Friday, 10 October 2014

putting the buzz into 'B'...

...Lisa Congdon's new book 'Art INC' arrived this promises to be packed full with info & advice for emerging artists/designers (just like me!) to getting a successful brand and creative career properly established. I'm very excited as I'm really hoping that this, along with a new opportunity just hovering on the horizon, is really going to help me make great striding steps forward with my plan B...

...there is much to do and now that I have a few small projects tied up and out of the way, I need to really knuckle down, focus and put all my creative energy into creating a strong, brand new body of what I hope will be great work...

...I won't be blogging too much over the next few weeks so please bear with me as creating this portfolio of new designs has to be my priority, but I'm hoping (and I'm really really hoping, fingers, toes and everything crossed) that I can make the promise of this new opportunity into something real & that come the New Year I'll have some exciting news to tell...

...So please, wish me luck everyone and I'll be re-surfacing in the not too distant future with what I hope will be a great stride forward!...Toodlepip for a bit! xx

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A not meant to B...

...So, alas and alack the results are in for the semi-finals of the 2014 GTS and, as you may have guessed, poor old Mr. Banjo Bear didn't make it though...The final 6 that did get through made some beautiful work and if you wish to, you can pop along here to see the entries.

...I have to admit to feeling a bit disappointed not to get the chance to proceed a bit further, but only from the point of view of getting that final seal of approval from the amazing panel of industry experts...I don't think I'm quite stellar enough to land that final prize & I'm hoping something will come from getting my work in front of those experts!!...

...At the end of the day, I've learnt a heap and had a great experience. I do work a lot better singing to the tune of my own guitar, so as the lovely Dawn Machell says over on her blog today, plan B will probably work out so much better than plan A, so now its time to move on from Lillaland and get my own wheels turning...Thanks Dawn :-) xx

Saturday, 13 September 2014

a big heart-full of gratitude...

Us Both ©bee brown 2014
…Well the voting for GTS 2014 is over, phew…its been a tense few days and the results of both the judges choice of 5 artists and the peoples choice will be revealed on Wednesday…

…So, if you happened to place a little vote for my Banjo Bear then we would like to say, whatever the outcome, a very big THANK-YOU to you!!!…fingers crossed, good luck to everyone and all will be revealed soon…yikes!! xx

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

a pocket full of eye candy...

…The fun has begun!!!…The gallery of all the beautiful submissions for #2 of the Global Talent Search is now open! Should you wish to, you can pop along here to have a nosey at some really fabulous artwork from 50 artists working across the globe.

…Our brief this time was to create a fun, humanised character for use on a young child's t-shirt and or other child related products such as lunch boxes and children's books. This was so much fun to do, & like my other projects, just involved lots of drawing and dreaming, fermentation and imagination (I hope)…it was also lovely to have more time to spend on this second round assignment than I had on the first…definitely more leisurely!!... and regardless of whether I progress any further in the competition, my piece is something I shall be proud to show in my portfolio…

…But this is the wonderful thing about making it this far in the competition: not only is the work made available via the gallery for the public to make a 'People's Choice' on, but this final 50 are also whittled down to a select group of 5 artists via a STELLAR selection panel of judges…both scary and amazing!!! This year there is representation from such world class companies as Chronical Books, Crate & Barrell, Midwest-CBK, the Quayside Publishing Group, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Demdaco, representation from the magazines 'Where Women Create', 'Uppercase' & 'Real Simple', Nickelodeon, Parsons School of Design, Studio M, Bowie from Print and Pattern, Oopsy Daisy the super-fab children's wall art company, the Hachette Book Group, Blue-Q the uber cool gift manufacturer and finally teNeues (book & calendar publishing company).

…So you see, a Super World Class list of movers and shakers to get your work in front of!…how cool is that? …. so as I say, regardless of whether I make it into the final group of 6 to progress through to the final round (& of course I'd LOVE to), I really feel like I'm a winner anyway! xox

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Floating on my cloud…the story & the process

…I'm shocked and amazed but there is fabulous news to share...I've managed to make it through to the second round of the Lilla Rogers Studio 2014 Global Talent Search…holy heck, I never imagined when returning from my jolly holidays that I would be posting my submission here on the blog along with this incredible news…I am literally floating on my own personal cloud ... Work from nearly 1000 artists and illustrators has been whittled down (a super tough task I'm sure) to a 'final 50' and I am thrilled beyond belief, if still not a bit dazed, to be one of them…

…I definitely wasn't going to enter this year…absolutely not…the timing was way off for a start: it was announced that the 1st round brief would be going out on Tuesday 5th August. Well, that was no good, we had a family camping holiday to France booked and were leaving to catch the ferry on the 7th…that just wasn't enough time?…Or was it??? Curiosity over the brief (which asked for a piece of wall art on the theme of terrariums) and then a last minute window suddenly opening up at the 11th hour meant I ended up chasing my rainbow after all... I spent all of Wednesday 6th from 8am until 10pm glued to my drawing table chair & monitor…there wasn't time to come up for air…I drew a marathon, but was it enough?

…I didn't think so. To my mind there were quite a few unresolved issues: I wanted to play with the colour more & didn't want this part of my design to be so literal…my thoughts were revolving around autumnal reds, oranges, mustards, pinks and browns with a bit more of an emphasis on neutrals…Had I added enough texture? Was there enough depth and I definately felt I should have addressed the background behind my little terrarium a little more. To cap it all off the brief also asked for a little paint….eeek…thats been awhile and there just wasn't the time to play. So you see, I was under way loads of pressure & when I pressed the submit button, I really felt I was sending out an unfinished job.

…So, when I dared to look on Lilla's site this morning where the final 50 are revealed (please go over and have a look…the work from the other semi-finalists is truly amazing) you'll understand I was a little stunned to find myself amongst such other fabulous talent-ness! But also so darned happy, happy happy…I did it, I did just enough to make it through.

… And as for my process? Well, that's a simple one…I like to draw, draw, draw…it's the same with every piece I make: along with bits of inspiration I find from literally anywhere and everywhere (my eyes are always on the look out!), it's all there in my head and those first initial sketches of the idea are my happy place…making what's churning in my mind a kind of little reality by putting it on a page. Then it's just a case of scanning those drawings into Illustrator, refining them, adding the colour and then the best bit: making the little details…and its true, I really do 'delight in the little things'! But you know what? I absolutely must get down from my floaty cloud now because round 2 is calling and I've got work to do….Toodlepip! xoxox

Sunday, 3 August 2014

au revoir...

warm sun © beebrown 2014
…It's that time of year again when I start thinking about packing everyone up (and almost everything), closing down the Hive and heading off to our little van by the sea for our Summer hols…yippee!!!…Just a few more loose ends to tie up, the odd little bit of work to finish, a little project to do and then, whoosh, by the middle of next week we'll be off and heading for the sunshine (hopefully)!... So here's a little illo of what I hope we'll find on our travels…

… It's time to say cheerybye folks, toodlepip for now and I'll see you all soon - have fun! xoxoxox

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

B E L I E V E...

©beebrown 2014
…just a little bit of lettering originally drawn up for Jenipher Lyn and the promotion for her superb book "How being Stubborn, Depressed and Unpopular saved my Life". If you'd like to, you can find out more about Jenipher, her book and her work here. This little bit of lettering is now also featured on the GREAT type board created by Pumpkin Pie on Pinterest. Thank you Pumpkin Pie :-) x

Thursday, 10 July 2014


'teatime' ©beebrown 2014
…just a really simple pencil drawing for today…I'm finding it quite surprising how some of these quite random & playful little sketches/doodles are developing and influencing my ideas for my 'proper' work on a daily basis…a doodle a day has shown me that it's a really good discipline to make, even if its only very quick, a fun, just for the hell-of-it drawing a day…if you've been following along you'll have noticed that I've had more time on some days to experiment, but the practice has been great…and I've picked up a few valuable basic photoshop skills too! I'll probably be posting less frequently on my doodle challenge now but I'm definitely going to carry on with my doodle a day!  xx

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

big owl...

'big owl' ©bee brown 2014
…happy Tuesday everyone and here's todays doodle...

Friday, 4 July 2014

little butter bee...

butter bee ©bee brown 2014
…the last doodle for this week and 'Happy Weekend' from the little Butter Bee! x

Thursday, 3 July 2014

watery sun...

'watery sun' ©bee brown 2014
... playing with a little watercolour painting in photoshop today just to experiment with another way of using colour  … this is a very quick, quite small painting which after I scanned in, I finished off by collaging together…I then played with colour adjustments and contrast to get some different effects... I like the way that the watercolour effect remains but to get the colour just right is going to take quite a bit of practice! Limitless possibilities and the process is a lot of fun. x

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

bright bird...

bright bird ©bee brown 2014
…just quickly dropping in to pop up my next doodle of another bird (do love me birds!)…a brighter and more jolly one today! Really feel as though I'm starting to get the hang of colour…and thank you to everyone sending me encouraging messages…its really appreciated. Hope you'll pop back for more when you can. xx

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

bird & butterflies...

bird & butterflies ©bee brown 2014
…I feel like I've made a bit of a breakthrough on using colour, how to colour up sketches and adding a bit of texture in Photoshop today… this little illo has come out a tad darker than on screen so perhaps the next thing ought to be looking at how to brighten things up a bit!… Anyway, learning lots and more cut outs tomorrow! x

Monday, 30 June 2014

hello monday...


… happy Monday!… Here's todays doodle…still playing with black and white and I've discovered how to get a kind of inverse chalky effect…I'm finding colour quite tricky in Photoshop…. really missing Illustrator!…might try some cut outs tomorrow… think I'm liking Photoshop for collaging so at least that's a discovery! x

Saturday, 28 June 2014

weekend girl...

weekend girl ©bee brown 2014
…here's the next photoshop'd doodle (this is Fridays doodle but shhh, don't tell anyone!) …playing with black and white and tiny pops of colour… a kind of mono print effect…the lettering still needs a bit of playing with but this has been fun to do...

...Happy weekend everyone and more doodles next week! x

Thursday, 26 June 2014


'buttergirl' ©bee brown 2014
…here's todays doodle…just starting to add a little bit of collage and colour...

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

doing a doodle a day...

…after having a go at my sun pencil drawing the other day, I thought it might be fun to set myself a fun challenge for the month of July to 'do-a-doodle-a-day (I've started a little bit early into the bargain too!) … As well as practicing my drawing skills, I'm also trying to pick-up a few Photoshop skills as I go as well, and thought this might be a good way to learn and track my progress…I'll be posting my doodles on the Hive's Facebook page too if you'd prefer to join me there… Hope you'll tune in for a 'daily doodle' and all the usual Hive bits and pieces too! See you soon! x

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

hopeful rays...

hopeful sun ©bee brown 2014
…I'm still playing around with faces (which I can't seem to be able to stop drawing), and also in Photoshop (which I'm still very new to)… I'd really like to be able to get lots of that lovely quality of line that you can get from just plain old pencil in my work so decided to draw this sunshine in just plain old pencil, fiddle around in photoshop and see what I came up with!…I've called her 'hopeful sun' in the hope that we will have some proper sunshine soon, although it hasn't been too bad today as she popped her glorious rays out from behind the clouds this evening (which has been just beautiful!!)…Fingers crossed for a lovely day tomorrow… everything is so much better in the sunshine! xx

Monday, 9 June 2014

'aye aye sailor...'

…June Bootcamp is now well underway, and this months' theme is 'Nautical'… There's lots of imagery I've been wanting to have a go at for ages here, so I'm loving this theme! As usual, Lilla provides great inspiration so there's heaps to get stuck into and draw. I thought you might like to see one of the drawings I've been working on from the 'mini' stage worked up into colour, so here's my sailor... I'm not sure whether he'll make his way into the final piece because the idea for this month is to make a piece suitable for wall art, and I'm actually still really enjoying working on the theme of faces that we were set for the 'mini' back in Mays' assignment… So, all things 'nautical people' has been my starting point and off we go! Anyway 'Me Hearties' must dash as lots to do but will post more soon. x

Friday, 16 May 2014

lovely likers...

artwork ©beebrown 2014
…WOW! Just a shout out and a thank you to everyone who has popped over, checked out and liked the Design Hive's Facebook page…we're now over 400 which I think is super special so thanks again! xx

Thursday, 15 May 2014

book launch blog party…'being yourself'

 …just a little post today on behalf of Jenipher Lyn Gallardo and her project to promote a book that she has just written all by herself: "How being stubborn, unpopular and depressed saved my life". The book is filled with lovely whimsical quotes and quirky illustrations with the aim of helping & encouraging teenagers through those sometimes tricky & emotional adolescent years. To celebrate she is having a 'doodle dream blog party' and if you want to find out more you can head on over here! I'm so happy that Jenipher has asked me to participate in spreading the word. This week her theme is all about being yourself. Go take a peep!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

bootcamp doodles...

drawings ©beebrown 2014
…MATS Bootcamp has started up again and our May assignment has been to draw faces and figures from dolls that Lilla posted photos of in class…here are mine so far. Lots of fun as usual!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

International FLOW is out…!

 …It really is a 'Hurray for Today' day today…the International edition of the beautiful 'FLOW' magazine is now out, and my work is featured in-between its stunningly lovely inky pages!! I've been waiting and waiting for this to arrive because no matter how much of a thrill it was to receive the Dutch edition at the beginning of the year, its even more wonderful to receive it in my native tongue & to know that this edition will be sent around the globe…so exciting!

…The article featured is the one which talks about the amazing Make Art that Sells course run by the inimitable Lilla Rogers so if you are thinking about signing up, go grab yourself a copy, have a read and get inspired…MATS really is a life changer (& you can see my work too!!)…x

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A Little bit of paint...

…I'm doing a little bit of a promo for a friend today, but just a little intro first…This gorgeous work was created by Gabriella Buckingham who some may know as the super talented lady behind Moobaacluck, the highly successful online shop selling hand-painted wooden decorations and stationery at notonthehighstreet. com.

…As well as running her business, Gabriella also takes on commissions for illustration work whenever she can and you can see more of her beautiful painterly style here

…As a special April offer for Design Hive readers, Gabriella is offering 20% off her newest product spring wooden bunting for you. If you order through not on the high street and contact her afterwards through the 'where's my order' page raising an enquiry and quoting BEE20 she will credit back 20% of your entire order. 

The bunting is just lovely so pop along here and get yourself something lovely to welcome in the Spring!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

jelly patterns...

…The deadline for our March Bootcamp assignment is looming fast (tomorrow night) & I decided to submit my Jelly & Ice-cream pattern to the Bootcamp Gallery yesterday but without any co-ordinates…The gallery goes live on Tuesday so I'll be sure to post the link. I knew as soon as I'd uploaded my design that despite not really having the time, I wouldn't settle until I'd made some, so, being now slightly square-eyed and starving, here are my co-ordinates that I started making at 4 AM this morning!!…Oh the things we do!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

an english bee...

 …a very English Bee has popped into the Hive today…the one and only and very lovely Tracey English!…Such gorgeous beehives Tracey! - might need to move my little studio hive over into one of yours!! I first met Tracey through the Make Art That Sells Course where she has been developing her gorgeous illustrative style… all her artworks are originally made from tissue paper which she then scans into the computer. She is based in London.

…Tracey's brilliant maps can be found on theThey Draw & Travel website and Tracey's lovely blog is here. Enjoy and thanks for popping by! x

Thursday, 13 March 2014

jelly & ice-cream...

'jelly ladies' ©bee brown 2014
…the days are whizzing by and we are already into month 2 of Bootcamp. The theme for March has been 'Jell-O' and to create some designs for the bolt fabric market. A bit of a tricky start but then inspiration struck as I was going off to sleep one night and suddenly started thinking about Willy Wonka!

…well, that's as good as any place to start so after looking at some Oompa Lumpa's, I started developing these jelly people with their jelly hair... and somehow its not right having jelly without ice-cream so there's some of that in there too…

…so, here's a snippet of my pattern so far & I'll keep you updated of any developments! x

Friday, 7 March 2014

beautiful inky butterflies...

…everyone seems fascinated with butterflies at the moment…I think everyone is desperate for Spring to arrive…even Little bean has been thinking about the flutter-byes and here is one of his inky versions… (lovely even though they could do with a bit of colour!)xx

Monday, 24 February 2014

bootcamp deadline...

'woodland cuckoos' ©beebrown 2014
…the deadline for our February Bootcamp assignment was 8pm last night, and this is the design with the colour way that I finally decided to submit (these are Lilla's colours + a few extras!)…I felt that I wanted to test my pattern-making skills with this project (especially when working to such a small scale) & found that I really enjoyed drawing lots of little icons and details & then trying to get them to all fit together…I hope that they do…If I'd have had a bit more time I could have twiddled and tweaked a bit more but overall I'm quite happy with it…Roll on next Monday…I can't wait for the next assignment!

Friday, 21 February 2014

library finds...

 …It's half-term holidays for us this week and I had promised Big and Little Bean that we would take a train journey into Birmingham and go and visit the newly built Library…WOW! It truly is amazing…I had been a little sceptical to be honest  because I haven't been a fan of how it's been looking from the outside…But, you can't judge a book by it's cover (pardon the pun) so we decided to be open minded and explore the inside…

…And it is incredible inside…big, open, light & airy, the inside spaces don't disappoint in the slightest…The children's library on the bottom floor is lots of fun with a lovely, large stepped story area covered in beautiful illustrations (see left) and lots of sofas for snuggled up story time...Further up on other floors are moving walkways, contemporary gardens that overlook the city and even a glass elevator up onto a hidden garden on the roof (very Roald Dahl!)

…But of course the thing that most caught my eye were these lovely black and white illustrations…I only managed to grab a few pics but there were so many of them and all depicting scenes from various fairy tales…I could have spent the day just photographing them!…(Sorry they're not great) but through them I hope you get to enjoy just a little bit of the brand new library too…x

Images are © Birmingham City Library

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

prints for sale...

artwork ©beebrown 2014
…Just trialing this 'little house' as a print available to purchase directly from me. It will very much depend on interest levels as to whether it will be viable or not, but print size would be 8' x 10" and a full colour giclee quality print on matt stock. Price would be around £12-£15 + p&p. If you are interested, please pop over to the Hive's Facebook page here & comment on the entry? Thank you! x

Monday, 17 February 2014

monika forsberg...

…Carrying on with the loved-up-valentine theme, there's another busy bee buzzing into the Hive tonight…the lovely Monika Forsberg. She has brought with her some gorgeous illustrations to show you… I love her hand-lettering and really unique use of colour. I first met Monika on the Make Art that Sells course and now we are class-mates again in Bootcamp. Originally she hails from Lulea in the very north of Sweden, but then later in life came to London to study animation at the Royal College Of Art & a career as an animator, writer & director then followed. The multi-talented Monika says she is now making the transition from animator to illustrator & feels she is doing so "as a little butterfly"! A fabulous website awaits anyone wishing to find out more here:

Friday, 14 February 2014

big love to everyone...

'lots of love' ©bee brown 2014
… just sending a little message of love to Everyone today… xoxx

Monday, 10 February 2014

woodland cuckoos...

woodland cuckoos pattern ©beebrown2014
…I'm getting a bit carried away in Lillaland again…the main assignment was handed out today: Use your cuckoo clocks to create a design for a mobile phone case…So, I took my drawings and re-tweaked them a bit, changed the colours a little, added the odd new little illustration here and there, and came up with this… & guess what?…yes, it's in the shop...

Friday, 7 February 2014

going cuckoo…!

'cuckoo clock' ©bee brown 2014
…I've taken my sketches of cuckoo clocks from the Bootcamp class and created some new artwork…this illo here is now going as a print in my shop…just goes to show that nothing has to be wasted or discarded from class!

I would never have thought about drawing cuckoo clocks but they have been so much fun and the more I've drawn & got into the tiny details, the more I've found to draw…I could go on and on!! Lilla hands out our main assignment  on Monday so we will have to wait and see as to what she has planned for us and how the cute little clocks are going to get incorporated into that project…so exciting…I'm glad I've found the time to do some detailed drawings though…I've learnt such a lot from this exercise alone but know from past MATS experience that come Monday my focus with cuckoo clocks will shift again... Roll on Monday….Yippee!!!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

spring fair...

all designs ©bee brown 2014
….had a goosey gander around the Spring Fair in Birmingham today…some lovely stuff on display and look what I found…a fab range of 12 cards created by none other than my good self for Paper House... and the lovely people on their stand very kindly allowed me to take a photo too.... x

…I had hoped to be able to post some more photos of the show but they were very strict this year and absolutely no photography allowed. Maybe next year…x

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

letters from flow...

…I just love lettering…don't know what it is about letter shapes that I love so much… must be something to do with the sheer variety in the shapes of each letter form, colour & texture…limitless and endless possibilities & so much freedom for expression… These pics are taken from the latest edition of 'Flow' magazine (yes, it's the edition with my work in so there has to be a token photograph!)… the second pic down shows the lettering that adorns the large A4 envelope that they send the magazine out in…so lovely when you find that on your doorstep!…anyway, hope you enjoy these shapes & colours too, and thank you Flow for my own beautifully inky smelling magazine… a truly inspiring publication! x