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. 

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...?

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!

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.

Instagram Advent images

Four Corners Art Collective is kicking up a festive storm on Instagram with a daily advent calendar challenge. I won't be contributing an image every day but here's a growing gallery of the ones I've managed to do. Just use #adventcalendarart to join in.

UPDATE: we're over halfway through the challenge and there have been over 1,400 posts under our hashtag! Incredible and quite humbling. Massive hats off to the few who have managed a daily image. No mean feat at this time of year...

CHRISTMAS EVE UPDATE: well, we're done and we had over 1,800 posts to our hashtag. Unbelievable. Merry Christmas, all.

An Instagram Christmas

To help get into the festive swing of things I'm joining in with Lucie Sheridan's 12 Days of Christmas Instagram challenge. We'll be drawing and posting Christmas imagery under the hashtag #12daysilloxmas

Over at the Four Corners Art Collective we're organising our own countdown to Christmas with an advent calendar challenge. You can follow us and join in yourself at #adventcalendarart. We're kicking things off on November 30th.

Here's a sneaky peek at my contribution to day 1...

Hope to see you there on December 1st! #adventcalendarart

New brand, new website

After 15 years as a creative copywriter and two as a freelance illustrator, this year I decided to finally commit myself completely to surface pattern design. 

The result is a date with a booth at SURTEX in 2016 (more on that later) and this shiny new website, dedicated to my surface print and pattern portfolio and nothing else. 

I've moved all my editorial illustration over to BIG, the Brighton Illustrators Group website, and said a final goodbye to copywriting.

To celebrate, I used the free downloads from the Brand Stylist website to develop an understated, laid back and luxurious brand identity that I hope is distinctive and unfussy and reflects the kind of prints and patterns I love to make. Here are some of the elements.