Saturday, December 31, 2011

On Christmas, Activism, but chiefly Making Things For People.

Ho Ho Ho (or, backwards, Oh Oh Oh)

For it's Christmas time, when we travel far and near;
May God bless you and send you a happy New Year

Well, not any more. But the sentiment stands.

I had a most joyous season of good will. I travelled far and near and I gave and received and ate and ate and ate.

Something which I may have mentioned previously, is how busy in the manner of a bee I am in my life currently. I have a full time teaching job, an epic commute, portraits to paint, resources to make, plus illustrating for things like the Think Act Vote book which is being crowd funded here go buy them a drink or worth a general check out for their sterling work, plus the occasional magazine illo. Anyway I barely have time to watch X factor, so it's lucky that's finished.

I had thought therefore, that come the festive season I would want to give hassle free gifts, pay with the more money that I have to save the more time in the holidays I needed for sleeping and watching Gilmore Girls. But no. Before the term even ended I began to fantasize about hand making gifts.

I played with ideas of garlands and biscuits, altered vintage photographs, in the end I plumped for uniquely tailored chocolate hearts for the majority, choosing confectionery and mixing different brands of chocolate for each of my immediate and in-law-to-be family members. I also made some mini lightswitch artworks, bird shaped tree decorations and my traditional set of handmade cards for my mother's extended lot.

I forgot to do the obvious and photograph any of this, so here is an annotated diagram of how to make your own, me-style chocolate heart. I may have got carried away with the diagram. There wasn't really a bunsen burner.
Is it racist that love hearts still say BLUE EYES?

I didn't really forget by the way. It crossed my mind to record these endeavours and do like a twee crafty blog of it all. But that felt wrong. Because these things, and here we are coming to my actual point, were not for self promotion. They were for my loved ones, and also, for me. In a private and pure way, to keep me sane.

I think this is a big part of why I am an illustrator more than I'm a fine artist, and why I love doing portrait commissions, why I spend longer than I have to making resources for my Art classes,
(like this example of a one point perspective shop interior I did at half term)

why I am doing my facebook project too in a way. Making things for other people is one of my all time favourite things to do. (obvious jokes about chocolate and sex).

It's better than Art for Art's sake, Art for Sale, Art for The Betterment of The People, Art Garfunkel, Art for kids, Art for fun and profit, and Art for impressing the Opposite Sex.

Making things for other people is basically like having a dinner party, but with less last minute hoovering and soup angst.

Making things for other people is Ace.

And that's why I know that whatever happens in my life, if I have a dozen kids, or get a job so lucrative I am not compelled to draw for moneys ever again (neither of which are likely, but you never know), I will still Make things for People.

I suggest you do too.

I exercise my self given right to say 'Merry Christmas' right up until I start saying happy new year.

Merry Christmas. I may write a proper post tomorrow.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

it's the most wonderful time of the year again.

I went to the Solipsistic Pop launch party, cos I'm in it and all that. Few weeks ago. Nice night, drew Owl and Mouse on a postit. I always have postits about my person as a rule now. It's a thing. Anyway I gave it to them so you can't see it sorry.

I had to leave before the end cos it was a school night, I was well grumpy about this, although thinking about it, I'm pretty sure I mostly used to leave these things about 10 o'clock before I was a teacher as well.

This week sees the launch of the The memories project although I'm not sure if I'll make it to that one.

Check out this sweet commission I did for Ellie from Bristol (not the smelly one) inspired by my friendship alphabet, but with a food/kitchen vintagey theme,

here are some of the paintings a bit bigger for your eyes to see. I will probably be doing this as a prints series at some point - let me know if you are interested and I'll make sure your in the know you know.

here is a joyful pop triptych of Emma for the facebook project, slowly getting there. Facebook just recently made it so photos go backwards in time, instead of forward. What will they think of next eh? Jackanapes.

here is a consumer rage anecdote. Two days ago, I was seduced into GAP by their 30% off of everything sandwich board attack strategy. I tried on some stuff, apparently I am a size 8 in there now, which is not to say I am a size 8 anywhere else, just that Americans are fat. Anyway I enjoyed some purchases which I was looking forward to wearing about my person, but when I got up in the morning I discovered that they still had the security tags attached.

Instantly, I was consumed by consumer rage. I felt righteously wronged and wrongfully denied my new clothes experience of the day. Forced to go to school in clothes I had already owned. I'm over it now. When I went back in the girl on the till wordlessly removed them for me barely glancing at my receipt. I'm now not sure why I was so angry. It probably says something profound about our society. Or my state of mind. There was this interesting speech by Ben Hammersley that is not really relevant but you should go read it anyway.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

HELLO, long time no blog. Sorry. Teaching is eating my life.

Anyway. There are some overdue reasons to be famous I need to tell you about. So there it is.

To whet your wimple, here are some recent(ish) portraits from the facebook project of friends beginning with the letter E.
Ellie (interactive!)

The memories project, an art book about the experiences of poetic cancer survivors to raise money for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, and including an illustration from yours truly and a number of tear jerking accounts, is now available for pre-order! good idea for christmas je ponse. Here is a snippet of my illustration, i cannot reveal the entirety obvs.

Read the sentence above, does it make sense? add the correct punctuation.

An even more exciting preview, here is a panel from my comic in the upcoming Solipsistic Pop, also available for pre-order and various other activities here,
as well as a talking cat, my contribution also includes zombies, dresses, butterflies, metaphors, water pistols, dance routines... basically I just frew what I fancied drawing and made it into a sort of story. The other comics in the anthology (and yes I have seen proofs) are the expected mix of extreme awesomosity, with spectaculazing artists such as Joe Decie, John Cei Douglas, Phillipa Rice (I've met her twice, i just put that in cos it rhymes), Lizz Lunney, Anna Saunders, besides many more acecakers.

There's also going to be a launch party, I went to the launch party of a previous issue, and failed to draw Robin Ince, that was very good so I expect this will be too.
The They Draw and Cook Book is also now officially available another great christmas gift option for all of your friends and family who enjoy food and/or art. In this video you see my page twice, I am practically the star.

That's How for Now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

oh and also this one, done in Norfolk while visiting with the amazing Ros Davis

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

sketchbook special summer 2011.

It is 2011 right? yes. good.

so here are some sketches I only just got round to scanning.

sketch of goings on at Paint it Make it

only sketch completed (well, started) at the beautiful Mattlivia's wedding before I became too drunken to doodle. I was a guest not there in a professional capacity, otherwise that would have been very unprofessional obviously.

Sketches from my trip to Dalyan, Turkey

After I wrote that I realised it sounds weird and American, like how they say Paris, France so you know they don't mean Paris, Texas.
I wonder if I could get married in Paris, Texas, just to confuse people.

London skyline as seen from the 'Heath

Sketch I did at the cleanup after the London Riots - it was a strange day.
I make no political statement.
Here you can see Sainsbury employees giving out free donuts to the enbroomed masses waiting for the police to clear the scene.

Jane Ellison at the Clapham cleanup talking into a megaphone at a camera man, hoards not pictured.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

so as you may know I am starting my new teaching job in September, which is exciting and scary.

Till then tho I am illumustration central (and planning central of course) and pretty much broke of the pockets. So with the time and the poorness I thought I would have a bit of a



first 4 orders of sale will also receive a limited edition pink love zine

including not to be missed offers like


portrait commission for only £15 (that's very cheap you know, I'm good at portraits) - style and content of your choice.

30 by 30cm prints of my iconic Magpies painting for only £9.49
yes that is a weird price, it is because it is translated from dollerz on etsy

and most exciting of all a bumper suprise pack of awesomeness that will fill your life with joy. Made up from extra and special stock that I have about my person and some original art and things I found in my pockets.

Once upon a time me and Ellie Cryer used to fantasize about having an online business selling mystery boxes of STUFF. This is the closest I have come to date to fulfilling that dream.

If you buy one I promise it will be AMAZING

That is all.

Monday, August 1, 2011

some long overdue pictures and stories from the Paint it Make it event for Illustration Rally, and poster for The One Hour Plays

me and Junesees collaborated on this live portrait

This was the recent London event raising money for Japanese earthquake related aid that has come out of the site - organised by super amazing people like Natzuki Otani and Erica Sharp (fellow ACOFI artists as well as June) there was giant origami, loads of crafts, tea ceremonies, cake etc. see a proper write up here. We did live portraits - fast becoming a speciality of mine - and it was an acecakes super fun day.

satisfied customers

live portrait of Rob. Yes, he does look that grumpy in real life.

poster I made for the One Hour Plays stint at Edinburgh Festival. Graphics is not my favourite thing to do, but I enjoyed this because there is bunting on it. And you can never have too much bunting.

Also in other news, I am going to be getting married to my Alex some time in the next few years. I may or may not blog about the planning process. I don't think I can be the kind of blogger that goes on about cupcakes and roses all the time. I mean I like cupcakes. I Love roses. But meh, you know, I prefer kittens and pretty dresses. we'll see.
guess what - I finally finished the Ds

(in my project where I am drawing all of my friends in alphabetical order)



I made this hilariously basic infographic about the project so far. I will not explain it. Deduce what you will.

in case you didn't see it, this is my picture from the Creaturemag endangered creature alphabet
which also features such illustrationfriends as Martyn Warren, Gareth Barnes and Paul Shinn

it is of the biggest and most endangeredest butterfly in the world. They are actually massive. Imagine them really massive.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

as yet unused t-shirt design - hooray for summer!

Heylo, i've been meaning to do some blogging all week, about stuff like Paint it Make it, the Illustration Rally event where I drew people for Japan, and posters I've been making for The One Hour Plays, and my new job that I will be starting in September as an Art and English Teacher (strangely - I'm more scared about the art half atm), and other stuff, but I have been too busy being hungover or lazy or busy, or all of the above. So I will just have to do it all when I get back from my lovely holiday I am going on tomorrow.

I am SO ready for this holiday.

So I Shall be radio quiet/of very limited internet access for next week. please direct all enquiries to
Nicholas Bear, who will be minding my bed for me while I am gone. Or, you know, send me an email of something and I'll get back to you when I can.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Okay, more blogging.

So last week, in a joyfully busy evening the kind of which I could never get away with if I had to teach in the near to middling future (this may be the rest of my life. don't laugh. till you see me at a mid week gallery opening drinking water - then congratulate me) I spent a joyful hour drawing and (not as begrudgingly as I'd have you believe) participating in an instance of the One Hour Plays as presented by the amoresome Matey Institute.

that was a very long sentence sorry. I have a job interview on friday to be an english teacher. Yeah that's right laugh.

Anyway. The show is basically sort of reduced shakespeare crossed with who's line is it anyway. There's lots of speedy improv which obviously is a bit risky if there isn't a lot of good quick witted and talented heads on hand - which there pretty much was. So I really enjoyed it.

The fantabulous Lorna Watts hanging bunting pre-show

The idea of the show is that starting from nothing the director Brendan Murphy and writer Bec Boey take a selection of actors and audience suggestions and create a ten minute play in an hour and perform it at the end. Costumes are made by Lorna Watts during the hour on stage using a singer sewing machine in an antique pram, and props are made by the audience using a limited selection of crafty bits and pieces. I can tell you a little what happened that night - but not what will happen if you get to see them do it again - the show is at the Edinburgh fringe for a week at Underbelly and at a variety of festivals over the summer - check out the listings here

putting together audience suggestions into 'The Balls in Your Court' a Greek Romantic Comedy set at a 1920s French Tennis club starring a wine seller, an alien and a 'naughty man'

character development
the great Bec Boey does a spot of performance poetry as an additional filler while the cast put on their new costumes. I'm sure there was a reason why I drew the cat in pyjamas. Pretty sure it wasn't actually there.

The final rendition of the play - an epic romance that will last forever in the hearts of those lucky enough to be there for its single rendition.

Monday, June 27, 2011

blogety blogety blog blog

I have too many things to write about. one big blog post or lots of little ones? I'm inclining towards the little ones. maybe because I am little myself. Also because I have to scan things and I can't be bothered to go in the other room and do that. So here is SOME news.

firstly did you see my featuredness on Ideal Bride Magazine?

you probably did, because I have been putting it about a lot. Its all about me drawing people at (or before, or after) their weddings. I'm thinking about posting a special discount code on here soon, so if you do know anyone who's getting hitched - def tell them all about it and say I said hi.


I'm still drawing Daves in the facebook project, just a few more to go then I get to draw girls again. Not that I've anything against drawing boys AT ALL - did I mention that I also offer a commissionable portrait service? you can probably have a discount on that too. if you tell me a good pun.


Also and as well. I am so close to completing my teaching qualification I can taste it. It does not taste of chalk dust.

In about 3 weeks at the end of the course we had a visual component thing, so I wrote and illustrated a 36 page book about the internet for art teachers and students that are not so hot on it.

I drew it with birds. Cos I like drawing birds.
I mean, for a complex and pretentious symbolic reason.

If you are inclined you can see it all here if you so desire, I'm happy with the pictures but the words were pretty rushed - so some are a bit mental.

My Summer of Love and Arctic Cod (see above - it's about overfishing - gettit?, makes me sad tho) illustrations were featured in a pop up exhibition in sunny Leigh on Sea by the lovely and talented Annabel Dee. - another serendipitous twitter connection. I was so busy with PGCE stuff that I sadly didn't make it down, but as her plans include many more exciting ventures in her new ceramics gallery on the same spot I'm sure I'll go take a look at some point.

In other news, look out for my contribution to the Creaturemag Endangered Creature Alphabet.
Also in the somewhat more distant future I will be contributing to Solipsistic Pop 4 (awesomeness maximus)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quickly, before I pop out to the International Alternative Press Festival here is a drawing I did of the awesome Zarina Liew (aka cobaltcafe) and Paul Shinn at the opening party for the same last night. They are both super talented illustrators and zinesters that you owe it to yourself to check out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

so this is my plan:

Jenny Robins - Live Weddings and Events artist.

this is my flagship image - painting of Michael and Lucy outside St Paul's Cathedral.

I really really love drawing from life and doing portraits from photos. Both of these things are joy, and I'm good at them.

So today I revamped my website a bit to include pages on events drawing and portraits. (go check it out, I rejigged the fashion section too to include some of the last crop of LFW drawings).

On offer is live watercolour portraits similar to those done at the ACOFI launch, also a sort of reportage service where I can record your event for posterity in a unique and exciting way, pre or post event paintings from photographs are also on offer separately or as part of an events package.

The next part is me contacting wedding magazines, event companies, venues and such. If you know anyone who is getting married, or throwing a ball, or who might like a portrait commission, please do mention me, I'll be looking to do a couple of bargain basement events gigs to start off with to boost my portfolio.

I think if I can make this work it's going to be super acecakes and awesome. Horay!

Here to whet your appetite is some Royal Wedding sketches I did off of the BBC coverage (some coloured versions featured on Amelia's Magazine here and here), and a painting of Will and Kate from their engagement. There is also a version with laser eyes. You can see that here.

fyi I did not go to a street party. But I did eat a lot of sushi that day.