You’ve most likely seen the devastating effects of the huge bushfires hitting Australia at the moment. We are all crushed and depressed seeing the images of the wiped out houses, bushland, and injured and killed wildlife. They estimate over a BILLION animals have perished.
Like many artists and businesses I’ve been doing what I can. I don’t have much cash but have donated what I can, as well as participating in my own mini fundraisers. Huge thanks to the individuals that have bid on artworks, prints and soon to Olive Handmade who is selling these cute suits and pants from a pattern I created, donating part of the sales to Australian emergency funds. There’s been an epic twitter fundraiser #authorsforfireys – Celeste Barber has raised $50 MILLION and I guess seeing everyone’s response and efforts is the only bright spot in a dark start to 2020. Time to increase the pressure on our head-in-sand government who still refuse to admit a link between increased bushfires and climate change. Sigh.
2017 was such a big year for my work – I wanted to make a note for myself for some of the new illustration projects that really made my year…
- Birds – I loved creating little watercolours for sale on Instagram, and this lead to new things like prints and bird pins (more on those later)
- Books – I finished FIVE PICTURE BOOKS!! It’s pretty amazing how much I cranked out considering I only had two official days a week to work (but kind of made up hours double that – nights, naps, weekends etc)
- Markets – due to babies, I had a few years off markets but it was really fun and rewarding to do Finders Keepers again and meet online clients and friends face to face, and just chat and sell my work. Super fun.
- New opportunities – I started working with a card agent who works with overseas companies and I am going to begin a range with a UK client, who are awesome.
- iPad – this wasn’t exactly a project but I was nervous spending the money on one late 2016, and it has become invaluable in my work practice.
- Pins! I was thinking about doing one for ages, but was too nervous to invest in a run which only really works with 100 or more. But since then, I’ve done something like 8 designs and they’ve all sold out! So much fun creating new bird pin designs and sharing online, and of course wearing.
Finally, While my poor little bloggy crawled to the finished line in 2017, I was busy loading all my recent projects and busy bits and bobs on INSTAGRAM – its such a happy little place for artists to share! My page is https://www.instagram.com/jessesmess/ and you can see all my latest work there. In the mean time, here was my “top nine” Insta posts for 2017.
Big thanks for reading, now I have to start musing on 2018…. Hmm, next blog post.
Oh my poor bloggy, I used to write on you so much, but now you’ve been replaced by my daily Instagram postings! Some of the recent posts… new book characters, more and more birds, art gifts from friends and more. If you are on there, come say hello – I’m @jessesmess xx
OH and today, after an intense few months, I finished my artwork for an upcoming book with Windy Hollow, written by Tania McCartney. Joyful day! Cover to go, and then the champagne shall be drunk… Above, a little scene from within.
Over on Instagram, I’ve joined some wonderful artists in a Christmas celebration and been drawing away some themes for the month, from puddings to pine trees. (Check out @the_portfolio_project).
Our last theme was polar bear, and I create this process video as a reminder to myself on my plans for next year… yes, there are the creative ones, family ones and health but also to tread a little lighter on the earth. There’s terrible politics at work, but I’m going to do my small bit to try and lower my own usage of our planet’s finite resources. Suggestions from coolantartica.com include:
It’s about cutting power use and consumption generally – not so simple in a world where consumption is often admired and sometimes envied and where power use can make life more convenient or more interesting.
As a rule of thumb though anything you can do to use less energy and buy locally produced items of quality rather than cheap and cheerful in quantity will help. There are many guides as to what to do, some very effective, others less so, the most effective are:
Get a less polluting car and use it less often.
Get more efficient refrigeration – fridges and freezers are on 24/7/365 and as a result use the most energy of any domestic appliance.
Reduce the amount of heating your house or office needs, use insulation, stop draughts, turn the thermostat down 1 degree.
Reduce water heating requirements, takes showers not baths, take normal showers, not power-showers, get a more efficient washing machine.
Get low energy light bulbs and turn them off when not needed.
Fly less or not at all.
So my big resolution for next year is to do my own small steps to do as much as I can above.
In the mean time, a big Merry Xmas from me – thank you for reading and supporting my work this year. I’m looking forward to a break now and starting the new year refreshed and ready for a big year of work and play. x
Over the past five weeks I’ve taken an intensive children’s course via the great team at Make Art That Sells. This course was my favourite topic – children’s books (!) and was taught by the lovely Lilla Rogers and very knowledgable art director Zoe Tucker. It was very exhausting but fantastic to be learning new skills in this area, and I focused on the story The Owl and the Pussycat. My assignments below.
It’s been busy times here, I’m working on a kids book and other client projects, doing a children’s book course and as a result, the studio (and perhaps my mind) is a bit of a mess! Rather than break down project by project, here’s some images from projects and more updates can be read in my monthly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ciiMqj
Project for MATS – The Owl and the Pussycat
The good folk at Erstwilder have released another range of brooches I worked on and they make me happy! My brief was cats and a couple of birds, and apparently Rebel Rebel (aka Bowie cat) is going great guns, along with Puss in Books and Peace Dove. You can find them all at Erstwilder.
So excited to receive foreign editions of this cute little board book and decal set I worked on, Goodnight Woods. Published by The Five Mile Press and out in Australia in August.
I’ve just finished the last assignment of the MATS Bootcamp – another great collection of projects, has been super fun. Here’s all my assignments! Varied in medium, but I think maybe just maybe the style is getting more consistent even when I don’t realise it is…
A relaxing project, building layers of watercolours and doing a digital ikebana – arranging them into wreaths – and sticking in tiny tiny birds.