Sunday, 16 October 2016

October update


It’s Sunday evening. As usual, I’ve got the Sunday blues but I’ve distracted myself by baking cookies, watching Youtube videos and there’s a roast chicken currently cooking in the oven.

Autumn is definitely drawing in and I’m feeling really cosy. The electric blanket and heating is well and truly on, the evenings are getting darker and I’m feeling that usual niggling itch that I really need to start thinking about Christmas presents. A lot has happened since my last post, I don’t think life has got any less crazy! I’ll most likely share some words about it all soon, but for now, I’ll keep it simple.


If you follow me on Twitter , you’ll probably know by my incessant tweeting on Wednesday evenings that the Great British Bake Off is totally my jam. I’m not even going to go in to the whole moving to channel 4 thing, but yes, my heart broke into two and will likely only be glued together by a whole load of chocolate. Anyway, I love GBBO, and I love baking. Their new range of products has just been launched and includes cake tins, stands, timers, magnets and aprons, of course. I was sent a cake tin to try out and I have to say, it’s wonderful. The colour is beautiful, a sort of pastel teal blue, with pretty little illustrations of the iconic tent in a pattern around the sides. It’s a really good size too – the bigger the better in my opinion when it comes to cake.

The tin comes with a pen and the top is adorned with a space for you to write in – Star Baker tops this but I’ve been using it simply to label what is inside. The pen wipes off really easily and leaves no smudges or marks so that’s a big plus. Anything in their new range would be perfect Christmas gifts for bakers and fellow Selasi lovers, I'm sure.

In other news...

In other news, I’m still going with my Inktober challenge – which I’m pretty pleased with. There have been a few moments when it’s been a bit of chore and I’ve wanted to give up – engagement is low and it’s hard to feel the community aspect. Nevertheless, I’m continuing on until the end of the month and reminding myself that I am doing this for me and you – sharing my love for art and everything that goes along with it.

Saturday, 1 October 2016



it's me...

I’ve decided to jump feet first back in to the whole blogging/social media scene. I took a little break, and life has been c-r-a-z-y. It’s still pretty crazy, but my creativity is back and it needs to go somewhere! I’m feeling good, and I’m going to make the most of it while it lasts!

Talking about time, I’m doing Inktober Artober this year! Inktober is a really awesome art initiative that happens each year where artists post an ink drawing every day for the entire month of October. The idea is to improve and develop your skills, and both the hashtag on instagram and the videos on Youtube have always been really inspiring to me. Last year, I started sharing my sketchbook on instagram, but that stopped when I couldn’t keep it up. I’ve been contemplating doing Inktober this year but keep stopping at the idea that I won’t be able to do it for the whole month – and I really don’t like starting a challenge and not finishing it!

With that in mind, I’ve put my own spin on it. I suppose it’s cheating a bit but I’m really excited about the prospect and have dubbed it ‘Artober’. Every day I’ll upload an image that is art and design related. I’ll share some drawings too, sketches and typography, as well as sharing my tools and mini reviews of my favourite art books. Here’s a link to my instagram if you fancy following along and feel free to get involved! The #inktober community is wonderful and a quick browse through the hashtag will definitely leave you feeling inspired.

Whenever I visit London I make a beeline to the London Graphic Centre (the art haul I posted when I last visited London in May was partially from there!). The lovely people at LGC got in touch and asked me to share details about their upcoming student day. On Tuesday 4th October they’re offering a huge 20% off everything in store, as well as a free goody bag if you spend over £15. They very kindly sent me one of these goody bags and they’re full of fab tools including a Pigma Micron, some washi tape and a huge variety of other pens and pencils, so definitely worth popping by. As someone who loves stationery, buys far too many sketchbooks and who's desk is overrun by pens, I so wish I lived closer to London so I could take advantage of this!

In other news, after a few very stressful weeks at work, I had last week off and visited Kent. Graham and I ate too many burgers, I spent too much money indulging in retail therapy, we bought mouthwatering fudge in Canterbury and I discovered a new magazine in Brighton. I’ve also been really digging Youtube – more specifically, the art community. My current favourite YouTubers are: FranNerd, BethBeRad, Audra Auclair and Bumble Baylee.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram if you fancy cheering me on this October challenge and I’ll be popping by when I can to share some new content on the blog.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

An update


An update
and a brief hiatus...

I’ve been struggling a bit. August was intense, and yet, suddenly, we are in September. Where does the time go? It’s frightening, actually. There is so much I want to achieve and move towards but I don’t seem to get anywhere. Part of the problem is me, of course, and I’m not saying the world has sped up only for me, and spiralled out of my control on fast forward. Except, I’m not in control. I feel like I am just blindly walking through and climbing over all of these obstacles but not making any progress. It’s like one of those video games you have to jump barrels so you don’t get hit, but actually, you’re on a treadmill and not moving forwards at all. I remember reading a quote once that likened this behaviour to a duck – that you look calm on the surface, but under the water you’re paddling like mad trying to keep afloat. Except, I’m not looking calm on the surface, either.

I’m not sure where this is going. I suppose I just popped in to say hello, that I think about you, my readers, and this little space on the internet every day. I can’t put the time into it right now, but I want to, and hope to, soon. There’s been a lot going on ‘IRL’. A quote (from Julie Chen, via Holly’s newsletter from ABranchofHolly) reminded me of this important thought today:

'You need to prioritise. If you can’t get to everything, or do everything, that’s okay.'

So, I’m prioritising right now. On my day job, on working overtime, on freelance bits and pieces and general life stuff; cooking, cleaning, keeping house. Trying to stay sane. Trying to look after myself. Trying trying trying.

See you soon, hopefully.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Top 5 illustration books


Following on from my top 5 art books post, I thought I’d also share some more of my favourite art books focus more on illustration rather than design and typography. All these books contain art by some of my favourite illustrators and I could happily sit down with any of these of an afternoon and devour each and every page.

Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life
Todd Oldham

The first book I’m sharing has been in my collection the longest, and I knew I had to buy this book when I discovered his work. Charley Harper is an amazing illustrator and I’m sure you’ll recognise his style if you don’t recognise his name. I adore his use of colour and texture – he painted primarily in gouache and often used dry brush strokes to add dimension to his work. With a prolific 60-year career, he illustrated various books, posters and for magazine, as well as school textbooks (The Giant Golden Book of Biology would definitely have helped my interest in science). I can’t remember how I came across his work but it’s definitely something I take inspiration from, particularly his use of colour and shape. I love the movement he creates in his pictures, and there is a lovely interview in the book with Todd Oldham in which he sounds like a really lovely, kind man.

This is Rome
M Sasek

The second book I actually picked up in it’s name sake when I visited Rome in 2014. You’ll probably recognise his work too – Miroslav Sasek was a Czech illustrator who created several titles in the ‘This is’ series, including New York, Paris and London. His style is very bright and clean, with blocks of colour and details that add a lot of movement and life to his illustrations. Though quite simple in terms of detail, Sasek’s work is so full of character and humour I can see why his books have, and continue to be, adored by all ages. It has quite an old-fashioned style to it – possible the colour palette, but either way it feels very nostalgic and comforting.

isabelle arsenault

Jane, the Fox and Me
Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

This, and the following book, are recent purchases and a discovery of an extremely talented illustrator. I saw Fran (Frannerd) talking about this book on YouTube and thought it sounded like just my thing. It’s hard to get a feel of a book through video and it’s absolutely mesmerising when I actually have it in my hands. I can pour over the illustrations for hours – the facial expressions Isabelle Arsenault manages are wonderful, the gorgeous handwritten text, the use of colour and sketchy pencil lines for texture – everything about this is perfect. In ‘Jane, the fox and me’, Arsenault uses colour in a fascinating way – the story (written by Fanny Britt) is about a girl who is struggling with loneliness and a lack of friendship, and so immerses herself in the book Jane Eyre. There are two narratives in the story, with the pages depicting scenes from Jane Eyre painted in colour – a huge contrast to the other narration of Hélène’s life, which is illustrated in greyscale. I love the idea and communication behind this simple decision – that Hélène sees her world without colour, but when she is reading, she’s transported to another world and everything is different, vibrant and alive. I can totally relate to that, and it’s one of the main reasons I love reading – I adore the escapism. Though it sounds like a gloomy book, it has positive ending and is a really sweet tale – beautifully executed and absolutely stunning in its delivery.

Cloth Lullaby
Amy Novesky, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Cloth Lullaby is Arsenault’s most recent offering and is an illustrated story written by Amy Novesky. In contrast to the previous book, this one is full of colour and vibrancy but still the same loose, sketchy style that is so clearly Arsenault’s. It is less like a graphic novel in comparison, with no comic book style grid layouts, but more full page images with text dotted here and there. Again, the hand drawn text adds a sensitive, personal feel to the story, which tells the life of Louise Bourgeois – an artist I ashamedly knew nothing about! The matte stock and cloth bound spine is just another reason as to why this is a valued addition to my collection.

carson ellis home

Carson Ellis

Carson Ellis has been on my illustration radar for a very long time. I discovered The Decemberists through her work (fronted by her husband, Colin Meloy) as she has created all their gorgeous album art, as well as illustrating countless books including many of her own. Using watercolour, Ellis has a simple style in terms of shadow and form but the details she paints are what really inspire me. I love her use of colour and the thin lines and patterns she adds on top of her base shapes. She has an excellent understanding of colour and uses a muted colour palette in a perfect way, I love seeing both her greyscale and coloured pieces. ‘House’ is a gorgeous children’s book that reminds me of a fairy tale – though there is no story as such, it documents various different abodes in a sweet rhyme. The artwork is immersive and the detail is incredible – I love her portrayal of people and plants, there is a real sense of depth in her illustrations and I am enthralled by the whole word she creates in a single painting.

charley harper
jane the fox and me
cloth lullaby
this is rome