Art Journal: The Peony Collection, a little shed and a magical cat

Completing my collection of three hyper-realistic flowers, drawn between January and May 2021, is the delicate pink peony. The photographic reference was kindly given to me by my lovely friend Sally who has the most beautiful garden full of flowers. She has been so supportive all the way through the creation of this artwork; a constant source of daily encouragement and kindness.

Sally’s Peony, by Tiny Potager

With the launch of the Peony Collection, for the very first time my little art shop is selling notebooks …

… and large “beach bag” totes – which was an ask from my very talented photographer friend Anna, who already owns two of our smaller bag designs (and styles them very beautifully for us!). Thank you so much Anna x

One commission I have been really enjoying working on in the last few weeks is an artwork of a hand-built family shed. A wonderful lady named Julia was the winner of the “Best Shed” competition in the Tweeters Garden Show on Twitter. The prize was for me to draw the winning shed. I admit I was a little nervous about what I might be drawing, but this could not have worked out better for me. Julia created the shed with her family from reclaimed items. Isn’t it brilliant?

Initially, I made a sketch of the dimensions from a reference photo, but since then I have been working solely from my draft – to help create the pieced-together character of this charming little building. I think definite lines and precision would be all wrong here. The dark background may or may not stay – I tend to work on a black background because it helps me to prevent eye strain when working digitally. Julia kindly let me know the summer plants she intends to grow, so I am now adding sweetpeas to the trellis and tumbling tomatoes to the hanging baskets.

Finally, I would like to introduce you to Koshka the cat. She rules my two human friends Will and Kirsty and I have the joyful task of drawing her.

Since they both love myth, folklore and Dungeons & Dragons, I am making the portrait a little bit magical in their honour. Will does a lot of work online promoting kindness and compassion in the online DnD community and you can find him here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. With several deadlines out of the way, I am looking forward to spending time in my tiny potager garden now that the sun is shining x

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Art Journal: The Creation of Mister Meadowson

Whilst I was working on my winter collection for the little art shop I had a request from a young girl in the United States for a tiny fox with glasses to be included somewhere in one of my illustrations. She wears glasses herself and thought it would be nice to have a character to find that was in glasses too.

The more I thought about a bespectacled fox character, the more he came to life, until I had a very clear image of a woodland librarian in my mind and could not wait to start creating him.

In the various public libraries I have worked in over the years, winter usually involves trying to keep warm with a lot of hot drinks and extra layers of clothing. In some of the older buildings and mobile libraries I used to keep a coat, hat and gloves on – and sometimes even mittens! My fox character would definitely need to have his own cold weather clothes.

Although I always do my initial sketches in my art journal, I am getting more and more used to working on an iPad with an Apple Pencil now. My initial sketch is scanned in as the first layer and then I draw over the top in an electronic version of my Derwent pencil. The undo button proves incredibly useful when I have lots of children around my desk and also allows me to try out different colour schemes.

At first the character still seemed to want a final something to bring him to life. I was much happier once the fox and toy rabbit were aged, as if by years of hugs, with the addition of little curls and wisps of fur.

I often change the background colour if I am trying to find spots I have missed. As I was using an autumn palette a pink tone showed up a handful of missing leaves and little star patterns.

Here he is – complete. Mister Meadowson, Librarian-at-Large.

My husband then used my illustration to create a mug, blanket and other lovely items to sell. I hope, very soon, to create the design on Mister Meadowson’s own tea cup so that we can add a real life version of his mug to the Tiny Potager Shop too.

This is the soft grey blanket that my little friend in the States is getting as her Christmas present from her parents. I could not be more delighted that they love the design.

You can watch the creation of Mister Meadowson from the initial sketch the the finished product below.

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I’ve linked below to where you can buy the items mentioned in my post from Amazon. If you click on the picture and buy the item I will get a small commission to help support my art.

Derwent 34215 Graphic Soft Graphite Drawing Pencils, Set of 12, Professional Quality, Black