Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Beep Beep Baby!

Sorry for the looooong silence...we had a baby!
With my studio packed away and having no spare time whatsoever, I haven't had the chance to do much other than baby and toddler stuff. I try to jot things down but even that's difficult sometimes!
I'm so glad I managed to squeeze this card in before baby came along, in amongst the chaos of trying to finish off the picture book...
I hope I can make another picture soon, even if it's just a little doodle :)

Monday, 20 October 2014

bye bye studio

It is with HUGE relief that I can say I finished my picture book commission before baby's arrival - 2 days before due date - talk about cutting it fine!!

I've been packing up my studio as I'll be on indefinite maternity leave. I said goodbye to my paint covered desk as it went off to the dump, along with my palette which had grown heavier and knobblier over the past 10+ years I've been using it. The last picture is the other side of the palette where I'd sliced off the knobbly bits to reveal layers upon layers of colour.

It feels sad to say goodbye to these things, to see bare walls and have everything packed away not knowing when they'll come out to play again, but at the same time I'm happy to take a bit of a break - well, it's hardly going to be a break as we face many sleep-deprived months ahead of us again...!

Friday, 10 October 2014

The wino sees it all

A few weeks back I was traveling on the overground. At 32 weeks, I'd say I'd passed the point where I looked a bit chubby and definitely looked well pregnant. I could not believe the lack of eye contact. Everyone was totally engrossed in their own little world in the palm of their hand or the rubbish free paper to look up to see who was around them. No matter how good my book is or where I am in my knitting, I always make a point of looking up at each stop to see if there might be someone who needs a seat more than me, but not this bloody lot. Most of them young, some only traveling 3 stops or so but boy were they in a rush to grab a free seat if they spotted one, pushing past me to get to it. Unbelievable!!

It's not that different on the tube either. There have been times I've traveled with my boy and big belly on a super hot day, carrying a back pack and a couple of bags of shopping, but absolutely nothing. I don't know whether people genuinely don't see me or just don't care, but I can't believe no one offers a seat. The worst ones are the ones who see you but pretend they haven't. Is this how things are now? 

The wino on the bus, on the other hand, does see it all. He was explaining at the top of his voice about his plans to make wine in the big plastic barrel he hoisted up onto the bus, then gradually worked his way around the whole bus shouting at everyone, but mostly chatting up the girls until he spotted me and shouted "Hey, who gave you baby?"

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The final countdown

I'm very nearly due and am still working frantically on this picture book. The deadline that the publisher and I had agreed on has come and gone, and now I am faced with a very real, unbudging deadline: that of the arrival of baby number 2. I pat my belly daily, saying "Take your time little one, there's no rush". I'm relying on his timeliness to finish all the artwork, otherwise I'm in trouble...

This is my second children's book commission since becoming a mum, and as much as I've loved working on picture books again one thing I've struggled with is time, or the lack of it. Whereas before I could work day and night non-stop knowing I can catch up on sleep once it was all over, it just doesn't work like that anymore. That "catching up on sleep time" never arrives. My two working days a week disappear all too quickly and I'm always left wishing for another day, an extra hour even, to get that little bit more done. 

I've been very lucky working with a great publisher who have been supportive and encouraging from the very start, allowing me creative freedom and providing me with prompt feedback which can make all the difference in making the most of the time I have to work. 
I'm just hoping hoping hoping that baby won't arrive early, as I still have the book cover to start and finish and with only two more working days before the due date, I'm feeling a little nervous to say the least!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Baby fish

My little one gave me this the other day, and called it "Baby fish in fish's tummy" :)

View from up here

You may or may not guess from these pictures that I have another bun in the oven! This is what I see every day when I look down: my little boy's head peeping over my bump, blowing raspberries, prodding, hugging and generally messing about. He can't seem to leave the bump alone, wanting to get it out all the time which can be a little embarrassing when I'm in the shops or something...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

My little art critic

I'm working on a lovely picture book for a US publisher at the moment - this will be my last illustration project for a few years. 
When my little boy comes home from nursery I like to show him what I've been doing during the day. When I showed him this spread, he looked, thought for a bit then said:

"You need to make the eyes bigger so I can see them on the grey bit like the pig and the fox", referring to the hippo. Not bad for a 3 year old! Comments noted and changes will be made little one!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Early words

Here's a selection of my boy's early words. 
I'm not sure what his first word was. I remember him saying "happa" (leaf) at his first birthday party, but he'd been mimicking quite a few words by then. One of his favourite words was "wheel" which he'd say repeatedly with a massive smile on his face. And then there were words that he couldn't quite get right, like:
Capupum = Caterpiller
Kwaawaa = Cucumber 
Kumuya = Kuruma (car)
Kee = Cheese

I wanted to make a record of these to make sure I don't forget. You think you'd remember everything but brain has other ideas after being sleep deprived for over 3 years...

What I do remember is my fascination and amazement at how a very young mind starts to get to grips with communication and language. It still amazes me today as my boy becomes more articulate, picking up all kinds of expressions and making connections between 2 languages, mixing it all up and creating his own.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

pose and command

I left the room for a few seconds and came back to a little boy telling me:
「ママのいない間におならしちゃった。」(I did a fart while mummy was out of the room), promptly followed by this pose and command :D
I don't know where he's picking up these phrases...

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Lucky cat

He's usually quite good at mimicking and learning new words but he mispronounced this word which made me smile! It's one of those cats you often see in oriental shops and restaurants, which is supposed to welcome good fortune. I prefer his pronunciation :)

A night out

Thought I'd do one of these (What I wore today) to mark our first night out together in over 3 years!! The occasion was our friends' wedding party so we got to dress up a little - something we're not used to at all, as we shuffled awkwardly to the venue in alien shoes and outfits. 
Big thanks to the newly weds Tristan and Claire for a great party, and also to Rosie who gave us our night out xxx

Thursday, 14 August 2014

what the...

The boy's latest words that made us giggle...mixing English and Japanese, mimicking a phrase his daddy says which roughly translates into "What the what what?"

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Prints for sale

"Bubbles" £40

"Autumn Bunny" £15

"Chibi" £20

I also have these 3 limited edition Giclee prints for sale (above).
I can get more printed if there's enough interest, for the pieces below:

"Ocean" £60

"I'm taking you home" £60

"Islands" £60

"Forest song" £60

Please get in touch by leaving a comment here or emailing me at hellomique@gmail.com

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Handmade stuff for sale

Big Brown Bear 33cm(H)x27cm(W) £40

Stripy Brown Bear 38cm(H)x28cm(W) SOLD

Pink Dinosaur 16cm(H)x35cm(W) £20
Green Legs Dinosaur 13cm(H)x42cm(W) £25
Brown Legs Dinosaur 15cm(H)x39cm(W) £25

Stripy Snail 21cm(H)x32cm(W) £25

Snail 20cm(H)x28cm(W) SOLD

Brown Bear Hat SOLD
17cm across when folded flat/roughly 44cm circumference/19cm high 
Snug fit for a toddler with head measurement of 50cm

Green Stripy Hat SOLD
16cm across when folded flat/roughly 43cm circumference/18cm high 
Snug fit for toddler with head measurement of 50cm

Purple Stripy Hat SOLD
20cm across when folded flat/roughly 50cm circumference/18cm high 
Comfortable fit for toddler with head measurement of 50cm

Pink Stripy Hat SOLD
18cm across when folded flat/roughly 50cm circumference/18cm high 
Comfortable fit for toddler with head measurement of 50cm

Blue Bear Hat £15 
16cm across when folded flat/roughly 42cm circumference/18cm high 
Snug fit for toddler with head measurement of 50cm

Tiger Hat SOLD
19cm across when folded flat/roughly 42cm circumference/19cm high 
Comfortable fit for toddler with head measurement of 50cm

Duck mittens £10 
(2-4 years)
15cm long with cuff folded (18cm unfolded)







Various felt toys £12.50 each 
Lions - 15cm(H)x8cm(W)
Bears - 15cm(H)x10cm(W)
Elephants - 19cm(W)x12cm(H)

Felt Bags £20 each
20cm(H)x21cm(W) with 25cm~30cm handles

Clear out part 2...handmade goods. Here are some things I've knitted and sewn recently that are looking for new homes. I know it's too hot to be thinking about knitted goods at the moment, but maybe they would make nice gifts for little ones this autumn/winter? Please get in touch if you want to find out more about sizes, prices etc. Leave a comment here, or email me at: hellomique@gmail.com :)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Art sale

"Being followed" SOLD
Mixed media on card (420mmx320mm) 

"Midnight Taxi" SOLD
Mixed media on canvas (500mmx400mm)

"Sheep cloud" 
Mixed media on canvas (405mmx560mm) £400

"Here's to new joy" 
Mixed media on card (320mmx420mm) £375

"Fox and girl" 
Mixed media on canvas (250mmx305mm) £175

"Hoop and stick" 
Mixed media on canvas (250mmx305mm) £175

"Blue elephant" 
Mixed media on card (145mmx195mm) £90

"Pink elephant" 
Mixed media on card (145mmx195mm) £90

"Bird song" 
Mixed media on card (145mmx195mm) £90

Mixed media on card (105mmx155mm) £40

"Yellow Welly Dinosaur" SOLD
Mixed media on card (145mmx195mm)

Mixed media on card (130mmx180mm) £90

"Bee happy" SOLD
Mixed media on card (120mmx80mm) 

"Bee yourself" SOLD
Mixed media on card (130mmx180mm)

"Fluffy B" 
Mixed media on card (150mmx225mm) £70

"Blue bear" SOLD
Mixed media on card (160mmx225mm)

"Pink bunny" 
Mixed media on card (130mmx220mm) £70

"Bunny and balloon" 
Mixed media on card (135mmx185mm) £70

"Mr Whiskers" SOLD
Mixed media on card (170mmx230mm)

"Stripy dog" SOLD
Mixed media on card (445mmx130mm)

"Spotty dog" SOLD
Mixed media on card (445mmx130mm)

We're moving house hopefully around the end of this year, so I'm having a big clear out! Being a massive hoarder, I've found it hard to let go of stuff in general, moving ridiculous amounts of stuff from house to house. Working from home also means I have all my materials and art stuff here too, which takes up an enormous amount of space. 

But...I have decided to take a break from illustration for a few years starting from around October so am having a big clear out, starting with the sale of these pieces of artwork. The first 4 pieces are the largest and fairly new, the rest are quite small, some new, some really old! If you're interested or have any questions, please get in touch by leaving a comment here, or emailing me at hellomique@gmail.com