Tula Lotay- Dirge- Art Book

Inspiring Artists – Tula Lotay

Tula Lotay is the nom-de-plume of comic artist Lisa Wood. I’ve been following her work on instagram now for sometime and when she announced a collector edition art book of prints I knew I had to have one. I was heart broken to have missed her limited run of Blade Runner prints so I can’t tell you how pleased I was that this was the postcard she chose to include with my book ! The art book is small, about the dimensions of a CD, but its a beautifully produced  featuring a lovely selection of  over 40 sketches and full colour works.

Tula Lotay- Dirge- Art Book

I first became aware of Tula Lotay in her capacity as the originator and organiser of the Thought Bubble  Festival Leeds. (One of my favourite comic festivals which sees its 5th year this November and I’ll be in attendance- but more about that another time). Lotay is also the manager of comic store Travelling Man and an all round good egg, but more pertinently to this blog post a fantastic a comic artist in her own right.

jane- tula lotay

Lotay’s work really caught my eye – it’s hardly surprising that her pop culture portraits would speak to me. But I also love her unique blend of digital and traditional technique, which leaves one wondering if the final work is pen and paper or wacom tablet in origin. I’d hazard a  guess that Lotay sketches by hand and then transfers to the computer for colouring and further manipulation.

Scarlet-Tula Lotay

She has a keen eye for design and her work never takes on that ‘too perfect’ look that digital techniques can bring, preferring instead to emulate brush and paint, and using the digital element to play tricks like pixellated backgrounds and ‘double exposure’ style tricks that computer manipulation is perfect for.

Tula Lotay Illustration

As a lifelong comic reader growing up it could be a bit of a boys world.  Things are different now, its much more common for girls to be involved in comic fandom and making, but they are still a little underrepresented in the industry.  So I’m proud to see a woman like Lisa so prominent in UK comics, not only for raising awareness through one of my favourite cons, but  as an influential up and coming artist herself .

Louise Brooks- Tula Lotay

Tuta Lotay is currently working on two comic book titles,  Supreme Blue Rose with Warren Ellis & the ‘Bodies’ miniseries for DC Vertigo. I’ll hazard a guess that these are two of the best looking comics in print right now.

supreme blue rose- tula lota with warren ellis

You can visit Tula Lotay’s site here Tulalotay.com , follow her on instagram here, and buy prints and art books here. All images in the post are copyright of Tula Lotay and are reproduced with kind permission.  I’ll leave you with another of my favourite Blade Runner inspired images, this time of Rachel, with a rather ghostly looking Deckard behind.

Rachel and Deckard- tula lotay

Have you discovered any great new artists recently? I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to give ‘em a shout out in the comments below.

Portrait Quilt by Mark & Bridget Mann FoQ 2014

Review-Festival of Quilts 2014

I recently attended the Festival of Quilts at the Birmingham NEC where I also exhibited my City of Culture Heritage Quilt. I was glad to have seen the Festival after hearing about it in glowing terms for so many years now.

Cherry & Cinnamon at the Festival of Quilts 2014

I’m sure for a quilter this event is the highlight of the year, but one day was plenty for me, not being a quilter myself (I designed all the fabrics and the pattern of my quilt). In terms of stalls and sellers the FoQ is much like the Knitting & Stitching show but with more emphasis on fabric suppliers, sewing machines and gadget demonstrations, and of course  the workshops and talks which are all patchwork and quilting specific.

Bowie- Ziggy Quilt FoQ 2014 by Ann Beech


The main draw for me are the exhibitions of quilting and textile art – which I was encouraged to see featured a lot of modern and experimental styles and techniques.Of course I was drawn to the quilts that featured pop culture references and icons. I could hardly pass up the chance to photograph this David Bowie quilt by Ann Beech!

Classic Video Game quilts - FoQ 2014


It was also interesting to see how notions of pixel art are transposed into textile art, like these classic computer game quilts featuring Pac-Man and Mario.  This is something you see a lot these days with cross stitch, but it works well with quilt blocks too. This blown up image of the face of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ is a perfect example.

David Quilt & Detail FoQ 2014

Like a large impressionist painting it’s best viewed from farther away to really get the full effect of the image. Many visitors were thrilled to see the effect through their digital camera’s artificial perspective, myself included. If you got closer to this piece you’d see it was quilted using words written over every inch of the patchwork. I wish I knew what it said.

Creature Quilts - FoQ 2014

Actually I wish there had been information about inspiration and making beside each of the quilts, so that you could learn more and appreciate the work better. If I had one major complaint about the exhibition it was this. Competition exhibition listings were by number and name – making it hard to learn anything at all without a show guide- (which cost £7 and there were no pictures, not even of winners).  So apologies for not being able to supply names for each of my examples shown here- if you recognise them feel free to tell me who the maker is in the comments and I’ll make sure to credit the work to them.

Detail Fire and Ice Quilt-FoQ 2014

Lots of quilts featured creatures, and I was also impressed by the quilts that had lots of metallic threads and rhinestone picking out details in stunning works of free motion quilting and embroidery. Like this one shown above. I think it was called Fire and Ice , a really stunning piece with a black and white checker board border. So sparkly and intricate.

Memento Mori- Textile clock- FoQ 2014

Another piece ripe with details that drew in the crowds was this wonderful free-standing textile time piece entitled Memento Mori. I loved picking out all the little features, specimen jars, eggs and egg timers, a book of days, skulls and a swinging pendulum heart stabbed through by needles. A really lovely piece that defies the regular definitions of textile art.

Portrait Quilt by Mark & Bridget Mann FoQ 2014

Another of my favourites was this portrait quilt by two person team Mark and Bridget Mann, entitled ‘Dear Mrs Morcom’. I would love to know  the story behind  this piece as well as the techniques involved in the making- there were lots of different screen printed faces and text in the fabrics that made up the portrait that was very intriguing. I also have a soft spot for chevron quilts so I thought this one was very clever.

Atelier M+M Butterfly-Paper Quilt Detail FoQ 2014

Finally this ‘paper quilt’ by Judith Mundwiler and Gabi Mett, had a very tactile quality (promise I didn’t touch). I love the faded quality of print and tea staining,  and this piece reminded me of lots of textile work I saw as a student. It has a very  ‘ 90’s aesthetic and reminded me of the mixed media work of Dave McKean who produced the dust covers for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic series.

I hope you enjoy my little roundup of the work that stood out for me.  Quilting in general is still very much the realm of the white middle-aged, middle class ladies, which I do find a little daunting. It can feel a bit like a Women’s Institute’s grand day out, where I don’t quite fit the demographic. It would be great to see more diversity in terms of race and gender and younger faces getting involved here – patchwork & quilting and textile art in general is something that many find very meaningful and take great pleasure in so it’s curious that it seems to be so niche.

This was a special occasion as my quilt was on show, but due to the distance and expense I doubt I’ll be a regular to the Festival of Quilts. It was a pleasure to have had the company of my dear Chiaki and to have met up with Laura ‘Bugs and Fishes’ while I was there. We were definitely doing our bit to widen the age bracket of those attending ;-)  Do you have any special exhibitions or shows you’ll be attending this year? Or even convention style events you’d like to try out for the first time? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments…

Baby Unicorn finished sketch

Baby Unicorn Illustration

I recently shared a pic of this unicorn sketch in progress on instagram. I think that baby goats might be my spirit animal. (I wish I’d been aware of this sooner). They are so naughty and full of glee, knocking each other over, and bouncing off each other and hassling other creatures that stay still for too long by jumping on them. They are too funny, and happy and baaaaaD! (See what I did there?)

Baby unicorn sketch in progress

When I was a kid I was obsessed with unicorns. Like, I wanted to see one so bad. But I was always a bit of a purist, my unicorns had to be the kind that look like a really pretty horse. But now I’m glad that the unicorn sometimes has goat like characteristics, like a beard and cloven hooves. And maybe they are really naughty little kids, just like this one?

finished unicorn and original sketch

Sometimes with all the embroidery that’s been going on around here it’s easy to forget my roots are  ink and paper. It was nice to just sketch this little guy for fun and rework him in colour. I’ve some ideas percolating for a new project that I’m hoping to have at Thought Bubble this November and it will be a bit of  a drawing challenge for me. I’m looking forwards to it and I might even be sharing a few more sketches around here. Change is in the air… what’s next I wonder? I’m not 100% sure yet but I wanna be as happy as this guy!

Baby Unicorn finished sketchIs there something you’ve been itching to get back to lately? What’s stopping you? Wanna tell me about it in the comments?

Mod love -60s girl embroidery pattern

Mod Love 60’s Girl – Embroidery Pattern

I’m releasing a new swinging 60’s embroidery pattern  to celebrate my appearance in Hoop-La Magazine !  While my pattern in Hoop-la is a long-haired boho babe this new lady in my etsy shop is a super slick mod-chick.  Click here to go straight to my etsy shop.

60s-Mod-Love & Flower

If you’ve seen Hoop-La issue 2 you may have already spotted my 60’s Summer of Love pattern, shown below. She’s a little bit ‘Deschanel’ and a little bit ‘Shrimpton’ with a fabulous blown out mane of hair. For some reason the ‘Sixties style always reminds me of summertime, and girls in mini-skirts or maxi-skirts with flowers in their hair (or painted on their faces!) So when Hoop-la came a calling I knew what I wanted to design for them.  But I also wanted to offer an alternative sixties vibe too, that’s how Summer’s sister ‘Mod-Love’ came about.

60s-Summer of Love embroidery pattern

In Hoop-la Magazine now- my 60’s Summer of Love embroidery pattern.

The Sixties colour theme carries across both patterns, where ‘Summer of Love’ is soft with warm neutral browns Mod-Love goes for a pop of 60’s brights! I couldn’t help being inspired colour wise by my wonderfully 60’s styled friend Chiaki who blogs at Chiaki Creates - if you visit her eye-catching blog  you’ll soon realise that my mod girl’s bright red hair is a total tribute to her.

Mod love -60s girl embroidery pattern

My Mod-love 60’s Girl embroidery pattern is available now in my etsy shop here and through Kitschy Digitals here.  I’d love to see how you stitch them up!

I’m celebrating August Craft Month with a SUMMER SALE - just use code CRAFTMONTH at checkout to take 15% discount off your order.
Click here to visit my etsy shop now!

Summer of Love- 60s girl embroidery

Summer of Love pattern in Hoop-La Magazine

Yay the new issue of Hoop-la Magazine is out and I can finally tell you I was commissioned to create a new embroidery pattern especially for them!  They really love my portraits and patterns of girls and asked me to design a special pattern just for their readers.

Sixties Girl embroidery pattern-Hoop La Magazine 2

I love drawing and stitching hairstyles so I was inspired by summer time and sixties fashions to create this big haired boho babe for their special summer issue. (You can check out an online  preview of Hoop-la Issue 2 here.)

Hoop-la issue 2 preview

I don’t own many 60’s items so I had do a bit of thrift shopping for the photo shoot.  You may remember seeing a glimpse of these props here and on instagram earlier in the spring? I was so excited to share how these pics turned out, it’s always so hard having to wait til your project finally appears in print!

Summer of Love 60s Girl- embroidery by cherry and cinnamon

Hoop-la wanted me to include a stitch in this pattern that might be a bit different or new to some people so I included one of my favourites- the roman stitch. (At least that’s what it’s called in my Oddham’s big book of needlework, you might know it by another name). It makes for a subtly shaded textured fill stitch and works beautifully on leaves and collars. (You might remember I worked in on a collar before here).  You’ll find my tips and tricks on how to do all the stitches in the magazine.

60s-Mod-Love & Flower

If  you can’t get your hands on Hoop-La or you prefer you’re Sixties siren’s short-haired then GOOD NEWS for you too! GO check out my etsy store now – I have a sister pattern to this one just released called Mod-Love, the flowers and colour palette are shared across these two designs but Mod-Love’s bright red hair adds a punchy pop of colour! Check back on Monday for more pics of  this pattern and the inspiration behind it, and a special offer on my etsy shop :-) Till then I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Mod-Love 60s Girl Pattern  is available now in my Etsy Shop and on Kitschy Digitals- just click on the links and I’ll take you straight there ;-)