I always have trouble thinking of what to draw for my winter card, so I was happy to come up with a snowdome illustration this year. Here are some of my initial sketches. I was originally thinking of having a page of a differently shaped and sized snowglobes, but then chose to keep it simple and focus on just one. I wanted a cosy house in a forest, and did several little watercolours to experiment.
For the final artwork I painted a little house on a snowy hill with smoke coming out of the chimney, and then had it printed with an extra layer of silver foil to show the glitter inside the dome. I love that it sparkles as you move the card!
I've been having a wonderful week in London, visiting museums and seeing friends and family. I'd been waiting all year to see the Tove Jansson show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, and it didn't disappoint...Her work has always inspired me (especially the black and white drawings in the Moomin books), and I feel invigorated to work harder now. I also loved the Modigilani show at the Tate Modern. I'd never seen so much of his work all at once, and it was extremely moving.And of course the Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition at the V&A. So adorable, and a wonderful example of author and illustrator producing perfection together...
While I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago I managed a quick visit to Juri's Tearooms in the food hall of the flagship store of the Japanese department store Mitsukoshi in Nihonbashi.I designed the logo for Juri when she had her tearooms in the Cotswolds in England, and now she has a new branch in Japan!I also did several afternoon tea illustrations for the packaging of Juri's own blends of tea, which have now been updated with new paper packing around the foil packets.The scones were delicious, and I can't wait to try the full high tea...If you're ever in the area, do pop in and say hello from me!
On a quick visit to Tokyo recently, I managed a little sketch of the desserts during a very pretty meal at Hannariya.It is a Kyoto style place and the dishes were as beautiful as they were delicious...
I've got these supercute robin and ivy blank holiday cards in my shop right now. There are 2 designs, and they each come in packs of 5.They're blank inside for your own holiday message, and come with matching white envelopes. I can ship them from either the US (now) or the UK (in 2 weeks time). Happy card-writing!
While I was in Hong Kong last month, I helped out my friend Alex, who runs Dogalicious, a healthy dog food company, at his stand at the pink dot festival. I offered pet portraits of people's dogs, in exchange for a donation to lap, the animal charity.I'd never tried this before, but most of the owners seemed to be quite happy with the results! Dogs don't stay still, so I had to capture their personalities whilst they wriggled...I did the portraits in watercolour and brushpen, each one in under 10 minutes!There is even a video of the event that you can watch here. Woof!
In September, after a short holiday on the Big Island, I went to Oahu with my friends Katie Baldwin and Yoonmi Nam, to attend the 3rd International Mokuhanga Conference at Honolulu University. We installed Into the Fold, an exhibition of our newest collaborative mokuhanga project. It was an extension of our current project (un)fold: we invited three printmakers, Sarah Hulsey, Fuko Ito and Mia O, to collaborate with us, exploring the ideas and acts of folding and unfolding, and the lineage of learning the mokuhanga technique. We also gave a presentation about the project during the conference.Here's a close-up of my piece Into the Garden. It represents an abstract garden, is printed so that it can be viewed from either side of the paper, and has a printed enclosure. It's lovely when it sways slightly in the breeze, and the plants seem to be alive.My Meyer Lemon Curd Recipe was also shown in the juried international group exhibition: Beauty of Mokuhanga: Discipline & Sensibility 木版画の美：修練と感性 I did quite a few sketches in the presentations I attended, and also at the conference opening and closings, of the speakers and committee members...I had never participated in the open portfolio at the previous conferences so I thought I would give it a go this time. I showed a selection of my mokuhanga prints and artists books, and spoke to anyone who was interested...Here you can see my blue Into the Garden piece in an alternative configuration.Katie, Yoonmi and I also showed our previous wood+paper+box print collaborations on a separate table, and everyone was encouraged to open and handle each of our individual prints in the boxes.It was a thoroughly enjoyable conference, where it was great to meet up with old and new friends and colleagues. It encouraged me to spend more time on my printmaking practice and I can't wait to start more prints.
Recently I went to the Big Island of Hawaii for a little holiday. We travelled most of the way round the island, visiting all sorts of different landscapes...and sketching...I loved seeing the sea, in pretty coves and the wide, wide open...We stayed in wonderful retro hotels that felt like Wes Anderson movies, and saw secret and mysterious bays,and lush, tropical rainforests with towering trees and ferns...
and then visited the dry, ashy caldera of the most active volcano in the world, in Volcanoes National Park.
It's that time again! I'm showing lots of prints, both old and brand new, in my San Francisco Dogpatch workshop. Please come and visit us and buy art direct from the artists.Here's a sneak peak of some of my framed prints up on the wall...
I'm in HK at the moment, for various projects, and just took part in the Symposium for Disaster Risk Reduction at the Hong Kong PolyU.Author Martha Keswick and I gave a presentation as part of the campaign for Disaster Risk preparedness, to launch our new childrens picture book series: 'COPE - How to be Ready for Natural Disasters'.It's a series of books featuring a team of kids who travel the world teaching other kids how to handle various natural disasters. The first book is about Earthquakes. We hope to eventually have books that include what to do in hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tsunamis, blizzards and volcanoes.Because of increasing climate change, natural disasters are becoming more prevalent, and it's so important that children know how to deal with them. We are actively looking for partners to help us publish and fund the series. If you know any NGOs who might be interested, please contact us! We have a temporary website here for more info:
If these books can saves lives, I will feel like I've done something worthwhile. Please help if you can!
When we visited Yellowstone, we also went to the Grand Teton National Park, and I found it more beautiful than I could have imagined.We stood at the same point that Ansel Adams took his famous photograph, overlooking the winding Snake River, and I did a pencil and watercolour sketch.The wildfires in nearby Montana were making the skies a strange smoky texture, and many of the views we had were softened and mysterious. We went on an early morning river rafting trip and I managed to paint a few quick sketches of the passing scenery and sunrise. We saw elk, moose, bald eagles and even two baby bears.
I've designed some Christmas cards for my favourite animal charity again this year, Animals Asia. I worked on lots of different ideas, and three were chosen for the cards. I tried to make them cute, but not too cute...If you're considering buying some charity cards, please help us help the moonbears! You can buy the cards here. Thank you!!
A few weeks ago I spent a wonderful few days in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. I had thought it would be mainly geysers and fumeroles, like the famous Old Faithful...and the wildly colourful prismatic hot spring,but there were also wild and barren landscapes... and gentle green lakes with ducks and canoeists.But it was the wild open landscapes of places like the Lamar Valley, with wide skies and meandering rivers,where the buffalo really do roam, that filled my heart.
Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall's new River Cottage cookbook has just been published, illustrated by yours truly. I debuted a brand new illustration style, to keep the flavour of the illustrations I've done before for River Cottage, but adding a new dimension.I created a painted collage style, a bit reminiscent of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but with thicker paper, so there's a very definate shadow on the pages, to give the impression of depth.I worked with the art directer Lawrence Morton to come up with the theme for this book's illustrations, which is 'the preparation' for cooking. So I focused on the tools and equipment in the kitchen...and also the preparation of the ingredients themselves. For example, how to cut them...and how to select them...This wonderful book is available from Amazon US here and Amazon UK here. It would make an excellent Christmas gift!
Michael McConnell, at Fayes Bench Gallery in San Francisco, created an art project 'Friends That Never Met' where instagram friends would pair up and create a piece of collaborative art embracing their online friendship; a chance to work on something tangible in the real world together. So I had a good think and asked Melodie Stacey, an artist I follow on instagram and whose work I love, but who I've never met in person, if she'd like to work with me on some artwork. She said yes!
We each started a piece with a character, and posted them to the other to finish. Here is 'How do you do?' featuring my Mr Lizard. I noticed that Melodie often paints in blue, so I decided to do blue too. It's a mokuhanga print with watercolour, while Melodie painted in gouache. The artworks are all small-ish, and look wonderful on the wall in the gallery.
Melodie sent me several blue ladies to work with, so I chose one and decided to add an elaborate hat and avian friend. Here is 'Feather Lady'.I studied Edwardian headwear to get inspiration and added my hat as a collage in blues onto Melodie's painting.Social media is a great platform for artists to interact and inspire each other from all over the globe, and I really enjoyed taking this concept and adding a physical element to it. Melodie is in the UK, I was working in Japan, and the show is in California. I love it!
We finally managed to visit the French Laundry recently, in Napa, and I enjoyed every single bite.I did a little sketch of each course and item as it was served...The food was beautiful, as well as delicious, and it was a pleasure to draw. I can still taste the flavours now...
I watched the solar eclipse on monday, using eclipse glasses, and painted the various stages as the moon's shadow moved across the sun.From northern California we only got about a 70-80% eclipse I think, but it was still a wonderful sight.Maybe next time I'll manage to see a full one...