Clare Willcocks

Clare Willcocks: December 2014

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Walking in South Devon: Kingston on the South West Coast Path

Hope you've all had a fantastic Christmas, we've made it out the other side!

We've had a lovely few days with family and friends; eating too much, drinking too much and playing a whole year's worth of games!

Today I definitely needed to get a bit of fresh air so I went for a walk in the South Hams with Mum and Dad. I know that a lot of places have had snow, but down here in Devon it's been a beautiful crisp sunny day - not a snowflake in sight!

This is a map of our route, the only thing I've sketched all week.

Our walk started in a little village called Kingston near the River Erme, not far from Bigbury-on-sea. From the village we walked down across fields and through woodland to the Erme estuary where there were beautiful views over the river valley and out to sea.

The track led down to Wonwell beach before climbing up along the South West Coast Path.

The views more than made up for the ups and downs along the undulating cliff top path!

Just before we turned inland, the path went very steeply downwards to Westcombe beach. There's me, hanging on!

From there, a very muddy path followed a little stream and series of ponds all the way back to the village.

We're all going to sleep well tonight after that!

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Sunday, 21 December 2014

New papercutting templates in the pipeline!

I finished my map of the Thames this week! It's all scanned and ready to be printed in a guide for Le Boat in the new year. I can't show you the finished map yet as I painted it in two parts and it's scanned in sections to be knitted together and labelled by their graphic designer. I can't wait to see it all in one piece and will share it with you as soon as I can!

New papercutting templates

This weekend, in between Christmassy bits and bobs and a celebratory dinner for Sam's mum's birthday, I've been working on a new set of paper cut templates to sell in January. I've designed four wedding card templates which will all be sold together.

This is the first one which I cut out today.

I'm going to save all of the originals as I have a few friends and family getting married next year. I hope they don't read my blog in the meantime else they won't be very surprised!

A recent commission

As I don't have much new work to share with you today, I thought I'd show you this paper cut which I was commissioned to do by my Aunty for my cousin's girlfriend. It contains lots of little bits and bobs which represent her and their family.

It's been a while since I've done a paper cut like this so I'm looking forward to hopefully doing some more next year.

My favourite bits of this one are the teapots and the bumblebees - both things which I'm very fond of!

Elf on the Shelf

I have had an extra responsibility this weekend too. I had to look after the work elf, Derek. He's an 'elf on the shelf', which, if you don't know, is Father Christmas' helper who has been sent to keep an eye on children's behaviour in the run up to Christmas. He's not particularly well-behaved himself though, and gets up to all sorts of mischief during the night!

Anyway, on Saturday he came with me to Living Coasts in Torquay where he tried to make friends with the penguins but unfortunately, his efforts weren't really reciprocated. In fact, the penguins were downright mean!

 I love the way Derek appears to be looking at them out of the corner of his eye!

Luckily, he was rescued before they could do any lasting damage!

Thank you

I found out this week that my blog has unfortunately not been shortlisted in the National UK Blog Awards but I just want to say thank you to everyone who voted. I was very touched by all your support and will be entering again next year!

Happy Christmas!

Finally, I wish you all a very merry Christmas filled with lots of love, laughter, mince pies and cheesy Christmas classics!

I'm sharing this post on Blue Chair Diary Illustrations!

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Eight hours non-stop...

That's how long I've been working on the Thames map today for Le Boat, and while I may have a headache, sleepy eyes and stiff neck, it's been a very satisfying day!

The whole painting process has taken a lot longer than I anticipated because of all the tiny details. Just painting the trees took about four and a half hours in total. I've painted them two different colours of green for a bit of variety.

I don't want to give away too much now because I'm so near finishing. I want to wait until I can show it all - there's nothing like a bit of suspense! Here are just a few little snippets to keep you guessing!

This little piggy and his friends at Odd's Farm Park are one of my favourite parts of the illustration.

I'm sorry about the blurry photos, I only realised when I got them onto the computer that they hadn't come out sharply.

I've spent the last couple of hours colouring in shadows with pencil. It's a tedious process but I really like the 3D effect it gives the painting.

These two attractions are Mercedes Benz World and the Brooklands Museum. In reality they don't have a car and concorde on top, but a little creative license never hurt anyone!

The Eden Walk shopping centre is probably one of the more 'boring' buildings on the map, but strangely it's one of my favourites! Something to do with the little windows and straight lines.

Finally, this is a section of the Thames just after Windsor. The little yellow boat is one of the Runnymede Hotel's 'HotTugs' which sounds like a lot of fun!

As well as painting the map, which is taking up every spare hour that I'm not at my 'real' job, I've had a really great week! A couple of girls from work and I went to volunteer at the Blue Cross in Tiverton where we painted the dogs' lounge and went out for a walk with a some of the dogs. These two are Penelope (top) and Brooke.

Our painting left much to be desired and needs another coat, but fortunately there's another group of volunteers going in this week to finish up!

Some of the animals there have had a really hard time of it, so it's lovely to know that they are now being well looked after and have chance to be rehomed and receive all the love they deserve. The staff and volunteers at the Blue Cross centre do an excellent job of assessing their behaviour, addressing any problems and generally making them healthy, happy animals. If you're looking for a dog or cat, then I'd really recommend you try them. 

As if that weren't enough excitement for one week, we had our work Christmas party on Friday which kicked off the festive celebrations in style!

Have a great week peeps! With a bit of luck I may have a finished map to show you next Sunday!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Paint Party Friday and Blue Chair Diary Illustrations!

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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Painting the rooftops

It's going to be an ultra speedy post this week as I'm right in the middle of painting trees on the Thames map!

Here's a little peek of how the colours are going on so far. The green was by far the hardest, because to get a smooth colour with watercolour you can't let it dry in the middle when you're painting a large section. I had to work steadily from one side of the map to the other, painting around each obstacle as I went.

illustrated map of the thames

It took a solid five hours to paint all the green! Tonight I've been working on the red rooftops of the houses.

Last week we were in Cornwall and in the evenings it was lovely to relax and doodle something which didn't require any thought. I created a mandala which I shared in my last post, and since then have drawn another one in biro.

mandala doodle

This time I used a compass to draw the rings and sketched out spokes underneath to give it a more symmetrical structure. You can just about see them in this photo.

mandala doodle

I like the biro as it's possible to achieve different tones, but I think I prefer solid ink lines, like the very first one I did below.

mandala doodle

I did this one completely freehand, starting in the middle and working outwards by eye, hence why the spacing is a little dodgy in places!

Finally I'll leave you with these photos from Newquay Zoo which we visited on Friday on our way back up from Cornwall.

These capybaras are actually a lot bigger than they look in the photo!

capybara Newquay Zoo

The zoo was really quiet and most of the animals were snuggled up inside - who can blame them really! These mongooses (mongeese?) were very inquisitive though and came out of their little hut to observe us watching them!

mongoose Newquay zoo

I remember the red panda's at Paignton Zoo being very elusive one time we went, but this little guy just sat around while I took his photo.

red panda Newquay Zoo

Last but not least, these were my favourite little critters of the day; the otters. They were playing tug of war with their straw bedding in their little hut, tumbling and squeaking. Then they went outside for a swim!

otters Newquay Zoo

Thank you to all of you who voted for my blog in the UK Blog Awards, voting is now closed and you will be the first to know when I hear anything!

Today I'm linking up at Handmade Harbour and Paint Party Friday.

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