July, New work and Texprint.

July is almost over; I can hardly remember a hotter summer. It seems strange that most of my work has been winter themed. So whilst the bees have been humming and the flowers blooming I have had to turn my thoughts to snow and ice.

I mentioned before that I have been illustrating a Christmas book not quite knowing when it would be appropriate to reveal exactly which book and for whom. Well, now my secret is out, a recent article online reveals all.
I have been working on a series of illustrations for “Can it be True?” by Susan Hill, her company Long Barn Books will publish it in September. I will post more images soon when we are all in a more Christmassy mood.

Each illustration started life as a black ink drawing and colour being added digitally at a later stage. The owl drawing is very much a work in progress; the final pages are in colour. When the book was first published it was illustrated by Angela Barrett. I make no secret of the fact that I was absolutely thrilled and terrified in equal measure to get the chance to do a new version. I hold Angela’s work in the highest esteem; she is without doubt one of our greatest illustrators and an impossibly hard act to follow. I was given great freedom to create my own version, the one condition was that I had to do something with a very different feel, to say that I have lost sleep over this would be an understatement, too late now though, it has gone off to the printer.

As you can see I have drawn some of the ivy growing in my garden, although it looks more like this at the moment.

Earlier in the month I went down to London to see this years Texprint exhibition. Each year 24 textile design graduates are chosen from UK colleges and universities to take part in this prestigious event. In 1975 I was amongst the fortunate ones to participate, in those days the exhibition was held at The Design Centre which was on The Haymarket, this years venue was The Chelsea College of Art and Design. The graduates are given the opportunity to connect with industry professionals and hopefully gain placements, jobs and commissions. I was very impressed with the overall standard of work on show, so much talent, innovation and skill. You can see some of the things these young designers produce by following the links here Texprint helped me to make my dream of becoming a designer a reality and I wish each and every one of this years graduates the very best of luck.

I will leave you now with this darling smile from our beautiful granddaughter. In the background you will see my ancient dining room curtains. The bolt of fabric was given to me by Jane Teale; who I worked with in the seventies. She commissioned and printed my design “Blue Jays” (this being a brown version). Oddly enough I met Jane through Texprint almost forty years ago. It’s about time I got myself some new curtains don’t you think?


  1. I love that print, I'm so drawn to the stars through the branches!

  2. Well, Val, it's hard to know where to begin with my commenting. Let me choose that beautiful portrait of your new granddaughter! What a sweetie!

    Of course, it's also grand to see a glimpse of your very fine fabric design in the background of the photograph. It's such a classic design, I would see no reason whatsoever to change those curtains.

    I will be taking a peek at the link to the Tex print sites. How grand that such a situation is still going on, to help talented artists like yourself cross the bridge from school to full professional status.

    And now, let me praise your summer garden photo, and your very fine ink drawing of the wise owl. Having had a peek at the Susan Hill link, I definitely will be wanting to order a copy of this book in September. Ms Hill is a fine author and has also great taste in choosing you to create artwork for this reissue.

    Congrats to you, Val, on all fronts! xo

  3. What a lovely confluence of happy
    happenings. Your beautiful little
    grand daughter simply lights up my day and I am putting "Can it be True" at the top of my letter to Santa this year. I must try to be good!

  4. Congratulations! Your work is beautiful, and so is your grand.

  5. Thankyou for your nice comment on my blog. Your grand-daughter is so sweet and your illustrations are exquisite. Alas, my drawing skills wouldn't earn me a living!
    If those lovely curtains are still going strong, why replace them? Quality always looks good, even when it has been around for a while.

  6. I love your owl drawing, and your granddaughter does have a lovely smile! I think it's really something to have curtains made of fabric that you designed yourself hanging in your house - no need to change them I say!

  7. how exciting about the e-book! I've been avoiding this media because I feel the prices are out of line - apparently I'm right. However, if more authors publish their own work, I'd certainly jump on the Kindle wagon, as they say here in the US, in a New York minute!
    Your granddaughter is beautiful-you're so fortunate!
    Took a quick look at the Tex print sight and tagged it to linger for a while when I have more time. Thank you for sharing that.

  8. Suz, "Can it be True?" will be a physical book not an e-book although Susan Hill does publish many e-books. I take your point about prices, Amazon has minimum charges and the publishers have theirs, both of which make Kindle books expensive. Often authors see very little royalties in return.

  9. The owl drawing looks beautiful :D

  10. That is a gorgeous smile! And your owl image is absolutely delightful. I think I know which book to include in Christmas parcels for small friends this year :)

  11. Have just discovered this lovely blog, so friendly and interesting. You have a lot of gorgeous work on the go from what I can see. I'm a fifteen year old artist from Suffolk selling my lino/woodcut and wood engraving prints (as well as blogging) and it is so nice to find other artist bloggers interested in art.
    Have a lovely summer.
    Will Baker Illustrator.

  12. Beautifull work;Greeting from Belgium


  13. Beautiful black and ink work . At first I thought it was a wood cut. How exciting to have illustrated a new book.
    Your curtains look lovely, wonderful story.
    I just have to smile at your gorgeous grand daughter,

  14. I think those curtains are holding up pretty well. You lucky gramma, I wish I had one of those!