Small business

Frequently asked questions (and answers)

I’m taking part in the March Meet the Maker challenge on Instagram and one of the prompts is FAQs. This made me realise that I don’t have a list of FAQs on my website and that seems like bad form.

In no particular order, here’s a round up of ten questions people frequently ask me online or at events. And the answers. It would all be a bit weird without the answers.

How are your designs painted?

Using inks, watercolours and pen on paper. Every design starts as an initial pencil sketch. Once I’ve decided on the outline and composition, I prepare the watercolour paper for the final painting by soaking and stretching the paper using gum tape on a painting board. I then transfer on a faint pencil outline using tracing paper ready for painting. I start painting with layers of India ink wash to build up tone, before adding colour using my favourite Japanese watercolours. The last stage is drawing on any fine details using pens. 

How do you create those little white dots?

This answer always surprises people – they’re added on at the end using white gel pen. Whether they’re stars, flecks of snow or light reflections, these tiny white dots have become a signature part of my style and one of the visual elements that ties my work together.

Are they real constellations?

I often get asked this question about the stars and constellations that feature in many of my pieces and the answer is usually no! Mostly I make them up depending on the shape of the piece. Although one painting I did a few years ago, called Grizzly, featured a grizzly bear with Ursa Major (the plough) in his paw. 

How are your products printed?

I produce my art prints and greetings cards at home using my own Canon professional printers. The process is called giclée printing and it’s basically a really high-quality form of digital inkjet printing. I use genuine fade-resistant Canon pigment inks.

Any items I can’t produce myself – like my mugs, pocket mirrors, tote bags and calendars – are printed in the UK by Awesome Merchandise.

Why are your prints limited edition?

I limit my print runs to keep my range fresh. It motivates me to keep producing new work and means that I always have new designs to talk about. The only downside is that if a design is really popular I can’t produce any more.

How do you decide what to paint?

It’s no surprise that my work is hugely influenced by the natural world and my fascination with animals. I’m inspired by nature documentaries, wildlife photography and my own adventures. Sometimes I’ll read a fact about an animal or see an amazing photo of a landscape and feel the need to learn more about it – for me that means reading more, watching videos and sketching it.

If I’m not sure what to draw or paint, I almost always start with bears or mountains. They’re my favourites.

Do you have any prints of elephants/dinosaurs/otters/other favourite animal?

People often ask if I produce a print of a favourite animal – either their own or someone else’s. I have quite a variety of animal designs available, but if you can’t find something in my existing range that matches what you’re looking for please get in touch. You might inspire my next painting and print series, or I can create a bespoke piece as a private commission.

Do you offer framing for prints?

I sell a selection of framed prints at markets and through my Bristol stockists. If you’d like to buy a framed print from me directly, please get in touch.

If you’re buying an unframed print to frame yourself, my prints are standard sized and easy to frame. For something special I’d recommend Niche frames. Wilko and The Range are great options if you’re on a budget.

There are ‘biodegradable eco cello’ stickers on your packaging, what does that mean?

The clear wrapping on my prints and some of my cards are made of corn and potato starch. They’re biodegradable and can be disposed of in your compost or food waste recycling (or in normal rubbish heading to landfill where they will break down naturally). You can read more about my environmental practices in my blog post: 8 steps I’m taking to be kinder to the planet

Do you have any exhibitions, markets or events coming up?

Usually, yes! Check out the events section of my blog to see what I’ve got coming up or join my mailing list for regular updates.

Ask me anything

If you’ve got a question that isn’t covered in this list of FAQs, please ask! Drop me a message and I’ll answer it for you.