Thursday, 25 September 2014

Autumnal characters and Old Artwork

Autumn marks the end of summer and out with the old fading flowers and greenery and in with the rich coloured, falling leaves and berries. It also marks a transition for me as an artist as I will be entering the real, face to face art world rather than sitting in my little tower painting away.  I am sat facing some beautiful white berries hanging over from my neighbour's garden.  I wonder what they are?

I have been looking through all my old work and having a big sort out.... An autumnal clean.

It's very strange to look at old work as it triggers a variety of emotions... mainly OMG!!!! Did I really paint like that? I have obviously developed my style as I used to be a lot more looser with big paint strokes and I had the goggly one eye bigger than the other stage. 

Old painted artwork alongside new sketches
Looking through I found lots of old character ideas that I never fully developed and my mind has been filled with more ideas.  I definitely need a big board in my studio to organise this mind of mine as it never stops these days!   I would love one of them magnetic glass ones which you can write on too :-) I have found some great board organisers on Pinterest so I might actually make one!
I found these little gems I had painted (above) and decided to do some new and improved characters based on my old idea.

Ready to be painted!!! Check out the chewed pencil and eraser courtesy of Alice the chihuahua!
So as I am sat here on a bleak, drizzly day with a brewing cold I decided to brighten up my day and upcycle some old characters and there is a picture book magically forming in my head with cute characters set in an autumnal scene of rich colours.  The little characters are based on the natural forms of plants and already have names.

I'm looking forward to painting the little cuties this afternoon!

Happy Autumn to you all

Friday, 22 August 2014


A big congratulations to all of you who have passed your exams.
All your hard work has paid off!
Heres to a bright future ahead of you!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Make it in Design School - Tribal Pattern

I have been an avid fan of all things to do with surface pattern for along time and been following many artists and illustrators on blogs such as Print and Pattern and Rachel Taylor's The Art and Business of Surface Pattern.  For a while now I have fancied participating in a course but have been too busy with other commission to do so.

I have had a go at making patterns in Photoshop with the help of tutorials and YouTube so I decided to bite the bullet and signed up for the Make It In Design - Summer School.  It's been such a lovely feeling being part of this creative community and I love how everyone's designs I have seen are so different from each others.  

I missed the first tropical brief but I have just submitted my entry for the beginners second brief: Tribal.
I decided to base it around the tribal warriors and african symbols and keep it child-like rather than being more abstract and geometric.  I have used a few of my animal characters before to create a simplistic pattern so as I only started the design yesterday I decided to do something similar.  I created a couple of warrior children and used flowers and their love of white dotted face makeup as my inspiration.  I then incorporated the symbols meaning: abundance and greatness as the flower-like and radial symbols worked well with the dotty face paint.

African Symbols

I felt a bit nervous submitting my final design as I know it's not a seamless pattern and a bit random but in the end I just thought it's something slightly different to what I usually do and I feel quite proud I managed to get it done really quickly. I am going to develop the design further and make some cushion and bedding mock ups.

Work in Progress
My final submission - Little Warrior

I am so glad I have participated in this brief and look forward to the third one.  I will definitely participate in more online courses and community-based projects now I have dipped my toe into the water.  I fancy trying out Mail Me Art, The Draw and Cook and 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Inspiration - Design Seeds

As I was looking for some new blogs to add to my list I cam across a beautiful yet simple blog that I know will be a great inspiration for me.  The blog is called Design Seeds created by designer Jessica Colaluca.  She posts colour palettes and combinations based on photographs of every day life.   Jessica's gorgeous photographs are works of art and I will definitely be using her colour combinations as a starting point for my illustrations.  As an illustrator I tend to get comfortable using the same colour combos so it will be great to step away from my colourful security blanket.

I will let you know how I get on and post again with a finished piece relating to one of Design Seed's palettes.

Photo created by Jessica Colaluca
A big thank you to Jessica for creating such an inspirational blog

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Zen and Bodhi's Snowy Day - Available to Pre-order

Screenshot of the front cover

Thought I would share my exciting news that "Zen and Bodhi's Snowy Day" will be published on 18th November.  It will be my first book as Sarah Jane Hinder :-)  I feel very fortunate to have worked with the talented author Gina Bates Brown and Wisdom Publications.

Gina is also a yoga teacher and meditation coach and I knew we made a great pairing as I too have a passion for yoga and practice meditation although my mind still tends to wander... a lot! My mind is full of creative ideas and any moment of stillness and quiet encourages my thought  process.

Here is the description for Zen and Bodhi's Snowy day:

"Cuddle up with this playful, warm tale of discovery and winter wonder that will introduce mindfulness and delight your children.

Zen and Bodhi are two koala bears on a snowy day, out to learn about the world. Where does snow come from? Where does wind go?
Lively verses are full of mischievous fun as Zen and Bodhi explore their world; rhythm and rhyme introduce the concept of impermanence to the very young in this magical, cozy bedtime story. The two koalas sniff, taste, hear, feel, and see, exploring their senses and the world around them. Gorgeous illustrations capture the wide-eyed awe of children in snowfall in vibrant color."
Page Layout (without text)

I loved creating the little koala characters and always feel that snow and snowflakes look quite magical in illustrations.  I hope Zen and Bodhi are enjoyed by the children reading this book as much as I enjoyed creating them!

Crossing fingers there will be chance to work on another Zen and Bodhi story in the near future :-)

Friday, 6 June 2014

Seven Stories

I have been wanting to visit the Seven Stories - national centre for children's books in Newcastle for ages and I was lucky to be taken to see it on my last visit to see my cousins, Jane and James.

It was everything and more.  The exhibitions were like stepping into your favourite children's books and made me feel like a kid again. I even had a go a being Alice, Little Red Riding Hood and Mr Fox! It was so inspiring to see authors and illustrator's work up close and personal and I loved seeing all the sketchbooks and work in progress.

Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers

 It was great to see all the children reading the books and becoming interactive with the characters, dressing up and discovering new worlds of fancy.  One minute you are going through a rabbit hole and the next you are transformed into a borrower sitting on a giant cotton reel.

Shaun Tan - The Lost Thing

Dummy Book - Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake
Axel Scheffler

The Borrowers

Love mustard!!!

Quentin Blake

Lauren Child

So many dummy books!
As always I had to go into the attached bookstore and was so happy and excited to see the book I illustrated The Three little Pigs for Ladybird Books.  I have never seen it in any bookstore before so it made my day!

My book in the Seven Stories Bookstore

       Seven Stories is so inspirational for both adults and children and I would highly recommend it!!!