The Dandy Lion Market, NW5

Inspired by the original Dandelion market of 1970’s Dublin, Leslie Wilson Rutherford began hosting the Dandy Lion Market in North London, bringing a diverse outlet for all types of creative traders. This Saturday was my first ever time selling my work at a market stall – and yes I was bricking it. By the time I’d met the other traders, who were clearly far more experienced in selling their wares, I felt seriously underprepared! But, once everything was set up the excitement hit. It’s nice to get your work out into the wide world, scary yes, but nothing beats seeing sincerity in someones face when telling you they like it. Beats a little online kudos any day. My stock for the day (click to see them in my online shop):

‘Bear Style’ t-shirts

‘Left Side Deaf’ t-shirts

Zines (all)

‘Why Otters are Orsome’ A3 prints

‘Tree Dwellers’ A3 prints

‘Owl & Pussycat’ tote bags

It was a great experience, and I loved seeing the brilliant work that had gone into setting everything up, and all the inspiring creations from the other traders. The market is held on the 1st Saturday of every month, at the Oxford (Kentish Town – click for gmap). I implore you to go! In the meantime, check out the Facebook page for photos of the day.

Pick Me Up

I don’t think Pick Me Up needs much introduction now, it’s grown in popularity so much since it’s humble beginnings in 2010. Yes, it does feel a bit like a shopping experience than an exhibition, but these creatives couldn’t be more deserving of some dollar for their work. Here are some of my picks (pun intended):

Rob Flowers creates such fun illustrations I would love to know what goes on in his head. Think everything from medieval bestiaries to 80s gross-out toys. Love.

rob flowers

Brothers of Stripe are a collective of talented bro’s whose work is a mixture of art, graphic design, and illustration projects. I loved the wall of type.

brothers of stripe

Ugo Gattoni is a french illustrator, who produces mind-blowing scenes of impossible cities. He gives Dali and Bosch as sources of his inspiration, but I can also see another favourite of mine in his work: Escher. I spent a long time at his section.

ugo gattoni

You Byun is a wonderful creator of imaginary worlds and creatures – I can totally relate to her love for this. I think it’s the softness of her approach; the colours, the pencil sketch textures, the curves that took me most.

you byun

you byun

Katie Scott’s work shocked and distressed me. Shocked, because I forgot people can draw like that without having spent 50 years learning to do so (born 1988), and distressed because I’m also a 1988 baby and I can’t do what she does. After I got over that, I enjoyed her work tremendously.

katie scott

Laydeez Do Comics

Laydeez Do Comics is a group set up by two very talented females: illustrator Nicola Streeten and the artist and curator Sarah Lightman. Every month they invite speakers to share there work, answer questions and eat cake. Wonderful!

Last week I finally joined in on the party. On the stage were Henny BeaumontGlyn DillonBunny Schendler and Melissa Herman.

Henny Beaumont

Henny began by showing us a series of 3 wonderful pieces, made from a mixture of collage, paint and text. They were touching, and funny, snapshots into her life as a mother to a girl with Down’s syndrome. I loved the honesty of her work, and the ability she has to let the viewer into her life. I felt I was getting as close as possible to experiencing what she her situation – as far removed as I am. Henny also showed us an incredibly powerful series in black and white, from a graphic novel she’s working on. I’m really gunning for this to be published – I think it would really resonate with people who have to care for someone with a disability. To be honest, it was so emotive I think anyone would get a lot from the book. Fingers crossed it gets out into the world one day.

Glyn Dillon

I haven’t read many graphic novels, mainly because I feel a little overwhelmed every time I go to buy one. When I go somewhere like Gosh comics, I just get the ‘I want them all’ feeling, and I always end up with none. But Glyn’s The Nao of Brown may change all that. A troubled heroine with OCD, I only needed to see a couple of pages from the book to get sucked into Nao’s story, and I was left feeling the need to know all of it. The artwork is beautiful and expressive, with lots of variations, like a section with a book within the book. If that makes sense. Plus, any book that warrants a frog toy as a mascot is bound to be a winner.

Bunny Schendler and Melissa Herman

Filmmakers Bunny and Melissa have done something I really want everyone to see. It was made as part of the In My Back Yard program, by Save the Children, giving young people the opportunity to make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. Hopefully it gets to Mr Johnson as much as it did for me.

 

The events are held all over – London, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow and even sunny San Francisco and windy Chicago. The next London event (Monday 20 May, 6-8.30pm) will be held at Foyles Books, see gmap for directions.

Greetings

I’ve always really enjoyed hand making cards for friends and family members’ birthdays. I love seeing their face light up when they receive a card, knowing it wasn’t picked in a fluster at Clinton Cards (RIP), or one from Marks & Spencers they already got from auntie. Yes they take a fair amount of time to make, but it’s time I enjoy spending. So, I’ve decided to make them available to the world. Available in the shop here (messages are fully customisable).

Wuzzles T-Shirt

I can’t remember quite what jogged my memory of the Wuzzles, all I know is that a frantic googling of ‘Bumblelion’ secured my decision to pay homage to this awesome Disney creation.

The wiki article is brilliant: “Wuzzles features a variety of short, rounded animal characters (each called a Wuzzle, which means to mix up). Each is a roughly even, and colorful, mix of two different animal species (as the theme song mentions, “livin’ with a split personality”), and all the characters sport wings on their backs, although only Bumblelion and Butterbear are seemingly capable of flight. All of the Wuzzles live on the Isle of Wuz.” 

How was this not a winning formula? It was cancelled after 13 episodes, the shortest running Disney animated series ever.

 

A Tasty Evening with Johnny Cupcakes

If you don’t know who or what Johnny Cupcakes is: GO HERE NOW.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can tell you about this magical evening he hosted in London that I attended. The idea behind it (other than a little self promotion) was to give advice to and motivate those interested in starting small businesses, and to let us in on how he got to where he is today. I think this is exactly what young entrepreneurs, be it in design, illustration, music or anything, need right now. It is damn hard to find work right now, but there are always opportunities for business if you know what you want and will work hard for it. As this talk fell on my first day fresh from quitting my stable and damn near perfect job at Yellow Digital to try out how far I get freelancing and building Catillest, Johnny’s words couldn’t have been more useful.

He began with probably the driving command that contributed to my latest career move.

Do what makes you happy. I came across the documentary Anima a little while back and so much made me shiver with how right it was. This was one of the golden brain nuggets that came from that too, and I haven’t forgotten it since. If you can make it happen, make it happen.

Which is pretty much Johnny’s next point – this guy does not shy away from hard work. From shovelling snow to selling whoopie cushions, he is a natural salesman and doesn’t quit whether he’s been knocked down or when he can afford a new pair of trainers. I suppose I was at a relatively content point with my last job, but there is still so much more I want to do, and (in the words of Johnny) ‘if you don’t do it, someone else will’. And this cat ain’t gonna let that happen.

He also gave a load of practical advice:

• Can’t afford to make a load of products? Take pre-orders

• Offer an incentive, a gift for pre-orders, a discount etc

• Have a real sample product, get people interested in that

• Talk to people, socialise and network – and floss (so American…)

• If it’s worth doing it, do it right – packaging. People should want to save your packaging (think shoe boxes, anything Apple, and even Happy Meal boxes which are half the fun of getting a McD’s – and don’t cause the stomach brick) Just look at some of this:

Johnny Cupcakes packaging

Johnny also stressed the point of individuality, which I really appreciate. What separates you? He suggested making a list of 10 things that make you stand out from the crowd. Here’s mine:

1. Catillest cat

catillest cat

2. Handmade jewellery with toy pendants

3. Blog covering London, inspiring art & design, and personal projects

4. Stickers for business cards

5. A-Z of zines

6. Customised footwear you can afford

7. A font for all seasons (well, Spring so far)

8. Red hair

9. Not just designer, but builder of websites

10. Mastermind subject: The Simpsons

Ok, list needs some work. But still. Johnny Cupcakes was definitely an inspiring and motivational speaker. I think if I had heard this (much like what he said) at school or university, things could have progressed quicker. But in reality, much of the advice given tonight is true for anyone regardless of how far on in their career/business they are.

Image sources: Shillington, DIY Design Fanatic,  Miss Design

Graphic Novels and Novel Graphics

I’m not going I know the first thing about graphic novels, other than when I go to somewhere like Gosh or NoBrow I want to spend my life savings on the things. I actually stumbled across two of these whilst scoping out my local library (well, local to work). I’m like a library junkie now. Members of Harringey, Westminster and Camden libraries. Anyway, Holborn library isn’t quite the artistic agglomeration that Westminster Reference Library is, but I did spy a nifty shelf of graphic novels. It was even more appealing because there was a guy drawing on a table right beside it, what looked to be a comic. Yes I stood behind him and stared. Real inconspicuous like.

Aaaanyway. One book that attracted me, not only for it’s golden cover, but also for it’s author. I’m ashamed of this fact but I have never read anything by Neil Gaiman. I hear he write good. Oh and the pictures. Yoshitaka Amano, who I also feel ‘WHERE-AV-U-BIN-ALL-MY-LYF’ about, pushes the book into the realm of masterpieces. Each page feels different; some are dark and terrifying, others are glowing and ethereal, and some are explosions of colour. It’s all beautiful and carries you through Gaiman’s words. No imagination needed, it’s all there on the page.

The Sandman comic book series spanned from 1989–1996 and The Dream Hunters is more of a spin-off, in which Gaiman has created his own eastern myth. I recommend you try and find it, even just to look at it’s amazing cover in it’s golden glory (my iPhone hasn’t exactly done it justice).

Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman (Illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano)

gaiman cover

gaiman inner pages

gaiman inner pages

gaiman inner pages

Next up I spotted this, which equally stood out because of it’s cover. Always judge a book by it’s cover. I haven’t been able to find anything more out about the author/illustrator William Goldsmith, but I do know he’s one to watch out for. I did find this vid, in which he talks about his fictional land of Ystov. This book is funny, charming and with Goldsmiths painted, folksy style; very beautiful. I love how a good illustrator (and writers of course) have the ability to conjure up new places that don’t exist and show them as though they were real. It’s generous and kind; like sharing something very precious.

Vignettes of Ystov by William Goldsmith

Goldsmith cover

Goldsmith cover

Goldsmith inner

This one was not a library find – yes, I actually purchased a book I can have forever. I spotted this in the (extensive) graphic novel (or ‘alternative’) section in Foyles. Lucy Knisley is a girl I can relate to. Or more accurately, aspire to relate to. She has her fingers in many proverbial pies, and pours her heart into all of them. Songs, animations, puppets, books and of course the illustration. Lordy. Makes me feel like a one-trick pony. Which is an out-dated phrase (and harsh on that original pony) so I really feel like a garlic crusher. So French Milk is about Knisley’s month in Paris, and it is a wonderfully personal, funny and unique take on a travelogue. I plan to attempt something similar in one week, when I embark on my 3-week stint in Japan. Hopefully I can do it as much justice as Lucy did Paris.

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

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