Pandemic Derby Community Comic

 

I have created a community project in response to the covid19 pandemic. My idea is to produce a comic reflecting our current experiences.

The project is for residents of Derby and Derbyshire UK, is FREE to submit and open to all ages.

I have produced a few examples to help inspire ideas.

 

There are a few guidelines;

  • The character(s) need to be humanised ram(s)

  • artwork can be in any medium

  • Short comic Strips so maximum of 4 panels.

  • Illustrate a story or event that affected you.

The covid19 pandemic, especially during lockdown, has been different for us all. This comic would be a way for us to get an insight into each other’s lives. We will see the things we have in common and the differences. It is easier to empathise and support if we talk to each other, this can be hard especially under current circumstances. Drawing is the ideal tool to use when we can’t find the words, draw what you’re feeling or write down your thoughts.

Normal life has changed but art can be used to help us process our experiences in a positive way. A diverse selection of art will beautifully reflect the diverse and supportive community of Derby.

This community comic will be a creative reminder and serve as a lasting memory.

To submit please scan your designs and email elizabethlouieblades@gmail.com

My aim is to collate and curate the submissions into a comic. I would like all participants to receive their own copy although this will depend on how many take part.

In the scenario that I have more submissions than I am anticipating I will curate comic strips into volumes so a few mini comics will be produced.

In that instance participants will receive a volume including their submission along with a few others.

Submissions are open until the end of 2020, after all this year as a whole has been consumed (largely but not totally) by this pandemic.

In the new year I will be looking to exhibit the submissions, when it is safe to do so, participants would be invited along to a preview event.

This way the comic or volumes can be sold and money raised will be donated to a relevant charity in Derby that supports the community, especially as a result of Covid19.

You can follow the project on Facebook – click on this link @PandemicDerbyCommunityComic and find the video tutorial pinned to the top of the page.

You can also find @pandemicderbycommunitycomic on Instagram too.

please use the hashtag #pandemicderbycommunitycomic and tag me @elizabethblades so I can see when you share on social media.

I have designed handouts to help you with the design process.

You can find a selection of comic strip templates to download for FREE here;

Template 2

Template 3 slanted square

Template 3 square

Template 4

When planning and deciding upon your simple stories you might find this handout useful – Story Planner

The following link comic drawing tips and techniques will help you create interesting images with exciting camera angle illustrations that comic and graphic novels are known for.

The descriptions of each drawing technique;

drawing tips

Foreshorten – This method helps you achieve a 3dimentional image. In my example the hands are very large because they are in the foreground. The face is not so clear with no detail and is smaller because it is in the far ground.

Perspective – A similar technique and one that is commonly used by all artists. My example shows a small house in the distance with a path. As the path comes towards you it gets wider and the tops of the trees can not be seen. This may seem strange but will help fool the eye and give your image depth.

Birds eye view – This is literally a flying bird’s eye view looking down at the world. A great experiment of how to achieve this technique, place some objects on the floor and stand directly above them. Draw what you see, it may be hardly any detail at all. My example shows the bird’s eye view of a garden, you can see a tree top, a path, tops of bushes and a pond.

Ant eyed view – The opposite of bird’s eye view. The things you draw will be larger at the bottom and small at the top. Or disappear off the page. In my example the tree and cat are large at the bottom of the square and the tree gets slimmer and vanishes out of view. You can also see something tiny hanging that the cat must be trying to reach.

Overlapping shapes – This is another technique to help you achieve the effect of depth and it helps to make the image seem more believable. My example has only slightly used this method though. There is an element of perspective with the trees overlapping to reveal a building.

Zoom in/detail – This technique is a great one for helping to tell a comic book story. In my example you can see a few illustrations. Dolls sitting on a shelf and then a smaller square just showing part of a head. This method can also be a way to fill up a whole panel. If someone was crying and you wanted to just illustrate a teardrop under an eye for example.

 

Online Tutorials

Due to social distancing and lockdown in the UK my face to face tutorials and workshops have had to sadly stop.

During these strange times many of us of are still trying to adjust to this ‘new normal’ way of living, I know I am anyway. My child and I are isolating as much as possible whilst my partner, his dad, continues to work.

Not being able to leave the house, like many, has pushed my creativity to the limit. Some days are easier than others, we have a very basic routine scheduled around my toddlers afternoon nap.

This time period gives me the chance to work on my art projects and business. Unless my anxiety has gotten the better of me due to general worry in which case I spend the time relaxing and doing self hypnosis.

To ensure my confidence and drive for my teaching stays in tact though the concept of pre recorded tutorials is working quite well.

I have weekly projects that are sent out to the children’s class I taught. Theses topics are accompanied with an art pack they have been provided with.

I will share a few easy tutorials for free during this period of isolation though. Giving myself plenty to do is a good coping strategy and hopefully it will inspire others to create lovely things.

A few topics will be child friendly and mostly aimed at families, these will be shared on this Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/childrensartclassderby/

Those tutorials will be done with my toddler assisting to demonstrate how easily they can be achieved. The first one is a quick and easy way of creating prints with a pizza base.

My first demo without my toddler assisting is how to fold your own zine. A zine can be made by anyone, an activity to do as a family or on your own. The video can be watched by following this  link https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethBladesArtist/

I have also created Illustrated instructions that can be accessed here How to make a zine Instructions

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The video also gives you ideas on what you may want to put into your zine once it has been folded. Pictured above are a few designs created from the group of children I taught in my children’s class.

Contents of a zine can be any topic you like from storytelling to silly and random or topical. Zines are a great way to spread news. Sending a zine to someone who is in isolation at the moment may be a lovely way to spread some joy and bring comfort. It is something that is more than just a card.

Simply put a zine is a self published book which is easily reproduced via a printer or photocopier. If you create a zine after following my instruction, I would love to see! Please tag me in your photo’s if you share on Instagram @elizabethblades.

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Doll Making workshops

From the first time I created this cloth doll design I imagined running workshops on how to make them.

 


I have had a few chances through various freelance positions to run a few doll workshops. This proved the ideal opportunity to develop illustrated handouts to compliment my tuition.
My doll design is fairly simple and kept small so it is manageable for participants to complete in a one day workshop.
I find it exciting to see how students interpret my design. The characters that are dreamt up are always so different its an inspiration.
Pictured are a few dolls created from a course, so many of these students spent far longer than you would on a day workshop. One student even embroidered the whole outfit, which looked truly beautiful and really effective.

 


Cloth dolls take quite a while to make especially if they are sewn together by hand. In this case my design is and will be in the workshops I run. It is a surprisingly fun and relaxing craft which leaves you with a satisfied feeling to create your own little art doll.
I have ran a Frida Kahlo inspired doll workshop and had some wonderful finished results by the students.

 

I chose this artist as a focus because her style is so inspiring and helps with design creativity. I would definitely like to do another workshop around this theme in the near future.
I have created an art doll which is also intended to be a Christmas decoration. This is achieved by the stiff fabric used so the doll stands up.

 


I will be running two Saturday workshops over the next few months. One will be based in Birmingham during November and the 2nd will be based in my studio in Derby so spaces are limited so booking will be advised.
Promotional material to follow in the next few weeks.

Art tuition

 

 

I have always enjoyed art and craft work and I have worked with a wide age range for many years. I have always found the way they learn to be interesting and fascinating. I have worked with children in a school setting and also for leisure activities so I feel my involvement and experience is wide ranging. My work is not only limited to children I also have knowledge and skills to work with specialist groups such as adults with learning disabilities. This has made me aware that there are barriers to how people can learn and consequently I have learnt to adapt my lesson/activities to meet the needs of the individual.

My background is in art, I completed an art degree specialising in illustration at Derby University. This has given me knowledge and techniques/skills which I can facilitate to others. I take my continual professional development very seriously and I have therefore attended informal and formal training days and courses post qualification. These include courses in first aid, life drawing skills, tailoring, printmaking techniques and puppetry. This has encouraged me to develop a wide range of activities and lesson plans. I have and continue to attend several formal and informal training days as part of my CPD.

The following is a case study from a previous student who attended weekly one to one sessions. During 4 years we worked on different craft projects usually initiated by the student herself. I have worked around their limited fine motor skills and as their confidence has grown  hand muscles strengthened and with my encouragement is now able to pick up smaller objects such as beads because their dexterity has greatly improved. This is important to them socially and I developed a strong rapport with them, which has added an extra dimension to their everyday life. This experience has taught me to consider how everyone has different abilities and a well-planned lesson has to take account of individual capabilities. Pictured below are examples of projects developed over time many were given as gifts.

 

I believe in preparation and always like to have examples of my own work to inspire my students. As a dyslexic I believe it is important to engage learners through all the senses. My exemplars are a visual way to draw children into the activity to inspire them with ideas. I am passionate about creativity and I am always inventing new ideas for drawing games which serve as great icebreakers or warm up activities during lessons.

 

Art classes for children include topics on traditional art techniques, painting, colour mixing, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. I believe it is important to learn the foundations of art. Craft and freedom to be creative is also highly important so craft activities are often used.

I am excited to begin art classes in my studio in banks mill. After running regular art clubs in Birmingham and then again for two years when I moved to derby the 2 year break since having my baby has felt too long.

kidsartclass poster copy (1)

art trail

I am taking part in my first event since having a child. I will be selling works old and new at six streets art trail in derby.

Old work will be sold at a huge mark down in price. I have had boxes full of prints ranging from etchings, collography and monoprints.

 

These Original pieces of art have been gathering dust for too long and I would like them to go to good homes.
New work will be from my brand petite house of dolls and will consist of art dolls, badges, stickers, greeting cards, broaches and hair slides.

 

 


I have been working hard to sculpt models to display these dolls. I plan to create a few more for future events but I would like to make them to a high standard so will take my time.

 


This event takes place across 6 streets just off Kedleston road in derby. Houses along these streets will be opening their homes and hosting artists work.
I will be located in the primary school which is situated in this area.

February, I’m in love

 

I may be loved up and happy but not with February, I am looking forward to racing through the next month towards spring.

 

The first few months of the year are never my favourite mostly due to the colder weather and short days. Although the days are slowly getting longer and there are signs of spring with colourful flowers popping up to say hello, No doubt a cold snap will try it’s best to kill them off though.

 

I have been keeping busy with the more craft related projects recently. I desperately want to continue drawing and churning out imagery for my story but have developed quite the literal neck ache. Giving the studio a spring clean and setting up a proper area with an easel of sorts will help and support a more effective posture ready for completion of the rag doll fairytale story.

 

For now though I have gone off on quite a tangent with an idea I have had in my head since the start of my rag doll project. I have painstakingly painted, designed, hand and machine sewn a ‘real life’ version of one of the characters from the story. I describe it in this way because I did not realise how much work the outfit would take to create. Sewing tiny clothes is far harder than I thought!

 

 

I am pleased with the outcome though and think I did a good job of sourcing bits of fabric scraps from my storage to remain complimentary to the original illustration.

 

Wings can be made at a later date along with more characters and creatures in this style. I will need to draw more of the story before this idea can be explored further.

 

My sister’s birthday has been, celebrated and gone but I brought this book from a charity shop before Christmas with the intention of making it into a clutch.

 

clutch1

 

I don’t usually enjoy doing crafts on my own, I think I will but it may be because a lot of the exemplars I need to create are craft related so I prefer to draw in any spare time I get. I find ‘Crafting’ is usually always more interesting when done with someone else or in a workshop setting.

 

I discovered many online tutorials on how to make one so I took inspiration from a few and developed my own, somewhat messy, version.

 

A few paper cuts later I had paper mached and super glued my way to something I was thankful to have finished. I hope my sister will like it even though there is pretty much only room for a lipstick and phone, but what else do you actually need in your bag!? #firstworldproblems

 

 

My partner in creative ‘crime’ has been colouring my art nouveau updated images beautifully, I am so excited to see them all completed and perhaps will draw more.

 

 

We are thinking of created enough to exhibit. When, will be decided once we discover the right location to host the exhibition.

 

March is just around the corner which means lots of exciting projects happening. I am really looking forward to Derby’s international women’s day festival which I am always happy to be involved in, so watch this space.

 

 

 

 

New Year

I won the bronze award for my entry into eco creates exhibition Time and tide waits for no man with my entry ‘tide and tide waits for no one’, this kicked off a great start to what has already been a busy creative year for me.

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‘This is a metaphorical Illustrative textile piece. I chose to use a mix of embroidery, machine sewing and appliqué to ‘colour in’ with a small amount of fabric painting added for good measure. Pictured is a female dressed in her wellies, rain coat and mittens, she represents human kind, and struggles to hold onto a clock ‘umbrella’ with ocean waves crashing down upon the top. The umbrella is decorated to look like a clock which depicts time and that it is running out. A gold, slightly wonky, umbrella handle that she is clinging to signifies those of us who are trying to prevent the inevitable. Admittedly a future that won’t necessarily happen for hundreds of years yet. After all though shouldn’t we begin to realise that eventually mother nature (the tide) will do as she wishes. As the theme of the exhibition suggests ‘Time and tide’, really wont, wait for no man or indeed woman’.

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My aim for this year is to have a clear out of unsold art work I have stored for years now cluttering the corner of my studio. I can’t keep hoarding them any more so I am having a 60% reduction off the original price which will run until the end of February, I am hoping at least this way, my work can go to new home where they will be out on display and seen.

Follow this link https://en-gb.facebook.com/ElizabethBladesArtist/ to my facebook page to grab a bargain and own some hand printed art that is worth so much more than what you will be paying for it.

This January saw the start of my new venture, life drawing evening classes. The classes are in such a beautiful space, with chic and inspiring surroundings at the Smallprint Co http://www.smallprintcompany.co.uk/

I am keen to see if this will grow in terms of attendance numbers but for now at least I will wait and see what happens.

I found time over the festive period to work on my art nouveau collaboration project, here is a sneak peak at some of the drawings awaiting colour.

My ragdoll panel imagery is slow in progress but still coming along nicely. I will have to stop myself from posting too many of these so I don’t give the whole story away. It is still early days yet but I am rediscovering my love for just drawing in pencil, atmosphere and tone is so fun to create and perfect for setting the mood.

I have begun to experiment with a new medium for an exciting job opportunity I gained just before the end of last year. Mosaic will be a technique I am determined to master.

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I will be running a series of mosaic workshops in schools throughout the first few months of the year so I have created this exemplar because I teach better when I have visual aids. The mosaic’s the children will produce will be large mural size intended to adorn the school walls.

I have many more exciting projects planned over the coming months and I am looking forward to documenting it here in my blog.

Handmade December

This is the first winter I have properly settled into a place I now call home and I am ready to celebrate the end of this year and took toward the next.

I have been busy making my own decorations. Bunting and garlands are quick and easy when skipping the sewing machine and reaching for the glue gun.

I am especially pleased with the garland crafted from last years Christmas cards. This did actually take ages to make though and I started it a few months back, left it, and kept doing little bits of it right up until this picture.

At least I have these to reuse every year though right!? This is what I keep telling myself, I must remember to wrap them around a spool once the festive period is out the way and not toss them into a bag to be stuffed into the attic.

My skills with paper mache decorations are never as good as what I think up in my mind. A little gingerbread house I did a few years ago is still standing strong though.

gingerbread-house

The poor excuse of a twig tree needs lots of work, on reflection, wire should have been used from the start but time was limited and it appears to hold these tree ornaments okay. For now.

tree

A festive fabric printing workshop I ran last month resulted in the perfect reason to create my own Christmas day dinner table runner and place matt’s for exemplars.

table-runner

One of my favourite new Christmas ornament’s is this mini empowerment doll gifted to me by fellow artist Rita Kappia  https://twitter.com/ritathedolllady

mini-spoon

One of my last commissions of the year was to illustrate and design the Instruction kit for this doll.

It was such a fun doll to draw too!

Amongst all the excitement and relaxation this holiday will no doubtingly bring I will continue to draft imagery for my rag doll Fairytale. I will endeavour to make 2017 the year that this book comes to life.

ragdoll-tree-angel

I am feeling proud that I have successfully kept a monthly blog over the course of 2016. It has helped me develop my writing skills and as a working artist in documenting my progress. I hope to continue this process throughout the on coming year.

I am pleased to announce lots of new projects are planned for 2017, so watch this space.

Merry Christmas!

Jazz Age inspiration & Art Nouveau updated

During November I celebrate my birthday and past years I have never really enjoyed myself, for many different reasons which are not of importance right now. This year I and my partner really needed a break and so a planned short trip to London had been arranged.

There are always many exhibitions I want to see in London and sadly miss, especially if the timing is not right and I do not have any free time for a journey to the capital.

This trip really would be a quick visit though so we did not have much time to see a whole lot. I decided on the fashion and textile museum’s1920’s Jazz Age fashion & photographs exhibit. This seemed an ideal theme for my recent interest and obsession with this era’s style.

jazz-age

The museum is fairly easy to find from the London Bridge tube stop. Interestingly though we stumbled upon a building on our way which is painted in the exact same colours as the museum which confused us somewhat.

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The museum inside is quite small so dedicates its whole space to each display. It is Lovely and spacious to walk round and for exploring the delights presented. These 1920’s delights did not disappoint either. I took a few photo’s of dresses with fabrics and designs that appeal to my style the most. In fact the gold looking velvet garment looks very similar to an outfit I already own.

A gallery gift shop is always a must for me to, more often than not, purchase postcards which I add to my growing collection.

This time, because in a birthday treat buying mood a small pack of Fashionary mini sketchbooks found their way onto my person.

These sketchbooks are pretty helpful for the budding fashion designer and would make a great gift for a student I imagine. Each page has a template with a very handy textile dictionary and measurement end pages.

fashionista-book

I can highly recommend a stop in their cafe too, I follow a gluten free diet so had been happy to discover a few cake treats I could actually eat.

A stroll through China town, for dim sum and baked goods followed by the Lion king (a musical I had wanted to see for years) marked the perfect evening and rounded off the days activities nicely.

A sketchbook touring exhibition opportunity (www.sketchopen.co.uk) has fired my passion to get creating and produce a completed sketchbook/journal.

I am, sadly, not the type of artist to keep sketchbooks other than during my college student days. Most of my work is drawn on loose paper and filed into folders.

The mini fashionary sketchbook is an ideal size for me to realistically complete one to a standard I will, hopefully, be content with when submitting to meet the deadline (28th feb 2017)

So onto another daily drawing challenge I go. Follow my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elizabethblades/ to keep updated on my #18daysoffashionillustration.

Inspired by inktober I have thought up 18 prompts/themes with suggested mediums which I will endeavour to keep too.

challenge

I have begun a drawing project, on a topic which I have wanted to explore through my art for a while and have not found time due to a full year of planning and teaching workshops.

I am making time now using Christmas as a perfect excuse to create some beautiful gifts. I have always adored art nouveau and the strong style which artists such as Mucha adopted as his technique.

The general white washing, to put it bluntly now, in everything from Hollywood films to children’s illustrated books is something that is far from representative of today’s society. I find this trend boring and think changes are desperately needed, especially considering the political year the west has had.

Notably when looking through past art nouveau designs they are always depicting females who are European in appearance and largely fair haired.

If you have read any of my previous blog posts you will already know I have a very mixed heritage including white and brown nationalities. I don’t relate to a typical blond and or blue eyed female, so why should I only draw them. I am also wondering why do we tend to draw face’s that are not too different from our reflection? At least that is what I had been doing. Only really having reference from life model’s, magazine’s and other publications which are most of the time prominently European looking faces. I think this is very limiting and is another way for us to not further progress as a society.

I am also an artist who is fascinated with faces, a variety of beautiful shapes and structures. Beginning with a design for my partners mum, who is a Kenyan Goan, My composition incorporates a lions head, Lupita Nyong’o (a Kenyan actress) and vine leaves which are typically seen in art nouveau pieces.

kenya

I still don’t have as much free time on this project as desired so I have joined up with my very talented, and if I am honest more skilled colourist, partner who lives and works as an artist too.

He and I will work together I will design and do the line work, he will paint and add the colours.

I have a few unfinished illustrations that will develop over time, pictured are snippets from my previously mentioned loose papered ‘sketchbooks’.

art-nouveau

I am feeling very inspired by imagery and patterns from this style of art So I am integrating art nouveau arrangements with the feminist symbol.

I am teaming up with International Women’s Day derby festival committee to lend my creative hand to an exhibition they are creating for the festival day in March 2017.

These symbols I have designed will, hopefully, be coloured in an array of methods and names will be written across the fists.

The IWD derby team have been researching and discovering women from derby’s Herstory archive to collate a time line and I am volunteering to help transform the findings into an exhibition.

2016 so far

At the very beginning of the year I took part in a group exhibition, Fairy tales, myths and legends. Organised and curated by Eco-create. They are a fantastic online marketplace who source eco-friendly handmade gifts from UK artisans.
My entry ‘How does your garden grow’ won a Gold award that is a beautifully made up-cycled trophy which sits proudly above the fire place.

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As you can see from the picture I was amazed, surprised and so very happy to receive this accolade at the Exhibition preview.
Eco-create also interviewed me to find out more about my work and what I do http://www.eco-create.co.uk/find/meet-our-gold-award-winner-elizabeth-blades/
2016 brings the start of a new self-employed venture. My partner, Brendan McDowell and I are now running a day time art class aimed at home schooled children. This is following on from a successful after school art class we started just before Christmas.
I also managed to squeeze in time to work on my own art inspired by our cat Penny. She went missing for, possibly, the worst 24 hours of our lives. (Yes we are both incredibly dramatic and our imaginations ran wild as to what could of happened to her)
When she did return, I sourced inspiration from the adventure I dreamed she may have had. Going back to my roots of Illustration and for the joy of drawing intricate and detailed pictures I produced a series of images.

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I am still undecided on the title of this story, perhaps it will be called ‘the queen of lost things’.
Another exciting venture I will be working on this year is a rag-doll project.

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More details on this coming soon, so watch this space!