Throwback Thursday – Illustrated Mural in Cambodian Fashion Boutique!

While I was living in Cambodia, I had the good fortune to be offered some properly awesome illustration jobs – mostly painting murals for schools, businesses, etc. Really fun, and something I’d love to do more of here. (So if you’re looking for a mural artist in the London-ish area, e-mail me! )

Artillery, (on Street 240 1/2 in Phnom Penh) is a cafe with a mini fashion boutique upstairs, which focuses on ethical trading, sustainability and supporting local makers. They invited me to pretty much freestyle something on their wall after I attended a few of their Drink & Draw events.

I sketched out onto the wall in pencil, using some references from my sketchbook, and then went over it with black acrylic paint and marker pens, added touches of colour with watered-down acrylic paint.
Mural in Artillery Boutique, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

mural in fashion boutique, phnom penh

Mural painted in a fashion boutique in Phnom Penh

Detail of mural

Unfortunately the mural was destroyed by flooding after a couple of years. But it’s still something I’m happy to have worked on, most definitely! I miss the cool, artistic spirit of Cambodia, particularly Phnom Penh, where businesses value having a unique vibe and aren’t afraid to experiment a little. As wonderful as London is in many ways, it is often too expensive and the creative world feels a little elitist in comparison to other places I’ve lived/worked in. Ah well! At least I can walk a mile without dying from the heat here!

– Rachel xx

Back from the Alpujarras!

Hi all! I’m still alive – promise!

If the blog has looked a little empty lately it’s been because I’ve been on holiday in Spain; 10 days at Cortijo Opazo in the Alpujarra mountains.

Basically my average view each day looked something like this:

The mountain view just above Bubion and Pampaneira

The villages were also incredibly pretty. Every building is painted white in the traditional Moorish style, and there were flowers everywhere.

Flower house in Pitres, Spain

Passgeway in Pitres, Sierra Nevada, Spain

Pitres-shaded-passage-view

La Meta Discoteca in Pitres, Spain

Our villa at Cortijo Opazo

My feet selfie with some succulents

I did a little sketching, but nothing amazing, since I bought the wrong pens with me and there are zero art shops up there! D’oh!

Hopefully next time I’ll be updating with some more artwork – I’m focusing on getting an Etsy store up & running, so lots to prepare!

– Rachel xx

 

Illustrated Blogger Portraits – BodyPosiPanda!

Recently I’ve felt inspired to draw portraits of a few of my favourite fashion & lifestyle bloggers. There are so many lovely, inspiring ladies out there – with important things to say as well as beautiful images to share.

The first is Megan Jayne Crabbe aka BodyPosiPanda. Megan describes herself as a “body positive, feminist, ED warrior” – her writing and pictures are always confident and refreshing in a world that primarily encourages women to feel unlovely and inadequate because of how they look. I also wanted to draw her frankly awesome pink hair and infectious smile. If you fancy reading something uplifting without too many meaningless ‘life, laugh, love’-style platitudes, check out her blog.

Fashion Illustration Portrait of Blogger BodyPosiPanda
In other news, if you are reading this, that means I am currently on holiday here in Spain! 10 days in the Alpujarra mountains… ohhh yesss. I’ll be sure to show off with some (hopefully) jealousy-inducing photos!

– Rachel xx

Throwback Thursday – PinUps!

Back in 2011 I drew around 100  illustrated pin-up figures & turned them into repeating patterns, which I used as a print on posters and textiles.
I suspect they don’t translate that well on-screen, but I still quite like them! So many little ladies and gents to choose from. Who’s your favourite?

Sexy Illustrated Pin-Up Ladies

 

Illustrated Pin-Up Men

– Rachel xx

Custom Fashion Illustration – Vanessa!

Fashion Illustration; Blogger Vanessa Zaree

This week I’ve been working on a custom fashion illustration of Vanessa Zaree of Wardrobe Under Construction.
She sent me a photograph to work from, which I used as my reference to draw up some line-art with my Faber Castell artist pens, before I scanned it in, cleaned it up nicely, & applied colour with Photoshop. Here’s a little process montage:
fashion blogger custom illustration processWhat do you think?

– Rachel xx

Throwback Thursday : Portraits!

Following on from last Thursday’s post about Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, here are a few portraits I did at the launch party (coloured digitally after the fact). Here are a few of my faves…

Susie Bubble live fashion portraitLovely fashion blogger Susie Bubble.

Neil Bennett live portrait

Neil Bennett of Digital Arts Magazine.

Amelia Gregory live fashion illustration
Amelia Gregory, the brains behind Amelia’s Magazine, owner of a truly fabulous cape!

Rachel de Ste Croix sketching Susie Bubble by Jenny Robbins

And finally, I thought I’d share this neat little sketch of me sketching Susie Bubble, drawn by Jenny Robbins – also featured in the book – check out her work!

How to be a Girl : Vintage Comics

Vintage comics for girls - Misty, 1988 annual

Fig. 1 – Misty Annual 1988!

Being the art nerd that I am, I kind of love comics. But not Superman, Batman or anything in which everyone wears spandex and beats up a bunch of other people who also really, really like spandex. Nor the Beano or the Dandy. I don’t even particularly enjoy any manga series (I know. Sorry.)

I think that traditional girls’ comics are unappreciated; they don’t quite enjoy the cult status that their more ‘boysy’ counterparts get, despite having art & stories every bit as amazing. Even Stan Lee worked as a writer for American romance comics in the 60s and 70s. Girls’ comics offer a fascinating insight into attitudes of their time, and the stories are endlessly entertaining in both good and … not so good ways. Besides, I wrote my dissertation on them, which was totally a good idea you guys.

That said, please observe Fig. 1 (above), my copy of the supernatural genre comic ‘Misty‘ Annual 1988 looking fetching on a purple velvet blanket, because of course.  I’m not claiming this as a work of genius, but it is entertaining in its daftness, and plays into many of the major tropes of the genre (tragic orphan heroine, evil mistress, dashing stranger, fateful accidents, history repeating…) Sadly the title page is missing, but I thought I’d share a few of my favourite moments from the story.

To bring you up to speed: Emilie is a Tragic Victorian Orphan who has landed herself in a job as a maid at North-Cliffe Manor. But she keeps noticing a shadowy figure watching her from the shadows. And the the kids of the house are spoilt rotten…
Misty Comic Annual 1988

Yeah, Master Arnold is kind of a dick.

misty-comic-illustration-2.jpg

Apparently former street urchin Emilie is a bird identification expert. OK then. Luckily this mysterious yet dashing chap with well-coiffed hair and tight trousers is on hand to help her out!

Misty Comic Annual 1988 page 3

Watching young girls at night from a secret hiding place with your animal companion is totally not weird, just in case you thought it might be.

Misty Comic Annual Illustrations 4

Of course, it’s an otter, Emilie. Duh.

What will happen next to our nice-but-dim heroine? Is her creepy/handsome fella just possibly a sensitive aristocrat in disguise? What adventures will befall Raki the Otter?

Do any of you enjoy girls’ comics? What are your personal faves? Interested in reading more?

If you’re interested in American romance comics you should check out Sequential Crush.

– Rachel xx

Throwback Thursday! Fashion Illustration

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration - Rachel de Ste CroixIiiit’s Throwback Thursday time! *Cue: trumpeters play, babies sing, etc.*
In 2010 my artwork was featured in the amazing Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. I was partnered up with the amazing ethical fashion brand From Somewhere, and the book features my fashion illustration for them as well as Lu Flux and a few other editorial fashion bits & bobs. Working on the book was awesome, but I don’t want to write loads about it right now – just share a few ‘Throwback Thursday’ highlights with you guys!

Et voila… From Somewhere:

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration - From Somewhere

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration - From Somewhere

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration - From Somewhere

Create a Simple Style Guide for your Blog

howto-style-guide-blog

Branding your business is so important – before anyone reads a word of what you’ve written, or bothers to click through to your gallery, they are going to make an instant judgement based purely on what your page looks like. Your brand should be present across all your social media platforms, and the best way to keep track of what your brand is is to make your own fancy-pants style guide. Hopefully this blog post will help you out if, like me, you’re a bit of a beginner at the personal branding side of things!

As an illustrator, I wasn’t going to hand over the visual branding of my re-launch to any other designer – my page visuals have to be 100% me! Not gonna pretend that was easy – I’ll write more about the (many) mistakes I made later. Just figuring out how to sum up ‘me’ within a logo and a colour scheme was harder than I expected. I had a bit of a steep learning curve, but hopefully reading this will help you become less of a dumbass than I was at various points of this process!

Before you start: join Pinterest and make a mood board. Don’t add any logos or overtly branded stuff to your board – just add images that evoke the mood you want your brand to have. Once you’ve got a solid collection, use that to help you pick out design aspects – colour, texture, emotion, materials used, etc… I took waaaay too long to do this, but once I did, it was genuinely helpful!

Here’s a screen-shot of mine:

PreciousLittle-Pinterest-Screenshot

Pretty, right? You can see at a glance that I want bold bright but feminine colours, organic shapes and a bit of a retro-but-still-edgy aesthetic.

Anyway. That done, you can move onto creating the meat and potatoes of your style sheet!
Here are a few ‘must haves’:

1) A logo – or 4!
Preciouslittle-logo-variations
In general, artists and illustrators tend to have simple text logos with their name, so that their artwork can be the focus. I pretty much fall in line with that, except my name (Rachel de Ste. Croix) is hard to spell/pronounce, so I go by Precious Little. I created my visual elements first (the succulent you now see on my blog header) and then played around with a bunch of fonts from DaFont.com. Be smart and make a few variants for different purposes and dimensions! Check out mine above.

2) Colour scheme

Preciouslittle-colour-palette

Since you’ve been smart and started off by making a Pinterest board, you can use that to help pick out 4 – 6 key colours for your brand. Alternatively, use a colour palette generator like Paletton. Keep in mind basic colour psychology – for example, pink is (surprise!) considered very feminine and can be either soft and gentle or punchy and bold depending on the shade; turqouise is typically linked to creativity and bespoke brands; green is associated with freshness and growth…. and so on. In fact what I did was use the colours I had in mind to create the illustrated succulent you can see in my banner, and select the best colours from that with the eye-dropped tool in Photoshop. Once again, my palette is featured above this paragraph.

3) Fonts

Preciouslittle-font-alphabets

As before, use your Pinterest mood board to help you think about what kind of fonts you might want. Something classic? Hand-written? Brush script? Modern or vintage? I made my images before selecting any fonts, and chose ones that balanced well with my artwork (Fat Tats on the left and Cookies and Milk on the right, above). Download a bunch from dafont.com and play around with them. Try and select one ‘fancy’ headliner font and one other more low-key option. Do NOT choose two heavyweight, fancy fonts! Or, say, Comic Sans. If you were considering Comic Sans you should probably just give up your Secret Design Club membership card now.

4) Textures / visual elements

Preciouslittle-textures

Once I’d selected my colours and some ideas for the kind of textures and shapes I’d like to use from my Pinterest mood board, I painted a bunch of simple patterns using acrylics. I scanned them in and tweaked them in Photoshop – cleaning up and smudges or dust, brightening the colours and adjusting the placement of certain elements until I was happy. I already had a good idea of what colours I wanted to use by this point.

5) Put it all together…

Actually, you probably should have been putting everything together as you go along! I added a few ‘inspirations’ from my Pinterest board for good measure. Doesn’t it look pretty? It’s also come in useful as a reference sheet for all kinds of things already! How exciting! :B

PreciousLittle-illustration-brand-style-sheet.jpg

I’m pretty happy with it, and it’s the first time I’ve done this – I studied Illustration, not Graphic Design! But it’s been a good learning curve and positive experience. I’m totally open to constructive criticism regarding my work. I hope that you were able to learn a little from my mistakes and found this super-duper simple guide helpful.

Thanks for reading! Xx

Art Vs Artist // Throwback Thursday

So a pretty much the whole arty blogosphere has been posting their #artvsartist memes. Who am I to buck this trend? As a bonus, this also fits in nicely with the whole Throwback Thursday thing as there is a mix of new & old artwork here – including a mural I painted at the fabulous ARTillery Cafe, Phnom Penh, and a portrait of Susie Bubble for Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

When I did the mural for Artillery, a very nice (but possibly slightly bonkers) older lady told me she loved my work so much she took a picture, had it printed, and stuck it to her biscuit tin. Well now. What higher praise could there be? The painting since got destroyed by flooding, but I hope the biscuit tin print lives on…