Andsmile Studio | Illustration

Columbia Rd Flower Market

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One of my happiest places in London is Columbia Rd Flower Market.

Overloaded with flamboyant people, cute puppies, tourists, crazy characters, tiny cute shops and the most beautiful flowers it's a perfect place for inspiration.

I always aim to arrive there early on a Sunday to avoid crowds but never manage to do that. So I just squeeze along the crowd, marveling at flowers, listening to flower sellers, deciding what to buy, usually I change my mind a few times and go back and forth. By the end of the market I dive out of the crowd and walk 4-5 minutes to a quiet coffee shop Caffein or Hackney City Farm for a coffee, spot of drawing & just enjoying slow moments of taking life as it goes. :)

A selection of prints based on my visits to Columbia Rd Flower Market can be found here.

Betty In Bloom

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Last week was incredibly stressful for many of us and I'm no exception. With everything that is going on in politics and the world. It's hard to stay optimistic when our future depends on people who don't seem to care and now it feels more real than ever. I'm lucky to be living in London around so many like minded, tolerant, open minded and open heart*ed people. Saddness and gloom is almost tangible in London's air and you can probably hear some hearts breaking into smaller pieces once the referendum & politics are mentioned.

However yesterday provided a wonderful sanctuary in the shape of Betty's magazine New Issue Launch party and their 5th Birthday

The venue was filled with incredibly stylish people dressed in floral prints, to match the theme of celebration and new issue - FLOWERS.

Gin & drinks with edible flowers, Vicky's Donuts with sweetest petals, incredibly beautiful hand painted cookies, flower wall and all that in a company of fabulous people.

Happy Birthday Betty magazine! Thank you for such lovely celebration of flowers, magazines and fabulous people and for bringing a bit of joy and love into our lives!

 

Girls & flowers are my favourite thing to draw (and after recent events it's my favourite distraction from the real world), I couldn't resist drawing some of the sweet girls I saw yesterday.

Adventures in Ghent!

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Couple of weeks ago we went to visit Ghent in Belgium to listen to my little sister play at her violin exam (she played with so much passion, love and skill our bias hearts exploded :)).

I've visited Ghent twice before and was so happy to be back. To see my lovely sister & to spend time walking around tiny streets and soaking in the beauty of this ridiculously gorgeous city.

We stayed in a tiny airbnb 5 minutes away from the city center, it was full of character (and I think ghosts). The house we were staying in was built around 16th century and there are lots of older houses in central town, some were built in 17th century some later but they all have one thing in common they are all soooo beautiful and colourful!

Another thing I love about Ghent is abundance of coffee shops! There are a lot of adorable tiny caffe's to drink some really good coffee, enjoy life, look at passers by.. So purely as a research we tried quite a few coffees. :)

And of course because we were in Belgium we had to try some fabulous Belgian beer. And again we were spoiled for choice both of beer & places to try it at. My favourite of course were the ones by the canals, where you can sit down, sip delicious beer and look at tourist boats looking at you looking at them. :)

This time we visited Het Huis val Alijn which is a folk museum, telling a story of Ghent and it's inhabitants. And of course all the amazing indie shops& places to eat. It's my second holiday since becoming a vegetarian so I wasn't quite sure what kind of food will be there to eat. I had problems in Prague (way too much tempting herring and all kinds of sausage). But Ghent was a delight! Every single place we went to had a fab vegetarian & vegan options, which were actually super delicious and well cooked (no massive cheese blobs or mushroom risottos).

There are always so many beautiful dogs there too! I can't believe just HOW many dogs there are in Ghent. But we were told that apparently Belgians tend to have more pets than any other nation in Europe, so that explains everything.

Of course if you venture outside the old town and into the suburbs you can encounter many of the wonderfully ugly belgian houses. I'm absolutely in love with them! And been a fan of the book & twitter account for Ugly Belgian Houses for ages, so my sister gave me the book as a present.. awwww, we had something to read on the way back.. :))

Bedankt, Gent!

You were wonderful as always. I hope we can see each other soon?

Lilac, yellow & green

Process and art suppliesViktorijaComment

It's nearly half way of the 100 days project (I chose to paint with gouache everyday). Last week I fell off the vagon and missed 9 (!!!) days. So this week the aim was to catch up! To be honest I really enjoy drawing in mini series, rather than one piece, so was really excited to have a mini marathon of gouache painting.

I saw beautiful lemon yellow, gentle lilac and dark forest green scaffolding in North London and really wanted to play around with the colours. 

Here are the results! :) Portraits of 6 girls.

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Stationery love!

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present and correct stationery shop

Stopped by my favourite London stationery shop Present & Correct
It's a beautiful shop, stocked with the most perfect stationery from around the world and time (vintage & freshly made). They have a wonderful online shop & beautifully curated instagram account.

This time I bought beautiful huge squared notebook by Millimeter & Milligram Inc, Konstruktor vintage pencil (soft) & Midori Brass Bullet Pencil Holder for all the leftover pencils I have.

Live Drawing

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This weekend I was drawing lots of lovely faces at Crafty Fox Market in Brixton, Dogstar. Crafty Fox occupied three floors filled with cake, DJ, workshops, handmade goods (sooo many beautiful things!) and life portraits by me! :)

To keep things fun and my models entertained I was drawing portraits in 10 minutes, it was a tough challenge to stay focused as all my customers were so sweet and chatty and such a pleasure to talk to. I even met one lovely lady from Portugal, pair of super cute girls from China and the most adorable sisters from Edinburgh who stopped by especially to get their portraits done. It's such a pleasure to meet & connect with people while drawing them.

Thank you Lisa for the photos of me in action. :) More photos of the event can be found here

Huge thank you to Crafty Fox Market for having me :)

I love drawing portraits and people are always mesmerized to see how their portraits come to life with some ink and watercolour paint. If you are planning an event (wedding, hen do, retail or corporate event) and are interested in a live illustration, please drop me a line and we can talk about it!

 

100 Days Project & What to draw!

Process and art suppliesViktorijaComment
andsmile illustration

I'm 32 days into 100 days project, only 78 to go (and I'm two days behind :)).

Usually I have an idea of what I will do for a days drawing based on my sketchbook or some tiny idea I wanted to play around. And sometimes it's a bit trickier, I feel less inspired and on these days I go back to the little briefs I was giving myself on the days I was inspired and just playing more! :)

One day I would be really happy and excited with the progress I'm making with the gouache (I took roughly 15 year break from it.. so not entirely sure how to use it but I'm figuring out as I go) and some days I frankly don't like what I drew but I guess that's part of the process of 100 days project. There will be good days and there will be bad days and the only way to get through is to show up (it can be applied to any creative practice & life in general probably :))).

Here are some of the prompts I gave myself in the last 32 days. I'm sharing them in hope that maybe some of you will get inspired to play around with similar subjects?! :)

  • Go draw outside, to a coffee shop, flower market, somewhere where you are surrounded by things you like and get sketching. In my case I went to a flower market and drew lots of girls with flowers in my sketchbook. And I simply couldn't wait to paint these girls from my sketchbook for the project! :)
  • Choose two colours which are close, like red and pink or blue and light blue or mint and light mint. Use one to completely fill in the shape and the other to add details.ere...
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes and paint without stopping, being too careful, just go with the flow, let things happen and embrace them both good and bad and of course enjoy the process!
  • Try colours you wouldn't normally paint with or don't even particularly like. I'm a fan of pinks and mints, so sometimes I intentionally don't use them and go for an orange or yellow (a colour I rarely paint with) and see where it takes me!
  • Girls & coffee ( my absolute favourite subject combo ;)
  • Find an outfit you really like and draw a person who would wear that outfit, what kind of hair would they have, what about jewellery, lips, pose?
  • Do a series of mini paintings of the same person (object, action or anything, make a little set of paintings which would work together and be connected by something). One close up of the face, one from behind, one doing something. Or completely different objects but in the same colour scheme, or.. you get the idea? :)
three blues

I would love to see your drawings if you decide to use the little ideas and I hope they will inspire you to draw or try something new! Yay! :)

100 Days project tools

Process and art suppliesViktorija1 Comment

Today is 2nd of May and Day 14 of 100 days project organised by Elle Luna

My aim is to draw everyday for the next 100 (well, 86 now) days using gouache. I mainly work digitally and sometimes other things take over so I have no time for sketching or random experimentation. So the main reason to join the project was to paint each day & let go, just enjoy the process. My sketchbook is filled with doodles I wanted to play around with and colour combinations I don't normally use so everyday I just picked one doodle I wanted to explore and went with it (will blog about it later in the week ;).

I fell back in love recently with gouache so it had to be my choice for the 100 days project.  And here are the paper & paints I absolutely loved using last couple of weeks.

Fabriano Hot Pressed Water Colour Paper

Cass Art Cold Pressed Water Colour Paper

Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache Opaque

Cadmium Yellow, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Cobalt Blue, Zinc White, Permanent Green Light

Holbein Gouache

Pink, Opera, Leaf Green, Turquoise Green

Holbein Gouache Set

Pro Arte White Nylon Brushes

and here is what I drew with all the beautiful gouache & lovely paper ;)

and here is what I drew with all the beautiful gouache & lovely paper ;)

You can follow the project on my instagram or find all up to date drawings here

Please let me know if you would like to know more about the tools in the comments. Or maybe share your 100 day project or art supplies you are using, I would love to see it! :)

 

Travelling kit

Process and art suppliesViktorijaComment

I absolutely love drawing & painting in coffee shops, museums & other public spaces but at the same time I'm suuuuper conscious of that! I would do anything to avoid attracting attention to my sketching on location, so my travel set up had to be super small, quick & quiet.
 

And I think I found a perfect combo. Here it is!

Paint set by Winsor & Newton from Cass Art.

I replaced some of the colours with my favourite Holbein gouache from Jackson's Art (it comes in tubes but I squeezed some out, made sure it dried and use as watercolour when on location, just add lots of water and it's good to go!) and some watercolours from other sets. When looking for a good travel case it's quite hard to find a cheap case, so it was actually cheaper to buy a set and then replace any colours if needed but if you are starting out this set is super good! :) It comes with a portable tiny brush which I rarely use but I keep it inside in case of emergency.

Water barrel + super tiny brush pen by Kuretake

Absolutely in love with this little duo! I have the tiny water barrel always filled with water and the brush is stored with bristles inside! So it takes no space and it's super quick to fill it with water from the barrel & whip up a little painting. There are a lot of wonderful brush pens on the market if you are not into tiny cute barrel with a tiny cute ninja brush pen. :) Like this set at Cass Art or search your local art store for a brush pen, majority will have a great selection in store. :)

Palomino Blackwing Pearl Pencil

It's my absolute favourite pencil. I buy them by the box here not pictured here but I carry around this wonderful pencil sharpener (I love my pencils sharpened & quite long, so it's absolutely perfect).

Kuretake No.40 Brush pen with waterproof ink.

I love watercolour & adding colour do my doodles, so having a brushpen with waterproof ink just made my life so much better! :) I blogged about the whole setup here.  However if you are not into watercolours or colouring your drawings or you add lines after colour this brush pen with original inks is a thing of dreams, absolutely wonderful!

Tiny blob eraser is my favourite from MUJI.

Daler Rowney Ebony Sketchbook

Is my all time favourite sketchbook. The paper is heavyweight and can handle a lot of paint & water, colour of the paper is really lovely too, it's not too white without being too yellow. Perfect for pencil drawing, sketching & for adding some paint too. Comes in different shapes & sizes. My favourite are A6, A5 and A4 portrait sketchbooks. Because they are hardback it's easy to draw on the go & the cover does a great job at protecting the inside of the sketchbook.

Here is a little drawing done while drinking a lot of coffee ;) With all my favourite tools!

So as to drawing all is good.. but to be super fast & to attract as little attention as possible when drawing on location everything must be stored in efficient way & be easily accessible without getting everything out of the bag & fishing for an eraser or something. Or maybe it's just an excuse to buy more pretty stationery & cute storage solutions.. ;)

Yellow pencil case from Present & Correct.

It's plastic and easy to clean. I carry pencil sharpener, eraser, pencils & pens in it.

Mint Hightide (nahe) wide plastic case

It's perfect for keeping & carrying around paints, brushes & that tiny cute water barrel. So I know all my painting supplies are in one place and I usually get everything dirty with paint and it helps to prevent even more mess. :) And overall I'm a huge fan of Hightide stationery products, the widest range can be found here

Thank you for reading, I hope this blogpost will help you to find your perfect travel set up & encourage to take your creativity outside! :)

The end of plastic brooches

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Photo by Diana Stainton

I've been making shrink plastic brooches since the very beginning of Andsmile (somewhere 2012). In the beginning they were all hand drawn with sharpie markers, cut by hand, baked, varnished and attached the backs. It was cheap and very flexible way to make products. I'm so so grateful to the people who bought the first brooches & kept buying my work till now and to the material which allowed me to create work I wanted without major financial risk or investment.

Frida, Margot & Richie are printed and Matryoshka & Teapot are hand drawn.

Frida, Margot & Richie are printed and Matryoshka & Teapot are hand drawn.

At some point I switched to printed shrink plastic which allowed me to make more brooches and have my original watercolour drawings reproduced. But part of the process still remained the same. Each brooch was hand cut, baked, individually flattened, varnished and backs attached individually.

I love making & working with my hands so it was a nice balance of a chance to draw & work with my hands.

But as sometimes things happen, huge issues started to appear with shrink plastic, the thickness of material changed from batch to batch which meant that results would be even more unpredictable than before.  But also the qty changed and I ended up making brooches all the time. Which was awesome and made me happy but there was no time left to draw & illustrate.

Soo.... the decision had to be made. I've completely stopped making brooches. Last wholesale orders are ready to go to my beloved stockists and the rest of the brooches are packed up for lucky dip boxes, which are the last chance to buy handmade shrink plastic brooches by Andsmile :)

It is scary, I'm not gonna lie as a huge chunk of my income was based around brooches, wholesale and pop culture. I'm totally dependent on what's going on in my etsyshop. And every single sale is allowing me to pay bills, buy food & to draw. Thank you for all your support throughout the years and I hope you will like what I'll create in the future and where I'm going with Andsmile.

I'm excited about the future, so happy to start a new adventure & to draw more ;)

An Ode to Gouache

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When I went to an art school as a little girl we used to paint with gouache a lot. But the kind of gouache my Mum bought me & the kind we needed to use was not the kind which made eyes happy.

Each colour had a hint of brown. We painted mainly still life and everything wasa little brownish, bottle greenish, redish, old teapotish, creamish, sad*ish. Don't get me wrong. It was such an amazing education but I lusted for crazy colours & freedom (not still life, greek heads or cylinders), for ready made paints, for no need to mix the pink (because we all know that no matter how hard we try no opera pink will be born from red/yellow or blue).

My work is mainly digital now but using paint inspires me so much.

There is nothing more satisfying than squeezing out that wild lime green paint or opera pink or the happiest of yellows, dipping your brush in and using it and painting, without mixing, just like that, out of the tube! And it makes me feel liberated, it makes me feel like a wild wild rebel!!! And I'm doing it for that little girl in me who still doesn't want brownish, still no greek head drawing but FUN & COLOUR & PATTERN!!!

DSCF3697.JPG

The paints I used are Holbein gouache & they make my eyes & heart so happy! :)

Video Drawing

Process and art supplies, DIYViktorija7 Comments

Hello lovely people,

Thank you so much for stopping by ;) 

In the last couple of months I posted a few video drawing/processes of my work (both digital and watercolour) on instagram and some of you asked how I am making them. So here it goes!

To explain how I'm making the digital videos I have to say that couple of months ago I decided to invest in iPad pro + apple pencil (will blog about that next time), I really enjoyed using both and my favourite app to draw with is ProCreate app. Not only it's super easy to use, has a fab selection of brushes and works perfect for my style it has one really fun feature! It can record videos automatically as you draw. So you just export the video and voilà! If you are drawing in Photoshop that's possible too, just google it (no, seriously, lots of super useful info). ;)

To edit videos I used iPhone and Slow Fast app.

Here are some of my ProCreate videos.

andsmile video filming set up

Funnily enough even before getting addicted to digital video drawings I did a few real life/watercolour drawings. With a weird tripod + blue tack + iPhone structure. It wasn't as fast or easy but really fun!

Here is a snapshot of my first set up. Well, second, the very first one was even more DIY, I took all my shelves/storage, put it on the table to create two towers, found two long strips of plywood. I put plywood as little railways on the shelves and placed iPhone strategically in between of the little plywood "rails". So if you don't have a tripod and don't want to invest into one, you can do a DIY tower (mind you it might take you a long time to put it together and take it down ;).

Neither tower building or fiddling with a half broken iPhone on a blue tack with a super heavy tripod on my table I decided to find a better solution. After some research I found this tripod for £7.49 to use to film videos with the phone. And it's been a dream to use. It's super easy to attach to any surface (wall/shelf/table/chair) & it's very flexible so you can get any angle you like with your phone.

To film the drawing process I used my iPhone and Hyperlapse App and to edit I mainly used Slow Fast Slow App & Rotate & Flip (because I was silly like that and didn't check if I was filming landscape/portrait and ugh.. long story!!! :)).  And then some video filters on instagram to make them look nicer (some of them were filmed in poor light, daylight works best of course! ;).

And here are the results! Making little videos is super fun and I hope you'll give it a go. All you need is a camera phone! ;)

iLikeCats x Andsmile

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For 365 days last year Toby from iLikeCats was drawing & posting on his insta drawing a day. This year he invited everyone to join him! Draw, write, photograph, join everyday or some days! You can join in the project on instagram with a hashtag: #yayeveryday2016

It's been amazing to see so many people joined Toby  this year & to see that wonderful creative community grow so much!

There is something special about this year too, Toby invited some of his fellow creatives to join the fun project & create prompts for people to follow. And February I was lucky enough to be part of this amazing project! I came up with the prompts and joined where I could. I really loved seeing people take part and always amazed at how much different ideas everyone had.

Another special thing is that Toby and I collaborated on a BFF pin set (NO girl & OK cat). It's a limited edition set of 100 pins only and can be found in Toby's and my shops. It was super fun to work with Toby & be part of #yayeveryday2016

bff pin set andsmile x ilikecats

Here is my last entry for February #yayeveryday2016, the prompt is DISAPPEARING, I guess when I came up with that I already knew that I will be a little sad to leave the month of being part of this super fun community behind me so Disappearing felt like the right word to describe what's happening! ;) THANK YOU so much for letting me be part of this super fun project! And now.. I'm disappearing ;)) *ppst.. the drawing is available as a print**

Illustrations for Pinterest x Birchbox

commissions & collabs, freelanceViktorijaComment
andsmile for birchbox x pinterest

Some time ago I was commissioned to illustrate a set of postcards for Pinterest & Birchbox January Box. Which was all about 2016, new plans & making it the best year ever while planning all those trips, beauty regimes and new years resolutions on Pinterest!

I love new year, new beginning and fresh starts, colourful ladies & motivational quotes so it was a dream project  to work on! Especially bearing in mind that I use Pinterest for pretty much all my planning ;) Thank you for letting me be part of this fun project!

You can see the illustrations I did below.

HAPPY 2016!!!

Brush Pen

Process and art suppliesViktorija1 Comment
art supplies by andsmile

I love stationery & I love art supplies. They alone can inspire me to draw and be creative. So for this Christmas in order to boost my creativity I treated myself to wonderful Kuretake No. 40 Brush pen. I've red a lot of reviews online and it seemed like a perfect tool for me with an exception of ink, which seemed not to be 100% waterproof. However I found an answer to that in the reviews (thank you all those wonderful people who bother leaving detailed reviews, you are the best!!!). So the answer  for my perfect set up seemed to be: Carbon ink +  Fountain Pen Converter + Kuretake No. 40 Brush pen

I couldn't find the brush pen in the UK (well, I could but for more than twice the price), the same with ink, so placed an order with fantastic jetpens.com (their selection of stationery & art supplies  is just insane!!!) and waited.

To my surprise the parcel arrived in no time!!! YAY!

Aaaaaand to my absolute delight Kuretake No. 40 turned out to be the most beautiful brush pen ever created!!! The bristles are soft and gentle, line can vary form super thick to hair thin! The weight of the pen is delightful & just right, it feels perfect in hand, a little heavier than your usual brush pen but I find it incredibly pleasant.

Using Fountain Pen Converter & Ink turned out to be super easy. 

And so to my second very important discovery. THE INK IS SUPER WATERPROOF AND ABSOLUTELY BLOODY LOVELY!!! I love adding a bit of watercolour to my sketches and struggled to find brush pen with waterproof ink. 

To test the ink I pretty much BATHED my drawing in water and watercolour but ink didn't run, not even a tiny bit. YEAH! I can't wait to draw more and explore what I can do with that beautiful brush pen & waterproof ink! Here is a little doodle I did (you can see that ink is intact and some of the lines created by magical Kuretake No.40 are as thin as hair!!!)

andsmile doodle