5 Questions to... Natalie Hughes

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   Nathalie Hughes is an illustrator from Bristol who's work I discovered on Etsy.
   I instantly fell in love with her bright an funny images of animals and
   exotic characters. She's also working on her own 'Crowd of creatures'
   children's book that makes you wanna be a kid again!

   Your work seems to focus on kids mostly, is that a specific choice you made, 
   something you always dreamed of?
   It wasn't a conscious choice, it just seems to be the direction my work has taken, 

   I guess because I like drawing animals, using bright colours and cute characters. 
   I was definitely always influenced by children's books, so It makes sense I ended 
   up here! Ideally I'd like to illustrate for both children and adults as I've got lots 
   of ideas.

   What is the absolute favorite project you worked on? 
   I really enjoyed being involved in the All I Want For Christmas Card charity 
   project last year, which saw my christmas card being printed alongside some 
   awesome illustrators from around the UK. My favourite personal project has 
   been working on my own children's book 'A Crowd of Creatures' which is 
   about collective nouns for animals.

   What or who inspires you?
   Travel and daydreaming about travelling is a big influence on me. I'm 

   constantly inspired by watching tons of films, and listening to lots of music...
   I often work with a movie playing in the background. My main artistic 
   inspirations range from Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele to Eric Carle, Edward 
   Gorey and Oliver Jeffers.

   What does your work process look like, any specific techniques or 
   combination of techniques you prefer?
   I tend to look at lots of photos and draw using mechanical pencil.Then I scan 

   them in and use a whole collection of hand made textures in Photoshop to 
   colour the drawings. So pretty much hand drawn + digital collage is my 
   technique at the moment!

   How do you promote your work and do you have a 'best tip'?

   I use the web to promote my work a lot. Since graduating I lived in a pretty 

   rural place so had to rely on the internet to make contacts and share my work. 
   I would recommend to any artist or designer to use Twitter to promote 
   themselves.It gave me an audience for my work and getting feedback gave me 
   confidence. I've recently moved to the city (Bristol) so am aiming to promote 
   my work more actively in the community. I'd love to have a solo exhibition 
   and do some collaborations with some of the talent in this area.

   For more of Natalie's work, have a look at her website.

   Thanks Natalie answering these questions and let me know when your solo
   exhibition is on (I'm sure it will happen) and when the book is ready!

I say...


   ...it's time for a new GIVE AWAY! I made new eco friendly postcards you can win.
   Just leave a comment (up till 5 july) and maybe you're the lucky one...

New Knobs

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   ...and new porcelain knobs in the shop!

Little friends


   Two new friends :)

   Me and my swiss army knife (bought it on my last trip to Canada cause,
   although I'm a real city girl, I though one needs an proper army knife when
   going 'into the wild') made this little fella who helps me with making sharp
   folds. The illustration is one of three for a new postcard set I made for new
   eco webshop Babongo (not online yet... but the owner has a very nice blog).
   I'll also add the new cards to my shop around next week!

   My parents' neighbours are raising a little orphan jay named 'Gerrit'. He's
   quite tame already and kept looking at me with the same curiosity as I was
   looking at him!

Update shop

   I updated the shop with new porcelain brooches and a fresh stock of Instant Comfort
   Pocket Boxes!

First try

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   Remember the painted food boxes from a week ago? I did the first illustration
   about edible wild plants using one of the boxes. Unfortunately I've got a problem
   (that keeps comming back)....... Cause I'm enthousiastic about, well just about
   almost everything, I want to do it all. So I start a couple of projects, start a couple
   more and then freak out cause I can't do them all at the same time, wuaah!
   Therefore I'll focus on less stuff and other edible plants will have to wait... sigh.

   About projects... I found this one and am an instant fan, it makes me laugh out
   loud even when I'm alone, it is soooo funny and well made!

   Only two of the collab goodies left in the shop!



   Tatata... and here it is: the collab goodies project I did with Julie Adore. It is a limited
   edition of six: three in Julie's shop, three in my shop. In the package you'll find:

   + 1 porcelain brooch with radish print by me
   + 1 crochet radish by Julie you can use to decorate a tshirt, as a key chain hanger or...

   Have a look at Julie's blog for beautiful pictures of the different options.
   And what does this all cost? Only 17 euros (which is a package discount price), but
   be quick, as there are only 6 collab goodies packs available in total!

   The third photo with the radishes is made by Julie.



   I'm back from Antwerp and boy, did we have a good time! Me and Sue (a close
   friend who's also an illustrator) went to our 'neighbours' to check out the city
   and explore the possibility for Sue to work and live there for a couple of months.
   Apart from hanging around in lunch places and (coffee) bars we also visited two
   creative coworking spaces, Winkelhaak and ASPACE, where we (at the last one)
   got a tour around the building by Frederik (did I tell you that I have a soft spot
   for belgian guys?) and through the lovely garden. Although I'm very happy living
   in Utrecht I can imagine myself living in Antwerp for a while, it's such a lovely
   city (a they speak a way  more charming version of dutch there)!

   Other places we visited:
   + Via Via (travel cafe and restaurant) 
      Wolstraat 43
   + De Biologisch-Dynamische Bakkerij (Organic bakery/ lunch spot) 
      Volksstraat 17
   + Fiskebar (lunch and dinner, scandinavian food)

      Marnixplaats 12-13
   + Coffee & Vinyl (coffee bar and record shop) 
      Volksstraat 45
   + Cartoons (arthouse movie theater)
       Kaasstraat 4 
   + Bato Batu (cafe, the coffee wasn't very good but the place is nice)

       St Jorispoort 1
   + Jutka & Riska (fab 70s and 80s vintage clothing, I bought an amazing
      vintage skincolor/pink pantsuit here that's my new absolute fave outfit!)
      Nationalestraat 87
   + M HKA (museum of modern art)
      Leuvenstraat 32
   + Rubenshof (Budget Hotel in 'jugendstil'-style)
      Amerikalei 115-117
   +RA (concept store)
     Kloosterstraat 13

   PS The Collab goodies of Julie (Adore) and me are now for sale online at
    Julie's shop and will be available in my Etsy shop soon!

sneak peek

   I'm working on a new project for one of my favorite blogs and feel so excited to be
   part of it... I can't tell you so much about it now but I promise you'll be the first to
   know when things are up and running!

   And... I'll be snooping around in Antwerp (Belgium) the next two days where I
   won't have plenty of internet access, but I'll be back on friday!

Funny booklet


   At the WeekendWinkel last friday, I bought this little booklet by Marloes Toonen
   with flip sections to create funny characters. It reminds me of a game we used to
   play as kids. We'd fold a piece of paper in three and everyone would draw one
   section that together makes a wierd looking fellow, fun guaranteed!

Edible wild plants


   Since supermarkets, we're used to 'ready-to-eat' food but for our great grandmothers
   most food didn't come in packages but was to be found in the wild. I'm somewhat
   intrigued by this 'foraging' being a recovered trend and started a little private 
   illustration project to explore this fun (and free!) way to fill your fridge. I painted 
   some food boxes as a background for illustrations of edible wild plants... more later!

   If you live in Utrecht, I'll be at the Weekendwinkel Opening tonight, see you there? 
   Nice weekend everyone!

Playing with wooden blocks

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   Did I mention I never outgrew my childhood? While watching a movie about
   Coco Chanel yesterday, I played with the wooden blocks I bough a while ago.
   I like how the shadows add an extra dimension.

5 Questions to... I love grey skies

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   I love grey skies is Kimberley Laurenti who lives in Southwest Florida with her
   husband and 4-year-old son. I found her through Etsy where she sells beautiful
   handmade little clay characters called Mooks. She also makes lovely painted and
   collage like illustrations. I was intrigued...

   Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
   I am an artist that has a fondness for a somewhat creepy and dark asthetic. I 
   think my cozy feelings towards the strange wind up adding a bit of cute to the 
   overall affect. I do sculpture, painting and illustration and love them all evenly.

   When and how did you come up with the Mook Characters?
   As a kid, my favorite thing to do was make little scenes or environments out of 
   found objects. The size scale is still the same but I guess now I am more into 
   making the inhabitants :) I have been sculpting these ambiguous creatures for 
   many years and eventually they've evolved into what I call Mooks. About the name 
   Mook: In college I had a cat I named Mookey and the name had sort of traveled 
   with me since. I just like the sound of it.

   What does your workspace look like?
   My workspace is small but perfectly suited. I am not a clean-as-you go sort of 
   person ( I am getting better though) so it usually cycles between messy and clean. 

   Do you have a work routine and if so, what is it?
   I have some coffee while looking at blogs to wake up. Then I put some music on, go 
   into the studio and see where I left off. With my sculptures there's so many stages 
   and techniques that it stays fun. I can definitely get off track so I sometimes wish I 
   had a partner to keep me on task. 

   What would be your dream assignment?
   A stop animation video would be so great! I really want to get more into illustration 
   too. A children's book! There are so many ideas for a "dream assignment". What 
   would yours be Kim? 

   Thanks Kimberley for your answers! And well, my dream assignment would be...
   Pfff, I have so many, like illustrating for a magazine like Uppercase or a big 3D
   illustration for a music event or window display for a shop, or, or...

   For more I love grey skies: see Kimberley's blog or Etsy shop.

Sketchbook project


   I did some structure sketching and made a new stamp today, just for the fun of
   it, no end product in mind (such a luxurity!). These little moments spark my
   creativity and really charge my battery. I plan on having more of that as I joined
   the Sketchbook Project yesterday. I've been wanting to do that for a while but
   was a bit hesitant cause I was so busy with work, but... now I just did it. My
   sketchbook (theme: encyclopedia of...) will arrive within two weeks but I already
   started just for fun, hurrah!

   Ok, I'll be off for a little weekend break to the south of Holland (Maastricht) now.
   A lovely weekend to everyone and see you on monday!

New DIY kit


   There is a new Instant Comfort Pocket Box DIY kit in town (and in my Etsy shop)!
   I also have a little question for you: is there anything you'd like to see in my shop, 
   something you're missing?

Farewell lovely intern...

   Last monday it was Sanne's (my intern) last day at my studio. I feel a bit sad
   as it was quite nice to have her working with me. She gave me some lovely
   handmade presents: a printed tea tip, little bowl and postcard with her beautiful
   drawings. By the way, you can buy her brooches with these lovely illustrations
   this weekend at de Winkel van Schinkel in Amsterdam...
   Thanks Sanne for a creative month and good luck at your next internship!
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