Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Illo Resources: 3 crazy-useful Photoshop brush sets!

Mmkay, so I’m really trying to stick to drawing every day this year, surprisingly so far I have. Some are just crappy roughs or for top secret projects (like secret7’s) but here’s a spacey one I drew t’other day – she gives no f*ck about the impending invasion. 

The main point of this post is that I wanted to link y'all to some fantastic PS brushes (some even free), that may come in handy for future illustration projects.

For people who don’t know much about PS brushes (and I’m in no way an expert) ‘brushes’ allow people with drawing tablets to mimic a lot of traditional mark making, which is sorely lacking in the default brush option on Photoshop. The biggest (and possibly only) problem with brushes is that it’s FAR more fun actually messing around with them and creating things than writing about them (that’s my excuse...) and the fact some only work on the newest PS versions.


you can make your own brushes, I have tried to make some before, by scanning in textures and random nature-y things like shells and feathers, then sampling them to try to make brushes – basically a way to repeat your texture or whatever just by dragging your mouse or tablet around, I wasn't very good at making many.

Luckily it turns out there are some incredibly talented and selfless people out there, willing to share their expert brush-making with the world. If you do decide to buy/download any of these brushes, when you go to use your tablet the mark you’re making could be almost anything *magical dream stare*

It could be a HB pencil, or watercolours, or charcoal, or OILS, or sponges or or or or Endless. There are probably lots more amazing brushes out there that I’m going to miss from this post, because I have only stumbled over a bunch of them so far but the ones I’m featuring here have been, according to other art-minded twitterers, the best they’ve ever used. And you should take full advantage of them too!
It doesn’t matter if you don’t end up using them all, pencils and biros will always be no.1 to me....but call it digital curiosity.

(it goes without saying that each of these featured people are super talented artists)

Kyle T Webster - This megapack Kyle has compiled has it all. Over 90 BRUSHES in one set! To me it was a no-brainer, you get ALL THE THINGS for a very reasonable price. It's like being spoilt for choice in a very geeky way. You can find even more brush sets & packages on Kyle's page here (some pay-what-you-want) with more updates to come! (he also a salsa-dancing-magician-y-musician!)


Frenden - Frenden has also come up with various kick ass brushes, some that work on other programmes too. My pick for this blog are his Inking & Penciling set. The lines are so clean, inking has never been so relaxing :P


Gerald Kelley - I love the scratchy texture of Gerald's Crow Quill brush and the fact he's even put it up for free download! I can imagine it'd be perfect for cross-hatching and adding lots of scales on dragons.

I hope you enjoy their sets! This is the piƱata horse I ended up sketching when I was trying out loads of them at once, I definitely had sweets on the brain.


P.S. annoyingly my faithful laptop has decided to die a death... In the meantime I don’t really have access to the creative suite or anything so bear with me. Toshiba's laptop fans and cooling system are notorious rascals.

Feel free to hit me with Things you create with these sets or more great brushes to get too if you like! Happy sketching!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

The resolution will not be televised

Hi guys! Happy new year!

I definitely still have post-Christmas denial.. as all the decorations start to get boxed back up and the tv specials start to disappear from iplayer all I want is tinsel and hot chocolate :(
One of the only non-Christmassy things that relunctantly made me accept January is now happening is Sherlock returning. I didn't realise it was such a hyped show until I saw the twitter TORNADO it caused on new years day... I'd never actually seen it before Christmas (although I'd been told I should watch it loads, blame Breaking bad) so on boxing day I sat down (with a season's worth of chocolate) and caught up. 

Now I've watched the newest ep and I'm Sherlocked like everyone else, hooray!

here's the sketch of Sherlock & Watson that I posted to twitter a few days ago, and also the new coloured version in which I fixed some things like the OTT-ness of Sherlock's hair :)

As for the new year's resolutions, I kind of wanted to make fun of the idea a bit, because although they can be a good way to kick yourself up the arse sometimes, some people seem to make crazy goals for themselves and then beat themselves up about not sticking to them (see: insane fad diets, killer exercise plans...wanting more sleep??)

Since I found *this* wonderful board on pinterest yesterday, I decided to create these warm-up doodles in a picture book kind of style. Featuring animals and silly ideas:

IN 2014, WHY NOT... 

If I think of any more I shall post 'em, my resolution this year is to draw more so hopefully I will be posting more too ;)

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Well, that escalated quickly


I used to get pissed off when I found someone's site or blog and they hadn't updated in like a year, it looked like they forgot it even existed or took up a far more exciting hobby like rock climbing...now I am that person, sorry. Also I suck at rock climbing and suck even more at abseiling.

I'm sure you don't care about excuses, which is good because it saves me typing..

mostly I've been too busy doing the kind of stuff it's good to blog about to actually reflect much on it, which is great (except for this). I'm still at Red Rose Chain, they've held me hostage for the past few months with an awesome job and lots of shiny exciting things, hopefully many more to come :-)

and now it's December, I'm about to turn a year older and I've had a ridiculous year.
the best kind of ridiculous. 
The kind of year that feels like a russian doll, a year within a year within a year.

SO much has happened. 
even after that last blog about how much was happening.

Here's a quick run-down of some stuff just since August using capitals as if I was yelling everything:


(not in any kind of order)

and here's some photos of those things!
Amsterdam! that's me surrounded by some lovely graffed walls & Muse lyrics

Uni London show! Setting up our design/illo work at the Coningsby gallery :)

UCS Design auction! The Level 6 group raised a crazy amount & I bagged some lovely things, MASSIVE book on Art Nouveau & festive print by Christoph Niemann.

I also started designing some t-shirts that will eventually be available to people who want to be less-naked in everyday life, a range of pattern-y animals!

a few more things I got my hands on

Ok, that's enough for now I think...but I should be posting again before Christmas.. Maybe show you a sneak peek of the programme I'm designing for The Magic Fishbone! 

and Christmas cards, exciteddddd!

More soon!
(but how soon is now?)
(that joke isn't funny anymore)
(ok I'll stop now)

Sarah x

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Red Rose Chain! or 'How to shut me up for a whole month'

I don't even know what to say...

so much has happened in a month it's a bit unreal.
but of course I haven't blogged at all, although you may have seen the occasional tweets from me (at least on my own account, the company one never stops!) but that's about it. 

Like any normal person I contemplated running away to Mexico after uni, because what else do graduates do?
Thankfully I got a job with the (wonderful) Red Rose Chain instead, so I didn't have to buy a new passport afterall.

I became their new Marketing assistant/Design assistant & it has been a whirlwind of busy-ness just the way I like it since I started the job in June. I've gotten to design or help to design loads of things for the Theatre in the Forest show (pics to follow), along with marketing that I hope will help the show to grow bigger and bigger because they deserve it.

All the cast and crew I have met so far have been so great to get to know, although I have been more-shy-than-normal starting out from scratch in a new place without originally knowing anyone. But it was bound to be like that at first and we all seem to share the same sense of humour so that's all that really matters.

*puts marketing cap on*
You should see our Theatre in the Forest show - The Taming of the Shrew.
It doesn't matter if you don't particularly like Shakespeare.
In fact it might be even BETTER if you don't because then the reaction you have to the show may be even greater and we will convert you into a lover of the 'Speare through Hot pants, and Puppets and Hilarious Jamaican etc. accents!

did I mention it's also at Jimmy's Farm?

Seriously. The Taming of the Shrew is personally one of my favourites anyway, because I *like* the debate and 'controversy' that surrounds it; and Joanna Carrick's version (aka Red Rose's version) makes Kate as gutsy and strong-willed as her partner-in-crime husband Petruchio throughout, therefore making the play an incredibly watchable display of one-upmanship. Couple that with the fact the cast plays multiple characters and this is no traditional period costume rendition (although it still stays forever faithful to the original text), makes it a must see. For you, for me, for kids, for grandparents. Gogogogo.

You will leave appreciating Shakespeare more than before, stubborn teenage boys welcome and encouraged.

but, if you don't believe me (cheers), then have a look at our twitter or Reviews page to see what Real Reviewers thought.

Ok, now I've successfully sold the show to you (hopefully) here's some photos!

camera phone shot of the crowd before Friday's show started:

The massive board (this photo doesn't do it justice, computer hated me):

The Taming of the Shrew full page ad in print in Vanilla magazine:

Shrew tshirts I designed for us to sell at the shows (adults and kids sizes available!) I bought one even if I didn't have to, proud to have it hanging there:

and the one-off design I created for our marketing shrew to wear:

That is literally just a handful of the things I've worked/helped work on...but there's no way I could fit everthing into one blog post.
The only bit of drawing I have really done recently is this post-it note doodle during lunch the other week...need to get back on sketchbooking in the evenings again to make sure I don't stop practicing!

I know I have been crap at updating while all this madness (sparta) was going on, but now I've settled in a bit I will try to blog a lot more and even post some new illos up soon.

and maybe some photos from the Not for Rental exhibit.. because I did get down there afterall and bought THIS awesome Old Boy vid case art by Pietari Posti 

and finally while I'm at it here's the surprise tikki shot glasses I whipped up for my fellow rum-appreciator friend Am for her tikki party a few weeks ago:

More soon!
(But how soon is now?)


Saturday, 15 June 2013

Not For Rental - Summer blockbuster coming soon!

Hey guys!

I know I briefly mentioned this in the last post, but now I can go into actual details because I just finished my piece for the show. I really can't sum up how excited I am about the event in general, and a big thanks to Timba Smits for helping to make this happen (and all the support via email).

Here's the promo flyer (click to embiggen):

From the press release (because they can sum it up far better than I can):
"Ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure... We proudly present Not For Rental, a movie-inspired charity exhibition exec produced by Little White Lies, co-starring hundreds of the world’s best and emerging creative talent in the fields of art, street art, design, illustration, craft, photography, film and more.

Not For Rental isn’t what you’re expecting. Curated and directed by London-based designers Timba Smits and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shaw, it comes packed full of heart, surprises and - like any great movie - a secret twist.
If only we could tell you more...

At it’s core, it’s an art exhibition, but one you can only fully experience once you step through the door: be prepared to fall in love with movies all over again. Plus, there’s also an extended-cut roster of side events including workshops, talks and film/screening nights.

Not For Rental is a unique event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and youth-led charity Art Against Knives, an attempt to raise awareness and support for issues that are affecting people we care about. 

Just some of the artists already confirmed for Not For Rental include London design outfit I Love Dust, red and blue super duo Crispin Finn, illustrators Stevie Gee, Gemma Correll, Pietari Posti, Roman Klonek, Hattie Stewart and Nick Deakin, typographers Daren Newman & Gemma O’Brien and street artists Mr.Penfold, Miso, Ghostpatrol, The Yok and Sheryo. So what’s the big twist? Shhh, it’s a secret. You’ll just have to come along and find out. All we can say is… it’ll leave you on the edge of your seat, with your popcorn up in the air, hanging on for a sequel. In a Rambo II kind of way...

Born on the 4th July, Not For Rental will open for one week before the hundreds of original, one-off artworks go on sale on Saturday 13 July (10am - 6pm) with ALL proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support and Art Against Knives. Be kind, rewind. We can’t wait to see you at the movies."

I don't know about you, but I've got chills (damn right they're multiplying!)
feel free to spread the word far, wide, up, down and maybe even Sideways. 
But most importantly come, come, come. You won't regret it.

I feel incredibly lucky to be among so many established and talented creatives,
and can tell you all that there are some great surprises in store.

Here is a sneak peak of my final piece:

a bit of Art nouveau, Pop art and screen printing styles mixed together :)

I hope to see lots of you at the event! I'm going to dig deep into my student scrimping pockets and travel down, just not sure what day yet..

For lots more info on the show, check out www.notforrentalproject.com 
and @NFRproject or #notforrental2013 on twitter

Hope you're all having a great weekend!


Friday, 7 June 2013

Degree Show!

Last night was such a great experience, the result of 3 years working towards a degree surrounded by people that I'll never forget (mostly for the right reasons) and shared far too many all-nighters and embarrassing moments with.

I think about the fact I almost didn't come to uni, and nervously laugh about how bad that idea would have been.

Here are some great photos from last night:

Group photo of almost all of us (I'm the redhead near the middle holding the wine glass) UCS Graphic Design & Graphic Illustration Degree show 2013.

The room was soon packed out with people

Massive congrats to Matt & Hannah for winning their awards, Matt for studentship of the year (3 years running) and Hannah for the TCM Internship in London, here are her winning posters:

about 12 of us (including me and Hannah) had smaller group interviews with TCM during the day so they could judge who to give this year's internship to.

I really appreciated their feedback on my poster designs - they thought my Moulin Rouge piece was beautifully illustrated (their words not mine), but ultimately it would be hard to translate into motion and screen work. Although this aspect wasn't in our original brief, I can definitely see where these concerns were coming from, and agree with them.
Ultimately I think Hannah's concept was really strong, the slightly-hidden female symbols really worked well and the minimal style is very screen-ready.
The TCM representatives also mentioned that overall the standard of our work was very high, so everyone was pretty chuffed.
If you want to pop down to check out all this hot off the press design and illustration work then take a trip down to UCS Ipswich from now until the 16th!

Also, I just put myself forward for an exciting project happening in London in July, I can't say too much about it right now but it involves films again (coincidence?) and the mighty Church of London and Little White Lies.

I am super excited!
Hope everyone else out there who's just had their private view had a great night too!


Monday, 3 June 2013

Paint the town

Woah! just noticed that I passed 9000 views, thank you to everyone who's spied on my illustrator-y shenanigans! I really appreciate it.
(pictures or it didn't happen)

anyway, following on from yesterday's big uni-related splurge here's some new personal work, I loved getting the chance to just sit down in front of a sketch book and see what tumbled out of my brain, of course it's always hard taking what your mind's eye can see and putting it on paper.

I'll post the degree show aftermath blog some time after Thursday (probably not Friday.. depending on celebratory hangover) 

I think I forgot to post this one anywhere but facebook, but it's got the most views so clearly everyone secretly suspects pigeons are using instagram...

Keeping on the birds theme, this came together as a way to try and de-stress/de-worry(?) about becoming a newly fledged graduate, the idea that jumping in is as exciting as it is scary. I was really inspired by Oliver Jeffers and Jon Klassen for this one.

next up is this piece I made yesterday, inspired by my uber-love for street art & graffiti. The idea was rattling round in my head for a while but could never find a spare day to experiment with it. Spray can afro 'Paint the town' - a mixture of hand drawn outlines, scanned spray paint and PS :)

if you're feeling a spendy summer coming on, I've just added this design to my Society6 shop as a print, and more fun things like cushions and phone covers:

Finally here's a sneak peak at what I'm working on at the moment, expect lots more personal work now that I'm finally done being educated! (Until I sign up for a Masters...haha)

Degree show blog coming soon!

Hope you're all having a good soon-to-be summer