Exciting news – I’ll be showing some of my paintings and screen prints for the first time ever in a show with amazing willow sculptor Woody Fox at the Art House Gallery in Aberystwyth in September.
The exhibition will be called Wild Sight and it will run from Friday 9th September to Saturday 1st October. I’m really very excited about it. I’m starting my two-year part-time Master’s in Illustration: Authorial Content at Falmouth in September so it feels like a real time of new beginnings and adventures and such for me.
About my work
The work I’ll be showing at the exhibition is personal rather than commissioned and reflects on themes of nature, power, death and innocence. Expect hares, stags and skulls. I’ve painted for many years but have only just started to work out what I want to explore with my personal work.
There’ll be prints and cards of my work for sale at the gallery. I do hope you can make it!
New website design
Welcome to my new and improved website!
I had started to get frustrated with my old one – the theme just wasn’t flexible enough for my needs. This one is constructed with a fabulous premium theme called Ronneby, and I am delighted with its capabilities. One could design quite literally hundreds of websites with it and they could all look completely different.
I used to design themes myself but with responsive requirements that’s become beyond my ken as a simple CSS fiddler. And there’s no need when themes like this exist.
But just because there’s very little coding involved that doesn’t mean there’s no work involved – it’s taken me days to get this up and running and to the design I wanted. Now I know the theme better (they’re all constructed differently and take some getting used to) I can work more quickly around it. I anticipate doing a little more fiddling with it just to get it how I want it but I’m over the moon with it – I love the subtle animations (there’s loads to choose from), the functionality of the slider plugin (very much like After Effects), the ease of the page builder, the way the portfolio works and just the general elegance of the whole thing. I wouldn’t say it’s a theme for WordPress newbies (although there are templates you can download and install to upload your own content so maybe I’m wrong there) but it is very straight forward.
If it’s a theme you’d like to work with but you’re feeling a little intimidated about getting it up and running do get in touch and we can talk about how I can help you get something all lovely and handsome like this.
I’ve been quiet for a little while because of a holiday and lack of internet but am delighted to announce that I have moved to a wonderful eco housing co-operative in mid Devon!
Beech Hill is a 17th-ish century manor house and has been occupied as a housing co-op since the early 80s. There are around 6 acres here comprising of wildish areas, a camping paddock circled by magnificent beeches, two poly-tunnels, two cob-walled gardens, an orchard… and a swimming pool. It’s also an hour’s drive from one of Britain’s best surf breaks. Yep, I know. Heaven!
the first walled garden
The community has solar, wood-fire and biomass-heated water and central heating, a wind turbine, grows much of its own vegetables – all organically, buys other food also organically from a workers’ co-op, recycles as much as it can, hosts a local composting scheme… I could go on. It’s a wonderful place to live and, because living here is cheaper than in Cardiff, I can spend more time working in the garden, developing my illustration style and also getting involved in some volunteer work.
Of course there are chooks too
I’ve been working on some fascinating and really exciting projects in the meanwhile which I’ll start to share with you shortly. I’ll still be working with clients in Cardiff and all over the country, and intend to be back in South Wales every month or six weeks, so if you’re looking for an experienced and friendly graphic designer or illustrator wherever you are then do get in touch 🙂
Just a little missive to inform y’all that, after a bit of a hiatus, my newsletters will be getting right down in your inboxes again from this weekend. They’ll be brief but full to the brim of recent work, inspiring things I’ve unearthed from the internet and maybe even some kittens. So there!
You may sign up here, if it pleases you x
The Simple Grid Responsive wordpress theme design is free from Dessign.net and works equally well on tablets and mobile phones
This weekend I’ll be starting (and maybe even finishing!) a new design for this here (hare, here) website.
I want something a little cleaner, a little clearer, a little better organised. Alright, a lot better organised. I meant to finish this site off with a portfolio page but I never got round to it: as I removed my focus from the site and went back to regular client work I kept sort of forgetting that, y’know, a portfolio page might be A REALLY GOOD IDEA for a designer and illustrator to have. I also want to exploit RSS – something I’ve not bothered with before.
I decided not to bother updating this particular theme as technology has moved on since I designed it. The best websites are now responsive: they adapt to smartphones and tablets and massive desktop displays with equal ease. And there are some BEAUTIFUL ajax and j-query portfolio-ey sites to be had. Here are some of the best blogs I’ve found featuring new responsive free and premium wordpress themes:
and a special mention has to be made for über theme designer dessign who creates just the MOST GORGEOUS minimalist themes, many of them free, many of them responsive.
These themes will work straight out of the zip-file for you (and me) but obviously I’mma gonna have me a good fiddle with CSS and what-not to make the theme completely unique. Why not start from scratch, you might ask? Well, the issue here is time. And I’m not very patient. I have never claimed to be a web developer – I have always been quite clear that what I do is I take a good solid free wordpress theme and hack it to bits until it looks how I want it to. This very website, and this one, and this one, and this one, and yes this one too, are all developed from the same favourite theme, believe it or not. I just use it as an interior decorator might use a building – I move some of the walls around, add a window here and there, change the colours and the wallpaper and the furniture and BISH BOSH a new website is born.
So that’s what I’m going to do here.
The only thing that troubles me is the ethics of not designing your own website from scratch. That’s why I’m always completely open about the way I work – and how the the way I work makes things quicker and therefore cheaper for my clients. Obviously, in the footers of my web designs I credit the original theme design, but this time I’ll be going a little further and donating some money to the theme creator to thank them for all that time and effort and brain-mushing code-learning they’ve saved me.
It seems like the right thing to do.
I’m going to be blogging a lot more frequently from now on. I’ve intended to do this before, but this time it’s personal, as they say in that there Hollywood.
And it is personal. The thing is this: I’m very flexible, which is usually an advantage for a freelancer. I just go with the flow of whatever my clients request of me. That doesn’t involve too much seizing of the day, however, and I have often been left frustrated at unaccomplished personal projects. So I am in the business of putting a little more day-seizing into my schedule. This is how I will do it:
Blogging forces me to take a wider view of what I am doing and where I am heading. It lifts me up out of my strange little world of tea and cats and dead moths caught by said cats until I can see them thar hills in the distance. I can also see and be inspired by and share stuff that others have been doing.
Therefore I aim to blog two or three times a week. Sometimes this might be as simple as sharing a photo I’ve taken or a logo I’ve seen; other times I’ll discuss projects I’ve worked on and there’ll be the occasional thinky pondery one too. I’ll publicise the blogs on Twitter and Google+. I’ll also use the latter as a channel to share interesting finds and discover more things I can pass on to you here.
I’ll still use Twitter in both a personal and professional capacity: I view it as a way for potential clients to get to know who I am and what I stand for – and it seems to be working. I’ve gained more new clients from using it in the last six months than from all other sources combined. Plus, I enjoy it, and it costs me around £2,500 less than advertising with Yellow Pages, which has gained me precisely 0 (zero) clients. Thus, I am all about cutting out the waste and focusing on what really works, for me at least:
- Social media (maybe even Facebook again, gasp)
- being flexible & creative with time use (9-5 often dull, with apologies to Ms Parton)
- burning off adrenaline & also thinking at the gym
- Routine (a lot of it, anyway. BORING.)
- Doing whatever pops into my head as a priority. Planning good/repetition bad etc
- Trying to fathom the logic and reason behind anything HMRC says and getting stressed by said illogic and unreason (enter shiny new accountant stage left)
- Old forms of advertising and marketing
Thus, I place my pants outside of my tights and become a bit bloody super, instead of all sort of dithery and uh, what next? etc.