself in to think of these as one medium with one set of rules. This is a medium with which two set of rules apply. To be successful you have to get in to this mind-set.

Whilst some of the characteristics are the same as graphite pencils, blending is not one. This is where the medium crosses over into watercolour pencil territory. Forget attempting to use a blending stump or your fingers, as these can only be blended using water. They have a harder point than I had expected, which actually makes them more economical than Derwent’s watercolour pencils, which, due to softness wore down very quickly.good bits

  • Portable
  • Economical
  • Unique
  • Good for detailed work

notso

  • Take some getting used to
  • I very much missed white in the 12 pack (though this is available individually)
  • Generally pricey (though in my opinion it’s not worth scrimping on materials and these are good quality)
  • Availability of individual colours (so far only found on derwentart.com)

 

concludePersonally I’d buy these again as I found them quite unique. However, it’s worth looking around a bit first as price can vary drastically. Availability of sets is an issue, though The Range seem to be the best high street store for this, offering sets of 6,12 and 24. I feel these are more suited to those with a real interest in art and mediums, as opposed to simply for use in colouring in for example.

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Monthly tutorial: Alternative Easter oatcakes

This recipe is so easy and versatile and suitable for vegans/vegetarians.

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  • 100g oats (to make these more nutritional I like to use a mixture of oats, oatbran and multigrain)
  • 20ml oil (I’ve used olive this time, but avocado has worked well, as well as rapeseed)
  • Any ‘extras’ such as seeds, chopped nuts, herbs, spices etc (I’m making ‘cheese & chive with sesame seeds – violife offer a range of vegan cheese flavours. Nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavour and extra vitamins)
  • A generous glug of warm water
  • Cookie cutters in any shape you want

method

 

 

step1

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Set your oven to 160 Celsius (fan oven) and measure out 100g of your oats/grains.

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Add 20ml of oil, and stir well until all the oats are coated.

step3oatcake13.jpgAdd your extras (see ‘flavour ideas’ below for inspiration) and mix in well.

step4oatCollage2.jpgAdd a glug of warm water, stir through, and ‘work’ your oats until they begin to combine. Keep adding water slowly until your oats bind together easily.

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Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

step6oatCollage3.jpgGet a cookie cutter and teaspoon ready, and take a small amount of your mixture. Depending on how thick you want your oatcakes, add more/less, and press it firmly into your cookie cutter on your baking tray.

step7oatCollage4.jpgUse the back of your teaspoon to press the mixture firmly in, and the handle end to get into all the smaller spaces. Tip: the simpler the cookie cutter, the easier it is to get out after.

step8oatcake3.jpgUse the handle end of the spoon to gently push your shape out, and gently press with your finger tips to flatten slightly on the baking tray.

step9When you’ve made all of your shapes (depending on thickness you can usually expect to get around 6 out of this recipe) it’s time to bake! Put your baking tray in the oven and bake for approx. 30 minutes until lightly golden. The time will vary depending on thickness, but for an extra crunch leave them in longer. If you like a really soft oatcake, go for 20 minutes.

step10Once your oatcakes have fully cooled it’s time to think about presentation. There are so many places on the high street and online where you can get beautiful boxes. (Cup)cake boxes are perfect for your oatcakes, and if you’re on a strict budget these can be picked up in discount stores, such as HomeBargains, B&M bargains, or if you’re looking for something extra special and want to support small businesses, it’s well worth taking a look at what the sellers at esty have to offer (you can view them here – link). I made my own label and stuck it to a cute pre-made box.

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flavour

 

artyAfter much agonising over the pastel piece I’ve been working on in my art group, I’ve finally finished working on the still life piece. I’d been wanting to re-acquaint myself with pastels for a while, as I don’t feel it’s a medium I’ve really mastered. As someone who mainly works in small formats and has a strong inclination to include a lot of detail, I found the ‘bulk’ of pastels to be quite challenging. Enter the pastel pencil! This year so far has been an experimental one in terms of mediums. I’m shying away from my usual instinct to get out my oil paints, and exploring what’s out there, particularly as I now feel I have a ‘grip’ on oils.

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Keep your eyes peeled for a review of Derwent’s Pastel Collection next month!

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After investing so much mental energy into developing experience with this medium, I decided my next project would be one for pure enjoyment, so I’ve resumed my love affair with fine liner (something which had been somewhat squashed during three years studying illustration at university). I’m afraid I’ll forever be a fan of the clean line and definition it can produce.

colouringpagecright.jpgIt felt exhilarating to feel a sort of ‘freedom’ with this piece – to let my instinct and understanding of pattern/line (and natural inclination towards detail) to lead the way without too much thought. However, I took the decision to use watercolour pencils on this and feel it took away from the stylised feel of the piece. So what began life as a relaxed piece has now morphed into another art challenge! Bring it on! I’ll be updating you on my progress through twitter and facebook (facebook.com/hanna-mae-illustration) and twitter (@HMWIllustration).

As for my eco clothing, I’m in the process of working with an etsy seller to get some sew-in labels made as a finishing touch. The process is a lengthy one, but I want my labels to reflect what my clothing is all about. I’ll be showing you the finished product in the weeks to come, along with pictures of the postcards I’m having made.

nextweekMonthly Review: Derwent graphitint pencils review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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