Illustrations

#natstatweek: Sketching on The Go

It's day 2 of #NatStatWeek! The official theme for to day is 'get crafty', but I'm paraphrasing it a little bit and using it as an excuse to share what I carry with me when I wanto to sketch on the go, as well as some of my latest drawings.

When I decide to take my supplies with me, I always make sure to bring just the essentials. I find having too many things it's not only impractical but also distracting: most of the time when I'm sketching outside I just want to capture what I see in the simplest way, I don't want to worry too much about the outcome in terms of quality, but instead, use it more as a subject to practice with.

Here's what I carry with me:

  • Derwent Graphik "Inspire Me' sketchbook: it's very compact, the pages are suitable for markers and it also has several patterns printed throughout (grid, dotted, isometric...)
  • Copic Multiliner 0.3: 0.3 is my favourite tip to use for base lines.
  • Pencils: I mostly use a regular graphite pencil, but sometimes also a thin 0.4 mechanical one.
  • Sharpener + kneaded eraser

and only when I'm travelling, I also like to carry my watercolours and water brush.

Do you like sketching on the go? If so, do you have a kit of things you like bringing with you? I'd love to know!

Ζ’. x

#natstatweek: Pen and Pencil Day

In the UK, today is the first of seven days dedicated to celebrating all things stationery, aka National Stationery Week. As per their program, the first day is dedicated to pen and pencils, so I thought I'd update you on my current faves.

I don't know about you, but I own way too many writing supplies. I love having a variety of pen and pencils to use for different purposes, but I've noticed that on a day to day basis I tend to always use the same ones. At the moment, my absolute favourites are the Pigma Micron 03 and the Tombow Dual Brush in 243 (which is a nice pastely mint green shade).

Everyone and their nan uses these two pens, so I thought I'd throw in a more unique one as well, which is a star tip highlighter I got from an Happy Mail box. These are also my must-haves when it comes to bullet journaling, so I always carry them around with me.


What's that one pen you keep reaching for? ✏️

Ζ’. x

Looking Around London: the Barbican Conservatory

barbican_conservatory.jpg

Banana trees, bamboo, cacti… it’s not something you’d expect to be growing in the middle of London, yet that’s exactly where you should go if you fancy spending your Sunday morning surrounded by tropical plants.

Located 10 minutes from the iconic St. Paul cathedral, the Barbican Centre is one of my all time favourite venues in central London. If you don’t know what’s inside, it’s possible you’d just overlook it as another soulless, claustrophobic, concrete building, but if you actually do venture in inside you’ll be surprised of how green and open it actually is.

Although I had visited the Centre a few times already, before last week I had never had the chance to wander around the conservatory. The greenhouse is, in fact, a bit tricky to find, which makes it a true hidden gem.

It houses a full room dedicated to cacti and succulents, a beautiful pond with koi fish, as well as an abundance of tropical plants and flowers.

If you're in London and fancy doing something different on a weekend (especially if the weather isn't the best!) definitely consider have a walk around the Barbican. Even if brutalist architecture isn’t your thing, rough, bare concrete and lush greenery is a combination I dare anyone not to like.

TIPS:

  • Plan your visit ahead and make sure to check their opening times for the day. Although the general opening is every Sunday 12AM-5PM, sometimes they may close early.

  • The Barbican estate is not the easiest to navigate, so if you plan on visiting the Conservatory, the easiest way in is through Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS - and just head to the 3rd floor.

  • If, like me, you enjoy drawing flowers and plants, make sure to bring a sketchbook along as there will be plenty of inspiration!

Have you ever been to Barbican Conservatory? ☺️

Ζ’. xx

Redesigning My Blog Icons

Like any other four or five months, a few days ago I felt the urge of sprucing things up a bit in my blog. I didn't want to make any major change, so I decided to start off by cleaning up the sidebar.

If you've been around for a while, you may remember the icons I used to have in the sidebar under the 'navigation' tab. I drew them back in 2014 and still kind liked the handmade feel to them, but I was starting to feel like they were quite 'messy' and it was bothering me a little.


The line weight was different for almost every icon, and moreover, being all the same colour it was hard to read them at first glance (and also, let's not forget that the font I used was atrocious). Overall, I just thought I could do better than that.

For the new icons, I wanted to keep the same designs but make them cleaner by redrawing them completely in Illustrator.
The first and most obvious change is the colour palette. It went from a simple black and white design on a solid background to a 3 colours design on white.
There's no particular reason behind the colours I picked, besides being chosen to compliment my 'signature' pastel blue shade.


I decided to make a couple of changes as far as the categories go: I scrapped the 'review' category, which wasn't very pertinent anymore, and substituted it with a 'London' category, which is definitely more relevant now. The second change was to update the 'personal' category icon with something I think expresses it a little bit better.
I also changed the font with a new one I made using my handwriting.


For the same reasons, in addition to that, I decided to change my social icons to make everything flow better together, but in this case I kept the old hand-drawn logos and changed the background to a different shape, sticking to the new pastel palette.

What do you think? ☺ I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new designs!
Ζ’. xx

Introducing My New Collection of Notebooks

I'm so excited to finally release into the wild Etsy world, a new little product I've been had in the works for a while now: notebooks!
Personally, I'm someone who's constatly buying notebooks, as I like to keep many at a time - each for a different purpose - so it was only natural that it would have come a day when I'd finally design my own.

I wanted to keep the design quite simple but still have it to be eye catching, so I went for a colour block kind of style. Of course, me being me, I had to include flowers in the mix - bacause as you may know, I'm an hardcore flower fan!

The notebooks are available individually or in a set, and come in three different colours: cherry red, blue, and gold, and they all feature different flower designs.

I would love to hear what you think of them! β™₯
If you'd like to have a closer look, they're now up in my Etsy shop.

Ζ’. xx
P.S. Any notebook order before the end of the month will receive a cheeky freebie ☺

Screen Printing Workshop at Print Club London

β–Ό Print Club, 10 – 28 Millers Ave, Dalston E8 2DS

β–Ό Print Club, 10 – 28 Millers Ave, Dalston E8 2DS

Screen printing is something I've always been intrigued by, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out about the existence of Print Club. 

If you're not familiar with Print Club, it is creative studio in East London that specialises in water based screen printing. As well as offering membership to the studio, they also host a range of workshops for beginners where you get to learn about the process involved and by the end of the day you also get to print your very own design! So, sign me up, right?

Our workshop was led by Craig, who did a really wonderful job at explaining the history and the basics of screen printing, showing us examples of the various techniques involved.

Then it was time to get more hands-on. First thing we had to do, was to tweak our artwork in Photoshop to make it ready to be printed onto tracing paper to then be exposed onto our screens. 

In short, what we did was covering the screens with a photosensitive emulsion and let it to dry in a dark room. After it was completely dried up, it was time to transfer our design on it, which was done by exposing the screen in a vacuum light table, that created a negative of our image.

We then washed our screens with a pressure washer to remove the the emulsion that hadn't hardened and double checked our designs for any imperfections, and then put them out in the sun to dry before getting to the actual printing.

Time to set up the screens! Once ready, each screen must be blocked and taped (which means you need to make sure that there are no holes in the emulsion, and if there are any, you need to cover them up with tape, otherwise the ink will pass through and ruin the print), setup on the printing bed, and then squeegeed!
BUT FIRST, the very crucial step of picking the ink. Guess what colour I chose? ( Ν‘Β° ΝœΚ– Ν‘Β°)
I won't even try to explain the inking process, it's easier for me to let this gif do the talking.

After a couple of borderline unsuccessful tries, I ended up pulling 6 prints, and this is the final result:

Overall, it was a great experience, and I definitely want to do more screen printing in the future!

Have you ever tried this technique? β˜Ί

Ζ’.

P.S. if you like my print I still have 2 originals up for grabs. So if you'd like to purchase one, feel free to get in touch!

New In: Sticker Sheets for Mail & Planner Lovers

If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen that last week I've updated my etsy shop with a brand new product: sticker sheets!

My hand-drawn and hand-cut stickers have been quite successful, but after I've moved to London I had to say goodbye to my printer, so I cannot make them anymore. To make my life easier, I decided to try this new medium. 

So far I've brought out three designs: "assorted mail" which was my most popular set (but this one is new and improved with 6 new stickers), "happy mail" that features three little post-snails and two rather cheerful post women, and lastly, the "lover series" which is complementary to my postcard series.

What do you think of this new product? You know I'm always eager to hear your feedback & critique, so please don't be shy! β˜Ί

Ζ’. x

Postcards Galore!

After waiting for far too long, I've finally updated my Etsy shop! I've still so many illustrations I'd like to print and bring out as postcards, but for the time being, I'm happy to introduce four new designs ☺

The first three are from a little series I like to call 'the Lovers series'. They're all in a similar design but convey different messages - so there's a specific one for anyone! (By the way, if you have suggestions for more categories to add, please let me know, I'm always open to new ideas ☺).

The last (for now) new design is a familiar face, an illustration of my favourite stationery bits.

What do you guys think? I love a bit of constructive criticism if you have any. 

Thank you so much for reading, if you'd like to, you can check out my shop here.

Ζ’. x (Psst, if you buy something, add a note to seller saying you're coming from my blog and I'll pop a little freebie in your order β™₯).