Thursday, 1 August 2013

Buy some pretty things and help save lives

Hey everyone, how've you been?

I wanted to write a quick blog, to tell you all about August being S.M.A Awareness month. This is a medical condition, that's extremely close to my heart as I am infact, a sufferer of it. 

SMA stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy 
SMA is a devastating, genetic disease. It is a leading genetic killer of infants and toddlers, with 50% of the most severely diagnosed cases resulting in death by the age of two. Children with a less severe form of SMA face the prospect of progressive muscle wasting, loss of mobility and motor function. But their minds are unaffected resulting in bright, intelligent children with varying degrees of physical impairment.
  • SMA is currently incurable and often fatal
  • 1 in every 6,000 births is affected by SMA
  • 1 in every 40 people is a carrier of the defective gene that causes SMA
  • the child of two carriers has a one in four chance of developing SMA
  • SMA affects motor neurons in the spinal cord. This results in muscular weakness, leading to severe disability and the possibility of premature death
SMA is currently incurable 

And so, in my own special way I'd like to raise my own form of awareness, and am offering you a very special deal. I pledge, to make a 10% donation of my total sales of all products and commissions successfully made during the entire month of August 2013! That's a whole 31 days of donations, which you can help with! My donation will go to The Jennifer Trust, supporting families with S.M.A and funding for research.

Simply visit my Etsy store, and spend a few pennies for some handmade fancies.

And it doesn't stop there. The rest of the money made through sales and commissions during August will solely be funding my very first independent children's book, starring a character that has their own medical condition. 

It truly pains me that almost all of the 'disability' books on the market are so prescribed by publishers as to how they think society should perceive a child with a disability. The books are overly politically correct and have a very basic story of 'disability is ok', whereas what I plan to do is create a story that doesn't touch on the struggles of being in a wheelchair but simply a care-free, exciting and imaginative story of what you can become! I'm trying to show that there's no need to mention the disability at all, as the character is complete as it is and isn't any different than any other character, the chair does not define who he or she is. This has always been my approach to life and I think its an extremely positive one, which is often the response of many of the parents I talk with to support their families with children with S.M.A.

So if you can help me raise a bit of cash for S.M.A Awareness month then please do, and if there isn't anything you fancy in my shop then you can commission me to create anything, from a pencil scribble to a complete work of art!

Thank you!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Time out from The Phlunk

I've had a week with an amazing friend who makes me silly excited, we baked we crafted, we laughed 'till our eyes dribbled.

Friday, 22 March 2013

When life gives you lemons...

SO sorry for my lack of communication.

Life is handing out a lot of lemons lately, I'll be back on track with exciting news soon enough. x

Monday, 11 March 2013

A very happy little Phlunkette!

Here we have a photo of very happy Courtney Horne sent in by her Mum, enjoying her copy of The Phlunk!

If you love the Phlunk then I'd love to see you photos! Send them to me at and I will feature them to help spread the Phlunk love :)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

World Book Day 2013!

Happy World Book Day everybody!

Today we celebrate in style, and whilst David should probably be on his way to work, here we are as Batman and Max!

Friday, 1 March 2013

A Worldwide Symphony

Hey there! Time for another update :)

So the news is, I'm very close to finishing my second children's book with the fabulous singer songwriter Lou Rhodes! Its called "The Phlunk's Worldwide Symphony" and follows on from our first book, "The Phlunk". Set to be released on the 20th of September, this is looking to be a really exciting book for a worldwide audience!

It was such a challenge for me as I am the least musically minding person since the history of time, but I've really enjoyed the process and development of this project, more than any other for a long time.

When working with an author, its always an interesting path to find their vision of their story, and The Worldwide Symphony took a good long while in order for us to be on the same page. As an Illustrator I think you'll understand how complex it can be to illustrate what others see, rather than how you'd like it to be. These discussions have led to so much growth and new design processes which I wouldn't have found without it.

Children have never really been my absolute strongest point, often looking much older than they should be, so I was really thrown in at the deep end in this book. With many different ethnicities, hair styles, traditional dress and also musical poses, I began to stretch my skills and fine tune my confidence in illustrating children. Below is the original artworks for how I wanted the characters to look in the book, sadly they didn't make the cut but I hope they enjoy their small moment of fame right here!

After some time pondering and a plentiful amount of tea, (and in actual fact, a good half a sketchbook later!) I was able to develop a style than still resembled my work, but was also suitable for the authors brief in very simplistic (almost stick like) characters. As you can appreciate, there is only so far you can simplify characters in a picture book!

Above is a final page from The Phlunk's Worldwide Symphony, and you can see how far the style developed just in one book! Hopefully you'll agree that it still captures the essence of my digital collage style, but still remains fairly simplistic.

Watch this space for more updates on The Worldwide Symphony, and you can now order a copy of The Phlunk in paperback! Happy Phlunking :)

Monday, 25 February 2013

Time to get the paintbrushes out again

So recently I've had a fair amount of work on with children's book work, and also a few commissions. This small canvas below always seems to attract an interest when people contact me, and I jumped at the chance to do another one to break the continuity of drawing musical instruments and cat-like aliens!

"There's No Place Like Home" Brixham, 30cm x 30cm canvas in 2009

I received the commission to paint Teignmouth seafront, which is a beautiful part of Devon, and only 15 minutes from my front door. Also, since the canvas was to be sent to New Zealand, I needed to split it across 4 smaller canvas' to be mounted separately. 

I can't claim to be a fine artist in any stretch of the imagination, but I thoroughly enjoyed putting my small stamp on this painting. Its definitely got my mind into thinking about creating scenery and different types of work with my decoupage/digital collage style. 

Sorry about the poor quality photo, it was taken on my phone late into the evening! 

And here are the individual splits!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Illustrated moments

Its so great when I see Illustration and animation used in such a delicate form on a completely massive advertising campaign. Its about time that femininity and textural collages are able to step outside their children's paperbacks and brave the big wind world of commercial form too. Gone are the days where it is refined to folky illustrated one offs or highstreet Tshirts for preteens, and its awesome.

And so you can image how excited I was when I saw the absolutely, mind blowingly beautiful advert for the Linda Mccartney Foods on the TV. Feast your eyes on these screenshots and enjoy the clip below, I hope these guys know that they make my day every time I see it!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

International Book Giving Day

I'm giving a signed copy of The Phlunk to Little Bridge House, Children's Hospice South West! They're a wonderful charity which have helped me and thousands of others.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sometimes I make cakes too!

And so while I'm busy working very hard on my second children's book to be published by Strata Books (all shall be revealed!!), I thought I'd let you take a sneak peak at my second biggest passion..... cakes!

Baking AND eating them, of course!

Every body loves the Toy Story aliens! Made for my Dads birthday, and they were apple & cinnamon flavour.

Here was a 30cm Hen night cake with hand-dyed and handmade flowers, which only just fit inside my oven!

Here is my three tier blueberry, vanilla and beetroot cake for the Queens Jubilee celebration.
It was a little over the top and really was best to eat the layers separately but it was all good fun!

This cake was for my boyfriends 24th pirate themed surprise party, so of course I made a Kraken!

My Zerg cake from Starcraft II went down a treat at work for my boyfriends birthday, with a star shaped sparkler to boot!
I hope these might have inspired you to get creative in your kitchen! 
If I can do it so can you, so get baking!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Phlunk all around the place

Time for an actual blog update!
Its been a very long time and lots of very exciting things are happening at the moment!

Tell me, you've already bought your very own copy of 'The Phlunk' written by Lou Rhodes?
YOU HAVEN'T!? Well why ever not?! I illustrated it, silly heads! Its a lovely children's book about a cat-like alien that hears all you say and do, and you can buy a signed copy, right here right now, via my website! Its also in your local Waterstones, so pop in and ask a lovely staff member to order one into store especially for you. 

You can also find it over at Amazon, but stop them killing independent bookshops by buying locally and support Illustrators and writers!

The book has been received really well with all of the reviews that we have had so far, with parents and guardians often being unsure of it but their children loving it! I'll link up some of the reviews from lovely bloggers and book reviewers just below, so you should definitely read and follow these people for more great reviews!

Fancy writing one of your own? Contact me about it!

Being Little wrote some sweet words.
Read It Daddy gave his honest opinion.
The Book Sniffer gave a wag of its tail.
MG decided it was her book of the week.
The Book Bag took the words right out of my mouth.
Chicken and Frog are now happy stockists.

And I'll end on that note, with a love tree that was commissioned not so long ago.

Keep Phlunking! x

Friday, 11 January 2013

Happy 2013, here's some dogs!

I really must write a proper blog post soon and update you, but for now, have some hounds!

Come over to Twitter and follow my every move at @ToriDraws xx