Recently I’ve been working more on my personal projects. I’m still really busy with paid work but I was thinking about what I’ve produced in the last 12 months and I’ve barely created anything for myself and while it’s great I’m getting paid work I really want to keep creating work for myself and my portfolio. So I decided to create a series of illustrations called ‘Coffee Lovers”.
I love drinking coffee and I absolutely must have a cup of coffee in the morning or my day just won’t go anywhere. Drinking coffee is like a very important ritual in my daily life and with this in mind I started work on a series of illustrations that will celebrate “Coffee”. I’ve also decided to use this series of illustrations to create a calendar for next year, which means I will have finish 12 illustrations plus a front cover for this calendar before October.
So far I have completed 4 illustrations and I’ve already got ideas for the next three illustrations. I will use the same colour palette to colour this series series of illustrations to make them look like a “collection”. I also started working on a “hand lettering” series of illustrations which you’ll see more and more of appearing in my illustrations.
The first illustration for this series is “Barista Magic”. The idea for this illustration came from a tiny sketch I was drawing in my sketchbook. I sketch every day and can quite often just doodle away and this is one of those illustrations I started sketching without much thought but I really liked it and I was drinking coffee (surprise surprise!) at the time and I thought my illustration was quite nice.
I also do quite a lot of research on websites like Pinterest. I’m always looking for things that will inspire me and I saw this very vintage, retro looking electronic coffee pot on Pinterest which I just loved. I illustrated this electronic coffee pot with a barista on the front making coffee. It’s almost like saying this coffee pot can make coffee just like a professional barista can make coffee for you.
I love coffee but most of the time I only drink instant coffee. I don’t have the time of patience to grind my own beans and I have one of those fancy coffee machines with the small different flavour pots which to be fair does make nice coffee but if you drink 3-4 cups of coffee like me a day they can be really expensive. It’s especially annoying when you get too focused on your work, forget you have a hot drink and you end up drinking a coffee that cost a couple pounds (or whatever the pods cost) and it’s cold.
This why I only drink instant coffee at home now but occasionally I will have a nice coffee outside in a cafe at the weekend.
So when I drew this “Barista Magic” illustration, I was thinking what if there is a coffee pot that looks cute, pretty but in a classic vintage style that can make me affordable coffee at home. This would be magic! This is where my idea for these illustrations came from.
I illustrated some spilt coffee and also the steam that comes out from the pot into heart shapes because this is an illustration about love. My love affair with coffee! I also illustrated things like biscotti, sugar cubes, spices, teaspoons, cups etc, those things you will need for making a cup of coffee or you will eat with your coffee.
The rest of the illustrations are ” Love is Brewing”, ” Travelling Cafe”, ” A Cup of Joy” and I’ve written about each of these under their respective illustrations.
Love is Brewing
The idea behind “Love is Brewing” is about a coffee date. Couples that have their date with a cup of coffee and coffee makes everything better (coffee lovers like me can understand this) and romance, love and relationship grow when the coffee is brewing.
“Travelling Cafe” is just one of my silly day dreaming ideas. One day I was working in my studio and the weather was cold and miserable. Typical Scottish winter! I was imagining what if there was a magic travelling cafe truck or van stopped outside of my home, that would be fantastic!
Because this travelling cafe has to be quite “magical” I didn’t go looking for a normal food van or truck for this illustration. Instead I illustrate a cafe truck/van in the shape of a coffee pot.
A Cup of Joy
When I illustrated this illustration it was also a cold, dark and miserable day in Edinburgh. In fact this winter has been downright miserable, it’s been particularly cold and wet. So I was drinking my freshly made coffee and I used a coffee mug to warm my hands and I was drinking the hot coffee to warm my body and then I thought about how nice a warm bubble bath would. I didn’t make a bath, it would just send me back to bed but I thought about how the bubbles look so similar to the foam on a coffee mug.
It will be super awesome if I can have a “coffee cup” in the shape of a bath tub. This is how I got inspiration for this illustration. I drew a pink pet pig because I really want to have a pet pig and little piglets looks so cute.
I hope you like my “Coffee Lover” illustrations so far. I have put these four illustrations on my Etsy shop. If you like them you can purchase different sized prints on my Etsy shop.
Stay tuned! There will be more “Coffee Lovers” illustrations coming out soon!
Two days before Christmas 2016 I was contacted by a California based food company called “Pasokin Candy” who asked me if I could create some illustrations for a poster and flyer illustration and design for them. The idea is they would display the posters in cafes and yoghurt/ice cream bars and they also wanted flyers that could be left on tables.
Pasokin specialise in peanut based snacks that are high in protein and fibre and originate from Brazil. They sell both a “Pasokin Original Peanut Snack” as well as “Peanut Butter Crumbs” which you add as a topping onto yoghurts, smoothies, ice cream etc.
I was over the moon as I love working on this kind of project and it also sounds like a lot of fun. Funny thing is I live in the UK but I get most of my commissions from all over the world. I’m working on a large long term contract with a customer from China and many of my clients are from the USA while just a handful are from then UK.
Pasokin basically found me through my Instagram channel and after a few emails communicating about what they wanted, we decided to use bright yellow from the packaging as the background colour. They wanted the poster and flyer to appeal to families with children, old people and athletes. I created two different styles of poster, one which is quite complicated with a lot of details and the other final version a lot simpler. For the first poster I tried to illustrate everything the client wanted on a single poster but we mutually felt it was too complicated so I redesigned the whole thing and produced another poster sketch for my client.
They loved the second poster idea so we went ahead with that. For the second poster idea, I illustrated a family of four. The dad represents the athlete and because peanut candy crumbs are mainly added to breakfast bowls, acas bowls porridge, smoothies etc, I also illustrated a grandmother, mother and child adding pasokin peanut candy crumbs into their bowls. The little boy added peanut crumbs to his ice cream and the main message is that the product is “100% Natural and Gluten free but also suitable for vegans.
It was fun, challenging but also satisfying working on this kind of project. For the vast majority of jobs I do I just focus on creating illustrating but for this job I was able to do the “design” part of the job as well, so I got full control of the art direction which for me was a delight.
So within this article are three pictures. The first is the final poster, the second is the first more complicated poster and I’ve also included the original header I created and that was approved but then Pasokin completely changed their mind.
Self Reflection Good Me Bad Me Illustrations is a project I have been working on for myself. Every year I try to print out a booklet and feature my most recent works (typically from the last 12 months) and send it out to difference agencies and potential clients. There are many ways of pulling in work as an illustrator, Google, Bing, Yahoo etc but living in the capital of Scotland there a lot of agencies with a lot of potential work. So this illustration is one of the covers I made for this booklet.
The idea of this illustration is to create something like an “illustrated CV”. You can see on this illustration there are a few things that really stand out including thatI like food, family and love is important to me. I love cooking and beers, I’m a hopeless coffee lover, love adventure and travelling to exotic locations and naturally I love drawing. I’m passionate about these things and of course there are more things I love and care about but the things I have illustrated above were the few things that first popped into my when when I tried to summarise what I like and who I am.
This project helped me to find out what I like and who I am. I know this kind of thing might sound super easy for many people but for me it’s so hard. For example, I’m always afraid to introduce myself in front of people. I just don’t what I should say about myself. For example, I think branding for other people or other people’s business’ is easy but branding for myself or my business is always so hard because I don’t what kind of thing represents me and my and my business?! So I think illustrate this “illustrated cv” is actually a very good “mind” exercise for me to help me find myself.
i chose a peach-ish pink for the background colour because I love pink and the pattern underneath looks like roads (or streets). This represents the “map” aspect and the whole point is to help you find out who I am. this illustration will be the front cover of my self-promotion booklet and when you turn to he back cover of the booklet you will see the other illustrated CV of me but this illustration will be about the “dark side of me”.
This “dark side of me” illustration features a few things about me that you could say are dark about me. The first thing is I’m extremely impatient so I illustrated myself chewing on a clock. I also have a bad temper so Illustrated myself breathing fire with steam coming out of me. I did this in Mount Vesuvius style so there are buildings and people blowing away. I like looking at human organs and I have eaten many different kinds of animal guts before and I think they are delicious. I like zombies an I like horror films with human body parts or blood flying around when I draw.
So this is the cover I plan to use for my self-promotion booklet and as you can see this booklet will be my volume 3. If you’re interesting in receiving a copy of this booklet please email me or leave a comment and I’ll respond.
An interesting thing and also very good news for myself is after I completed these two illustrations posted them on my Facebook page and I got a private commission from one of my illustration fans, Elizabeth. She is a professor in a Filipino university. She found my illustrations a couple years ago and that’s how we communicate and we have been friends since. I also posted her some of my vintage kitchen illustration
Interesting thing and also a good news is after I completed these two illustrations and I post them on my Facebook. I got a private commission from one of my illustration fan, Elizabeth. She is a professor in a Filipino university. She found my illustrations couple years ago and that’s how we communicate and be friend with each other since. I posted some of my vintage kitchen illustration postcards for her before so she can use my postcards to encourage her students to be creative.
She commissioned me to create an illustration with a similar style to the bright side of me illustration. I asked her what things she would like me to illustrate and she gave me this.
She is a university professor
She likes chocolate chip biscuits and ice tea
She has eight dogs and they are like her family to her
Anything other things that I illustrated you will have to look at the illustration and figure out yourself. She also aced me to change the text in the middle as you can see from this illustration.
So if you are interested in having one of these colourful, fun and beautiful illustrations created for yourself you can contact me here. You can use your illustration to make a different statement among your friends or strangers. I believe they will have their hearts blown away once they see your “selfie illustration”. This is such a different and special way to tell people who you really are and what you are really like.
This is my first commissioned project from aboard and it’s from my home country Taiwan. This Taiwanese souvenir company commissioned me to illustrate a series of illustrations based on Taiwan’s tourist attractions for them. The illustrations are going to print out as postcards and sell in many different shops in Taiwan.
As you can see this is not a easy project to illustrate as each illustration has a lot of details in it. So I spent a lot of time working on all those details. But I think the result are satisfying for me and also my client. I believe after this four locations: Alishan (阿里山), Jiufen (九份), Pingxi (平溪), Taipei City and 101 (台北市和101大樓), my client would like to commission me to illustrate another 10~15 locations around the Taiwan so it’s almost becoming a regular job, which is great.
Alishan Postcard Illustration 阿里山風景明信片:
This illustration inspired by the speciality of Alishan, which are Tea terrace, Train and cherry blossom.
Jiufen Postcard Illustration 九份老街風景明信片:
Inspired by the Jiufen old street, stairs, lanterns and shop banners.
Early in 2015 I was working on a personal project which was my illustrated manifesto. I’ve recently seen a couple panoramic style illustrations which I thought looked really great, really interesting, but naturally I didn’t want to copy these so I thought why not create a panoramic image of my journey. Essentially from where I started in Taipei to where I live now in Edinburgh. This is a format that I have never worked with before so I found it was challenging but fun.
Thi personal project also offered me a chance to practice working in this kind of panoramic format for a concertina book which I will be contributing towards for the Royal Botanical Gardens here in Edinburgh. However later on they decided not to use the concertina style book but it was still a fun project to do.
So I illustrated four of the major cities that I have lived in which in order are Taipei, Shanghai, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Each section (city) has a quote to go with it.
Taipei is my home town, where I am from and where I lived so I wrote “my life is a journey”. I then lived in Shanghai for about a year before I moved to the UK and I used the motto “Life Is Like Sailing in the Ocean”. Shanghai was an interesting place to live and was a real change in my life as I had to leave both friends and family behind so I tried to keep positive and have the best attitude possible. Sometimes life goes up, sometimes life goes down, but no matter your situation always try to look at the bright side of things.
Taipei is my hometown and this is where is the journey began.
Shanghai is my first stop and a city that inspired me a lot. The quote I used for this illustration is “Life is like sailing in the ocean”
I lived in Birmingham for just over 1 year and was in fact the first city I had visited in the UK. I really wasn’t that happy in Birmingham though as I really missed my family and friends and in the case of my parents this was the first time I had been a really long distance from them. It was also a real culture shock as I had gone from Eastern culture to Western culture and life was very different. So for this illustration I used a different motto “Sometimes Life Goes Down” and I drew a giant octopus eating the many boats and barges which fill Birmingham’s canal network.
Edinburgh is like a second home to me. I have lived in Edinburgh for nearly seven years and by and large really like living in Edinburgh. There will always be things I miss about Taipei but I really do like Edinburgh a lot and I have my husband and daughter here and also my new friends. I illustrated a bus going up a hill towards Edinburgh castle with the motto “Sometimes Life Goes Up”.
I designed a vintage suitcase for the book cover because the title of the book is “Journey” and it’s about my life journey. So I think a suitcase will be the best thing to sum up the essence of this book and I can put my title on those souvenir stickers as well.
The photo of my concertina book when it’s open.
Note: Please be sure to click on each illustration, especially the long panoramic images, for a larger view
At the end of 2014 I was working on a really exciting picture book project with Edinburgh Zoo. I was asked to create a picture book based on a real life character “Darren McGarry”. Darren is the head of the animals at Edinburgh Zoo and he has a very busy life amongst the animals and almost everything related to the animals at the zoo will involve him. The most amazing part of his life is he even lives in the zoo!
After a couple meetings with Darren I decided to write and illustrate a story about Darren’s daily life but with some funny twists. When I met Darren at Edinburgh Zoo he struck me as a person who really cares about and loves the animals. He is very respectful of the animals so he didn’t want to see the animals with any clothes or accessories on them and he doesn’t want to see the animals characterised either (for example he doesn’t want to see the animal talking and acting like a human. Instead, he hopes to see the animals acting normally in their normal environments).
So here is how the story goes. Darren woke up really tired and sleepy and no one knows why? He tried to find places in the zoo to have a nap but all the animals kept interrupting him. He isn’t angry or upset about this and so fulfils all the requests from the different animals and the reader will finally find out why he woke up still tired and sleepy in the morning.
It’s very tiring be a parent and sometimes even when you are so tired your child asks you for things and you still have to meet their demands. Darren made me feel like this with his animals. He loves and cares for them and needs to fulfil their needs and living in the zoo he will care for them no matter what the time or the outside conditions are. He will alway be there for the animals. Sometimes as parents we will feel a bit annoyed when we can’t just sit down quietly and have a cup of tea but no matter what we will still get up and look after our demanding child. I think this is the feeling I want to create for my story.
So below are some of the pages from my picture book. I hope you will like it.