As a budding artist/illustrator (who’s still a part-time student!) it’s very exciting to see yourself (well, yourself as embedded in your drawings) in print. The crisp pages, the smell of ink, the marks and shapes that seem familiar and yet are a cousin of your original -as they’re applied to someone else’s page and re-printed in such a fashion as to give them an entirely new character. I’ve been very fortunate recently to have some lovely commissions.
The first was a contribution to Random Spectacular, a lovely indulgent cheeseboard of illustrational talent brough together by the lovely Lewins at St Jude’s. I’ve eyed up their gallery for a long while, for everything that comes out is nothing less that beautifully made and of good taste, so I was chuffed to be asked to do some drawings to accompany a fine article by William Brown on Victorian ‘gin palace pubs’, as part of a new journal to raise money for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres. I meant to publicise this before Christmas, but before I had the chance the limited edition of 750 copies had sold out in less than two days! So, belatedly, here are some pictures…
The drawings were done in situ, with a pint of ale at hand, at the Princess Louise in Holborn, and Red Lion in Piccadilly, two of London’s best preserved Victorian pubs. If only every client asked me to go and draw in a pub. And an honour to be amongst such a worthy collection of artists.
With the new year came a freshly-printed copyof Five Farthings, with a front cover you may recognise. I was so pleased to hear from Margin Notes books, a small publisher with a lot of passion set on re-issuing unusual books, who spotted my Christmas card and thought it would make a suitable image for this story. Set in 1939, before the outbreak of WWII, it tells the story of a family who relocate from the quiet country to a flat that overlooks St Paul’s cathedral. I re-printed the linocut for a crisper finish, and with some wizardry by the designer, the result is a very smart and shiny deep blue cover. The first book cover is a big moment for any illustrator, and it means a lot that my first is a piece of London’s architecture -my first love.
Meanwhile, great news on the Drawathon front. In ten days I’ve not only doubled my target, but met it and gone further, the total raised (including Gift Aid) is just under £1,500. Thank you so much to everyone who’s donated. I am staggered, and I can’t wait to get drawing in March! It’s actually been so successful that I have booked up all my drawing commission slots on the Marathon and have no less than 16 drawings to do! I wish I could take more, but its very important that I make the very best drawings I can for those donors who got there first. I’ve also overshot my budget by miles (I’m self-funding the travel/materials/printing/postage overhead costs -my fault for underestimating how quickly this would take off!) so I regret that I cannot accept any more donations via Just Giving. But you can still donate and get yourself a limited edition signed print from the day, and all the profit after overheads will go towards the Alzheimer’s Society! Please contact me directly via email to donate. With love and thanks, Jo x