about me

A Series of Things That Make Me Well

At the start of every year I make a big list of all the things I want to learn and grow creatively. One of the points I always ponder on is figure drawing. Back when my creative work was more art focussed I would draw and paint people quite easily. But time can make these sort of skills a little rusty. 

So I’ve started a personal project to get that creative muscle working again. Based around the different activities that bring me a feeling of calm and wellness, Im hoping it will give me a chance to combine my illustrative style with my ambition to draw more people. It is also a project that allows me to contemplate how I look after my wellbeing in regards to how hard I work and the development of my creative work. Sometimes I need a reminder to take a few minutes away from working on the next big thing.

‘Run, run, run!’ Digital illustration, 2019

‘Run, run, run!’ Digital illustration, 2019

I find being outside is a great way for me to recharge my batteries so its seemed like an obvious starting point. Both running and walking provide a good mental reset when i need to improve my mood.  These illustrations were created using a combination of procreate and photoshop. I’m enjoying the challenge of creating an entire scene digitally and having the ability to edit the little people in the wilderness until they are set in just the right place.

‘A walk in the woods’ Digital illustration, 2019. 

‘A walk in the woods’ Digital illustration, 2019. 

I’m not sure what direction this series will take me but even if its just a record of things to remind me to look after my self better it will be a worthwhile project.  Sometimes focussing on your health and happiness is the best way to make your creative work improve.

March Meet the Maker 2019

This March I participated in the #marchmeetthemaker challenge on instagram. It’s a great instagram challenge encouraging makers and small business owners to share lots of different aspects of their story with their audience. Created by Joanne Hawker this challenge give you a different prompt everyday to create an image on instagram.  Although I struggled a little to post every single day it still gave more a push to create some great images for my instagram and find some great creatives to follow. It’s also a gave me a good chance to reflect on my creative practice and business.

Here’s a roundup of my favourite prompts of the month. 

Day 1: the prompt for this day is ‘favourite to make’. My answer to this is a mess! I’m happy when I’ve got all my paints and pencils spread everywhere with lots of creating getting done. It would be great to do that all the time but it takes so much more than just painting to get things running in Sam HQ! I’m the receptionist, designer, webpage builder, accountant, post mistress, cleaner, marketer, and CEO of this Dolan art empire. Maybe as the boss I should allow myself extra painting time for working so hard!

Day 1: the prompt for this day is ‘favourite to make’. My answer to this is a mess! I’m happy when I’ve got all my paints and pencils spread everywhere with lots of creating getting done. It would be great to do that all the time but it takes so much more than just painting to get things running in Sam HQ! I’m the receptionist, designer, webpage builder, accountant, post mistress, cleaner, marketer, and CEO of this Dolan art empire. Maybe as the boss I should allow myself extra painting time for working so hard!

Another prompt was #flatlay. I think my instagram feed might be 95% flatlays as I’ve yet to invent a more genius and simple way for showing my drawings and illustrations!

Another prompt was #flatlay. I think my instagram feed might be 95% flatlays as I’ve yet to invent a more genius and simple way for showing my drawings and illustrations!

Day 4 of #marchmeetthemaker was all about your tools and materials. I could talk about the materials I use all day! In fact Ive wrote a bunch of blog articles on exactly what I use.

Day 4 of #marchmeetthemaker was all about your tools and materials. I could talk about the materials I use all day! In fact Ive wrote a bunch of blog articles on exactly what I use.

This prompt was ‘details and close ups’. My favourite part of drawing and painting is when i get to the really detailed parts of a project. I use tiny wee brushes to get the smallest little line. I’ll spend hours just getting all the little plant vines and stems all drawn out. It doesn’t matter what style I’m creating in I always add the littlest of details. Although sometimes I can obsess over the tiny bits to much and my wrist does protest! Look after your hands and wrist! Carpel tunnel issues are no fun at all!!

This prompt was ‘details and close ups’. My favourite part of drawing and painting is when i get to the really detailed parts of a project. I use tiny wee brushes to get the smallest little line. I’ll spend hours just getting all the little plant vines and stems all drawn out. It doesn’t matter what style I’m creating in I always add the littlest of details. Although sometimes I can obsess over the tiny bits to much and my wrist does protest! Look after your hands and wrist! Carpel tunnel issues are no fun at all!!

Talking of hands and wrists this prompt was ‘hands at work’. They are my main tools, partners in crime with my big old brain. They do the heavy lifting, drawing, painting, and creating the many ideas my busy brain comes up with

Talking of hands and wrists this prompt was ‘hands at work’. They are my main tools, partners in crime with my big old brain. They do the heavy lifting, drawing, painting, and creating the many ideas my busy brain comes up with

It wouldn’t be a maker challenge without a ‘workspace’ prompt. Behind the curtains are all the things I need to make my creations and run my wee shop. ⠀

It wouldn’t be a maker challenge without a ‘workspace’ prompt. Behind the curtains are all the things I need to make my creations and run my wee shop. ⠀

Finally a prompt about ‘design process’. Ive got lots of different ways I make/draw things but generally they start with a quick pencil thumb nail. They are simple little drawings that get all my thoughts on paper. Click on the above image to see all the stages of this gardening illustration. Then I’ll quickly flesh out the thumbnail a little larger to use as a guide. I also practice the bits i find tricky drawing at this stage in my sketchbook.

The next stage is to start working on the final piece either on paper with paint or digitally. This garden image was created in procreate with my ipad. Then the image is done ready to be made into prints, patterns and lots of other fun things!