“Well, I’m having a slight change of plan.”
Since my last post I (with my family) have; moved to live in Italy, begun to learn a new education and tax system, completed a big (awaiting public release) illustration contract, been locked down with the pandemic, sold our Edinburgh home without being able to return there, bought a house and moved to a new area of Trieste, taken delivery of our belongings from Edinburgh (over a year after we left, which was a very long time to be without my art and craft materials), started again at new schools, begun another big illustration contract and finally been locked down again with the pandemic. Much of this was most definitely not in my plan, and I know I am certainly not alone in having to face up to whichever monster is lurking in the grass and carry on regardless. So I apologise for being silent for so long, but that’s the way it was.
I’d really love to tell you all about the picture book illustration contract I’m working on now, but it’s all too secret so I can’t just yet! However I can tell you that the images I have been making for the project are increasingly using my doll-making skills, which is really exciting. Yarn, needles and thread and fabric are back on my work table alongside the paper collage and glue. In amongst this organised makerly chaos, some of my dolls (did you know I am a dollmaker too?) have also been sneaking onto my desk.
Having gotten away with this covert invasion, they have gained confidence and now started walking right into my illustrations! The more yarn and textiles I use in my work the more I find I want to photograph it to make digital copies rather than scan it, and an artwork photography shoot is the perfect opportunity for doll photo-bombing. Just as 2D drawn characters can often do, my 3D dolls are beginning to walk out of my hands and onto the page to tell their stories.
What does this mean for my work? After completing a truly fantastic illustration course entitled ‘Fly your Freak Flag’ with The Good Ship Illustration crew, I decided to embrace the change and allow my doll characters into some of my illustrations, which is clearly where they want to be. With them they bring more yarn and fabric and a whole world of sumptuous colours which I am loving working with. I’m hoping to be popping up here more regularly now that life has calmed down a little, and I’m really looking forward to showing you the colour and texture-full work that this change of plan is bringing to my work table these days.