Illustrate April – my April drawing challenge #illustrateApril

Last month I participated in #MarchMeetTheMaker, a daily challenge on Instagram to produce a creative response to the list of prompts set by designer Joanne Hawker.
This was a positive experience and built my momentum, so I wanted to continue through April with a daily challenge. I set a list of prompts of my own with the hashtag #illustrateApril that other creatives are welcome to join in with too! You’re welcome to use and repost the prompt list below. Post your creations with the hashtag #illustrateApril.

Illustration daily challenge prompt list #illustrateApril

My #illustrateApril submissions thus far:

Day 1: What Spring means to me:
Spring is a time of growth, so I do enjoy seeing plants emerge from hibernation, and also I start crawling out of my cosy nest a little more.
Spring illustration for the Illustrate April challenge by Heidi Burton

Day 2: Lighthearted news story:
Illustrating the BBC news story “Searching for the sublime: The man who paints in the ocean.” You can read the original article here if you wish. It’s about an artist who paints incredibly beautiful abstract pieces while submerged in the ocean. I genuinely love his work, it was a special find!
Illustration depicting a man painting a picture whilst floating in the sea, inside a blue tea cup, with hand written text in ribbon banners.

Day 3: Sentence/paragraph from book:
“She waited for the train to pass. Then she said, “I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.”
Author: Haruki Murakami
Book: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Black and red ink illustration depicting a woman with two overlapping faces, holding an anatomical heart.

Click through the images to see them in their original environment, and search #illustrateApril on Instagram to view submissions from the currently tiny group of participants for this challenge – feel free to join in; any creative discipline and any level from stick people to Michaelangelo!

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New egg cups – I love you egg cup with face

A new one-of-a-kind egg cup listed in my Etsy shop!
This egg cup has a hand drawn face and red heart cheeks, with ‘I love you’ handwritten on the back.

Egg cup with happy face and red heart cheeks, alongside a small cactus plant.White egg cup with happy face and red heart cheeks drawn on.White egg cup with I love you written on the back in a ribbon banner, and a red heart.Maranta prayer plant and hand illustrated egg cup with face drawing.

I’ll be adding more egg cups to my shop very soon!
See my daily updates on Instagram here.

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New Mother’s Day card – I’m Sticking With You

My new greeting card illustration features a parent beaver with their beaver kit, created with ink and watercolour. I purposely made this Mother’s Day card also suitable for Father’s Day, friendship, any family member (grandparent? Aunt? Uncle? Niece? Nephew?), and for children too!

Ink line drawing of beaver with kit and stick

Preliminary drawing

This is part of an illustrated wildlife series, currently incorporating one of my favourite animals; the beaver. You can read more about this in my previous post.
The text is hand-drawn using a drawing nib and sepia ink, then finished with watercolour. This card is currently available via my Thortful shop, and you can also get 30% off your first order with this link!

Mother's Day card with watercolour parent and child beavers illustration, and hand-drawn stick typography with the words "I'm sticking with you".

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New greeting card designs – birthday beavers and wee wonderland babies!

I’m experiencing a creative surge at the moment, and trying to be as productive as possible incase it disappears! (Remember my 7 year creative block? No thanks!) Here’s a bit of background into the two new greeting card designs available in my Thortful shop.

Beaver birthday card

I’m a huge wildlife nerd and am working on a secret wildlife-related illustration project that I can’t mention at the moment. The world has gone crazy for sloths, and while I’ve always been a huge sloth devotee (trekked Central America in search of them years ago), there’s something about everyone jumping on the bandwagon that makes me move on to lesser-idolised creatures of the wild. I realise this makes me sound like a massive hipster, but it bothers me that there are people following animal trends for the sake of popularity and sales, while also knowing this is what you’re supposed to do. /snark over.

Birthday card with watercolour beaver illustration and cake made of mud and twigs. Hand-drawn text has wood texture.I have a creature obsession for beloved beavers. I spent 3 months in Fernie, BC, Canada – you know, that ski town that people all over the world visit to ski and snowboard? But did I hurl myself down mountain-sides? No. I was foraging around by lakes in search of beaver lodges in the hope of observing them in the wild, in their own environment, taking pictures (attempting to – tail slap!) and freezing beyond my British blood (ok, there’s some Finnish blood in there too, so I survived) on a fold-out chair in the snow with a long-lens on ‘beaver patrol’, repeating my mantra ‘beav before I leave’ until I finally saw a family of beavers doing their biz!

I’ve continued learning about these extremely intelligent mechanical engineers via webcams inside and outside of beaver lodges (no idea why I’m single), and watching documentaries because I think it’s important to study a subject and closely observe its habits/lifestyle in order to depict it appropriately. I say ‘appropriately’ rather than ‘accurately’, as a conjured character may look/behave very differently or subversively than in reality, yet at the root of their creation lies the knowledge and observation.

Wonderland new baby card

Watercolour new baby card with ribbon banner text: "welcome little one". Wonderland-themed illustration with woodland scene. Card for baby girl or baby boy.My watercolour card for welcoming wee folk into the world wasn’t planned as a card to sell. The original watercolour painting was a card to welcome a teeny cherub, Tallis Wolf; daughter to a couple of awesome friends embarking on their journey into parenthood. The original text said ‘Tallis in Wonderland” and the name Tallis means Woodland.

Occasionally I’ll pour my little heart into  personal cards and create images that I realise as an afterthought may be something other people would send or like to receive too. Perhaps there are other Earth mamas, forest fathers, and woodland wonder-babies in the world. As I had a couple of requests to sell this as a card, I duly complied, and this ‘welcome little one’ version is available via my Thortful profile.

I’m also thinking of creating personalised prints with a name/message of choice in the ribbon banner to sell in my Etsy shop. I recently took a calligraphy course, and while I’m in need of a lot of practice, I feel happy that I can at least write neatly with ink and a nib at this stage…

Thortful.com is a greeting card platform where you can buy a card to have it sent directly to your recipient and include your own message. You can even pick a font. Or have it sent to you, blank inside ready for your handwritten message. They also offer a variety of gift options such as sending chocolate, notebooks, cake, or socks with the card!
I’ve purchased cards from Thortful before and was very impressed with both the print and card quality, and the cards are A5 – larger than the average cards you’ll find in shops. Best of all, they are supporting independent designers as we receive commission for each card sold.

Do you think I’m a hipster? Should I have snowboarded instead of going on wildlife watch? Do you like my new watercolour illustrations? I’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to see what I’m up to illustratively, find me on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter! X

 

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Pencil drawings of hands from life

It turns out that when I have a deadline due, I absolutely adore drawing my hands instead. This is great as it’s been years since I did any life drawing and welcome the practice. It’s also not great as the procrastination means leaving deadline stuff ’til the last minute. Anyway, here are lots of pencil line drawings of my hands:

Line drawing of hands with various gestures and positions Sketchbook drawings of hands drawn from life Pencil drawings of hands in sketchbooks showing movement

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Christmas cards – tonttu girl with pet plant

I’ve added some Christmas cards to my Etsy shop, featuring a Nordic Christmas elf with her pet plant.

Finnish Christmas elf girl holding plant illustration

Christmas card with plant and festive lightsChristmas card with Nordic elf holding plant, photographed among wooden mushrooms and a tree stump candle holderChristmas cards with same design, laid out on table.

Christmas card illustration on an advent calendar style card, available on the Thortful.com website.

Advent calendar card available from Thortful.com

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Bogey mug Instagram giveaway – international entries welcome

competition-win-mug

INSTAGRAM COMPETITION:

Who wants to win one of my new mugs for their favourite bogey? (Or your green and globular self!)

To enter:
 Follow my Instagram account @makingstrangers
 ‘Like’ the competition post on Instagram ❤️
 Tag your favourite bogey or someone boogery in the comments (on Instagram post). Tag up to 3 friends for extra entries 👍

For more info about the mug, see the listing in my Etsy shop.

・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・

Rules/eligibility/boring bit:

👃 Must be over 18.
👃 Worldwide competition. I will pay postage.
👃 Must complete all 3 entry steps to be eligible.
👃 Competition closes November 15th, 11.59pm (GMT), winner contacted within 48hrs.
👃 Prize is 1 mug as pictured.
👃 This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram/Facebook.
👃 Participating/entering this competition is considered a complete release of Instagram by each entrant.

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New illustrated mugs for anniversary gift, Valentine’s Day, or *just because*. “If you were a bogey, I’d pick you.”

New to my Etsy shop: ceramic mugs with my illustration and the text “if you were a bogey, I’d pick you.” A special gift for your favourite bogey – the one you picked yourself! The mugs each have the same image/text on both sides and are available to buy here in my shop.

If you were a bogey I'd pick you - funny anniversary mug gift

If you were a bogey, I'd pick you

Anniversary mugs with words: if you were a bogey, I'd pick you

Have you seen my Instagram account? Regularly updated with sketches, illustrations, new products and the like! Pop on over and say hello!
Feel free to repost these images to spread the word on social media – please credit with a link to either my blog, shop, or social media account so people can find me, but also because I love seeing where my work has been pimped 🙂

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New illustration for Goblin Market poem

I’ve been revisiting the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti after a number of years – I first studied the poem at art college over a decade ago, as part of a self-initiated degree project, and my fascination with the dark children’s tale continues.

This illustration wasn’t planned. I knew I wanted to illustrate Laura and Lizzie, so began sketching the sisters, and subconsciously the hair grew into trees and menacing little goblin men started appearing in the woods.

Contemporary illustration of Victorian pre-raphaelite poem 'Goblin Market' by Christina Rossetti

An excerpt from the poem:

“Evening by evening

Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.”
I used pencil, ink and watercolour paint before scanning and editing the image digitally.
If you’d like an A5 print, I have them available to purchase here: Goblin Market prints.
Goblin men are emerging from the woods in this illustration of Goblin Market by Heidi Burton
Goblin Market illustration prints by Heidi Burton
Goblin Market was written by Christina Rossetti, published in 1862, and originally illustrated by her brother Dante Rossetti. Lawrence Housman and Arthur Rackham also illustrated Goblin Market. You can read the full Goblin Market poem here.

I’d love to hear what you think?

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New Home card – illustration for Colour Collective

I haven’t participated in the weekly #Colour_Collective illustration challenge since March 2016 but yesterday posted an illustration for the chosen colour ‘Iris Blue’. I was thinking about the things I do now that I live by myself – talking to plants being one of them. They are good listeners by the way, and they never answer back. Score! Then I made the image into a New Home card by adding text and it’s now available to purchase on Thortful.

Congratulations on your new home card small

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