Sunday 16 June 2013

Colour, Please!

It's funny, this colour thing! 

Ever since I started doing House Portraits for people, more often then not the majority of the very nice people I get to work with request black and white. I'm happy with that. We know where we stand, black and white. Yes we do. But there is the odd little request which includes a suggestion of a hint of colour, or a 'pop' of colour as you Americans like to call it (I think). I'm not adverse to a bit of colour, as you can see from a few little bits on my Etsy, but so far I don't feel like I've found a way to marry it succesfully enough with my House Portraits. 

I've been thinking recently about all of the beautiful pattern repetition which inevitably comes with architectural drawings ranging from intense brickwork to a smattering of leaves outside a window, or the criss cross of one or two beams and the floor tiles which lead from the pavement to your front door. Already, I was thinking about adding some of these patterns in digitally in very soft shades. Then I came across some beautiful books while I was in the children's area of the Forum (the Main Library in Norwich). I've always been quite obsessed with Children's books and having a wee one of my own has only given me an excuse to go out and buy lots (and lots!) of them, and happily rifle through the Library's offerings with Toby. (He favours anything with lift up flaps, rhyming books and very oddly anything with the word 'Pants' in the title!).

'Norris the Bear who Shared' by Catherine Rayner is a beautiful example of what can be done with a bit of colour and line. Beautiful. I hired it out on Toby's behalf and felt so inspired that I bought myself a little set of watercolours just before we left the City. 

The line work is very simple, fluid and sparse - leaving the colour to describe everything else. The drawings are just very lovely and the two elements work wonderfully together without over doing it.  

So, I found an hour to sit down in the evening and experiment with my new paints. I've concentrated on picking out pattern and keeping the colour minimal. I can envisage having to take this to a digital stage, but we will see. The pencil lines should all end up as black (or maybe a softer shade) lines and none of the patterns will be outlined themselves (leaves, bricks etc). I don't usually use pencil, and draw straight away with pen as I like the imperfect results of committing to ink from the get go.

I'd love to have this process cracked by the time of the Norwich Lanes Street Fayre (Sunday 7th July), so I can offer these style of Portraits alongside the Black and White ones. So the next time someone asks me for a hint or pop of colour...I'll be ready! As always, lovely to hear what you think!

(And a Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there! I've yet to see mine for a scrummy lunch but Toby and I made a lovely handprint plate and gave his Daddy a special card. Breakfast was a Full English...mmm! Enjoy the day y'all!)

Kirsty x 

Friday 26 April 2013

Houses and Kiddiwinks!

Hi, Hello and How do!

No your eyes do not deceive you, this is an actual real life blog post from me. I am typing words and uploading pictures. It's all very amazing.

Bet you thought I'd done a runner, didn't you...huh? Never to return to my little corner of the internet again!

I'm very much still here, and having shuffled around a few things, the blog/social media are the casualties which fluttered dramatically to the bottom of the proverbial priority pile. I'm still drawing when time allows or a new house portrait commission comes up. And as time is the one thing which eludes me these days I have been much more reserved about promoting my work/services, hence why the Twitter and Blog have become slightly defunct. I slyly re-opened my Etsy shop with minimal fuss, so y'know if you HAPPEN to come across it while browsing the interwebs and fancy buying something, asking me to draw a house for you I'd happily get on with that knowing that I'd have an easy pace as I wouldn't be backed up with requests. I LOVE drawing houses for people, but it would be selfish of me to spend every weekend drawing and not playing and laughing with my scrummy son and husband. I wouldn't want to miss out on that so I'm actually very proud that that hasn't happened.

Anyways, so. Another reason I haven't just popped up to say hello, is because as the absence grew, so did the amount of things I have to blog about. I haven't just been twiddling my thumbs and resting on my laurels you know. But hey, who says it needs to all be in one post?!

Also I already spend waaaaaaaay way way way too much time on my computer. My full time job is designing using Adobe Illustrator and pinging emails across continents to Hong Kong and China. I don't need an excuse to be on this little black number any longer than I already am. And chances are, after a full day of work and looking after Toby I'm ready to crash, and crash I do!

So, as I said, I won't be covering eight months in one post. But some of the things I have to share are updates on me dipping my toes back into Fayres and Markets, a Kitchen design project, new stockists, a pretty nifty Toybox I painted for Toby's First Birthday, Toby himself (of course!), and seeing as this IS an Illustration Blog some new House Drawings. And possibly some more things that haven't popped up in my mind as I'm typing. I guess these mostly have a more personal focus, but they are also mostly design related. And what I haven't done in Illustration in the last eight months the husband and I have definitely made up for it in spades with various house and family projects.

First up, here are some of the House Illustrations. You may have to excuse the quality of some of the photos, documenting them was not a massive priority at the time...

This is a lovely little Cottage which had some really beautiful details.

(Image coming soon)

I did this commission for someone I know to give his partner as a Housewarming present. And he very kindly bought it over for me to see after he had had it framed so I could get a photo and see one of my House Illustrations framed! I never get to see them like that, as they are out of my hands and with their new owners by that stage. So it was great for me to see the final 'product'.

You might notice that I have started offering digital colour portraits on Etsy. I have yet to do any of those, but the listing has been popping up on my notifications a lot and I've even spied it on Pinterest a few times, so hopefully I'll get the opportunity to play with colour soon.

By way of a general update, and on a more personal note we are bouncing along nicely here and Toby turned One a few months ago. It's completely true what people say when you have a baby 'Enjoy every second, they grow up so quick! etc etc. It's something that is replied with by a lot of eye rolling, but it is so very vey true! The last year has gone by quickly and the First Year is probably the one which contains within it, the most change for a brand new person! How you can go from being a teeny tiny helpless bundle to a much bigger, independence seeking, super quick toddler amazing me every day! And I'm sure I'll always say this as my little boy gets older, but I absolutely love the age he is at now. On the cusp of walking, crawling like 'greased lightening' (as my Nan keeps telling me!) and generally wanting to investigate EVERYTHING, talking, dishing out kisses and cuddles, waving a favourite book around frantically so you will read it - it's surely a brilliant age to be.

My little (big!) boy! :D

So, it was nice to see you again! I've been getting a freakishly large amount of hits on my blog of late (we're talking thousands in one day, over many days) and I'm inclined to think Mr Google is giving me inaccurate stats but nevertheless, I'd love to know if this is actually happening. So leave me a comment, and tell me how you found me! I'll take a deathly wall of silence as confirmation that my stats are incorrect. But still, you never know!

Speak to you soon (much sooner than another eight months).

Much Love xx

Friday 10 August 2012

The best thing I ever made!

Oh hello!

My oh my, it's been a while. And how things have changed!

I'm a meticulous writer, and I reckon I've got about ten minutes before my little man wakes from his sleepy slumber with some smiles to tell me he's ready to get up. But I'll do my best to piece together something coherant, and most importantly, something which does justice to the topic!

It's been a good eight months since I last blogged, which is when I was winding things on the work front down. Then I had my beautiful baby boy and have spent the last five months completely wrapped up in cuddles, snuggles and feeding. I'm still a bit confused about where that time has gone!

He was born in the beginning of March (as you may have seen from my very brief Twitter update) and is an utterly heavenly little Babe. My heart is fit to burst everytime I look at him.

So without further ado...please meet Toby :)

Isn't he delicious?! He's such a happy little person, and has smiles for everyone (although I'm sure he saves the best ones for me, hehe!) And of course, he's not a 'thing' at all, as my title says...but I couldn't say he's the best person I've ever made, because I've not made one of those before!

So...I'm starting work again next week (as some of you know, I work from my home Studio) and will sometime in the not too distant future get my Etsy shop up and running again and slotting in DottyNoggin bits into my life here and there. (It's actually quite surprising how productive you become in your free time when you have a baby! Although so far, this has not stretched further than tackling a teetering pile of dirty plates and ploughing through an endless mound of washing during Toby's naptimes )

Anyways, I'm so pleased to see my blog has still been getting lots of hits, and thank you for sticking around. I hope the wait was worth it.

Hoping the last eight months have been brilliant for you all!

Kirsty x

Thursday 5 January 2012

Hello 2012!

Hello, and Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, a Brilliant New Year's Eve and are getting 2012 off to a excellent start...

I don't generally make any New Year's Resolutions, as I spend most of the year trying to become better at things (the key word there being 'try'!). But it's always lovely to turn the page when January rolls around with a fresh start and a chance to be more organised and productive in general. This year this culminated in me extreme list making, buying a giant pinboard for my studio and planning on painting an equally giant patch of wall next to it with chalkboard paint. There are a few other adjustments I'd like to make to my studio, but it's a race against time until baby arrives in February. So if I do anything amazing with it between now and then, I'll show you :)

So...Christmas! Seems like forever and an age ago now, but it was quite chaotic here over the month of December with various Christmas Stalls, a really busy period with my work, a poorly husband (who made a miraculous recovery just in time to cook for ten people on Christmas Day!) and heaps of antenatal classes!

I did two new Illustrations in December as Christmas Gifts - one was commissioned and the other was a drawing I did as a present to send someone special myself :)

(Apologies for the sub-standard photography!) This is the commissioned Illustration, which is of a Colonial Style Hotel in Europe (The Aija, Turkey) where the lady who commissioned the piece got married. She gave it to her husband as a Christmas Gift (how sweet!!) It was a bit of a larger Illustration than I am used to so I was quite worried about the level of detail I would be able to achieve but I think it turned out nice.

And this is the one I made as a gift...shamefully on Christmas Eve (as some of you may recall me tweeting about at the time!) It didn't take quite a long as usual and I had a nice little workstation set up in the dining room so I could listen to Christmas Movies while I worked - couldn't miss out on ALL the fun could I now?!

I would have liked to have offered more commissions over Christmas but I was realistic about how many I could get done bearing in mind all of the preparation for stalls, my own gift buying and other things in life which keep me busy. And I decided not to list any more for the time being because I'm inching (literally) ever closer to my due date! (Six weeks to go).

Which leads me on to say that I have NO idea how much free time I will have once I become a Mama, and naturally I'm thinking about where my Dotty Noggin escapades will stand. I'm fortunate enough to have been given six months off work with baby, so I'd like to honour that by taking time off from everything (apart from the wee nipper of course!) There's a little something which tells me I'm still going to probably want to make and draw during my maternity leave, but it will only be for fun. I can imagine this being quite a nice way of keeping hold of myself a little bit during a time which a lot of new Mums have told me is very easy to lose yourself a little bit. However I don't plan on blogging during that time, and it's quite probable my Etsy shop will have to be put on hold for a while. So I guess I'm saying I hope you'll bear with me and come back to me in the Summer :)

I'm sure I'll get a chance to blog at least once before the big day, but if I don't I would imagine I can take a moment to make an announcement and maybe slip in a photo! ;) Exciting!

Finally here's some photos (montage stylee) of my Christmas!

Take Care all and speak to you soon x

Tuesday 27 December 2011

SALE time!


Hope you all had an excellent Christmas :) I've spent the last few days in an over indulged daze, as I'm sure may be the case for a lot of you also! I'm now busy trying to offload as many chocolates as I can to friends, family and basically anyone who comes within ten meters of my house. Oh, and also avoid the mad Post-Christmas Sales in the highstreet! I have to say I have been indulging in a spot of online retail therapy (the best kind) which has been fun as I'm becoming far too pregnant to be traipsing around the City Centre for very long these days.

In the spirit of all the crazy sales happening I'm having my very own in the DottyNoggin Etsy Shop! It's a generous one - 25% off EVERYTHING. Yes...I did just use Caps. I pretty much NEVER (there I go again) have Sales. In fact the last one I had was in Easter, and it wasn't even this good. The fact is that my prices are already as low as low can be (without me making a loss) so you really will be getting a genuine bargain.

So, all you need to do, is pick what you want and then use the code 'BOXINGDAY' at the checkout. Shipping on most items is free (apart from ceramics) so you don't even have to worry about that.

Hope you see something you'd like to treat yourself with. I'm now off to construct my own picture wall with all of the lovely prints I've collected over the last year and now have framed - lovely!! Next post, I'll share with you the commission I did for a lovely lady as a Christmas Gift to her husband and a Christmas Gift I made for my sister. Can't wait to show you!

Until then!

Kirsty x

Saturday 17 December 2011

Snowy Skies, blankets and large mugs of tea!

I have to admit to you, I'm bundled up on the sofa with a very comfy blanket, a lovely big mug of (decaf) tea while Marty is sprawled out snoozing on the other sofa. And I'm feeling very happy that I'm not trundling around the shops today laden with bags of stuff, on the last Saturday before Christmas Eve. It looks very cold outside and the sky seems full of snow. So inside is the perfect place for me to be, especially when I am feeling so very heavy!

I hope you've all enjoyed your Christmas Shopping! Have had lots of lovely orders for cards at gifts in my Etsy Shop which has been lovely. I hope they earn lots of smiley faces when they get opened and unwrapped :)

Here are some pics from the various events the 'Baked' ladies and I were at over the Christmas Period.

We had great fun at these events and lots of chatter with people. A massive thank you to anyone who spoke to us and bought our wares!

I'm still taking last minute orders in my shop, but please read the banner for last postal dates in time for Christmas. Unfortunately Royal Mail are already telling me that First Class Post won't cut it for arrival in time for Christmas, even though the last date for this on their website is the 20th December. So I am offering Special Delivery (which has been advised) at an extra cost. You can get more details about this in my shop notifications :)

There will be a whole load of new items listed on the 26th and 27th December, with a special announcement to boot which I will blog about on the day/s. So keep your peepers peeled!

Oh, and a quick baby I said, I am very heavy at the moment. People tend to look at me agahst when I tell them I have two more months to go!

And I'll leave the last photo for Marty, who has just today been helping himself to baubles and quickly chomping them before anyone catches on.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!! Hope it's full of wonderful family, friends and FOOD! :) Take care and have an amazing time,

Kirsty x

Sunday 13 November 2011

It's that time of Year again...(ho ho ho)

Please forgive me if you are someone who doesn't like to see or hear of anything of Christmas until a few weeks before the big day. In our house, we get the decorations out as soon as is acceptable! My style of Christmas decorating is to throw everything I possibly can at the tree and my theory is 'too much is never enough'. Honestly, if you colour co-ordinate your tree and think tinsel is tacky, your eyes would most definitely burn in their sockets if you laid eyes upon my 'masterpiece'. Either that, or you'd just be mildy offended ;)

So with Christmas around the corner and everyone getting in the mood, I've been busy making, framing, printing and drawing things that I am sure will make lovely festive gifts and stocking fillers. These are all my wares for the craft and Christmas Markets which will take up a good part of the next month or so.

New Screenprint Embroideries

Some of my handpainted ceramics from my very first collection!

I'm continuously making as I sell, with hopefully a few of these being made available on Etsy so be sure you are following on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on what's being added to the shop and more general news. I should be blogging more too, so you'll see more of me :)

Wishing you a very nice week indeed!


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