Painting

So I Started A Dog Blog…

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I love the motivation of having a regular (ish…) drawing project, but it has to be something that’s simple. At the same time, it has to be something that will always feel appealing and fun to do. When I first started blogging and sharing my work online, I was an enthusiastic contributor to Gemma Correll‘s Flickr group “What I Wore Today…in Drawings” for many months. It fell by the wayside when I started work on my book, but I’ve missed creating and sharing something regularly, just for fun.  In case you didn’t know, I am completely obsessed with dogs and there is never a shortage of them to meet where I live. And so I’ve set out to draw them!

You can meet them at www.dogsimettoday.com

As an aside, Tumblr is a new and foreign world for me. I’m still finding my way around. Please be kind while I figure it out!

Drawing, Thoughts

Adventures with Scratch Board

(A long blog post in which I behave like a grade one idiot)

When I was little, my Grandma used to say I would grow up to be a nutty professor. This was because while I displayed gifts and talents in many things, common sense was not one of them. Time has not altered this one bit.

I’ve spent most of the last week working on a gig poster, commissioned by the B-Bar in Plymouth who are soon to host one of my favourite musicians, Alasdair Roberts. Needless to say designing the poster was an honour and a lot of fun. I’ve been sharing sneak peeks of the work-in-progress all week, and now it’s done! But not without heartache…

Alasdair Roberts at B Bar Plymouth

In my last blog post I promised to be honest, so it seems fitting to begin with a confession of complete idiocy, or perhaps if I’m being less harsh, learning from one’s blundering mistakes.

Scratch board is a relatively new medium to me. I started experimenting with it when working on The Crystal Mirror in 2013. It proved not to be the right approach for those stories, but I liked it nonetheless and intended to revisit it. When I sketched out the design for this poster it seemed like scratch board would be a good fit. I didn’t have any large pieces of white scratch board handy, and working to something of a deadline I figured that the large silver piece I had lying around would do. Ha!

A little bit about the process: I sketched the initial design on paper in pencil, and then outlined the main shapes with a Sharpie so the image would bleed through to the other side. Turning the paper over, I was able to trace the lines on the back in a soft pencil, creating a mirror-image. I then laid this flat on the scratch board, and scribbled over the right side to transfer the outline to the scratch board surface. Doing it like this creates a much fainter mark that is easier to erase than drawing onto the scratch board surface directly.

Alasdair Poster Process 1

Alasdair Poster Process 2

I then scratched away merrily for several days.

Alasdair Poster Process 3

I finished the piece in a flurry of pride and excitement on Monday, stuffed it straight into my scanner, and got this:

Alasdair Poster Process 4

Yeah.

At no point had it occurred to me that I might want to test the silver scratch board, the medium I’d never worked with before, perhaps see how my scanner captures it before committing hours to a piece of work that needs reproducing. At not point did it occur to me that iridescent metallic shininess might perhaps cause something of an issue. I threw all my photoshop skills at it, getting progressively grumpier, but to no avail. There was no way I could get a poster-quality print from that scan. so I tried a different tack: photography! There was much standing on tables, angling of lamps (and swearing, I’ll admit there was swearing). How do you capture a flat image of an iridescenty silvery shining thing?

You ask a professional.

The day was saved by the kind chaps at Spectrum Photo Labs, who had the tools and knowhow to take this fantastic photograph. All was not lost, and I have to say I’m rather proud of the completed piece. Next time I work on metallic scratch board I won’t have to factor in time for cursing, standing on tables and wrestling with lamps, just a little extra cost because I know I can’t scan it myself. And perhaps next time I use a new medium I’ll conduct a few test pieces first…

Alasdair Roberts at B Bar Plymouth

Comics, Drawing, Knitting

The Courage To Be Me

The Courage To Be Me Katie Green Title Page

I recently had the great privilege of contributing a chapter of illustrations to The Courage To Be Me by Dr. Nina Burrowes. Now available in full to read online, as an ebook or in print, this book tells a story of courage, self-compassion and hope after sexual abuse, following five women as they take the first steps to rebuild their lives. Doing this work felt very close to my heart as I have much in common with each of the (fictional) women portrayed. I hope the book’s reach will be far and wide, helping anyone who’s known abuse to realise they are not alone.

But as well as being a survivor of abuse, the character whose story I told, Maddie, was also a knitter. This balanced the very emotive subject matter with one of my favourite things to draw, and thus made the project very enjoyable as well as something I’m really proud to have been a part of.

The Courage To Be Me Knitting

Drawing, Zines

Thirty Favourites

The Green Bean Volume 4 Issue 5

I turned 30 last year, and instead of joining in the trend to fulfil a “30 before 30” list, I sat down and mulled over my favourite memories and experiences, picking 30 of them to illustrate for a new issue of The Green Bean. The kind of things that cropped up as especially memorable surprised me. I found I treasured many memories to do with animals, and many that took place outside. I realised how much I value my family, and reading, and live music. Hardly any had anything to do with grand achievements: most were tiny, spontaneous moments when I was fully absorbed.

The resulting zine is a collection of small moments that have stuck with me over time, the drawing of which taught me a lot about what’s really important and valuable, and perhaps what I might like to prioritise in the next 30 years. Subscriber copies of this new issue will be posted on Monday 31st March, and your copy too if you place an order here before this weekend.

Have you ever thought about your favourite memories? If you’ve done a similar exercise I’d love to hear how it affected you.

Baking with my Mum