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Bonbi Fruits of the Forest Blog — Bonbi life...

Art Bootcamp!

I have just finished 5 months of portfolio boosting learning with the Make Art that Sells Art Bootcamp, which I was lucky enough to win a free place on! Each month the course presented a new creative theme broken down into bite sized pieces so you can create your best art work for the main assignment possible. It was such fun to do and certainly gave me some challenges...From an abstract backpack, a rose covered gardening journal, mugs with a theme of immigration, travel and hope to the more tricky self reflecting mind map and a full children's book spread (text and all!) which had to include a hummingbird in shoes and a mouse with wings...Lee Foster-Wilson Art 2017Funnily enough the children's book spread was the one I was most intimidated by, maybe because I have always felt like I have a kids book in me somewhere and this was the one I should really get right, but once I had my text thought up it flowed and I was really pleased with the outcome...new avenue perhaps?!

I can't recommend this annual course enough for those wishing to further their portfolio development or try a new avenue for the work. As well as the art development there were bonus trend boards each month and live chats with experienced art agent Lilla Rogers and her team.

I am taking another of their classes this summer, I loved it that much! If you want to find out more I encourage you to head to the Make Art that Sells website...

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100 Days of Celebimals!

If you follow me on Instagram and/ or Facebook (where I am a few days behind my posts on Instagram on this project...) you will have seen that this year for the 100 Day Project I have just completed #100daysofcelebimals !

At Christmas time when we had lots of family gatherings my cousin came to visit and she had just been to a fancy dress party where the theme was to dress as a celebrity/animal...Naturally we started to think up lots more of them and in fact, the conversation carried on for months via text between us and my husband, each time one of us thought of another silly one I put them on a list. They would pop into my head at the most random times...I thought of RENEE GAZELLWEGER just after spotting a picture of a gazelle in town, and BEATRIX OTTER while watching Peter Rabbit with my kiddos!

I just had to do something with them all and so my next 100 days theme was born...100daysofcelebimals

100 days later I have just completed the project on Instagram! 100 Celebimals all drawn with marker pen in my sketchbooks (well, 99 of them...I used myself for the last one and I'm hardly of celebrity status) Some of the drawings are better than others as I had more time to do them each day or got my hand lettering lined up properly! They were so fun to do though and I (think...) my hand lettering skills have improved slightly because of it. Of course there is the bonus that I have drawn so many animals I wouldn't even have thought to draw, or that I even knew about before (who knew about the Cuscus or the Fossa?!)

If you want to see the whole project on Instagram you can do so HERE!! (you will have to be logged in to see them all) Or you can see the "not quite finished yet" album of them over on Facebook HERE!!

I am currently thinking what to do with them...some cards or postcards perhaps. Does that sound good to you? Which ones are your favourites? Let me know!

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Creative Marker Art and Beyond!

I am very pleased and VERY excited to write this post as it is about my first book!!

I have been working on it since September last year and it is finally due for publication on September 7th this year...It is called Creative Marker Art and Beyond and is a how to guide for creative artwork and gifts using the humble marker pen. Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Cover

I have been using markers as a drawing medium seriously for about 18 months now and they have revolutionised my working practise. While I have a gorgeous studio for packing orders, making jewellery and screen printing in, my workspace at home (which is where I usually get to do my drawing when the children are tucked up asleep) is less than desirable. I found it such a faff to put my laptop away to make room for all of my paints and pencils that I just wasn't bothering very often and my artwork was suffering. I do design digitally quite a lot but I missed the analogue of paper and colour and the challenge of making something right when it's not gone to plan and you can't press 'undo'. So when a half price Sharpie offer caught my eye in WHSmith's, my life changed...Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Florals

Scroll back through this blog and you will find 2016's 100 day Challenge that I did via Instagram. I wanted to do a drawing a day using the markers I had bought and #100daysofrandomcolours was me blindly selecting 5 pens from my pencil case and seeing where the colours took me (each day for 100 days!)

Because I was drawing with markers in a hard bound sketchbook I could draw anywhere...no messy paint and water, no pencil shavings, no stylus or screens. My lap and the sofa became my happy art place and everything changed. Since markers came into my life I have been non stop drawing just about every single day, ideas have flowed, way more new stuff has actually been seen through from idea to finished piece and I got a book deal.Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Glass Project

So back to that: The book is choc full of stuff you can do with different types of marker pens and I had such fun writing it. It has creative prompts for when you just don't know what to draw, marker pen exercises to teach you how to get the most out of your markers and step-by-step projects on how to make some pretty useful stuff using your pens...as well as an ideas gallery at the back for when you've got the hang of your pens and want to take it further!

You can pre-order the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2u3H9Lw

Maybe markers will change your life too? (Oh, how I love a cheesy sign off...)Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Mandala Hoops

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The Time is Now

Ugh! So I have got a bit behind on my Insta round ups lately...for good reason though: I have been busy getting lots of new products together and the first of these are now available in the shop!The Time is Now Poster

'The Time is Now' is an idea I had a while ago and have turned it into a pin badge and poster...it's an intriguing, motivating phrase urging to seize the day! The bright blue of the poster will add a hit of colour to your room and the pin is a little reminder just to get stuff done...The Time is Now Enamel Pin

I have also had another poster of my Night Bouquet drawing made up. I have been using paint markers on coloured paper a lot recently and this is one of those pieces. I love the vibrant colours on the dark background with the little stars circling around.Night Bouquet Poster

Both posters are sized at A3 for easy framing and the little pin is 35mm. See the posters HERE and the pin HERE!

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Insta Round Up: Outdoors inspired...

This last week seems to have gone so fast...all I seem to be posting here is the weekly round ups of what I have been Instagramming! I have been working on getting the printed pieces for the new collection underway, making lots of screens and having some very long printing sessions in the studio...There is a sneaky peek of part of the new collection in this post and I will share more next week!

I have been carrying on with the #marchmeetthemaker challenge too, here's the next few days from it:

Day 6 (above): Today is all about raw materials...There is a whole world of raw materials that go into all things Bonbi, from the card I like to draw on to the hundreds of jewellery components I gather (and hoard) but the most fun to take a picture of are my screen printing inks...Yay for colour!🌈I mix them all myself using highly concentrated pigments and binders and have them stored in towering stacks of pots. Nearly all of my clothes have ink on them somewhere...

Day 7: This day was all about how it's made...There are so many processes involved in all of the things I make but one of the most satisfying is screen printing as it's so drawn out. Aside from making the actual design, colour separations have to be made then screens are stretched and coated with light sensitive diazo emulsion before being 'burned' under UV light and washed. Finally the printing can begin! This process alone takes a couple of days! The lightning bolt florals are the peek I mentioned! They are sleeve prints on the (last ever 😭) Bonbi slouch sweaters in my newest limited edition collection which launches later this month!! ✨❤️⚡️

Day 8: Today is all about 'where' (Bottom picture)...This is one of my favourite spots in the world and it's a 5 minute drive from our front door...I live in an area that other people come on holiday to, aren't I lucky?! It's one of 4 very local beaches in our corner of the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. I grew up in this area and after moving away to study in Brighton where I stayed for a few years after university finished, the draw of the homeland was too great so my boyfriend at the time (now my husband!) and I moved back. We love it and are so grateful to be able to bring our little beans up in such a special place 🌊💕

Day 9: This day was all about how it's made...I've posted lots of bits about screen printing so far so here's one about something else: Personalised pins! Here is a little pony pin being branded with someone's initial. I whack a letter stamp with a hammer, give it a wipe of gilders paste to make the letter stand out and pack it up for shipping...

Day 10: Today is the day to recommend a maker! I found it really hard to just pick one so I have tagged a bunch of really great makers who live and work in our beautiful, rugged, almost sea locked county of Cornwall...Click HERE to see the original image and tap it to see the makers I tagged. We have such a great and diverse creative community down here...

Day 11: This day was all about post! The images is of our tiny village post office and shop that all of your Bonbi orders ship though...I use the Post Office Drop and Go system which means I have a pre paid account and can literally just drop it off and leave. My postmaster is great and lets me just put my bags behind the counter without having to ever queue which has been AMAZING for time saving...they have told me though that there have been times where customers can't get into the freezers in the shop because they've had all of the Bonbi mail spread out in the tops to count it all!!Here's a few other bits and pieces I posted this week...Spring pendants for the new season, hurrah! and roll on Summer!!Here is a page from a journal I made for Compendium who are an American company specialising in inspiring stationery products, kids books and kits. It was a really lovely project to work on and I will post more about it really soon...Lastly here are a couple of bits I made inspired by the sea glass that is taking over my life! A little wooden plaque and shapes for the first part of the Make Art That Sells Art Bootcamp!

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Insta Round Up: #marchmeetthemaker

How did March get here so soon?! Not that I'm complaining, we are into my favourite time of year and the clocks go forward later this month which I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to.

All of this month I am taking part in an Instagram challenge called #marchmeetthemaker where lots of creatives respond to prompts set out by illustrator Joanne Hawker. It's a great way to meet other creative types and have a peek at their processes and working spaces!

I know not all of my followers are on Instagram so I am going to share my posts about it here in these weekly round ups...here are the first 5 days!Day 1: So this is me (the one on the left obvs, that's the youngest of my offspring, Ellis on the right) I'm Lee and I illustrate and make artwork which I screenprint onto textiles, apply to jewellery and turn into pin designs! I live in Cornwall whose beauty and colours seep into my nature inspired work...I have two children (rascals the pair of them!) am an avid beachcomber (it's more of an obsession...) and lover of horses (dressage is my thing!) A couple of random facts: I'm named after my Chinese great grandad and use my middle name of May in my professional name so that people don't presume I'm a fella when they see my name written down, and I once accidentally ruined an arcade machine game of Who Wants to be a Millionaire for hip hop act Cannibal Ox by hitting the wrong button on their machine... (Girrrl?!)

Day 2: All about a favourite thing to make! My very favourite thing to do is DRAW as all of my designs are based on my drawings and artwork...but screen printing has a huge part of my heart too, especially making new designs, figuring out colour separations and making limited colour palettes work to optimum effect. Seeing it all come to life in ink on fabric is the icing on the cake, especially when they come out as well as this 'Indian Summer' scarf print I made last year! 🌸🌅🌿(I think it came out pretty well anyway...)

Day 3: (Pictured in the quad of images below) Today is all about workspace and I work from two different places...My studio, where I do all of the screen printing and order packing and keep all of my stock is a little barn that we converted at my parents farm nearly 10 years ago (😱feeling old...) It's lovely and bright with high A frame exposed beams and lots of big work benches. I also work from the rather more cramped 'procrastination station' under the stairs in our cottage. I do all of my drawing, planning, admin and digital designing here. I usually have to pick my way through a myriad of toys strewn on the living room floor to get to it. It's not ideal but means I can work from home in the evenings when the kiddlywinks are in bed (and the living room is once again tidy!) 🎨💕

Day 4: This day is all about tools...Here are the main tools of my work (computer, scanner and heat setter aside...) My screen printing squeegee, I have three of these, two small ones and a big one which I have had for ages...I love the layers of ink in the handles! A couple of pairs of my jewellery pliers, I have snips and round nose ones too, and this very small representation of my myriad of pens...I've got hundreds!! It's a bit out of control...

Day 5: Today is dedicated to boomerangs! The little video sort, not the thing you throw of course...I have been playing with glittery paint pens this week, so much fun!!! Picture 5 is a still from my boomerang but you can see the real thing HERE!I also posted a couple of my more successful sketches, another affirmation from the team at Make Art that Sells and a fish sketch. Art bootcamp starts this week and I can't wait to get cracking!Lastly I got some new pictures of my Mama Bear pins...perfect little trinkets for sweet mama bears!

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Insta Round Up: Florals Galore!

I have quite a varied bunch of things in my Insta round up this week! I have been making lots of imagery for new things and turning some old sketches into finished pieces. I am thinking of offering some larger posters of some of them in a new series so watch this space!Among other new things on the horizon are some more Pony Pins...I have them in pink still but there will be some new colours soon. The general consensus on Instagram was for mint green and peach which I very much like the sound of.New business cards...I freshened up the business card offering with some of my more recent drawings alongside my favourites from the last batch. It's funny seeing them all together, theres a heavy emphasis on pink and red isn't there?!I also shared a mirror I drew for fun, they don't get any easier to photograph!!Lastly I made this image in response to a positive affirmation prompt from the Lilla Rogers and the team at Make Art That Sells...They offer positive affirmations every Monday for artists to illustrate and I was delighted to have this drawing featured on their Instagram account! It looks like I am mostly horses, stars, moons, lightning and florals at the moment...

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Insta Round Up: Work in Progress

I try and draw every day if I can. Even if its just a quick sketch or a little bit of work towards a larger project I will draw something. It keeps the ideas flowing and my hand in tune with my eyes...It's kind of like a muscle that needs to be kept exercised for optimum results!

I have had quite the productive week this last week with lots of successful drawing being done for the new collection as well as a few other fun pieces I made in my sketchbook! I shared a few of them over on Instagram as well as a digital snippet of some work in progress for the new collection and a little stone I made...

I hate it when things are spelled wrong and after drawing this piece late at night and then posting it the following morning, I was mortified to have it pointed out to me that I had only put one 'o' on the first 'too' I thought it looked wrong but had that blindness you get when you have looked at something for a long time! A quick patch later and here is the result. I kind of like that it isn't perfect now, because lets face it, in art it doesn't go totally right all of the time, especially with non erasable pens!

The digital work in progress snippet!

I also took my paint markers to a piece of coloured paper and I REALLY like how it came out! I'll be doing more work in this line for sure.

Lastly, of course it was Valentines Day too and a happy customer shared this sweet image from my now discontinued Lovebirds Card range. I really need to make more cards for the shop, they have always been so popular!

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100 days of random colours – weeks 5 & 6!

What is it about summer that makes life suddenly get so very BUSY BUSY BUSY!!!

I’m a bit behind updating this project on the blog, it’s day 77 in real time but here are weeks 5 & 6 for you to peruse. Some of my favourite images of the whole project so far are in these weeks…the flamingos and the sleepy deer are two!

So, on we go:

Day 29: Neon yellow, purple, peachy pink sharpie with a dark green felt pen and blue biro…Slightly jarring fruit bowl, anyone?
Day 29 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 30: Jewel toned pink and blue, a brown and a light green with black biro and we’ve got a hanging planter…I really like drawing foliage!
Day 30 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 31: A pretty combo for this one: Pink, royal blue, dark grey and golden yellow with a blue biro. I kind of like it when the biro matches a colour in the pen selection, it means I can play around with depth and detail within a colour which is always fun!
Day 31 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 32: Neon pink, Granny Smith green and dark orange sharpie, tan felt pen and black biro…I’ve been working on a commission and drawing lots of birds, I have birds on the brain, so why not another?!
Day 32 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 33: I love a bit of orange and Aqua, it’s a pretty magic combination! I made a note to myself not to try and draw tiny eyelashes with a big old Sharpie ever again…
Day 33 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 34: We are a third of the way through (or near enough)!! Such lovely orange, peach, berry pink and greens for today’s garden pattern…
Day 34 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 35: Red, dark pink, teal and green with blue biro, not the most horse coloured colours but I’ve never been one to worry about such matters as that!
Day 35 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 36: I was a bit worried when two purples and a blue appeared out if the pencil case but the tan felt pen lifted the combo and I had a bit of blue biro for details. Voila! A beach scene inspired by exploring we’d done the day before…
Day 36 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 37: This day heralded the first use of one of my new birthday sharpies (I received a new limited edition pack with several colours I don’t yet have ) a lovely grass green! Teamed with neon orange, purple, blue felt pen and red biro I drew a little golden hour sleeping deer…
Day 37 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 38: Darkest blue, brown and pink sharpie with a golden yellow felt pen and blue biro…I haven’t drawn a bouquet hand for ages so here you go!
Day 38 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 39: Neon yellow, sky blue and gold sharpies with a green felt pen and black biro, thought I’d try something a bit different for me…Still floral though, of course!
Day 39 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 40: Another golden hour scene I’m thinking this one is more of a sunrise golden hour than a sunset The horse isn’t positioned exactly where I wanted it but once I’d committed that biro there was no going back!
Day 40 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 41: Flamingos! I mean, what else could I draw with this pen selection?!
Day 41 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Day 42: A good clashy colour combo for this one: purple, green and neon orange sharpie, yellow felt pen and green biro… A bit at a loss of what to draw I had a go at copying the floral pattern on my pyjama bottoms!
Day 42 Lee May Foster-Wilson-Bonbi Forest
Phew! More week and colour combos coming soon, in the meantime you can catch up with the rest on my Instagram: @bonbiforest ! It’s going well, I’ve only missed one day so far…amazing!

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100 Days of random Colours…Week 4

I’ve got a bit behind in posting these updates haven’t I? I’ve been busy working on a couple of commissions lately which I am so excited to share but I can’t yet!

Here’s week 4 of this project. It’s going well, just one colour howler in there of too many dark colours mixed with too many greens…that one was really hard!

Day 22: A colourful selection called for a rainbow of course…This one is reflected in a lake of lily pads, though I realised afterwards I should have put a frog in there!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 22 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi Forest Day 23: Another colourful selection, weirdly similar to yesterday’s but with slightly different pens…I’ve never done parrots before but these colours spoke to me of their tropical vibes.#100daysofrandomcolours Day 23 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 24: Golden pony in the sunshine! Despite the brown felt pen, the combination of neon yellow and pink with green biro gave this a surprisingly pastel look…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 24 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 25: This one was HARD! Hence the slightly homework still life vibe it’s got going on…I mean what to do with black, darkest blue, brown and neon green with more green in the biro?!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 25 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 26: So I know strawberries aren’t in anyway in a similar fruit vein to oranges and lemons but that’s what i thought of when I saw these colours so that’s what I drew…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 26 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 27: Two purples, blue and and a tan felt pen with black biro…I thought I’d draw a sleepy cat squashing some flowers.#100daysofrandomcolours Day 27 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 28: Pink, blue and gold sharpie with brown felt pen and red biro were plucked from the pencil case and inspired by a ride to the beach the day before, so emerged this cliff top scene.#100daysofrandomcolours Day 28 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestI’ll catch up with weeks 5 and 6 very soon! In the meantime if you’d like to see more search for me (@bonbiforest) over on Instagram where I am keeping up with these daily!

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