Clare Willcocks

Clare Willcocks

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Wedding card paper cutting templates

Today's post comes to you from a brand spanking new, bright pink laptop! I've had my old one for seven years and have suffered its slowness for far too long, so the beginning of a new year seemed like the perfect time to treat myself to a new one. It should make things like designing paper cutting templates a lot quicker and easier.

Speaking of which, a while ago I designed some paper cut wedding card templates but have only just finished cutting them all out. I decided that I wanted to package them up as a bundle of four templates, as the Christmas bauble designs which I sold on Etsy seemed popular as a set.

I have finally finished listing them in my Etsy shop, which, what with taking photos, writing a description and filling in the rest of the details, actually takes quite a long time! If you fancy having a go at your own wedding papercuts, please show me how you get on as I love to see how the templates are used.

The program I use to design all of my paper cutting templates is Inkscape. It's free to download but does take a bit of practice to get your head around how to use it!

I haven't really played around with infills before, but with this flowery heart template I thought it would be a good opportunity to give it a go. The result is very pretty, but I'm not sure I have the patience for too many infills!

In other news, if you read my blog last week you'll know that one of my New Year's resolutions was to get my ears pierced a second time. Well, I decided that it was now or never, so I went to Claire's accessories in Barnstaple on Saturday and got them done. I can't remember the first time I got my ears pierced so I wasn't sure how much pain to expect, but it didn't hurt much at all! I'm now really looking forward to all the earring combos I can try (very sad, I know!). This is a little watercolour sketch to remember this momentous occasion! I'm sharing this one for Paint Party Friday.

One of my other New Year's Resolutions was to draw a miniature portrait each week, so number two is Stephen Fry, who, as you've probably heard, got engaged to his partner this week. For those of you who aren't from the UK, Stephen Fry is a comedian and presenter, and a very intelligent man.

I've also been busy making some slippers this weekend from an old jumper, but I think I'll save that story for another day.

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

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Sunday, 4 January 2015

My New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone, here's to a fantastic 2015!

I don't normally make New Year's resolutions, mainly because I never have any ideas, but this year there are a few things which I hope to do and achieve in 2015.

To give me more motivation to succeed, I've written them out, or rather painted them out, in the style of a journal page.

I really enjoyed making this today. I used it as an excuse to experiment with my Winsor and Newton watercolours. I've never really known how to merge colours successfully, so blending pink into purple was a bit of a challenge! For the most part it worked really well, although the right hand side of the 2015 rectangle looks a bit dodgy.

Anyway, back to my resolutions...

#1 Draw or paint a miniature portrait every week

I've done quite a few miniature portraits now and thought it would be a fun challenge to complete one per week, not only of celebrities but 'normal' people too!

This is my first one of the year, a coloured pencil drawing of Angelina Jolie on brown paper. I think I'll get bored if I do them all in the same medium, so I'll chop and change depending on how I feel!

#2 Make my art business flourish

Those of you who've read my blog for a while will probably know that I work full time and use my spare time for art. 2014 was an exciting year for me as I took more commissions for drawings, paintings and paper cuts than I ever have done before and I hope that 2015 will see many more!

If you would like to help me along with this resolution and commission a piece of art, please let me know! I can do mini portraits like the ones above, paper cuts, paintings, doodles...have a little flick through my blog or Facebook page and see what takes your fancy.

At the moment I'm working on some wedding card paper cutting templates for people to cut themselves. This is one of them. I have another two to cut before they'll be up for sale on Etsy as digital downloads.

#3 Get my ears pierced again

Bit of a weird one this! I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to get my ears pierced again. My sister got her second set done a while ago and I like the way you can wear dangle earrings alongside studs.

#4 Wear high heels to work

Again, another odd one! I walk to work every day, so wearing heels isn't really practical, but some of the girls keep a set at work to change into. I do like wearing heels, so thought I'd give it a go. Not sure how long this resolution will last!

In other news...

I ordered some new pens the other day and decided to put them through their paces to create a mandala. This is far from finished and there will be more inking on the section you can see here, but I'm very pleased with it at the moment!

I had a sudden urge to draw octopuses (octopi?) so they've made it into one of the rings!

Not sure what to include in the outer rings, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Finally, I'll leave you with a photo of Croyde beach where we started our walk to Saunton today.

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs: Paint Party Friday, The Queen of Creativity and Blue Chair Diary Illustrations!

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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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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Cornwall, the Thames and mandalas

Right, I wrote this whole post out before remembering that tomorrow is the last day you can vote for my blog in the UK Blog Awards! For those of you who don't know, I've entered in the Arts and Crafts category. I have no idea what happens if you win and I don't expect to find out, but it would be lovely, if you enjoy reading my blog, if you could pop over and vote. Thanks peeps, now on with the post...

This week we're on our holidays in Cornwall, yippee! We're staying in a beautiful little cottage called Phillack in St Erth, close to Hayle on the West coast. It's welcoming and homely, and lovely and warm which is a real treat considering we spend most of our time at home layering jumpers to save on the heating bill!

Phillack - St Erth,

It's part of a barn which has been newly converted into three cottages and is just the most peaceful and cosy little place. I ran around taking these photos when we'd just arrived, before we could make it untidy!

Phillack - St Erth,

It was a beautifully sunny day yesterday, too hot for a coat, even, which is surely unheard of just a few days before December. First stop on Saturday morning was Gwithian to check out the waves - brace yourself for a very photo heavy post today!

Gwithian, Cornwall

Then we went into St Ives where I sat and painted overlooking the swathe of golden sand and turquoise water that is Porthmeor Beach while Sam went in for a surf.

Porthmeor, St Ives, Cornwall

If it wasn't for the long shadows, I think these photos look like they could have been taken in summer!

Porthmeor, St Ives, Cornwall

My painting still needs quite a bit of work and I'm not sure I'll ever get around to finishing it, but here's a peek.

Painting of Porthmeor Beach

When Sam finished surfing, there was just time to squeeze in a pasty stop before heading back for a cosy evening in the cottage.

This morning we got up early as Sam went off to check out the surf in Gwithian while I spent a couple of hours working on the Thames map. Yes, I did bring it along - there's no rest for the wicked! My workspace was a little different from normal!

Thames Map Illustration

I can now reveal that the client is Le Boat, a fantastic company which hire boats on the Thames and many other rivers across Europe. I have to say that working on this project has been very inspiring; there are so many lovely places to visit along the river. Before, I very naively thought of the Thames as just the section which runs through central London, but in reality it offers so much more, from peaceful countryside stretches to wonderful riverside attractions.

The part which I am illustrating is from Oxford right the way through to Teddington Locks, as this is the section navigable in the company's boats. I've finished outlining the whole map now, and am feeling excited about starting to paint, if a little nervous!

Thames Map Illustration

After a morning indoors, beavering away, it was nice to get out for a walk near Godrevy this afternoon. It was a little shorter than it could have been as dark grey clouds were threatening rain, so we thought it was better to be safe than sorry.

Godrevy, Cornwall

I always think 'people' photos are far more interesting than landscapes, so just to prove I was there, here are a few Sam took.

Clare Willcocks at Godrevy Cornwall

Clare Willcocks at Godrevy Cornwall

There are those clouds!

Clare Willcocks at Godrevy Cornwall

I'll end this post with a photo of a mandala I doodled last night. My Mum has been working on some gorgeous crochet mandalas in vibrant colours and I've seen quite a lot on Pinterest recently, so wanted to give drawing one a go.

Mandala Doodle

Not as neat or precise as it could be, but I've started another one with some lines underneath as a guide, so hopefully I'll have that to share next week!

Mandala Doodle

Have a lovely week everyone! Over and out...

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

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