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Beyond the canvas


Nib and paper blog. January 2021

It’s only been a few months since I turned a little dream into a small business venture and without complaining, it’s the busiest I have been. November saw my winter wildlife illustration designs going into print as Christmas cards which generated a lot of positive feedback but whilst these were going into print, I had to think forward and look at doing other pieces and generating ideas for greeting cards or prints that could keep me going beyond the Christmas season.

One wonderful thing I learnt during this time was that I had an immense love for paper. I have always loved stationery. Ever since I was young, I can vividly remember buying new books to write in and getting excited about opening a crisp new page. For me, the start of the new year always meant a new diary with pages to fill with writing. So, it naturally made sense to venture into luxury stationery and to combine that with the art mediums that i am currently using of which watercolours and gouache are my favourite.

However, when I first started painting, I had no idea about what kind of paper was appropriate. I watched youtube videos and quickly realised that even the prettiest cartridge paper I had been using all along just was not fit for use when it came to either of those mediums. The amount of paper that ended up in the recycling was unreal.

Generally, there are two types of paper, hot and cold pressed. Initially,I started off with cold pressed paper which is textured but quickly realised that the bumps on the paper didn't favour fine delicate work. I have since started using hot pressed paper which is smoother and makes for a bleed proof paper and is perfect texture for finer details.

As you know, I incorporated calligraphy into my practice so that I could offer another dimension to the greeting cards. My handwriting is naturally close to copperplate calligraphy so this wasn't a problem at all but I am learning modern calligraphy which is a popular form of calligraphy for wedding invites and stationery. This is what I am hoping to expand this business into for 2021.

In November, I got myself the most stunning hand crafted dip pen from Tom's studio ( and bought a selection of gold inks to play with. I even made my own gold gouache. Calligraphy for me was quite meditative but its proving to be quite heavy for the pocket because I am constantly on the look out for new nibs and pens.

At some point, when things start to settle again this year and we are allowed back to some normality, I would love to run some fun classes and welcome you into my studio space (with coffee and cake) for calligraphy.

Really hoping that this creativity (not covid) is contagious in 2021. Wishing you all a promising year.

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