Experiments in Children’s Illustration


I’ve been experimenting with different media for my illustrations. I wanted a softer, more painterly/drawn look rather than the clean, smooth, untextured finish of the gouache and watercolour paintings I’ve been doing (don’t get me wrong, watercolour is still my first love!).

I got some watercolour pencils the other day – I’ve used them before but wasn’t really sure what I was doing with them. These ones are Derwent Academy ones, so student quality rather than artists but I’ve still managed to get some nice results from them.

illustrationfriday travel

boyandbear melting ice cream

I start by painting the skin tones in with gouache, because I want a nice untextured look, and then I just go mad with the pencils. Sometimes washing with water and drawing on top, and sometimes just scribbling away until I get the colours and texture I want.

I’m really pleased with how they turned out and I might pick up a couple of nicer pencils in selected shades to keep me going!

Toodlepip for now!

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Freak Weather Event in Scotland


I’ve been away for ages. I know. Slap my wrist.

It’s beautiful up here in the highlands at the moment. The last two days have hit 30c! Which is a freak weather event for Scotland. It’s along the lines of cat5 tornadoes and car sized hail stones.

Part of the Smillie family unit have embarked on a trip to the Isle of Skye with the dogs so our cat has had a rare old time zooming about the house.

I have been busy designing and making new things. I’ve been doing a bit of illustrating but honestly I’m finding it hard to focus on it. I need some more direction I think.

Here’s where we’re at with the children’s illustration;

fireside storiesIF surveillancein bed with the flu

So, portfolio progressing nicely, although I could definitely do with some more pictures in there.

And then on to the exciting new ranges I’ve been working on for my shop. I’ve designed a range of lovely fresh patterns which are suitable for men or women (it’s hard to find things for men!) and produced some lovely notebooks, notelet cards and some new magnets. Take a look HERE

notelet 2notebook3large biscuit mags group 2

So, pop along and take a look at the shop and grab yourself a bargain.

My next project will be a slightly more floral feminine range of cards etc – think hydrangeas, roses, honeysuckle etc. Unless I get sidetracked, which is a distinct possibility.


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Father’s Day


Father’s Day is fast approaching and what could be better than some magnets or badges to celebrate manliness?!

See my etsy shop here – Click me!

The end of year show for Aberdeen College’s second year Vis Comm HND students is also happening.

I’m going to help set up next week and also stick some bits in Offset57 (the excellent popup shop curated by Nicola Watson).

So if anyone is in and around Aberdeen when the exhibition is going on – Wednesday 12th – Friday 14th 10am til 9pm, you should pop in and take a look at the talented second years work. You could also pick up a tea towel or set of magnets from yours truly =)


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Hallo lovely people!

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately. I’d love to have a good reason for it but the truth is my arm’s been playing up and college work is about all I can manage. I have been able to make a couple of teatowels though;

Pot Teatowel TTowel

But what I’ve been working on most recently are tartans! I’m working my way through the ¬† ¬†most common surnames in Scotland and illustrating their tartans to put on magnets!

tartans for printing small

So anyway, I shall post back here when I’ve managed to make the magnets and some more tartans. It’s been great fun although veeery complicated!


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The Shiniest Pearl


The latest addition to my children’s illustration portfolio (I’ve been trying to beef it up);

girl and cat underwater


She’s spotted the biggest, most shiniest pearl this side of the pacific and thinks it’s probably a good idea to collect it. Cat agrees, however the local residents have taken an immediate dislike to him.

Painted on hot press paper with watercolours. Hope you like it!


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Children’s Illustration


I’ve been suffering with my arm a lot lately so I haven’t been able to do very much but I have been working on some self-initiated children’s illustration.

I have a vague idea about a story that I’d like to write in the future about a girl and a cat.

The illustration is the both of them doing what all kids do and using boxes to make something cool – in this case, a boat. Obviously cardboard would be no good on the open seas so some product design will be in order but the blueprints are going well. Cat clearly has the treasure finding skill though!

girl and catIt’s painted on hot press paper with watercolours, hope you like it!



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Mid Century Masculine


I’ve been thinking about surface patterns and how not a lot of my art is very appealing to the proper gentleman. So I decided to have a go at designing something that would fit the bill.

I discovered that I am a huge fan of mid century style patterns and colours and coincidentally lots of these tend to be quite masculine – for obvious reasons now that I think about it!

alt ovals and linesalt rectangles

broken squaressquare grid

hollow squaressegmented squares

gold and blue zig zag

I liked the idea of keeping things geometric and sharp – with the exception of the irregular squares of course – I felt that those needed an uneven border to keep it interesting and not looking like an American grid system!

Anyway, will probably have a go at some more, although the ones above can of course be produced in differing colourways.


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