Cushions with cats on!

Aaargh, five months since my last post, oooops! How have you all been?

GUESS WHAT! For a limited time (until 20th November 2017) you can get your paws on these yummy cushions featuring Bob, Dave, and the new cat on the block Maggie! Look – aren’t they plumpcious?!

I’ve entered the designs into the “Pillow Fight” competition being run by the fabulous Ohh Deer – so if you don’t want to buy one, could I beg for your vote? It’s very quick and easy! There’s a teeny tiny registration involved (to make sure people don’t vote more than once for the same design) and you can vote for as many designs as you like (but only once per design). You can see all three cushions here – just click on the images to take you to the voting pages. Simples!

If you do fancy buying one, here’s some info…

The cushions are handmade in the UK (by Ohh Deer – my sewing skills haven’t progressed to neat zips yet!) from super soft vegan faux suede and come complete with a fibre insert. The covers are 43x43cm with a 50x50cm insert to keep it plumpcious. They’re machine washable and have a grey back with a zip fastening. Oooh, and if you live in the UK, shipping is free! Hurrah! They cost £29.95, or £28.45 without the insert.

I reckon they’d make super-cute Christmas gifts for sofas, bedrooms, children’s rooms or home offices – but remember, they’re only available until 20th November (unless I win the competition and get taken on as an official Ohh Deer illustrator!) so don’t delay with your votes or purchases!

Big advance thanks to anyone who votes!

In other news, my “Dave Bakes A Cake” illustration is now available to buy from my Etsy store in the form of jolly birthday cards

…and Maggie will be available as an enamel pin in a few weeks time, yay!

Thanks for reading, I’ll try not to leave it so long until my next post!

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Win a Dave stationery bundle and enamel pin!

Yo! Long time no see, how are you all?

Remember back in December I showed you a stationery subscription box I illustrated for the lovely folk at Paperhaul? Well, I have a spare one up for grabs, hoorah! AND I’m throwing in a Dave hard enamel badge too!

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is head over to this post on my Instagram page and leave a comment – it’s that easy! You have until midnight GMT in Tuesday 16th May 2017 to enter, so don’t delay!

In the stationery bundle you’ll find a birthday card, postcards, gift tags, stickers, wrapping paper, and a notepad, featuring Dave and a massive birthday cake he made all by himself!


And here’s the yummy enamel pin I’m throwing in too!


I’ll be drawing the winner’s name out of a hat on Wednesday 17th May.

Good luck everyone! 😸

Pintastic!

Wotcha! Hope you’ve all had a jolly Christmas, and that there weren’t too many cat-related Christmas tree incidents in your household…

I have an exciting announcement! Look what arrived!
Squeeeeee! Dinky little hard enamel Dave and Bob pins! They’re so cute!
Bob is 22m high, and Dave’s 28mm high, and they fit perfectly on the little backing cards I showed you in my last blog post:

They’re both available now in my Etsy store, and are £7 each, or £12.50 for both, and ship worldwide – they’re just the thing to pin onto your jacket, jumper or bag – but please don’t try to pin them on your cat!

As there are only a few days left of this year, I’d like to thank all my customers for their support in 2016, and to wish you all a happy and healthy new year – see you all in 2017!

Cheers!

Further adventures in screen printing…

Hello hello hello!

Last time I posted I’d just had a go at screen printing for the first time.

Since then I invested in a higher mesh count screen and had another go, this time printing on to gorgeous Bockingford watercolour cardstock.

I made a new screen, once again hand painting the images with drawing fluid onto the screen with a fine brush:

  
…and this time managed to coat the screen with filler in just one pass, yay!

  

I mixed some yummy coloured inks – for this first run I decided to pink, lime green, orange and blue:

  
A great tip I picked up somewhere on the internet was to mix ink on a sheet of glass over white paper. There’s something very satisfying about slowly folding the colours together with a palette knife, all gloopy and shiny!

I had to trap myself in the house with a pasting table to lay out the prints to dry – it’s a good job no-one knocked on the door as I wouldn’t have been able to answer it! 
   

Once I’d printed the colours, I moved on to the black – slightly nerve racking as I had to get the registraion right or I’d mess them all up! I printed the first black image onto tracking paper taped at one edge to the base of the screen unit, positioned one of the coloured prints under it and marked the edges as a guide. And off I went! 

On a scale of one to ten in squeeness, lifting the screen to reveal the first card in all it’s glory hit about 999!

  
I might have squeaked aloud and bounced around the room a bit!

Here are finished cards in the four colours I chose (thank you everyone on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for your colour suggestions!) – each card comes with an envelope in stupidcats orange (another thank you to Facebook folks – particularly Etsy Resolution group members – for their feedback on envelope colour!), and they’re available singley, in a pack of four (one of each colour), or in pairs of various colours:

  
My technique has definitely improved – this time I didn’t once flood the back of the screen (yay!) and found that perfect angle to draw the squeegee over the screen when pulling prints (most of the time…!).

As a finishing touch, I hand stamp my logo on the back of each card:

  
I’ve also introduced a new set of badges – four little pin badges to match the cards (big thanks to Peter at John E Wright in Nottingham for being so patient making sure the output colours match the cards as closely as possible, despite intermittent power cuts!). Each badge is hand pressed on my dinky badge press and assembled by hand. 

  
I decided to retire my Badgebook theme, as it they just take too long to assemble (I might bring them back if I find a quicker way), so I’ve repackaged my other badges to match these new ones:

   
 
Cards and badges are available from my Etsy store, and ship worldwide, hurrah!

I’m sooooo chuffed to finally be able to print my own cards! 
Next I need to try printing onto fabric so I can make tote bags. I’ve hand-painted a sample bag to get an idea of size and positioning, what do you think?
  
Spot the black blob where I dropped the brush! The next step will be to hand paint a screen and try printing some.

These bags will initially be available in orange, pink, blue and lime green, hand printed in two colours – watch this space! 😸

Ooooh, ps! In my last post I told you about Cobden Place, and their Kickstarter campaign to raise £8,000 to start a School of Print in Nottingham. Well, they not only hit their target, but also made their stretch-goal of £10,000! How brilliant is that? I upped my pledge at the last minute, and am so excited about attending a screen-printing workshop there later this year, with Tom Camp who used to be the print technician for none other than Rob Ryan! 😸

Like a rolling stupidcat…

Way back in 1965, Bob Dylan went electric, which upset some of his fans so much that they booed him at the Newport Folk Festival.

Fifty years later, stupidcats went digital – please don’t boo me!

I’ve wanted to re-create some of my cats digitally for ages, so I can put them on button badges and other things. Recently I was able to invest in a professional badge making machine after a run of sales of my drawings (thank you!) so I sat down at the computer, opened Adobe Illustrator, and started playing.

I started with a design based on a stupidcat original that was bought by a chap in America – he’s been nicknamed Sir Reginald (the cat, not the chap) and here’s the very first badge I made on my shiny new press:

  
The next cat to get the Illustrator treatment was my sad black one – here’s an early badge test of the two of them:

  
I began to think about packaging – most badges tend to be put in plastic bags with a folded card stapled on the top. I wanted to do something a little different. Here are a few things I tried:

  
   
 

I loved the idea of the matchbook-style packaging…

  
…but it was a bit too slow and fiddly to make, and the visible staple irritated me a bit. Around this time I started referring to them as “badgebooks” and then had a thought – I was already planning on making stupidcats notebooks, so why not just make a simple, folded book-cover type thing with the badges inside?

Here are some prototypes, with mock-ups of the notebooks:

 
The added bonus of giving the badge packaging a bookish theme meant I could give each set of designs a “volume” number. I’d now added two more designs based on old drawings – the alien, and the other stupidcat, inspired by Neil Gaiman‘s book “Coraline“.

I still had a problem though – I didn’t want to use a plastic bag in the packaging, and cutting little flaps or punching holes was fiddly, time-consuming, and looked messy on the back. So how could I attach the badges to the card?

Then I received a new bank card in the post.

So I looked up “glue that sticks bank cards onto paper” (or words to that effect) on the internet, and my little problem was soon solved! I posted a set of badges to myself, and was relieved to find that despite travelling through the postal system, the badges were still attached to the card when I received them. Success! 

After much research I’d settled on a range of card from GF Smith called Colorplan to use for my notebook covers and badgebooks, and I matched the colours used on the artwork as closely as I could to the card, then went to visit my friendly local printer (the same one that does my Giclée prints) and he printed out the badge artwork on his posh laser printer. You can really see the difference between my fuzzy inkjet prints and the vibrant, crisp laser prints (the top row):

  

Here are the badges against some of the cardstock – not a bad match at all!

  

Once I’d finalised the design for the badgebook covers, I had a rubber stamp specially made, and also one for the back with my logo and website address that I’ll be using on my notebooks too:

  

And here’s the finished badgebook! I asked Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for help choosing the colour for volume one and blue won, so I promptly chose orange which came in second place!
   
   
The final touch was making teeny brown paper bags that just fit a badgebook and a business card:

  

So there they are! I already have four new designs in progress for volume two – but before I release that, I’ll be launching my notebooks – here’s a preview of the first one, which explains why I didn’t go with blue for volume one of the badgebook. As you can see, I’ve dropped the text on the cover that I had on earlier mock-ups to draw more attention to the cutout and the thinner, contrasting card of the inner cover. They’ll be handstiched, using thread that is colour-matched to the inner cover.

  
Volume one of my badgebook is available now from my Etsy store, and if all goes well my notebooks should be ready to go on sale in a couple of weeks time.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you haven’t booed me! 😸

ps – I still love the matchbook idea, so will probably use it for one-offs or something later!