Monday, 24 December 2012

Another Update

Wow! I've just been asked to do some illustrations for a documentary. So excited about this one too. Hope my intern doesn't start too soon.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Well, it's been a little while since I posted, so I thought I'd do a quick update. I've been working on some illustrations for George Lewkowicz, a London based author, who is launching a new book in February. This is really exciting as the tales are quite dark and quirky. I can't wait to see the finished book which will be published on iPad.

I've also just been offered a graduate internship with WAA and I'm looking forward to starting with them in the New Year. This is going to be such a good experience, and hopefully, they'll offer me a position at the end of my placement. Fingers crossed. Looking forward to 2013 :).

Monday, 19 November 2012

Bridgnorth Fair 27th November 2012

"Luni's World" Zine
The Bridgnorth Fair on Friday, 27th November 2012 starts at 4.00 pm and I will be sharing a stall with two other fellow illustrators, Catherine Shinton and Fifi Sharplin. There's lots of illustration work on sale for art lovers and also some stocking fillers for the children. I will be selling zines, art prints and cards. If you're not doing anything, stop by and see the Bridgnorth Christmas lights being turned on.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Sketchbook Project 2013

Finally finished my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Museum, which is good news. A whole sketchbook dedicated to the art of frottage, consisting of 34 pieces. I will be uploading 12 of my favourite images onto my website sometime this week. In the meantime, here are a few of my images.

Beetle Larvae

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Telford and Wrekin Open Art Exhibition

Thought this was a nice opportunity for artists.  For more information click the link:

It costs £5 for each piece of original artwork (maximum of two). Submissions in person on Saturday, 12 January 2013.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cheltenham Illustration Awards

Good News! My work is going up in the exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford from this Saturday. I've booked tickets already so it should be a great day out and I'm looking forward to seeing all the illustrations in the show. The show runs until the 25th November 2012.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Birmingham Eye Candy Festival

Well, made it to Hurst Street and even though there were no stalls on the sidewalk, it was a nice event and gave me a lot to think about. If I don't get anywhere with the Jonathan Cape competition (I hope they received my entry), I'll most certainly push my graphic novel short story further and possibly make it into a zine or small hardback book for sale. Lots of ideas for an art stand etc - so quite inspiring and I got a good contact for printing zines.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Birmingham Eye Candy Festival

Just thought I'd let people know that this weekend there will be an independent publishing fair at Sidewalk, Hurst Street in Birmingham. This coincides with an event that Ammo Magazine are running at Le Truc, so it should be a good day out for comic fans.  Lots of other things happening too, check out this link and go to "timetable" on the left for more info.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Jonathan Cape Competition

Waiting Room
I found this competition a little late and only had 4 days to come up with a storyline and complete the artwork. I decided that I wanted to draw the artwork, so I looked at the work of Edward Gorey for inspiration. This is one of my images from a total of 23 that completed my final 4 page entry. I will post the final spreads on my website when the competition is over. This project was a bit of a learning curve for me, but I think the end result turned out okay.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Rough Character Sketches

Rough Character Sketches
Just a few sketches for a very short graphic novel (4 pages), that I am trying to finish this week. The character is based on my mum's mad dog and so is the story. This is my first attempt at a graphic novel so it will be really good experience and I am looking forward to starting on the artwork. If you're interested in entering the Jonathan Cape competition, here's the link.

Lost Bird from Sudan

Lost Bird from Sudan
I bought a little bone statue from a junk shop, he had one wing and an eye missing but I fell in love with him. I was going to use him for a still life (which I still might do) but I got carried away and painted him in a woodland scene. This is a mixed media piece using, charcoal, pen, acrylic and watercolour paint. While I was painting, three faces appeared, so I went with it and brought them out with my pen. You might have to click on the picture to find them. There are other faces but I didn't want to go overboard.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2012

Capture of Evil Eye
Had some good news today, my entry for the Cheltenham Illustration Awards is going to be published in their Annual and it might be exhibited at their show. Hopefully, this will get me a bit of publicity and will be great for my portfolio. Here's one of the four images I entered. This piece was produced using frottage, pen and charcoal and Photoshop to finalise the image.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber
sample book cover
Carrying on from my interest in book cover design, I decided to experiment with an old project from university and update this to include charcoal rubbings and hand rendered type. I was trying to convey the sense of death, sexuality and vulnerability by bringing all these elements together in one piece.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Fox by D H Lawrence

The Fox Book Cover
I'm really enjoying putting together a portfolio of sample book covers and reading all these books.  This cover consists of acrylic paint, charcoal rubbings, hand rendered type and Photoshop to bring it all together.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Shrine by James Herbert

Shrine by James Herbert
Sample Book cover

I'm busy building up my portfolio of book covers and have updated the gallery page on my website to show some of my favourite designs. This cover was produced in acrylic paint and includes charcoal rubbings from gravestones and bible pages. Although, I have read most of James Herbert's books, I was a bit disappointed with this one - not the best introduction to his work. Try "The Secret of Crickley Hall" or "Others" first.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Sample Book Cover
Norwegian Wood came up in a discussion about films whilst I was having a conversation with one of my lecturers. When my course came to an end, I bought the Kindle book version and was not disappointed. This is a good read that naturally invites you into the lives of the characters in this book. It is about friendship, love and frank honesty. Set in Tokyo, it details the complicated feelings that a young student encounters and the choices that he has to make. I designed the book cover by taking an overall view of the story. It is not a direct translation of a scene, instead, it includes the feel of the book and the path that one of the characters take. The image is made from charcoal rubbings of fennel and gypsophila, acrylic paint and my painted footsteps. Photoshop was used to finalise the artwork.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Others by James Herbert

Others by James Herbert
Sample Book Cover

I've just returned from a lovely week away in Italy, refreshed and full of optimism again. Having read a couple of books on holiday I chose to paint this book cover for "Others" by James Herbert. Great book by the way. Hope you like my interpretation. I'm a big James Herbert fan and love all the books I've read by him, so what better way to unleash my imagination.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Struggling Illustrator

Thought I'd post about the struggles after leaving university. I've sent my first batch of dummy children's books out, written to quite a few agencies and contacts and have had quite a lot of rejections. This is to be expected, but it is hard to remain positive. I have so many avenues that need to be explored but I need to produce more artwork in these areas, so I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. I expect there are a lot of people in my position. On a more positive note, the Tigerprint Design a Day competition finishes today so I shall have more time to produce artwork and target more people. This has also given me quite a lot of artwork that I can use and hopefully will lead to some freelance work. I also applied for a freelance position through GumTree and it looks like I will be a resident book cover illustrator for a design agency. This is great news and has lifted my spirits up. I hope things start to get better, but for now I'm going to enjoy creating lots of new work and keeping my eyes open for opportunities.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Ben Kelly Exhibition

Ben, one of my lecturers, will be exhibiting his work at the Gateway Gallery in Macclesfield in November and his paintings look amazing.  Check out this link:


D&AD New Blood Show

Thought it would be nice to link back to some of the graduate illustrators at this year's show.  Looks like there is some amazing work emerging this year, and lots of competition!

Scroll down and click on the refresh button to upload new selections.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Well I'm still hard at it taking part in the Tigerprint competition, but I got a bit sidetracked today. I took one of my sketches from university and decided to try a little experiment. This image has been finalised in Photoshop using one of my sketches and one of my small background paintings. Might have to experiment a bit more.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Busy, Busy ...

I've been really busy the last few weeks show...illustrations for the School of Science...Illustration Friday...sending out my children's book and now Tigerprint. Hopefully, things will settle down a bit after this month, so I can post a bit more often and get a bit more organised.

Anyway, here's a link to some of the portfolios of students taking part in the Wolverhampton University degree show.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Illustration Friday: "Secret"

Secret Present
Finally managed to do an illustration this week even though it was from a drawing a did a few years ago. I always wanted to paint it up so this was a great opportunity.  Hope you all like it.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The John Ruskin Prize Competition


I did a couple of frottage images for the John Ruskin Prize. The first image "Snails" was inspired by the many snails who climb trees. I thought this was quite an unusual aspect of nature and wanted my artwork to be quite different for this project. Fossilised shells, leaves and wallpaper were used to created the rubbings. The second image "Undergrowth" was created in much the same way and then in Photoshop a watercolour painting was applied over the top. The characters in each image appeared naturally and I just added a bit more detail to bring them out. The judges will probably be looking at hundreds of beautiful traditional style paintings and then there will be my strange creations - well it does say "A new look at nature".  For more information on the competition visit the link below.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Sketchbook Project 2012/2013

The second page in my sketchbook project is very different from my first image, but I wanted to explore the method of frottage further, as I really enjoy this technique. Rather than just use the image for backgrounds and texture, I wanted to produce an automatic response to my charcoal rubbing. Using a charcoal stick and also charcoal pencil, I started to pull out some of the details by making the dark areas even darker. This worked really well and small images started to appear. The most obvious one is a butterfly shape, but there is also a little man in the centre of the wings. I also found a dragon, bird and some sort of female red indian. The hard part of this was knowing when to stop. Please click on the image to see a larger view.

If you're interested in this surrealist technique follow the link below to watch Max Ernst.

Illustration Friday: "Vision"

Even though this week has been hectic with preparations for the end of year degree show, I managed to do a quick brainstorm to come up with my entry image. Ideas explored:  third eye, eye of Horus, short-sight, long-sight, skylines, and the transmission of information to the brain. I decided to take this further and thought of the image of lines, shapes and transmitting images through a lens. This, somehow, led me to satellite dishes and so I decided to produce a surreal image using the method of frottage for the background. The whole piece was done in charcoal. If you are interested in the frottage technique of the surrealists, look up Max Ernst.  If you just type frottage in your search engine you might get a few unexpected results.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Moon Gazey
This is the first image in a personal project that I've just started.  The piece was created using watercolour paint, crayon, black pencil, pen and finally Photoshop to layer the ink work on top.  I find watercolours a bit quicker than using acrylic paint and really like the textures that can be achieved, especially when layered over crayon.  I would love to see hares staring at the moon, unfortunately, only wild rabbits creep into my garden.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Illustration Friday

I found this website some time ago but because of university commitments I couldn't explore it further. Now that I have a bit more time, I'm hoping to tackle some of these projects. The deadline that I have given myself is to produce the illustration in a day. This week's project was for illustrations inspired by the word "kernel" and so I came up with the idea of a corn dolly. This was developed a little further and I combined the idea with harvesting and warning hares in a field.  This is what I came up with. The piece was painted in acrylic paint.

If you're interested in joining these weekly projects the link is:

The Sketchbook Project 2012

I've received my sketchbook and couldn't wait to get started, so I did a rather strange cover and stuck some tape at the side to make it a bit stronger.  I also did a small painting on the first page, (please see my next blog).  I was surprised at how small the sketchbook is (A5ish) and the paper is a bit thin inside for paintings, however, it is ideal for sketching and sticking things in.  I chose a narrative theme from the headings available and have decided to fill my book with paintings, characters and doodles.  I think it will be quite experimental in approach. Some of my inspiration will come from the topics published on Illustration Friday.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Sketchbook Project 2013

Sketch of Peach Stone
although it looks more like
tangled bodies.
For anyone who just loves doodling, sketching and sticking things in your sketchbook, this project might interest you.  Your sketchbook gets to go on tour and ends its retirement in the Brooklyn Art Library.  The project for this year is now open so you can order your sketchbook.  This isn't a competition but an opportunity to be part of something global.  If you're interested here's a link:

I've ordered my sketchbook and I'm really looking forward to doodling and drawing in it this Summer.  I'll be posting my progress on this blog from the start of my project right to the end which should be around Christmas.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Dark and Dreamy

These two paintings were produced in Acrylic paint. No photoshop this time except for cropping off the edges. They were in response to Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber". The first image was from the story Puss-in-Boots and the second from The Company of Wolves. My first two paintings for this book didn't go down too well with my lecturers, but I liked them and they are on my red bubble shop that can be linked via my website (link on the right).  My website will be up and down this week as the web host is updating their IP address.

A bit of the dark and surreal

I was experimenting with charcoal rubbings for this project and inspired by the Pitts Museum came up with some interesting results.

The image on the left is a witch trapped inside a bottle.  It was thought that if urine, pins, hair etc were placed inside a bottle this would attract a witch and she would get trapped inside unable to cause any harm.  The Pitts Museum has an example on display that was found hidden in a house in Surrey.

The Screaming Mandrake on the right was produced from old folk tales.  If a mandrake was pulled from the earth then its screams would kill whoever heard it.  A rope was tied around the plant and a dog used to pull it up by its roots. Experienced witches however, could cast a circle of protection around them.  This was a subject that I encountered whilst writing my dissertation in the third year.  If you are ever in Boscastle, visit the Witches Museum it is full of strange historical items, including the Mandrake plant.

Narrative Project Work

Thought I'd post a couple of pieces that I did in my first semester this year at University, based on The Nightingale and the Rose and The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde (two of my favourite stories).  Both stories are really sad and worth reading if you like a bit of dark children's reading.

There's a nice animation on You Tube if you'd like to watch The Happy Prince.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Complicated Macmillan Spread

I thought I'd post another of my macmillan spreads, which again has taken a considerable amount of time.  This spread amazingly consists of over 100 layers in Photoshop and that's excluding the shells!  Watercolour, acrylics, pen and photographs of plasters have all made up this double page spread.  The little snails have jumped out of a tree to escape a mean hedgehog and have ended up a bit battered and bruised.  Poor snails.

I sometimes wonder about this way of working and how I always seem to end of with bits and pieces of painted artwork, snails without bodies and separate penwork, or backgrounds that really don't mean anything to anyone except me. Then I think of the flexibility that this way of working gives me. I can move things about on the screen, change, add or take away different elements, and try out so many different layer effects in Photoshop to achieve my final piece. I think it is worth the hours of selecting and masking and sometimes stumbling upon unexpected results.

14th March Book Launch

Top Left to Right, Illustrators:
Matt Jones, Fifi Sharplin,
Toni Williams and Maria Forrester
I attended the book launch for the children's book project called "Unexpected Tales from Telford".  It was a lovely evening with pupils reading extracts from their stories in front of quite a large audience.  They were so brave!  Afterwards we were presented with copies of our book and indulged in some tea and cakes.  Unfortunately, not all of the team could be present for the event, but I'm sure that everyone would agree they gained valuable experience from this opportunity.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Macmillan Children's Book Competition

One of the spreads that I've been working on and how I use mixed media to build up the final image.

Once I have my rough and photos, I usually start with painting up the background and adding in the photos.  I've used crayons in the background and then watercolours, built up in layers.

Penwork usually follows and some patterns.  Finally, I paint up the main character and bring the whole image together in Photoshop by using masks and adjustment layers.

If you're interested in details of this competition please follow this link:

I hope you have enjoyed this post.


I've been waiting to hear from Norman Greenbaum about uploading this video and have just received confirmation from his partner Erik that I can use it.  So here it is, my first ever animation, made whilst studying at Cannock College and I still think it's kind of cute.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


I've been playing with iMovie this morning and have finally managed to publish a small video portfolio of my work.  I will probably be editing this but I hope you like it.  Why is it so blurred in my preview? Oh, it's okay when its playing.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Illustration students bring tales to life

Just thought I'd put some information on about a children's book project that I was involved in during the Summer months of 2011 and one of the spreads I produced.  This was a fun book where school children wanted a red and blue sheep monster with 63 legs!

Illustration students bring tales to life

Welcome to my Blog

Hi and welcome to my blog.  I decided to start a blog to showcase some of the work that I am currently producing and to let people know what I'm up to.   As I am new to blogging I might make a few mistakes on this journey, so please be patient.