On rejection – You win some, you lose some

You win some you lose someHappy Monday! Today I thought I’d waffle on a little about rejection. Unfortunately it is part and parcel of working as a freelance illustrator and it can be pretty crushing when it happens. Over time I’ve learnt to deal with it better by understanding that it happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m referring to rejection here as something that happens once you’ve created a body of work and that work isn’t used for its intended purposes.

There’s also rejection of opportunities, when you’re put forward for a job that you don’t get. I personally find this harder to deal with. I think it’s the potential of something happening being taken away and it’s an all or nothing situation. When your work is rejected for its original use you might get an inkling from the client that their client (if it’s design based) might be steering in another direction so you can almost brace yourself.

For me as soon as I know there may be a potential job I get my hopes up. It’s so hard not to, I start imagining how I’m going to tackle the project and dreaming of the finished product, ahh it’s lovely. Then the bad news: they went with someone else, they’ve decided to use computer graphics/stock art, they aren’t willing to pay a fair fee, etc. Noooo! It’s unavoidable and it’s rubbish.Waffle on - rejectionI got a phone call from Steph at The Artworks recently and it made me think about how I react to news of potential (exciting) jobs. My heart leaps, I feel so happy and excited. I know full well that it’s a 50/50 and there’s a lot of factors against the job being mine and hopefully lots of factors for me getting it. I tell myself to keep calm, don’t think about it and push it to the back of my mind (that’s easier said that done!)

Whilst contemplating this I realized that the initial excitement of a potential project gives me such a boost of adrenaline and happy endorphin that even if I don’t get the job it’s almost worth it for the rush of the potential. It’s what drives me. I guess that’s really how we should see all jobs whether they are completed and seen though to the end and you get to see the finished product or whether you’re offered a potential dream come true job weighed against absolutely nothing at all. It’s the fact that enquiry was made in the first place, that seed was planted. Sifting through rejections we find gems of jobs that have been completed, opportunities that have been fulfilled and even if they haven’t come yet (the jobs I mean) they will and when they do they’ll be worth any number of no’s or sorry.

Rejection is a bitter pill to take but also seems to be one of those things that does get easier. You build a thicker skin and get used to hearing no (hopefully they’ll be a few yeses thrown in there too!) I think it’s true the saying you win some you lose some but through every lost opportunity can come a new sense of determination, ambition or a feeling of wanting to rebel against the no’s. It’s hard to feel positive at the time of rejection (hindsight is a beautiful thing) and no one likes to experience it but I really believe good things are worth fighting for. The challenge lies in addressing rejection as an opportunity but it’s definitely better than feeling rubbish and not good enough. Rejection can mean making space for something new, a chance to improve a certain area of your work/life, a goal to work towards…and so much more… What do you think? Please share above if you have your own strategy when dealing with rejection, how do you cope with it?



Weekly snapshots

Elsie dreamingI love this dog too much. The sunny weather has meant lots of sunbathing for Elsie. She sits outside my studio door basking in the sun then moving into the shade and back again. She spends all days outdoors doing her thing, every now and again coming inside to check on me and me peeking to check on her. I catch her laying out watching over the garden. She’s so content.Eating-donuts-with-AvieAvie has some time off over the summer holidays so we’ve been doing lots of walks together, the problem is we buy treats to eat on the way. This week we walked about 5 miles (round trip) and stopped off at a few local pubs to sit in their gardens, chill out with Elsie and sneak a few beers. It’s been a naughty but good week.WatermelonThis weekend has been the best I’ve had in ages. Lots of time spent with good friends and family in the sunshine, drinking wine and chatting until the early morning, eating the biggest watermelon I’ve ever seen and loving summer! Eating watermelonEating melonWatermelon munchingFamily summerNana shootingNana shooting an air rifle…as you do (don’t worry the target was a piece of paper!)Dad sleepingThis post started with a sleeping photo and ends with one. A tired dad having a snooze. Sounds like a good idea.

Time for a few more hours of relaxing then looking forward to a new working week. Hope you’ve had the best weekend!



How to design a repeat pattern with Photoshop

how to design a repeat pattern using livelovedraw.comThis tutorial is a way to share the process I use to create a repeat pattern with photoshop. There are lots of different ways to do things in photoshop so it may offer a new avenue or a way to use a different tool or shortcut in photoshop. Personally I know I discovered ‘copymerged’ quite late in my photoshop education! Feel free to share your own methods here.Repeat pattern endpages

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Diary of illustrating a cookbook part one

Illustrating a cookbook I enjoy learning more about the process of how other illustrators work. I also think it can be quite hard when you’re starting out and maybe have never experienced a certain type of job or aren’t sure how the process works. There is a limited amount of information on how to approach certain assignments to be found in books and online but less so from a personal perspective. It can feel a bit overwhelming.

I thought it might be fun to document the process of my latest commission and share the steps in real-life time as I experience them. I’ve mentioned a few times here that I’m currently illustrating a family orientated cookbook that also contains crafts. It will be difficult to share images (because of course it’s top secret at the moment!) but I thought it might be interesting to record the process and share how the project is evolving.

I’ve been working as an illustrator with The Artworks since 2011. I’ve only started working in publishing in the last year or so. Before that I’ve worked mostly in Editorial but I’ve also done some design work and packaging. For me the most challenging aspect of working on a book project is time – having more of it! I mean this in respect of longer deadlines (of course it’s also more work.) There are a few more team members added into the mix (editors, authors & design team) so communication has to go through all ports. My favourite aspect is getting really immersed in the project and seeing it develop from beginning to end over time (and seeing the final book!) I really love working in publishing.

Back to the project in hand… I initially started this commission in December 2013 but unfortunately it was put on hold due to a sales/marketing decision. It was a bit disappointing at the time as I was really excited about it but their reasons made complete sense in the long run. I got another email last month that the project was back on, yay! After finishing up another book project it was perfect timing – a rare occurrence when freelancing. I was given a rough manuscript and direction/brainstorm ideas from the team to get started with.

My first task was to create three concepts for the book cover and a sample spread for a recipe illustration. I printed off the manuscript (all 300+ pages) and email correspondence from the designer I’m working with. I highlighted, made notes and gathered sheets of relevant images & inspiration. I worked on an A2 sheet creating lots of thumbnail sketches varying the size & style of type, layout, composition and number of images. I worked up the three strongest ideas and scanned them in increasing the size to the cover dimensions and then using a light box transforming the roughs to a more clean and finished image.

I had a month to complete the ideas and sketches, which I finished last week (just before my computer crashed, it’s now in the apple shop being fixed!) I’m currently waiting for feedback from the designer on what concept they’d like and then I will be finalising the book cover illustration for the end of this month ready to share with the sales team.

The complete project to do list includes illustrations for a full colour cover, 4 seasons, 12 months, 7 large and 35 small how-to’s, 7 crafts and 30 recipes. The sketches are due in August and the final artwork in October. (I’m hoping to share a monthly update here.)

I’m really excited about this project as I’ve mentioned I love food (who doesn’t!?) and I love crafts so it really is a dream assignment. I’ve stocked up on audio books, got a fan for my studio (so humid!) and my computer is being cared for in the shop ready to return in a hopefully perfect state to get back to business once the feedback lands in my inbox.

Are you currently working on anything fun? Please feel free to share links to your latest projects/blog/website (click leave a reply above I’d love to take a look.)



How to make your own recipe book

How to make your own recipe book livelovedraw.comRecently I’ve been lucky enough to work with Running Press on a couple of cookbooks. They’re such fun projects to be involved with, they combine my two loves illustration + food! For one of my July goals this month I wanted to make my own recipe book and get it printed through Blurb. I thought about it a bit more and decided to take it a step further using the inspiration from my cookbook illustration projects to make it myself! If you’d like to make a similar recipe book follow the instructions below. I’ll also be creating a simple DIY to share how to make a simple repeat pattern for the end pages.

You will need:

  • Cardboard – for the front & back cover (I used an old sketchbook)
  • Spine (again I used one from from an old sketchbook/notebook) You could also use coloured ribbon.
  • Acrylic paint, paint marker, paintbrush (I used black + white to give it a restaurant menu vibe)
  • Craft scalpel/scissors, ruler, hole-punch, glue
  • 5 sheets thin card for dividers & lots of scrap paper for the filler (recipe) pages

Optional: Plastic sleeves & sewing machine to make the loose paper pouchesRecipe Book DIY livelovedraw.comStep one: I used cardboard from an old A3 sketchbook so first I measured it and cut it in half using a scalpel to create a recipe book that is A4 in size and landscape. I then painted it with black acrylic paint including the edges.Cutting tabsStep two: Whilst the paint drys I took the five sheets of card to make the dividers. I didn’t measure out the tabs (but you could if you want to) I just cut half an inch off one end of the card leaving a tab at the top and did the same for all five moving the tab down each time. My recipe book will begin with seasonal recipes from Summer so I chose breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner & picnic for my five tabs. You can adapt this to your own needs.Making holesStep three: This was trial and error seeing as I didn’t have a single hole-punch and using a double punch was difficult in placing the holes so I wedged the cards between the front and back cover and pushed a pencil through the card for each hole. Repeat on all paper card that will go into the book. (A single hole punch would work better.)Handrendering front coverElsie helping craftRecipes from the chaletStep four: Once the front & back cover was dry I designed some typography for the front page and used the paint marker to apply the white writing (I had a little help from Elsie!) I wanted the recipe book to also be a record of what was going on lately so titled it “Recipes from the Chalet.” I also rounded the edges cutting the corners off with a scalpel.Making plastic pouchesStep five: This is optional but I thought it would be nice to have some room for loose recipe notes or instax photo’s so I created these simple pouches by cutting 3 plastic sleeves in half and then a bit off each side. I then used a sewing machine to sew the plastic to the bottom of the divider by sewing the bottom and two sides.Recipe captionsStep six: I created some illustrated chapter headings for each of the dividers and created some end-pages with a simple repeat pattern design (I’ll be sharing these later in the week.) I glued the end-pages onto the interior sides of the front & back cover and stuck in the chapter headers.Assembling recipe bookStep seven: The final step is assembling the book. Once you’ve created the structure and illustrations you can start putting your book together by threading each page onto the spine working from the last page to the front. When all pages are threaded your book is complete! Now you get to dream up and start creating new recipes for summer 2014! You can fill your book with illustrated recipes or take photo’s of your finished dishes. Each season you can add in extra pages until you have a years worth of delicious recipes.

I hope you liked this DIY and it’s inspired you to have a go. Thanks for taking a peek!



Things I love

Flowers and barbed wireA few things I’m loving this month: blue skies, fresh flowers, summer sunshine, long walks with Elsie, cooking, water with lemon slices, fresh avocado, bare-feet, painted nails, pilates, coral, petrol blue, London days, cherries, mornings, dandelion tea, watching Elsie sunbathing, lazy Sundays, always Christophe.

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend.


Visiting the House of Illustration

Inside StoriesI’ve been looking forward to the opening of the House of Illustration for a few years now. It’s really exciting that we now have a space in England dedicated to all things illustration (& more!) This week I visited and I was not disappointed. Quentin Blake’s exhibition ‘Inside stories,’ is one not to miss. I loved seeing Quentin’s roughs, scribbles, ink marks and scratchy pens. Seeing rough layouts come to life with ink and watercolour. Do one thing well Marion DeucharsThe walkway in Kings Cross leading up to the House of illustration displays various artists work including Nina Cosford, Matthew Cook, Laura Carlin and above Marion Deuchars. Welcome to the house of illustrationQuentin Blake bird pieThe exhibition itself was categorised in books showing some development work and some final pieces from each publication. I absolutely loved seeing Quentin Blake’s character drawings and seeing each individual expression and the animation between them on a page. He really is a huge talent and inspiration!What does an illustrator think aboutThe boy in the dressIf you have a spare afternoon I highly recommend paying a visit. I think they should have a drawing station in the museum, the exhibition is so inspiring you just want to get drawing for days! My highlight was seeing the sketches and reading the email for Michael Rosen’s Sad book, so (sad but) beautiful!

“It’s enjoyable to draw dirty and disgusting people because they have so many features,” Quentin Blake.



Avie’s birthday celebrations

AvrilOn Saturday we celebrated my sister Avril’s (we call her Avie!) birthday. Our first stop was Borough Market, one of my favourite places in London. I love the colour and vibrancy of the market, it was really busy so we grabbed some food for a picnic from the various stalls and headed to a spot by the river to enjoy it. We bought a bottle of prosecco (from a man with the best moustache!), some flaxseed flapjacks (ginger & date,) some olive breadsticks and I had a little mezze with artichoke salad, butter beans in a tomato sauce & smoked aubergine dip. Mum had a fish selection and Avie had a pulled pork bap. We sat by the river and people watched awhile in the sun.Buying oysters at Borough marketMum & Avie’s first taste of oysters…Oysters at Borough marketVeggie stall Borough marketRainbow carrots at Borough marketGarden stall at Borough marketProsecco stall at Borough marketOnce we had enjoyed our picnic we started to walk to the 02 for the main event. Mum had bought 3 tickets for us to go ‘Up at the 02,’ for Avie’s birthday as she loves rock climbing. We then proceeded to get lost but still managed to get there on time. It was a really cool experience and I’d definitely recommend it. Mum wasn’t so keen as she’s not a fan of heights but she powered through. The path (?) you walk across is bouncy so adds a bit of extra oomph as you find your feet. The view was good but we did feel it was a bit of a shame there wasn’t more monumental buildings to see, there was a bit of building work. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Top of the 02It was a lovely day and fun to try something new in London. The more I visit London the more I fall in love with it. There’s always something going on and something fun to do or new to try. I like it with a helping of family and a dose of sunshine, bliss! Happy birthday lil sis!



Wood End illustration workshop

Illustration workshopBeach drawingsLast thursday I spent the day at Wood End Community school working with the Year 2’s on an illustration workshop as part of their futures week. I took some of my work to show them and spoke to the pupils about working as an illustrator. There were 60 children in total so we worked in the hall on lots of tables and the pupils got to work with paints, pastels and crayons. The theme was beaches and the children were asked to create an illustration that would contribute to a large art display of a beach scene displayed in one of their new classrooms.Crab at Wood End school workshop They produced some amazing artwork for the display, look at the crab above, brilliant! The pupils were so lovely and really sweet, one of them said it was the best day of the year and another told me they wanted to be an illustrator. They worked really well and I’m looking forward to see the final display when it’s put up.Pupils working school workshop by LindseyWood End illustration workshop


Weekly snapshots

View from the Tate This week I spent a few days in London. On Friday I purchased a Tate membership card and visited the Matisse exhibition which was amazing. Above is the view from the Tate’s members room, beautiful!

It was really interesting to learn how Matisse worked. Originally his paper cut outs were a form of rough work to plot out the composition for his paintings. He then developed his cut outs which are what he is most well known for. There was a cabinet full of small squares of gouache painted paper he had sent off for approval before carrying out his final artwork.  There was also a story about how he was working on some art for a couple in LA and they had rejected his initial artwork. I thought this was really inspiring and relatable, even Matisse had to do roughs and have them approved and face rejection from time to time.Art by St Catherines DockOn Saturday we celebrated my sisters birthday (post coming soon!) above is some artwork panels that we saw at St Catherine’s Dock. John Lewis illustrated window Sunday (today) I’m spending in my studio working towards a deadline for tomorrow. Above and below are some snaps from our quick morning shopping trip. I’m constantly inspired by visual merchandising. Above is John Lewis current window, I love the monochrome illustrated backdrop  combined with the bright patterns & colours, so gorgeous! Below is the Apple store’s current window. I loved their last window but this one nearly beats it. The photo doesn’t really show it to full effect but the pattern is made up of lots of images (on the interior of the leaf like shapes.) It also looks a bit like marbled paper which is a bit of a trend at the moment so I’m assuming this is intentional. Apple store visual merchandisingNext week I have to crack on with project work and I also have a date to see the House of Illustration & may see a few other exhibitions whilst in London. Have you seen any good ones recently? Here’s to a new productive week, hope you have a great one!