Tuesday Colour Inspiration – The Illustrator’s Hand

Tuesday Colour Inspiration Swatch - The Illustrator's Hand
Tuesday Colour Inspiration Swatch – The Illustrator’s Hand

If you saw my doodling post last week, then this is what happened when I started adding watercolour to the sketch – colourful hands! I was using the Caran D’Ache Neocolor II Water Colour Crayons, which I love, but because I hold them in my hand and brush the paint directly off the crayon, I tend to get very colourful palms when I work with them. The Staedtler Triplus Fineliners that I used to draw the sketch didn’t bleed too badly – the red and black were the worst out of all the colours I used, but even so, they didn’t bleed too much. I would suggest if you’re going to use them with watercolour to test out each pen colour you are using before getting stuck in, just to see how they work.

I’ve finished the illustration in the meantime and have popped it up on my Society6 page, where you can buy it in so many different formats it is quite bewildering. Duvet cover or shower curtain, anyone?!

Sun and Moon Mosaic
Sun and Moon Mosaic

As always, you can download the Adobe Swatch Exchange file for this week’s colour inspiration swatch here, and feel free to use it in your own artwork.


Tynemouth Classic VW Rally

posted in: out and about | 4

Those of you who know me personally know that I love VW vehicles. My first car was a Mk 3 Golf – oh, wish I still had him! – and one day, honestly, one day, I *will* have a VW bus. I have drawn a few stylised VW buses and after our trip out to Tynemouth to see the Tynemouth Classic VW Rally yesterday, there may well be a few stylised bugs added to that list too. We thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the different VWs on display, admiring all the love and work that has gone into looking after these wonderful vehicles, and enjoying the friendly atmosphere. It was such a gorgeous day that after visiting the show we decided to have a walk along Longsands beach, plodging in the sea. A blissful way to cool off and revitalise aching feet. Afterwards we sat down to watch the rally drive out with plenty of buses and bugs driving along the prom. It was all topped off with a good view of the Red Arrows air display team, who were wowing the crowds further down the coast at the Sunderland Air Show. I found a video on YouTube of the display we saw yesterday – it was amazing from a couple of miles away – much, much better close up!

Here are a few pictures of the day, and keep an eye out for new VeeDub based artwork soon ;)

Tuesday Colour Inspiration – Letter to Australia

Letter to Australia - colour inspiration swatch
Letter to Australia – colour inspiration swatch

I’ve never really been a big fan of Facebook, I only joined two years ago in order to set up a business page. I have been growing more disillusioned with the site recently, and after the recent revelations, I decided to delete my account completely last week. It feels good! I haven’t missed it one bit. And instead of writing an electronic missive to a friend in Australia, I took up pen and paper, and wrote her a proper letter instead. I wrote about the things I’d been up to recently, thoughts and feelings, a few thoughts on the way the world is going. And of course I asked questions, in the hope of a handwritten reply to hear more about her deeper thoughts. It was a piece of meditation. In my teenage years I had about twenty penpals from all around the world, and learnt so much about their lives and cultures. I’m going to bring letter writing back into my life again – I’d forgotten how much I’d enjoyed it.

As ever, if you would like to download the Adobe Swatch Exchange file for this colour inspiration swatch, feel free to do so by clicking here.

Here’s to more handwritten letters!

more lino printing experiments at Jula Crafts

I love my monthly lino printing class at Jula Crafts! The ladies love to experiment and get inky and are always enthusiastic about playing and trying something new. This month we were initially playing with two colour prints, which everyone carved out last month. Then we all started playing with textures as part of the prints too, and there were some beautiful results. Have a peruse amongst the photos here to see what everyone came up with. You’ll also see I have some wonderful colour mixers in my class too :)

If you would like to join us for some lino printing and the chance to get inky once a month, all the details are on my workshops page. Hopefully see you at a class soon :)

Tuesday Colour Inspiration – Sketchbook Calligraphy

Sketchbook Calligraphy colour inspiration swatch
Sketchbook Calligraphy colour inspiration swatch

This week’s swatch comes from an old sketchbook that I found whilst conducting my studio tidy up this week. As far as I can remember, I had the radio on and was just practising my calligraphy by writing down random words that I heard. There’s also a collage of the Muppets and a slice of vampire pizza (which you can see a shadow of) on the opposite page. Don’t you just love what you create in your sketchbooks?!

As usual, the Adobe Swatch Exchange file for these colours can be downloaded here. Have fun!

Tuesday Colour Inspiration – Lady’s Well

Tuesday Colour Inspiration - Lady's Well
Tuesday Colour Inspiration – Lady’s Well

On Sunday we went for a walk in beautiful Northumberland, and visited the tranquil Lady’s Well at Holystone. It had a truly mystical air to it, enhanced by the knowledge that this natural spring had quenched many a person’s thirst over hundreds of years. Go and visit if you get the chance, it’s the perfect place to meditate for a while and forget the busy outside world.

You can download the Adobe Exchange Colour swatch to use in your own artwork by clicking here.

Studio Sale now on!

posted in: special offers | 0

Studio Sale!

It’s summer, I feel like a bit of a clear out, so I’ve just started a studio sale! Lots of my original lino prints are on offer at great prices – plus a few craft items from my studio too.

The sale will be on until 20 July 2014 or until stocks last.

Happy browsing!

Tuesday Colour Inspiration – Just Cluckin’

Just Cluckin' colour inspiration swatch
Just Cluckin’

This week’s colour inspiration swatch comes from a pleasant evening walk around Saltwell Park in Gateshead last Thursday. This chicken and dove seemed to be enjoying a conversation through the bars. Either that or they were plotting the chicken’s escape.

If you would like to download the Adobe Exchange Swatch to use in your artwork, then feel free –
download it here.

Tuesday Colour Inspiration – Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the Park colour inspiration swatch
Picnic in the Park colour inspiration swatch

This week’s colour inspiration swatch comes from a photo I took on Saturday, when I attended the Knit in Public event hosted by Woolaballoo in Hexham. About 20 ladies met up in the Sele park in Hexham to knit and chat and have a picnic. It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon with great company. I am drawn to bright colours (as you may have gathered from my illustrated artwork *grin*), so this picture just had to be the one from the past week that I made up into a swatch.

If you would like to download the Adobe Swatch Exchange file to use in your own artwork, then feel free to do so here: Press for Design Picnic in the Park Colour Inspiration Swatch

Have fun!

more lino printing at Jula Crafts

The six week course of lino printing at Jula Crafts in Consett finished in May, and as I was asked to continue teaching lino printing, we decided to have one class a month to continue with learning. This is a drop in class, so if you’re in the area and are free on the first Wednesday of each month between 10am and midday, you would be very welcome to join in. Beginners are very welcome! More details are on my workshops page.

We spent one week creating three different lino printing plates, one with not too much detail on, one with more detail that was abstract, and a final plate that could be used as a print on its own. Each student first printed up their three plates in three different colours, and then, as I’d given everyone the same sized lino, the fun could begin as everyone swapped their plates around to mix and match. This created lots of great results and everyone had fun experimenting.

In another session we had a big “play session” – anything went, the session was all about experimenting and playing. I brought along some cotton bags to print on, as well as bubble wrap, leaves from the garden, and of course plenty of ink.

getting inky!
getting inky!
getting even more inky!
getting even more inky!

I love teaching this class – looking forward to our next meeting in July :)

Tuesday Colour Inspiration – Red Rose

Hello all!

I finally got myself a smart phone a couple of months ago, and ended up joining Instagram the other week (come and find me at instagram.com/pressfordesign). Wanting to do something a little extra with all these photographs I’m taking, starting from today I’m going to be uploading a weekly colour inspiration swatch using a photo I’ve taken during the previous week.

Today’s colour inspiration swatch comes from the first rose to appear in my garden – a red one of course, to signify my home county ;)

If you use Adobe then I’ve created an Adobe Swatch Exchange file for you to download and use. If you use the swatch to inspire some artwork, please let me know, I’d love to see it :)

Red rose colour inspiration swatch by Press for Design
Red rose colour inspiration swatch by Press for Design

Lino printing class at Beamish Museum


I had another great day teaching lino printing at Beamish Museum yesterday, as part of their Traditional Experiences programme, in this beautiful setting! There were 8 lovely ladies on the course, all beginners, and they all produced the most amazing work.

We started off the day with learning how to use the lino carving tools, and working on a few practice pieces. Once everyone was feeling confident with the tools and were happy with their work, we moved on to working on an A6 piece. I had brought along some scenes from Beamish Museum to work on, but everyone was welcome to work on their own designs if they wanted to. Elaine even decided to work on a print of a section of the wallpaper in our room :)

I demonstrated some different ways to print the finished carvings and encouraged everyone to play, experiment and get inky, and here are the fabulous results. Click on a picture for a better view.

Such amazing work, I’m so proud of my students! Thank you everyone for making it such a lovely day, and I hope you enjoy carving and printing in the future :)

Celtic Hounds lino cut

posted in: lino printing | 2

Next up for Print Day in May is a collaboration lino cut between myself and celtic knotwork artist Anthony Richardson. He designed the beautiful celtic knotwork, and I did the carving and now today, the printing.

First up here’s the carving in progress. I carved this up a couple of weeks ago, but apart from a test print, hadn’t had chance to print it up properly until today.
celtic dogs
celtic dogs
celtic dogs

The first step was to mix up a background colour of a blue/green gradient.
celtic dogs

Next I turned the celtic dog carving block over and inked up the back with the gradient colour…
celtic dogs

…and printed it up.
celtic dogs

Once I’d printed up 5 backgrounds, I added black to my ink tray and inked up the celtic dog design.
celtic dogs

And printed!
celtic dogs

A print run of five is now drying :)
celtic dogs

That’s it from me today, I hope to get around all the other printmakers over the next couple of days and say hello :) Have fun printing!

Edited to add: the finished piece can now be bought in my shop :-)

Beamish tile multi-colour print

posted in: lino printing | 2

First up for Print Day in May is my Beamish art nouveau tile lino print, which I’ve decided to print up with a couple of background colours.

First up is a light yellow colour, which is printed on a background lino print of swirls.
beamish tile

In order to keep a harmonious tone throughout, I added a dab of red to the yellow already in my inking tray, I printed up the next layer with an abstract background of circles and lines.
beamish tile

I let the ink in the tray dry out a bit, and then added plenty of blue in order to get the final layer of colour.
beamish tile

Yep, I’m pretty pleased with that!
beamish tile

I did a print run of 6…
beamish tile

On to the next print!

Getting inky!

Such a creative morning at Jula Crafts this morning!  I’m currently teaching a 6 week lino printing class at Jula Crafts, and we’re into week three already.  This week everyone had finished carving up their first A6 sized lino block, and were now ready to print – we got nice and inky!

Getting nice and inky!
Getting nice and inky!

I demonstrated a few different methods of inking up the carving blocks, and then let everyone play – and they came up with such amazing prints. I’m so proud of everyone!

Next week we’re going to use multiple lino blocks to create mix and match prints – watch this space…

Jula Crafts lino printing workshop – week 1

posted in: workshops | 2

I had a great morning today teaching the first week of my 6 week lino printing course at Jula Crafts in Consett. It was a really fun group of ladies who all produced some beautiful work. In these first two hours I introduced everyone to the tools and materials, tips on how to best use the carving tools, carving along lines, freehand carving, and creating backgrounds. This week we just used ordinary erasers to carve into, next week we’ll be moving onto the vinyl lino.

Here are some photos of what everyone carved this week on the erasers – didn’t they all do brilliantly?

Tune in next week for the results of working on A6 sized pieces and getting inky with blockprinting inks and brayers!

Milecastle 37 lino print

Milecastle 37 lino cut
Milecastle 37 lino cut

My latest limited edition lino cut, Milecastle 37, is now finished.  This particular lino cut has been a long time in the making, starting as it did in December 2012 after I took my initial reference photographs whilst walking along Hadrian’s Wall with my good friend, Davie.  I know I do tend to take a long time over my limited edition lino cuts, but I think this may be the longest so far! Milecastle 37 is situated on Hadrian’s Wall, just to the west of Housesteads Roman Fort.

I photographed the various stages of development:

Initial pencil sketch.
Using a wide U-blade to create the stone texture.
Detail stage finished.
First print proof.
Creating the sky texture.
First full proof.
Addition of grass texture.
Addition of ground texture.
The various stages, working up to the end print.
The final version.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. At first I wasn’t sure whether or not to add the grass and ground texture, and the first full proof stage is when the lino cut hung around on my work desk for a while, whilst I tried to decide which way to go. In the end, the texture won over. I also enjoyed creating the stone texture with the wide U-blade, I used random cuts at a very shallow angle to create them, and am pleased with the texture this method created. That was an experiment, and I’ll be using that technique again.

The lino print is available in my e-shop, or if you’re in the local area, pop along to Tynemouth Market on the first Sunday of each month, where you’ll find my stall.

And for my next limited edition lino cut… I have plans for an architecture based one – stay tuned!

lino printing workshops in Consett

From 2 April 2014 I’ll be running a six week lino printing course at Jula Crafts, Raglan Street, Consett. The course will cost £30 and over the six weeks you will learn how to design, carve and print your own lino printed artwork. We will go from learning the basics through to creating an A6 sized piece, as well as multi-coloured printing, printing on fabric and using alternative printing materials. It’ll be a fun and relaxing class where you can let your creativity run riot!

There’s a full run down of the course on my workshops page. To book, please call me on 0191 645 9500.
Here’s a reminder of some of the results of previous lino printing classes that I have taught:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hope you can come and join me!

something to kick start the inspiration

posted in: challenges, craft fairs | 0

Are you like me and tend to hibernate in the winter? Well, never fear, I found these in my garden this week – spring is on it’s way!

And I’ve also found a couple of projects/competitions to enter which will get me out and about with my sketchbook again. The first is the MS Trust Secret Art Show which I knew about from my friend Lady Catfern who has entered for several years now.

MS Trust Secret Art Show
MS Trust Secret Art Show
Artists are asked to create a 12cm x 12cm artwork and to send into the MS Trust, which will then be sold anonymously for £45. Once the painting has the bought, the artist will then be revealed to the buyer. It sounds like a lot of fun, so I’m going to send in a piece, or maybe a couple!

The next one I came across is a competition, but being a booklover and having scores of bookmarks around the place, it appealed to me. The Book Depository are wanting artists to create a new set of bookmarks for them, which they give away free with purchases, so it’s a wonderful way to get exposure. Full competition details can be found on The Book Depository’s website. Good luck if you enter, I’m certainly going to!

I have been busy with my graphic design work, but did find time for an illustration in January. I even treated myself to a bag designed in it…

love yin yang tote bag
Love Yin Yang bag
It arrived today, and I’m going to show it off around town when I go out for the day tomorrow ;)
(Click on the image and it will take you to my Society6 store if you would like one.)

I’ve also been out and about with my two good friends David Todd of Hellsteeth Illustration and Anthony Richardson of Anthony Richardson Design. We take a stall at Tynemouth Market on the first Sunday of each month, so do come along and say hello if you’re in the area. Our next one is on 2 March 2014.

Tynemouth Market stall
Tynemouth Market stall

So, how are you kick starting your inspiration at this time of year?

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2014 for us all :)

December was a wonderfully busy month here at Press for Design, with lino printing workshops and demonstrations, a couple of craft fairs, and working for all of my lovely graphic design clients.

I was at Beamish Museum several times during the month, where I taught a Christmas card lino printing class, and also spent three evenings there helping budding printmakers young and old to print up their own Christmas lino prints:

Lino printing at Beamish Museum
Lino printing at Beamish Museum

I joined my good friends and art collaborators David Todd of Hellsteeth Illustration and Anthony Richardson of Anthony Richardson Design on a couple of stalls at Stanley Civic Hall and Tynemouth Market.

The Press for Design Stall
The Press for Design Stall

We all had a really good time and loved meeting everyone. We have decided to make Tynemouth Market a regular event, so please do come along on the first Sunday of every month to say hello to us all. David creates intricate hand drawn illustrations of historical events and Anthony carves out intricate celtic reliefs that are made into frames and wall plaques, so there is plenty to peruse! A list of dates can be found on my Facebook events page. Plus, watch out for an announcement about our collaborative art skills sometime in the first part of this year…

I also enjoyed a few festive parties ;) A couple were thanks to my co-working buddies at Newcastle Jelly and Colleagues on Tap, both of which I recommend if you’re in the Newcastle/Northumberland/Tyne and Wear areas and are self-employed or a homeworker and would like to work alongside other like-minded folk. The co-working days and the lovely folks I have met through them have been a great boost to me and my business.

I’ve been busy updating the shop with the cotton shopping bags that I have for sale on my stall.
cotton tote bags
If there’s a particular design of mine that you would like on a cotton tote bag, just ask – I can make one up for you. Plus, buy a 2014 Peace and Love calendar at the same time and receive free UK p&p on your entire order using the code “2014calendar”.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful New Year for us all :)

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