In the Shop

I've listed my new cards in the shop - go take a look! I'm going to add new designs every few months, and the first ones I'm doing are Christmas cards (I've been looking forward to doing some of those!). It might seem a little early, but really, it's not!

I have a question for you... Do you know of any shops that you think would be a good fit for my greeting cards? I'd love to stock them in more shops here in Australia and overseas, so if you have any suggestions, I'd love to know!

I love seeing them all together!

A New Drawing

Here's a new drawing I've just finished and framed, and it will be for sale in my online shop when I open (hopefully!) next week. I've been drawing with technical pencils lately. I just love the super-fine, delicate lines. They're not easy to shade and blend with the eraser, so I use a regular 1H pencil too.

I've made a few collaged picture frames for some new drawings. I've been experimenting with different finishes for a long time because I like paper to retain as much of its patina as possible when I seal it; I'm not a fan of glossy sealants like Mod Podge. These frames have a really lovely, tactile finish that is smooth and waxy. I really love making them! The paper I used to collage the collar is one of the patterns I've designed, and it's also on the back of the frame, so it's all matchy-matchy! I think her name is Milly, she looks like a Milly doesn't she?

Pennants!

Here are some pics of my new pennant range, which will be in my shop when I open it very soon. I'm just taking the last of my product photos, which is tricky in this gloomy wintery weather, I need more sun. As for the pennants, they're made of lovely custom printed organic cotton, with a wooden rod and twisted cotton cord, and I sew them all up myself. Each pennant is double-sided, so you can flip it over whenever the mood takes you; I've matched each design with a complementary repeat pattern. What I love about them, is that unlike your regular digital print on paper, they're ready to hang without framing, they're nice and light, so can be hung almost anywhere (which is great if you happen to be renting and can't drill hooks in the walls), and it's just nice to have a tangible, tactile object rather than just a print, don't you think?  Which is your favourite? I think mine is the Death's-head Moth, I really like how the masked lady pattern on the reverse turned out (I'm even thinking about making a blouse out of that fabric - would I wear it? I'm not sure...).

The pennants are $55.00AU each, so put aside your pocket money for when the shop opens! ;)

PS. I made a looong image showing all of them together on Pinterest.

Playing Shop

I used to own a little plastic cash register that had real dockets, and I loved playing shop. Dolly and Teddy were total shopaholics, I can tell you! Well, for the next month (until Friday the 5th of June) I do have a little shop that I'm sharing with my friend Mark, and this is our window! We're not finished setting up yet, so the shop's looking a little bare, but as soon as it's done I'll share some more pics! This is part of a new complex at the back of the Norwood Town Hall, called Brick+Mortar Creative Hub that houses a cafe and little pop-up shops downstairs, and larger capsule stores upstairs (where we are), plus a space to hold workshops, and wall space for exhibiting artwork. If you happen to be in South Australia, please drop by!

My friend Mark makes beautiful natural soaps, perfumes, etc as Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez (don't you just love that name?) and all his products also happen to be entirely vegan! I've designed all of his branding and packaging, in close collaboration with Mark himself, who has a very strong creative vision and aesthetic drawing inspiration from influences ranging from the familiar and nostalgic, through to the richly exotic and romantic. Like me, Mark loves the early to mid-20th century, so if you're also a lover of the culture of that time, you'll appreciate the diverse influences drawn together into his range of deeply romantic and evocative products, and of course, it's the extracts and oils from fruits, woods and flowers that are the stars of the show!

I know I'm biased here, since we've been friends for over thirty years, but knowing him so well, I can tell you that Mark has approached his business with so much thought and integrity, and has committed to only using natural ingredients in his formulations, that are not only free from artificial fragrances, etc, but also free from palm oil and other unsustainable ingredients, such as oils from threatened plant species. You can follow Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez on Facebook, where very shortly Mark will be announcing the launch of his brand new website (designed by Yours Truly), and (so exciting!) a range of natural lip balms! It is so difficult to get hold of really nice natural lip balm that is also vegan (ie. free from lanolin and beeswax), so I am totally thrilled by his new lip balms and have been a willing and happy guinea pig as he's developed the range. I hope he doesn't mind if I reveal these ahead of time, but a couple of examples of the delicious and unusual lip balm varieties are Caramelised Fig, and Rose Creme (which is rose and white chocolate). YUM!

I thought I'd show you one of the shop displays for the beautiful Shanghai Lil face mists. I use this every day as a toner; it's so gentle and refreshing. The varieties are Rose and Cucumber, and the other is Rose and Watermelon; they smell gorgeous and are perfect for sensitive skin (like mine).

As for me... I have branched out into textiles and am starting with a series of pennant-style wall hangings which will be in the B+M shop some time next week, and in my online shop when I open in June. Next to come are cushions! I thought I'd also show you the finished drawing I posted a progress shot of a little while ago. It's framed in a collaged frame that I still need to take a decent pic of (duh!). Her name is Peggy, and I think I must have been sub-consciously influenced by Mad Men lately, because I named one of my other recent portraits Sally! I've added Peggy to my gallery and will be posting some more new pieces as I complete them.

Notice Anything?

I have a new site! It was a little sad parting ways with my old blog, I did love it, but it was time for a change. This is still a work in progress. The home page design is temporary, I'll be adding new work to the gallery soon, and my shop is closed for now, while I work on some new products, new packaging for existing products, and new product photos. When I put it like that, it sounds like a lot of work...I might just go and take a lie down...

Something else that's new is that I now have two blogs. I always felt a bit funny about posting too many food-related articles, since most of my subscribers are here for the art and design side of things, so I decided to create a blog entirely dedicated to my cooking experiments, and keep my main blog focused on arty pursuits. So if you're interested in vegan cooking, you might like to take a look at Vegan Jamboree (there's also a link in the sidebar). I rummaged through all my folders of photos the other day and uploaded a whole bunch of food pics, and I'll be posting new recipes as I come up with them. It's actually really time consuming to develop a recipe with accurate measurements, take the photos, etc. I can't even imagine how much work goes into a cookbook!

Here's a portrait that I'm working on. I"m still not sure about what I'll do with her dress; I kind of like the rough linework as it is. If a strong likeness isn't crucial, I like to exaggerate my subjects' features. I did wonder if I'd gone overboard with her chipmunky cheeks, but people assure me there's no such thing as too chipmunky! I just love faces with character. And I don't think I ever posted my finished stop-motion animation experiment, so here it is. It's, um, not very good... My favourite bit is when the bird accidentally knocks the Victorian lady in the back of the head as it flies by - ha!

Violet and Gracie

I've already posted these drawings on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, but why have I neglected my blog?! Reading this article provides yet another wake up call about which baskets to put your eggs in, and makes me feel renewed appreciation for my own little corner of the internet here on magicjelly.com.au, as well as eternal gratitude to the people who still read my blog and newsletter. I think one of the reasons I don't post on my blog as often as I should is because I always want everything to be perfect, which takes time, where as posting on Facebook or Instagram is just so quick and easy. But I think it's important that new content is posted here first, as well as posting content that isn't featured elsewhere. Happily, I finally sorted out my blog feed woes too, so now, whether you subscribe in a reader or by email, all of my graphics appear (in living technicolour!). Hooray!

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So anyway, here are two of my drawings you might not have seen before. The pink lady is called Gracie (once my new shop is open, she'll be for sale, along with other mixed media drawings in a similar vein, and assorted new drawings, collages and gocco prints). I just love drawing on tinted papers using white charcoal for highlights. The other is a drawing called Violet. I thought I'd show you a close up detail too. Some people like to shade using the edge of the pencil, and blend by rubbing, and achieve some lovely effects too, especially on textured papers. I prefer to draw on relatively smooth papers and just use the point of a sharpened pencil, which is basically a build up of tiny lines creating a blended effect. That way you get a fairly fine looking drawing. It means I tend to stay down the hard end of the pencil spectrum, favouring 2b-2h, with only touches of the softer, darker pencils like 6b. Drawing like this is very time-consuming, but it suits the way I like to work, which is quite finicky and fuss-budgety.

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When doing portraits, I try to hit a spot somewhere between lifelike and stylised, so that I'm bringing something of myself to each drawing, and I try to imbue each subject with a unique character and to convey emotion. That's what I try to do anyway! It's amazing how tiny changes can totally change the expression and attitude on your subject's face. I also really love drawing hair, as you might be able to tell. :)

I've pretty much finished my new site, which includes a new shop and gallery, but have a few little technical issues to work out. I'm lucky to have my old friend Julian working on it for me (who built my blog for me), so it shouldn't be too long before everything's up and running. Next I'd like to spruce up my blog a little - perhaps a new header?

Postcards Sent!

So I had a little giveaway of some of my new postcards and got a fantastic response. Sometimes I wonder if there's anyone out there, still reading my blog. Facebook has taken so much traffic away from independent blogs, which is a real shame, so this is a perfect opportunity to thank you for still being there, reading and commenting and emailing - it means a lot!

Off the little postcards go (I posted them Thursday), some within Australia (all in Victoria, isn't that odd?), as well as the US and South Africa. I've blurred out people's names so they don't know which they're getting, but I thought I'd still post a photo. I wanted to write something different for each one; so someone's getting a list of girls' names that were popular 100 years ago, another is some fascinating facts about moths, another is a snippet of a poem I read recently, a little witticism from Oscar Wilde, an interesting fact about chairs, and my recipe for Green Tea Citrus Syrup - all with a few little drawings. Some of the lovely postcard recipients have beautiful blogs of their own... Rebecca has a gorgeous blog called Needle & Spindle which is dedicated to knitting and sewing and other creative pursuits. I am obsessed with sewing blogs at the moment, so it's lovely to see Rebecca's inspiring posts pop up in my Feedly feed! Natasha's blog, Bamboo Blossom, is also a wonderful record of her creative life, with cooking, sewing, travel, etc, and I think Natasha's made my vegan cheesecake recipe more times than I have! It's really amazing to think that here's someone on the other side of the world making my cheesecake (and doing such a great job of it)! Last but definitely not least is Cadry's blog, Cadry's Kitchen, which is a vibrant celebration of vegan cooking with recipes, cookbook reviews, etc, and everything is so beautifully presented. Another one of my faves! Isn't the blogging community great? I learn so much from the things people generously share on their blogs - always so much inspiration!

This giveaway was a lot of fun, so I will do it again soon. Next time, rather than the first five responses, I'll draw the names randomly so that different timezones won't be an issue. Sorry to the people who didn't get a postcard, but please try again next time!

New Promo Postcard!

So this is my new promotional postcard...what do you think? I kind of like postcards more than regular business cards, they're just more fun, and I think people are more inclined to keep them instead of hurling them in the bin. I'm really happy with the way they turned out!

Boy, did I struggle with writing the spiel on the back. I wanted to say something that captured the essence of my work, but didn't read like an artist's statement, and wasn't written in the third person (everyone knows you wrote it yourself, so why do that?). I wanted it to be clear and concise and not pretentious or boastful, but still positive (after all, I am trying to promote myself!). Urgh, I wrote about a thousand drafts and over-analysed every single word back to front and inside out until none of it seemed to make any sense anymore. *Sigh* I had to get it right since I was having 1,000 cards printed - it's hard to sum yourself up in a couple of sentences!

In case it's difficult to read in the pic, this is what I wrote (some of it I stole from my about page, which is due for a rewrite I think): "I find inspiration in the ghosts of our past; memory, nostalgia, and the things we collect that record our personal stories. Both newfangled and old school, blending digital and traditional media, my work is a bittersweet mix of levity and melancholy. Above all, I hope it is friendly, accessible, and brings people some of the happiness it gives me to make it.  ~ Karena"

GIVEAWAY TIME! I thought it would be fun to give a few cards away. Would you like one? Just email me and let me know if you'd like a postcard, and I'll post one out with a little handwritten message on the back to the first 5 people who respond (no need to email me your name and address just yet - I'll let you know if you were one of the 5 and get your details then). Doesn't that sound like fun? Come on, it's better than the usual stuff that shows up in your letterbox, eg. bank statements and electricity bills.

PS. I'm having trouble with my blog feed. I realised that people were only getting a text preview with no images showing up, so I've tinkered with the settings, but I'm still not sure it's working. It's always disappointing to follow someone's blog and find you don't get any enticing photos in your feed! So if you happen to be subscribed to my blog and do get my pics appearing in your reader or emails, please let me know, I'll be so happy if it's finally working properly!

EDIT: Well that was fun! The five postcards have gone, but I think I'll do another postcard giveaway down the track a little. Sorry if you missed out this time!

Adventures in Surface Design

I thought I'd let you know I've opened a Spoonflower shop and have some of my designs available as fabric. I have a little collection called Lilium, which you can see below, as well as an assortment of some of my other patterns, and I have a few more I'll be listing for sale in a few weeks. (See what I did there? I made the layouts look like plates from The Grammar of Ornament!) Anyway, you can visit my Spoonflower shop right here. I really love designing patterns and have other pattern-related projects simmering away that I'll tell you about later. Patterns! Patterns!! Patterns!!! How are you? I'm so happy about the lovely autumn weather and that daylight savings is over and I finally got that hour back I'd been missing all summer - pity about it getting dark so early though!

Rosalind, Bertie and Lucille

Here are a few more portraits. The first is an ink drawing on a collage of vintage and found paper, and the other two are graphite pencil and watercolour. Deciding on their names is so tricky. I wait until I'm finished and then look into their eyes and think, "Hmm, what's your name?" I hope I got them right!

Some New Drawings

Hi! Here's a preview of some new originals that I'll be listing in the shop in a few weeks' time - some ink and graphite drawings, collages, watercolours and mixed media pictures. My friends Mark and Stevie bought me a beautiful set of Sennelier watercolours in a gorgeous wooden chest for Christmas and I love them so much! I've been feeling very inspired lately, and thought perhaps I'd do a blog post this week that's shameless art supply porn. I love taking a peek at other people's tools and materials, so thought I'd share some of my favourites. By the way, I discovered the best pencil sharpener in the whole world (do pencil sharpeners excite you as much as they do me?) that sharpens white charcoal pencils without breaking - I will share the details.

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I've been doing some quirky portraits - I like faces with character. I also decided to do some portraits of toys because there's not a time in your life when you love a lump of plastic with as much passion, or imbue it with as much personality as when you're a kid and have a favourite toy. Expect more creepy dollies and chubby-cheeked animals!

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Teddy.jpg