Tag Archives: haruki murakami

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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Filed under Digital, Illustrations, News, Traditional

Norwegian Wood poster contest – notes on image construction

Norwegian Wood hand drawn typography by Heidi Burton

Work-in-progress photographs from my recent poster design, created for the Don’t Panic contest to produce a film poster for Norwegian Wood – directed by Anh Hung Tran and based on the novel by Haruki Murakami.

As some of you may know from previous work based upon Murakami’s writings, I absolutely love Norwegian Wood, it’s my favourite book – not just of his, but of all books. I wasn’t much of a reader but his books broke me in to reading, in a sense.

Below you can find preparatory images created during my design process.  These show my laborious and time-consuming approach. First I brainstorm on paper, then sketch a few initial ideas. Next is the research. A lot of research. Hours of it. Sometimes the best idea will emerge while walking to the shop or drifting off to sleep – I always have a journal handy to scribble it down.

Next stage is to combine research with ideas and create the characters, it can take a long time and a lot of practice to produce a likeness of a person, if I’m lucky enough to do that at all.  Each element is worked on separately, scanned, edited, and the whole lot  woven together (in Photoshop) to create the final image. I’ve included some of the ideas that were dismissed due to a lack of time, would have liked to explore them further for this contest.


Here is the final result:


As a lot of searches for the contest winner have led to my blog, I’ll mention here that the winner was announced yesterday on the Norwegian Wood Facebook page as Bertie Simpson with this poster. It was the second highest voted in the contest, and looks fantastic! See his blog here.  I also really like this poster design by Lucie Rauer as it evokes the atmosphere and emotion I felt when reading the story. More of her work here.


Filed under Illustrations, News, Traditional

Memories are what warm you up from the inside – illustrated Moleskine journal

Another in the series of my ink-illustrated Moleskine cahier journals illustrating quotes from my favourite writers. This pocket-size notebook illustrates a beautiful piece of text from Kafka on the Shore by my one of my favourite authors Haruki Murakami.

“Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart.”


Filed under Illustrations, Journals, Traditional

Deep wells and love spoons – new altered Moleskine journals

I’ve been working on a series of Moleskine journals based upon quotes from books & songs.  Please do let me know what you think?

‘People’s hearts are like deep wells’ (from Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami):

‘I wonder what ants do on rainy days?’ (From the book Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami):

Below is a Valentine’s journal based on ‘love spoons’.

Love spoons were popular in Wales from the 17th to 19th century. They were wooden spoons carved by gentlemen for their sweethearts as a token of admiration (as mentioned in the book ‘Welsh folk tales’ by Robin Gwyndaf.) Needless to say I have been painting wooden spoons as well!


Filed under Journals