Oystercatcher natural history illustration, Christmas cards and a painted hairbrush... - November 19th 2012

Story posted: Monday, 19. November 2012 by Lizzie Harper

This week was all about using time effectively.  It’s something of an art-form, and has to be done often and with little warning.  It happens when there’s a lot of work on, but you end up with time on your hands as you wait for feedback and “go-aheads” from clients.


I decided to get all my Christmas stuff done.  First up was a hairbrush that I decorated for my sister.

Painted haribrush with snakeshead firtillaries

Painting decoratively is a pleasing change, and a good opportunity to work in acrylic paints instead of watercolour.  It’s so much easier to fix mistakes when you can simply re-paint on top of what you’ve done.


Then a diary cover for my father.  I never know what to put on these, when confronted with a panoply of choice (any plant, any animal) I feel paralysed.  This year it’s fortunate that I have a few species I’d like to add to my online image bank (http://www.lizzieharper.co.uk/index.gallery.php), so I chose one of these.  Instead of simply painting the oystercatcher and associated limestone-cliff vegetation, I filmed it at three stages and discussed the process.  I hope to make this into a Youtube video soon. I was really pleased with the finished painting, especially with the flowers at the bird’s feet.

Oystercatcher on limestome cliff in springtime


Still waiting for go-aheads and tweaks to roughs, I got round to doing a lino-cut for my personal Christmas card.  It’s a different invertebrate every year, and this year it’s an ichneumon wasp.

Three lino cuts of invertebrates for personal christmas cards


Finally, I sent out some marketing campaigns from a rather handy company called Bikini-lists (http://www.bikinilists.com/), and then prepared some images and text as the Association of Illustrators (http://www.aoiportfolios.com/) want me to be a featured artist on their portfolio site for December.


On Friday I was asked to tweak a rough, and I’m hopeful this week I’ll be able to get painting again, although I also have other commitments.  Although the waiting for feedback is an integral and sometimes irritating part of being an illustrator, at least this week I feel I’ve used the “dead time” efficiently.

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