My sketchbooks #yayeveryday2016

At the beginning of this year, I began a project to make some art everyday. It took the form of #yayeveryday2016 which is a tag created by Toby on instagram. He posts prompts at the beginning of the month and artists use them to inspire creative work. As of today, I am on day 215 and have really really enjoyed having a reason to make stuff everyday. Definitely check out the tag on instagram, I keep finding amazing artists through it.

Sometimes I post in the tag but often I just make the art for my own benefit, to help keep me creative and to give me an outlet for my doodlings outside my uni work. Since we’re now well over halfway through the year, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite pages from my sketchbooks, most of which I haven’t posted on insta. I use little Moleskines which are perfect and pocket sized for artiness on the go.

January //

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A Portugal Sketchbook

So this year for our family holiday we went back to Portugal. We’ve been many times before and I love it so much- very happy memories. We went to the Algarve in the south for a week and stayed in a hotel on the cliffs above a lovely beach. We normally do sightseeing and exploring and things while we’re away but this year we just wanted to stop and relax (which meant I had plenty of time for drawing and sketching, yay!) Continue reading

Summer sketches: Agapanthus

We have some beautiful agapanthus plants in our garden this summer and I am completely in love with them so I wanted to document them on here so that they last longer than the few weeks that they’re in bloom. I think they’re probably my favourite flowers; I love the purple-blue and I think they are really spectacular and fun, as well as just being gorgeous.agap2agap4agap5agap3Agap1We’re off to Portugal this week and I’m going to take a sketchbook so hopefully I’ll do lots of sketching and painting while i’m there (as well as hopefully enjoying the sun).


Summer Sketches

Last summer I had to keep a people watching sketchbook as part of the summer project for Foundation and, although I quite enjoyed the process, I learned that I am decidedly terrible at drawing people. So this summer, I thought I would indulge myself and draw what I really wanted to be drawing all along: leaves, flowers, landscapes, objects and buildings (basically nothing with a face). All of these are drawn from life.

^The garden path.


^Our raspberry bush. I spent way too long eating the raspberries instead of drawing.


I’ve also been using my beloved watercolours more this summer. I tend to use a waterbrush thing (yes, that’s the technical term) instead of a jar of water and some paintbrushes, because I find it much more portable.



^This one escapes the no people rule because NO FACE


I’m determined to keep up with this sketchbook over the summer and try to draw some of the things I see and get up to. (Hopefully I’ll draw some more interesting things than the washing line…)


T Shirt Designs and Screen Printing

As part of the brand identity for the cafe I wanted to design and produce some t-shirts that the staff would wear. I did a bit of research and decided that something simple would be best. I also decided that black was a good option for the shirt colour because it would be more practical and would show less dirt. I looked into getting the t-shirts printed in Oxford but for such a small quantity (I would only need 2 really) they were too expensive. I also thought about using iron on transfers which I think would work ok but might look a little unprofessional. In the end I decided to screen print the t-shirts in the print room with Elaine.

I had said at the beginning of the project that I wanted to do some screen printing and possibly screen print some t-shirts and bags but after talking to Elaine I decided it would be too expensive. However, after thinking about it more, I decided that it would be a really worthwhile thing to learn to do since I had never done it before. I spoke to Elaine again and it turned out that the budget would cover one screen and as long as I didn’t open any new ink, all I would have to pay for was the acetate. I had already done some designs by this point so I had to go bag and review them for the limitations of only being able to produce one screen. The obvious limitation would be that one screen would only allow me to do one colour and since I wanted text, the illustrations wouldn’t really be able to be in the design because they would require several screens. I am disappointed about this because I would have liked to have incorporated some colour into the t-shirts.



I was very keen to try to incorporate some more sustainability into the project because that was something that I had wanted to be a big part of the project but I had lost sight of slightly. To try to do this I looked up relatively affordable high street clothes shops that sold organic t-shirts. I found that Gap, H&M and Zara all did so I went to compare them. I bought two H&M black t-shirts. The man’s one is 50% organic cotton and the woman’s one is 100% organic cotton. I am really glad that I did this because I could have quite easily bought shirts from Primark but that would have completely gone against the socially responsible aims of the project.screen printing collage tshirtcollageThe screen printing went very well and I was able to print two t shirts and several bags. I found that the fabric ink needed several coats to become opaque but the final t shirts look good because they are not too bright white. If I did it again, I might have used yellow ink because that would have gone better with the colour scheme.

I really enjoyed doing the screen printing and I was very excited when I was making the screen. I am really glad that I managed to do some screen printing as part of the project and that I was able to learn a new skill. It really was much more straight forward than I had thought so I would definitely like to do more of it in the future.


Wall Menu

I have designed and printed a wall menu that would hang behind the counter in the cafe. I found the process quite hard because I struggled to find a balance between being practical and readable and looking sleek. I tried out many different options and eventually came up with a design that I am happy with. I think that doing lots of development and print tests for this was important because it allowed me to see areas for improvements etc. and I think that the final menu is much better as a result.

Here is the process:

I used some of the research that I had done when I was designing the table menu and I looked back at the designs I had done for that as well so that I could create something that had a similar, cohesive feel to it. (I think that ultimately, I was successful in doing this.)

Wall menu collage
^ Some of my sketchbook pages experimenting with layouts, trying to work out what worked best and was easiest to read.

I thought about having the menu be very simple with the drinks on one side and the prices on the other (see top right) but I thought this actually made it quite difficult to read the corresponding prices and drinks. Because of this I out the prices right next to the drink so that it was clear which was which. This, I think, was a good idea because in the final design, it is easy to read the prices. I read online that if you are designing a menu, leave off the £ sign because it makes people less aware of the notion of spending money (I think this is a bit sneaky but I also think it’s a clever technique to increase a customer’s spending and it is interesting to learn about those kinds of things as part of this project).

I decided to put a black background because I thought it would make it look like it was written onto a blackboard which I think looks more handmade and also because black will create a nice contrast when hung next to the other posters that I have designed that have a pale background.

I printed the menu A2 on Ruth’s large matt printer. I thought that this would give a nice finish.

IMG_7974I thought briefly about putting the menu on the A board that I bought and tried it out but I think that although it looks ok, I think it would be more appropriate hanging on the wall (as it would be if it was really in the cafe).



Loyalty Cards and Menu Development

Over the last week I have been designing and developing the loyalty cards, and table menu as well as working on ideas for some of the other things. The process for the loyalty card development went quite well, I did some research on Pinterest and also dug out some of the loyalty cards that I had in my purse. One thing that I thought was interesting was that the more professional looking cards used stamps or hole punches to mark off the sales. This is a practical feature because it stops people from forging a signature and therefore makes the loyalty system more secure. I have left it too late to order another stamp (and it would be very expensive) so I will try to make one out of foam to be used to stamp off the sales.

Loyalty cards 1

I thought about having the spaces for the stamps be in the shape of the bananas but I didn’t think it looked quite right and when I tried it with circles I thought it looked more professional and neater overall. I have also decided to only do digital printing for one side of the card. On the other side I will use the rubber stamps and possibly use letterpress to type the words ‘loyalty card’. I think that this is worth doing because when I have tried doing double sided printing with the elephant paper in my printer, it has jammed and I think that limiting the amount of times the paper goes through the printer will help this.loyalty card2I have also designed the table menus and I am very pleased with both the process and the final design, although I am worried about the final printing of them because the paper often gets jammed in the printer or doesn’t line up properly. I think that patience and leaving myself plenty of time will help to make the process of the final printing as easy as possible.

Again, for the menus, I made a Pinterest board and I looked at elements that I wanted to include in my menu. I thought that it was important to make it clear and simply laid out because it needs to be functional. I also read in this article that center justifying the text and prices is more likely to make people make their choice based on the food rather than the price. I employed this in my design and I think it works well and I also think it makes it easier to read each price. My process in my sketchbook is below:menu process

I may make changes to the content of the menu or the prices but as it is now, here is the final design:

Banana Bread Table Menu Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 19.42.20


Illustration development

I’ve been doing some more sketches for the illustrative part of the brand identity. I feel pretty sure that I want to use the banana motif to tie in with the name so that’s what I’ve been developing. I have mainly been doing little drawings with a 0.25mm fine liner because I quite like the way it looks. I don’t want the drawings to be too realistic because I want to have the illustrations be simple enough to print and stamp. While I’ve been drawing, I have been particularly liking the use of bright colours for the bananas although I wonder if this stops them looking like bananas?

Looking back at the sketches I’ve done I’m thinking that perhaps the bright coloured illustrations might not fit in with the ‘organic, natural and sustainable’ aesthetic that I wanted to portray. I think that as long as I use the colours in moderation then I’ll probably be okay but I must make sure that when I am doing the final designs for the menu etc. that I am striking a balance between bright, fun and contemporary and natural and simple. IMG_7878

illustration collage1
^ Some sketches of both the illustrations and some more logo development. For the logo, I like the design in the bottom right hand corner. I will test this out on the computer with different fonts.

IMG_7881 I like this pattern made with simple banana illustrations – it is similar to some of my early ideas about illustrations. I think that this could work well with screen printing as the banana shapes could be printed easily with block colour using the paper stencil method and then the detail could be put in using the UV method. This would allow me to do prints easily in different colours.

One of the problems with screen printing is that i’ve not done it before and so I would need to have a tutor with me while I set up so that I know what i’m doing. I tried to book a workshop with Elaine to try it out but she said that unless I was definitely using a screen print as my final piece or I was a fashion/textiles student then I would have to pay and since it is an expensive process I thought I would give that a miss. Instead, I spoke to some of my peers who have done it before and got them to show me some of the results so I could see the outcome. I also asked Elaine to talk me through the process so I feel like I have a basic understanding of the steps involved.

If at all possible I would really like to pursue the idea of doing a screen print- either on a poster series or a t-shirt, or both.