Friday, 21 July 2017

Jiwoon Pak

Happy Friday lovely readers! I have been holding on to Jiwoon Pak here for well over a year but for some reason never got around to sharing her incredible digital paintings.

I'm finding myself retracing the odd paths I used to take and winding walks through the woods when I was stuck in my parents house for those endless weeks of summer holidays. It didn't really occur to me that perhaps this came across as a bit of a lonely past time and to the other people I might bump into it would appear...a bit weird. Now I am back, despite no longer being an awkward teenager, I still stand out as odd.

There's not really two ways about it. There are very few people in their twenties in this little village and even less people that when they see a pathway of curled ferns made by deer feel a need to see where it goes. Or see a huge bright yellow patch of flowers in the middle of a wheat field feel a need to trapse out there and sit amongst them for a while. I can't really tell you why I like doing these things, I'm not trying to be odd. And I never was. I just, really like it out here.

It feels like there's a little more to the nature around us than the average person sees and with Jiwoon's paintings I get that same feeling. Identifying with the characters she creates comes easily to me. They appear at ease with their pretty but quiet and solemn surroundings. Jiwoon has said she wants her work to somehow show those feelings that are at first ambivalent but fade and deteriorate, like nature does around us throughout the year.

Her work has a calming yet strange quality that I get when I drag the dog around on my odd little forays around here. Perhaps being the weird kid isn't so bad. I struggled to choose just five pieces of Jiwoon's work because it's all so beautiful so make sure you take a look around her website.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Melissa Castrillon

I'm currently dogsitting in the somewhat suburban seclusion of a little village and as someone used to living opposite a station in one of the busiest cities in the world, being quite this alone is a little unnerving. The smallest unexplained noise sets off a course of fear and curiosity, so you can imagine what a very large lightning storm might do to someone out here with a nervous disposition!

Whilst it was still threatening to come down again this morning I grabbed the dog and got outside to try and put the night behind me and was greeted by humidity (my favourite form of weather) and the most fantastic smell.

The storm had caused the dry soil of the woods to give up a wonderful musty sawdust like smell. Little wild flowers with droopy heads have now popped up all over the quiet roadsides. The wheat fields have this amazing sweet crunchy smell that for some reason makes me sleepy, and the smell of wet pine is hanging over the house.

I've followed the work of Melissa Castrillon for a rather long time. And watching the dog snuffle around all the wet dangly ferns and pretty pink bindweed I remembered her botanical heavy pieces. Where tiny little bell shaped people dance amongst oversized leaves, where almost scientific style illustration is given the flat screen print treatment to make it perfect for telling stories, where flowers and leaves encroach upon everything she draws.

It made me feel better about the storm (and the probability of another tonight) because whilst it scared me without it we wouldn't have all those lovely little flowers. We wouldn't have that wondrous comforting smell the wet forest throws up and we perhaps we wouldn't have Melissa's wonderful illustrations.
She updates her website regularly  but i also recommend her tumblr to keep up with her adventures.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

"Friends Don't Lie"

As I am a -very nice girlfriend- everyone who donated £20 to my dear boyfriend's charity swim got to request a collage piece of their choice. I didn't think it would take off. I was wrong. However the first request I got was this lovely little scene from Stranger Things and it has been a pleasure to work on. 

Dilraj Mann

 I wanted to come back with a bang and for a teeny bit of time I have some precious time so that time is now dedicated to you lovely readers. Today I give you Dilraj Mann. There's not too much online about Dilraj's background but what I can tell you is that they live and seem to thrive in Dalston in East London. Dilraj's illustrations positively reek of the Dalston strip. 
That crush at 3am as places start closing, that horrible tired electricity of deciding between heading home (from that corner of East that is so horribly not connected to home) or finding somewhere that will squeeze you all in for another hour. 

He has managed to pick out those cool girls I see in passing on those nights out, those girls who effortlessly sling on tight jeans and giant earrings and boss their overground commute, those east London girls with all that confidence I could only dream of. I like looking at that those girls and now Dilraj has made it possible for me to do so without looking like a complete creeper.

Dilraj's depictions of women's features have come under scrutiny however if Dilraj knows Dalston as well as he is putting out there he is completely aware of the controversy he might cause and it is all for impact and appreciation. 

Also I'm throwing this one out there for the girlz with the dangerous curvez (no you've been watching too much Rupaul's Drag Race) it's nice sometimes to have a change from the sylphlike ingenues every once in a while and see well..what more women really look like. Dilraj isn't scared of taking his inspirations from these strong, fashionable women, and with his illustrations neither am I now. 

He's not super duper active online but you can keep up with his releases on twitter and tumblr .

Jenn Woodall

(Oops let this slip a bit again didn't I. Okay let's get this up to date and back on the road again. )

Recently I attended the music festival Field Day here in London. I saw a singer who goes by the name Empress Of and she proclaims in her song Woman is a Word "I'm only an image of what you see. You don't know me." The past couple of years has seen a major upheaval of female illustrators coming into the public eye and completely dominating the illustration world with their own particular representation of -women-. 

I remember a time when it used to seem silly, and improper, for illustrations to focus on just women doing their thing. It filled me with joy to attend ELCAF last week and see so many fantastic illustrations of women of every ilk. Powerful strong female heroes with guns, infinitely cool girls in leather jackets and acid wash jeans, shy girls listening to music in the corners of elaborate rooms, the list goes on. And none of it seemed trivial. Each piece told a story about that girl. You want in on their secrets, you want to be in their sorority, prove yourself so you can be in their girl gang, or indeed help them fight that cyborg! 

They are so much more than a flat image. The focus is on the skill of the illustrator but the idea is more than just "hey, look at this cool girl's jeans", it's showing you that she has a brain, that she has a story and it's a bloody good one. Jenn Woodall, who I discovered at ELCAF is a part of this wonderful movement and has all the bases covered when it comes to showing the world that women are so much more than the flat image so many people use to view us with. 

Jenn has created several zines on the theme of girls and women showing them in all their wonderful guises. As multi-faceted, emotional and thought provoking beings but with a focus on being completely badass. 

She's created a sailor moon style comic called Magical Beatdown and my favourite from her, a collaborative zine known as FIGHT! where she invites illustrators to create their own female fighting character (don't worry there's a friendship themed fight zine too). Jenn Woodall is Toronto based (another one I know..) but you can keep up with her on her website ,which is need of an update because she's just so busy so I'd totally recommend her tumblr and her instagram 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Dailies for Dayz

I'm doing that thing again where I'm drawing and working but not posting about it. I also started exercising when I would usually be blogging, which is y'know, great but also not great. (Basically we should all give up exercise and become happy very creative blobs..). Anyways I've recently been admiring the daily/weekly comics of Laura Knetzger,



I like that they are sometimes fun little anecdotes they wanted to share, or comics made to put forward a thought that bugged them throughout the day, or just an honest documentation that helps them work through their inner thoughts. 

 I want to try doing more of my own. Just to try and cling on to those anecdotes that float around in my head or just to document a rare very good day. So errr here's a first attempt...

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Charlotte Mei

Oh god, this is actually up to date. Isn't that sad? I keep seeing my friends post those Artist vs Art memes on instagram. I don't have enough to share this year in order to do that. It is to be fair...kind of fucking shocking. ONLY ONE WAY TO FIX IT I AM AWARE. Time isn't my friend right now. 

Anyway recently I went and did something that made me feel a whole lot better about the situation. My grrl gang made our yearly trip to Pick Me Up at Somerset House. Undoubtedly Pick Me Up is my favourite place to admire some of my favourite illustrators' work in real life as well as discover new favourites. I am however going to ELCAF this year for the first time so maybe the crown will be handed down! 

Anyways, this year Charlotte Mei was one of Pick Me Up's selected artists this year and I was over the moon to be finally able to see more of her sweet ceramics in real life. Charlotte is London based (represent!) and her work focuses on all that is cute, whimsical and ever so slightly cheeky. She's worked with ID magazine, Vice, Loft Tokyo and my gang's favourite for years, Lazy Oaf. 

Her work has a lovely clumsy quality (that she states is not intentional and that she is just clumsy SO RELATABLE) that for me, just makes it all the more lovely. Cuddly ceramics, she's making it happen. 

You can see more of her work on her websiteher instagram is the place to keep up with her work (and for great process pictures)but make sure you check out Clay Club, her weekly ceramics making class!