Elderflower Fields T-Shirt

The t-shirt I designed for Elderflower Fields Family Festival is on sale now for pre-order. The team behind the festival wanted a new design that would appeal to men and women, adults and children. I created a floral design filled with insects and grasses, to make sure it didn't get too 'pretty' and kept a natural, outdoorsy vibe, just like the festival itself. I love how it turned out. 

See my work at Surtex and the National Stationery Show

National Stationery Show with Big Wheel Press

I have a fantastic new range of letterpress cards and notebooks being debuted at the National Stationery Show in New York this May.

Developed in collaboration with Big Wheel Press, everything will be available to order at Booth #2321. There are letterpress cards and notebooks for all occasions plus a range of floral cards letter pressed with gorgeous gold foil in a variety of designs and sentiments, some in boxed sets.

Along with my ranges, Big Wheel Press will have tons more fabulous cards and stationery products including work from Molly Hatch and Susa Talan. Make sure you drop by if you're going to the show. 

Surtex with Four Corners Art Collective

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Javits Centre in May I'll be at SURTEX, showing my complete portfolio of illustrations and patterns for products and publications across all markets.

At last year's show I met buyers and art directors from all kinds of companies, resulting in some fantastic licenses for greetings cards, journals, calendars, fabrics and home decor products. If you're looking for a creative collaborator to add fresh, on-trend art to your products, then please do swing by Booth #2723. We'd love to see you! 

The presses are rolling...

Probably the highlight of 2016 was working with Big Wheel Press on a range of letterpress and digital cards. I love creative collaboration with clients and it's been a total joy picking work from my portfolio together and developing it into a killer range of cards and notebooks. 

The presses actually started rolling last year but we're still putting the finishing touches to some of the designs.

Retailers can view and order from the full range at the Big Wheel Press booth #2321 at the National Stationery Show in New York in May, alongside Big Wheel's own ranges and gorgeous work from the other two artists they collaborate with, Molly Hatch and Susa Talan.

I'll have samples at Surtex too, so come by the Four Corners Art Collective booth #2723 for a look.

24 Christmas images

Update: the challenge is over and we now have over 3,200 posts to the #adventcalendarart hashtag. So much fantastic work and loads of incredible energy. We were even featured on the Print & Pattern blog!

My take-aways are 1) that the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are stupendous, 2) I'm in love with the 6B pencil and the studio pen brushes and, 3) I will be drawing lots more people in the new year because they were the most fun and got the most likes. Happy holidays to you. See you in 2017 x

The Four Corners second annual Advent Calendar Challenge has kicked off. I'm hoping to do an image every day and I'll add them here as I do them. You can follow along at the Four Corners Instagram feed. 

Challenges like this are a great way to kick off a ton of new work. I know from last year that the image I post each day is just the starting point. One of my 2015 challenge sketches has gone through a few iterations and is now being test printed by a letterpress publisher in the US. It will be available for wholesale orders at the National Stationery Show in NYC in May next year. I wonder which of the designs below will make it out into the real world...?

Join our Christmas Instagram challenge 2017

I can't quite believe it's a whole year since the last Four Corners Art Collective Instagram Advent Calendar Challenge.

Last year, there were over 1,800 posts to our hashtag #adventcalendarart and some of those designs have since been licensed or bought for a variety of products including greetings cards, doormats, stationery and calendars. 

Image © Beth Schneider 2016

Image © Beth Schneider 2016

This year we've picked a theme for each of the first three weeks of December and will be posting daily prompts for people to follow.

If you're an artist, we'd love you to join in and encourage your artists friends to do the same. It really is a fun way to fill your portfolio full of seasonal designs. And who knows who might be watching!

And if you're a buyer or art director, follow along for a daily hit of seasonal art everyday from December 1st until Christmas Eve.

Visit Four Corners Instagram for all the details...

See my work at Quilt Market 2016

Two of my fabric collections will be on show at Quilt Market 2016 in Houston this weekend, from 29-31 October. They are just part of the large collection of fabrics you can see at Booth 1751 with Haerae Co.

To celebrate, I mocked up a couple of simple quilts. This first one is using prints from Morning Birds.

And here's the same pattern but this time made up from my Pastel Blooms collection.

I just wish I could be there to see all the wonderful fabrics on show. Enjoy it if you're going.

Pocket planner with Andrews McMeel

I'm really delighted to tell you about a new product I have coming out in 2017. Andrews McMeel Publishing have licensed two of my dramatic floral patterns to use in their Posh calendar range.

The image above will be the front cover design and a co-ordinating pattern will appear on the inside pages. The Posh planners are a really lovely range, you can find them on Amazon. I can't wait to see mine for real.

Illustrating children's books

For five weeks from Monday October 3rd I'll be busy in class on the MATS Illustrating Children's Books e-course*. In five weeks time I'll have a killer book pitch. How cool is that?

© Emma McGowan 2016

© Emma McGowan 2016

The image above came out of some course prep to get everyone in the mood. Publishers, take note! I have a whole story already developed for Miss Minette McCloud if you're interested.

For the course itself we've been asked to pick one text from a choice of three, and we'll work with our chosen text for all five weeks. All three are great but one absolutely leapt off the page at me. 

This weekend I'll be stocking up on new supplies: a squeaky clean new sketchbook, a ream of good quality printer paper, some new uni-Pin fine liners - mine are all blurry and blunt - and some extra gouache paints.

Right now, I'm off to sharpen my pencils and clear my desk. Enjoy your weekends :-)

* Of course, I'm still available for commission or to talk about possible projects. Email me if you need me!

Great day, great news

I'm excited to be able to announce that I've been working with the lovely people at Workman Publishing on the 2018 version of their popular Today Is Going To Be A Great Day calendar.

More than 30 illustrators have contributed to this fun page-a-day calendar. I had a blast choosing and illustrating ten uplifting phrases for my days. Just another 471 days until it's 2018...!

The cover of the 2017 calendar. You'll have to wait until 2018 to see mine!

The cover of the 2017 calendar. You'll have to wait until 2018 to see mine!

Vote for my GTS hipster cafe!

The gallery is open so I can finally reveal my semi-final piece...

You can view the whole Global Talent Search Semi-Final Gallery here and it's full of fabulous work. 

Here's a direct link to my piece in case you'd like to vote for it. The piece with the most public votes goes through to the final automatically. The judging panel will then put through another five. I'd love to be one of those final six but it's a tough competition.

About the brief

Our imaginary Art Director asked us to design the cover of a recipe book by Sunny Spindler, our cafe owner from the first round. We could choose to depict a cafe scene or focus on the desserts, or both. I came back from a research trip to a Brighton cafe with a load of surreptitious sketches of people eating cake, drinking tea and shooting the breeze, and I wanted to capture some of the quirky folk I saw.

I wanted to create a sugary vibe through the colours I chose rather than trying to create anything too cupcake-quirky, which isn't really my style. So I pulled some of the strong colours from my first round piece and put them into a sugary pink setting.

I love that big-haired fashionable lady on the left and who can't love a bearded dude digging into a massive cupcake?

It would be a dream come through to get into the finals but even if this is the end of my GTS road this year I have a load of ideas for new work, so it's already a win.

Good luck to everyone else and here's that link again in case you want to vote for my hipster cafe...

Tea time at the Global Talent Search

It's time for another Global Talent Search, the annual competition run by Lilla Rogers Studio

I used to work with 2014 winner, Zoe Ingram, at a digital agency in Scotland years ago, so I followed that first competition with interest. It was properly thrilling when Zoe scooped the top prize and a total joy to see how her career has taken off since. 

In 2015 I was selected from 1,000 entries to go through to the Semi-Final with 49 others. What a high!

This year the first round came smack in the middle of our family holiday in Cornwall but I couldn't resist the brief to design a tea cup and paper napkin, with lettering. I couldn't stick to just one cup, I'm a total cup-addict. I got the impression that Sunny Spindler (the client) is the same, so I decided to make a virtue of having all kinds of different cups.

Here's what I submitted. 

Tea cup and paper napkin designs for Sunny Spindler, the owner of a pastry shop who is opening a tea room. All images © Emma McGowan.

Tea cup and paper napkin designs for Sunny Spindler, the owner of a pastry shop who is opening a tea room. All images © Emma McGowan.

Semi-finalists announced on Friday...

New work

The Surtex follow-up continues apace. I have two fabulous new commissions from US publishers - more on those when I can reveal the details - I've been busy putting together fabric collections for sales meetings in Australia, Japan and Korea, and I've sold a collection direct to a great new client in the US.

I also managed to squeeze in the last Make Art That Sells Bootcamp assignment, which was to create a journal cover using zinnias. I'm no botanist and honestly, I've never seen a zinnia in my life. Turns out they are a wonderful variety of round, pom-pom flowers, attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. 

The final piece, a colourful journal cover © Emma McGowan 2016

The final piece, a colourful journal cover © Emma McGowan 2016

Perfect for wall art, a stationery set or how about a planner and calendar? © Emma McGowan 2016

Perfect for wall art, a stationery set or how about a planner and calendar? © Emma McGowan 2016

If you'd like to license this design or talk about how it could be applied to your products or publications, please do contact me.

My take on adult colouring books

It's all stations go preparing for SURTEX (come and see me in Booth 229!) but I couldn't resist joining in with the Make Art That Sells Bootcamp. You just can't beat a fun and market-specific brief from Lilla Rogers. Lilla is so on-trend with what the market wants there's always a lightbulb moment when the brief arrives. Oh, of course, adult colouring books...!

She got us started drawing 1920s hairstyles. Here's my finished piece and a few of my sketches along the way. I'll be working this up into a full book pitch and submitting it to one of my publishing clients straight after SURTEX.

Mock up of the front cover © Emma McGowan 2016

Mock up of the front cover © Emma McGowan 2016

An early sketch, a version of which ended up in the top left hand corner of the finished piece (see above)

An early sketch, a version of which ended up in the top left hand corner of the finished piece (see above)

This lady didn't make the cut despite her very on-trend turban!

This lady didn't make the cut despite her very on-trend turban!

Shortlisted in Printsource competition

I'm so pleased to announce that I've reached the final eight for the Make it in Design/Printsource competition. If I win, I'll be packing my bags for another trip to New York, in August, to exhibit at Printsource. Yes please!

Here are my two entries:

Angel Geo © Emma McGowan 2016

Angel Geo © Emma McGowan 2016

Retro Meadow © Emma McGowan 2016

Retro Meadow © Emma McGowan 2016

There are additional patterns in both collections, all of which are available to license. Contact me for more information.

A round up of my 2015 highlights

Glass of sherry in hand, here are my personal 2015 highlights...

Being a Global Talent Search semi-finalist

What a thrill it was to be one of 50 artists that got through to the 2015 GTS Semi Final Round. I'll be entering again next year, not least because of the fantastic brief you get from Lilla Rogers and her team. Here are my Round 1 and Round 2 entries.

Sneakers for Antoinette, my Round 1 entry © Emma McGowan

Sneakers for Antoinette, my Round 1 entry © Emma McGowan

Antoinette's Boudoir, my Semi-Final piece © Emma McGowan

Antoinette's Boudoir, my Semi-Final piece © Emma McGowan

Illustrating a book

One to tick off my bucket list. The Science of Everyday Life by Marty Jopson is a great read and a perfect Christmas gift. It was loads of fun collaborating with Marty on the illustrations even if it did mean reliving school science lessons.


Joining up with artists around the world to launch the Four Corners Art Collective

It's such a privilege to be a member of the Four Corners Art Collective. We've become great friends since we starting talking about forming a collective and I love the support and encouragement we get from each other, despite being in different timezones! 

Taking Instagram by storm

We launched Four Corners with an Instagram challenge and were completely bowled over by how many artists and designers joined in. Over 1,800 images were created and posted under our hashtag adventcalendarart. So a big thank you to everyone who joined in. Here's one of my posts from the month of festive images.

Christmas Wreath © Emma McGowan 2015

Christmas Wreath © Emma McGowan 2015

I hope you've all had a restful and festive holiday. Roll on 2016 and SURTEX in May. Happy New Year to you all, wherever you are.