Do you remember that feeling when you got Harry Potter in your hands and the world that you had thought to be a myth was suddenly described with such sincerity and detail that it didn’t only become believable but almost real. Well, this is more or less the case with Wil Huygen’s book Gnomes.
You are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but let’s admit, this is practically impossible in the case of Gnomes. Anyway, you are not making much of a mistake if you do so, because the inside is full of just as beautiful illustrations as the cover.
Ever since I write a blog I can’t wait to finally write a “haul” post – art supplies are really pretty after all – the only problem is that I hardly ever do a “haul”. It is in the nature of watercolours that you don’t run out of them easily (in fact I’m still using an old set I brought from home 9 years ago), I buy brushes one by one according to my needs and I cannot quite expect watercolour papers to bear the weight of a blogpost’s success.
However, my SO surprised me with a bunch of art supplies this Christmas, so I’m grabbing my chance. There are a few well-known pieces as well as new ones: a set of 12 watercolours in tubes, some brushes and 2 blocks of watercolour paper. Obviously, I had to test them first thing. So let’s see them!
Even though I’m a great fan of modern – sometimes even minimalist – illustrations, it often happens in December that I get absorbed in looking at the old classics. There are many wonderful illustrators who have managed to capture the wintry atmosphere, but for me – unsurprisingly – it’s the British, who are closest to my heart.
To say a shamefully over-used cliché: I love curling up under a blanket with a cup of tea, pretend that I’m 4 years old, and flip through these old children’s stories, only to look at the beautiful pictures. So these are the illustrators who help me get into the Christmas mood even in the extreme rush of December.
A couple of months ago Youtube has sucked me in so deeply that I was watching the screen day and night. Not that I hadn’t used this amazing platform before, but the time had finally come when I wasn’t looking for videos according to topic, but according to creators.
This is how I met the expression ‘illustuber’, which is quite simply an illustrator, who runs a youtube channel. These fantastic artists share their experiences, tell about both the bright and dark sides of their profession, show their favourite art supplies, or just chat about their pets. No surprise, I became quite addicted for a while. It is interesting that in many cases I am not drawn to the artist’s style so much as his/her professional knowledge, and I’m ever so grateful for the amount of information I learned from these guys.
I’m still in the process of exploring new faces but there are a few favourites, whose videos I always watch when they upload something. They are the ones I’m going to introduce today.
Apparently, it is a habit of mine to bump into beautiful works of British illustrators somewhere abroad (like I did with In and out of the garden). I came across this book in Sweden, more precisely, on the bookshelf of a friend I was visiting – and she was generous enough to give it to me (Thank you so much! <3).
Edith Holden documents her observations of 1906, and adds seasonal quotes and poems by well-known (and less well-known) poets as well as her own beautiful illustrations of birds, plants and forest animals. (Obviously I was drawn to this book, as I am rather responsive to literature as well as art…).
To avoid putting on further pounds, the next recipe I’m sharing with you is as far from cakes as it can be: today we are grilling salmon! To tell the truth I chose to paint this recipe because I absolutely can’t stand fish (or any other creature coming from water) so this way I could avoid the temptation that food illustration poses. Of course, I have no problem with the same recipe with salmon exchanged for chicken, for example. So, here is a grilled favourite for salmon-lovers.
Here is a new piece to my recipe series, in which I combined several old recipes to create this mouth-watering cupcake. Unfortunately while I paint these cuties, all healthy salads and oat flakes lie forgotten, because in my book, no avocado can ever compete with a good, old-fashioned cake. (Hence the few extra pounds I have put on lately ;))
I can’t say I’m the type of artist who sketches everything she sees when travelling, from morning until dusk. For me, painting is a more intimate business, which takes time and a certain mood. However, I don’t like to go travelling without a full load of art supplies, after all, one can never be quite sure when the urge comes to paint. :) Luckily, the “full load” can easily be fitted into a smaller handbag.
Things I take with me
The process of painting doesn’t exist without watercolour paper, brushes, paint and water. Add to that a pencil, an eraser and some thin paper to sketch on, and voilá, here is my creative travel kit. I actually like painting small, so this whole lot will fit into an A5 size folder.