This year got off to a very busy start and for some reason I have let my blogging habit slide. So here is a long overdue post which may go some way to explaining my silence.
I made another colouring book!
(Actually, I've now made 5 colouring/activity books and contributed to 4 others, but I can't talk about them all yet...)
For now I give you The Colouring Book of Edinburgh, the second in my series of colouring books published by Birlinn. I had to whittle it down to 23 locations, so there are some notable absences but the book features most of my favourite places in my favourite city in the world. You can buy it online or in Waterstones, Blackwells and many independent shops.
I'm just finishing up the third and final book, and feeling quite sad at the prospect of the project being over. There's a lot of love in the little lines. Luckily I have some new commissions on the go and will be running some fun workshops over the next few months. I'm also finding time to get started on some personal projects. I'm off to the Botanic Gardens with my sketchbook and a coffee. It's research, ok?!
I'm taking some time this evening to look through some of my favourite picture books. Today I have selected some of the older books from my collection. The bold colours, geometric shapes and beautiful textures to be found in the illustrations in these books has hugely influenced my work and continues to inspire me in the images I create. Here are some of my all time favourites...
The Animal Fair, by Alice and Martin Provensen, 1962
Alphabet, by Alain Gree, (2012 publication of 1960s artwork)
The Illiad and The Odyssey, by Alice and Martin Provensen, 1956
So, illustrating colouring books has featured heavily in my recent activities - but I've also been busy with workshops, book covers, residencies and other doodling shenanigans.
Back in May, before the festival descended (and also just before I became a married lady) I escaped to the West of Scotland for a wonderful week combining a drawing residency at Dumfries House with creative workshops at primary schools in the surrounding area. During these workshops I was sidekick to the incredible Vivian French (author and all round wonder woman). We visiting three local schools, where we worked with pupils to make murals and write stories inspired by Beatrix Potter stories, and incorporating a 'Four Elements' theme.
The two months following my Dumfries adventure whizzed by in a whirlwind of exciting new work projects, a pretty white dress, a fluffy new puppy and a (far too short) backpacking adventure. Before I knew it August had arrived along with Edinburgh's various festivals.
This year I held an event titled: 'Tea, Cake and Colouring In' at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016. Those three ingredients make for a pretty good afternoon in my opinion, but throw in a very eager and talented audience and some giant colouring in images we had ourselves a really fantastic event.
So, what's next? According to my diary (without which I would not have a clue where to begin answering that question) it is now September and I will be returning shortly to Edinburgh College of Art to work with the Illustration students. I also have a some new colouring book titles to be announcing and promoting soon as well as one or two other exciting illustration projects to keep me busy. Best get started!
I've been out of the blogging way for a while now...my time seemed to get swallowed up with working on lovely things I should have then been blogging about. But no excuses! It is hard to know where to begin filling in the 6 month gap, but I'll start with one of the most exciting projects I was lucky enough to work on.
Following my Art Adventure book I was asked by publishing house Birlinn to create a Scotland themed colouring book suitable for all ages. Voila - I give you: The Colouring Book of Scotland
I chose to depict a number of landmarks, landscapes and buildings from across the country with a map detailing the route that would take you to each of the 23 places.
I'm feeling very pleased with the end result and also very lucky to be creating images that people are able to enjoy and add to themselves. I like the idea that people familiar with Scotland will recognise places special to them, as well as first time visitors being able to discover these places anew - and spend time chilling out and colouring in.
So there you go. If you like drawing, colouring in, looking at art, making art, art galleries, exploring Edinburgh, or all of the above then I reckon this book is for you. Grab a copy online or in the gift shops at all four of the National Galleries in Edinburgh.
About a year ago I met up with the lovely people at the National Galleries of Scotland and we chatted about making a book. The idea was to create a colouring and drawing book that visitors of all ages could take with them around the galleries. As if by magic (but really thought lots of meetings and drawing and printing) there are now copies of this actual physical book available for sale online and in shops!
Here are some pictures to prove it:
Keep an eye on their blog for a wee post about the book. There is also a brilliant exhibition on right now at the National Gallery showcasing the work of some incredible illustrators, and I'm lucky enough to have my sketchbooks from this project on show alongside it. Go check it out!