House Portraits

Sunday 2 October 2016

Screenprinting Sheffield Town Hall - experiments!

After returning to screen printing at West Yorkshire Print Workshop, the next piece I screen printed was another experimental run, using a drawing I showed recently of Sheffield Town Hall. I printed some block colours digitally and then screen printed the linework over, to see what colours and options worked best. I had also experimented at some hand coloured techniques again and chine colle (tissue paper collage). 

In the end, the prints with coloured sky were my favourite. Because the town hall is such a finely detailed building and the drawing is so delicate, I found it worked best staying in black and white, with a block colour in the sky behind to frame it and contrast against the detailed line drawing. 

My next plans are to make more prints of Sheffield Town Hall, this time with the colour also being screen printed, now that I’ve found what works best. I’m also working on some other new drawings of places in Sheffield that I’ll be making into screen prints in time to sell at the Etsy Sheffield fair in December. 

I haven't put these prints on my etsy shop yet, but please email me at or message on etsy, if you would like one.

Friday 9 September 2016

Drawing Sheffield Town Hall

I recently set myself the challenge of drawing Sheffield Town Hall. It turned out to be quite a big project with it being such a detailed building with so many ornate features. I worked out it took me about twelve hours to draw. It was a big project but I’m very happy with the result, I hope other people will like it too! I’ll be making it into an edition of screen prints soon.

I've had some exciting news that I've been accepted to have a stall at Etsy Made Local Christmas Market in Sheffield on the 3rd & 4th December! So it has fuelled me to make more pieces that are Sheffield based, in time for the market.

Here are some progress shots from me drawing Sheffield Town Hall...

Friday 2 September 2016

Screenprinting Houses

I am very happy to write that I’ve started screenprinting again after being slowed down earlier in the year by handgate! It had been in my plans since last year and after having a few months of being out of action, I’ve felt driven ever since to make up for it. You can see progress updates of my drawings and printmaking on my instagram, @josephinedellow and Facebook.

I started back by printing the linework of my 'Houses' illustration over colour experiments I had prepared previously, using my lightbox and different media such as coloured pencil, felt tip, markers and chalk pens. I found the chalk pens did not work well to screen print over – the chalk pressed back onto the screen and clogged some of the linework.

These house illustration screen prints can now be bought here!

Friday 5 August 2016

The Saltaire Review magazine cover illustration

I was really happy to be asked recently to design a front cover for the August/September edition of the Saltaire Review magazine, using my illustrations of Saltaire shops and houses. I was also asked if they could feature an interview with me... I hope the readers found it interesting! Below is the full interview and you can view the magazine online here.

Don't forget you can keep up with all my adventures through whichever social media stream you prefer! I am on twitter, instagram and Facebook. I have also started publishing newsletters, please click here if you would like to join my mailing list.

How would you describe your artwork?

I often get told my work is quirky, cute, very detailed and neat. My passion for children’s literature comes across in a storytelling nature to my drawings, along with a love for graphic detail. Combining real life documentation with my imagination, the way I work probably reflects the way I live and see the world – appreciating the joys of what’s in front of me while also spending a lot of time in a different, daydreamy place!  

Do you have a preferred style or medium?

Fineliners have been integral to the way I work since I was a small child! I use them in different thicknesses and love drawing tiny details with the smallest nib I can find. I like to draw in pencil too, which can suit more emotive subjects like people and animals and can be very versatile once it’s scanned in. I then scan in and usually colour digitally, but I have also started screen printing, which is a process I fell in love with as soon as I tried it.

When did you decide you wanted to become a full time artist? 

I always wanted to work in a creative job and tried a few avenues when I first left school. I started studying fashion at university before eventually realising all I wanted to do was draw. I transferred to an Illustration degree and never looked back!

Who are your biggest influences?

Looking at other artists, my main inspiration has always been children’s books. I am inspired in different ways by Shirley Hughes, Richard Scarry and Janet and Alan Ahlberg, to name just a few. My university lecturers were very influential in the start of my practice and most importantly, my supportive - and creative - family. My Dad was a skilled joiner who could make anything out of wood and my Mum is a fine artist, so I now see traits from both in my design approach to art.

What inspires your work?

My main inspiration is my happy and colourful childhood. With four older brothers and sisters, our house was always vibrant and busy and my parents were brilliant at keeping us entertained. Our home was the perfect backdrop for my imagination to flourish as we played and drew and made things. Maybe that somehow links to my other inspiration which (you can probably tell from my work!) is architecture. I get excited at the sight of characterful houses and shops and want to draw as many as I can! I go through stages of working out, spontaneity and repetition when I am drawing buildings. Each stage feels fresh when I get to it and then therapeutic in the process.

What's your relationship with Saltaire?

I lived in Leeds for five years and used to visit Saltaire regularly after first discovering the arts trail in 2009. I can spend ages looking at children’s books in Salts Mill and used to drive over specially for that. In May this year, I showed my work for the first time in the open houses of the Arts Trail and it was a great weekend. I made a trip over when I found out I’d been accepted and took photos of some of the lovely old buildings to draw and make prints of. It was really good to see firsthand what people thought to my work.  

What are you working on at the moment and what are your plans for the future?

I had just started screen printing before breaking my right (drawing) hand in a car accident earlier this year. It has been a long process and I am still having physiotherapy, but my hand is finally feeling much better and ready to get back to printing. So that is my focus at the moment. I always have ideas for children’s books ticking over too (I have a masters in children’s book illustration) - I like to write my own stories as well as illustrate them. I have also been working on some commissions, including house portraits - which I will be updating my social media streams with as they progress.

Where can we find more of your work?

I have very recently set up an online shop on etsy, where some of my prints are for sale. I will be adding more screen prints here along with some other ideas I’ve been developing for products...

Friday 3 June 2016

Saltaire Arts Trail 2016

Here are a few photos from when I recently exhibited my work in the open houses at Saltaire Arts Trail. It was a brilliant weekend - so nice to meet lots of people and see their reactions to my work. I am really looking forward to starting screen printing again soon, now that my hand is feeling stronger! So hopefully if I return to Saltaire next year, my work will have moved on again and I'll have some more exciting pieces to show.

Thursday 26 May 2016

The time I broke my right hand

I thought it was about time I did a little catch up post, it's been a while and I've got a few gaps to fill! If you have a scroll down, you'll see I fell in love with screen printing back in September 2015. I couldn't wait to become a member and start producing lots of prints. After that, I was kept busy after finding out I'd been selected as one of five artists/writers to present our work at a children's book conference in November. Soon enough it was a new year and so I knew my plan for this year was to become of member of West Yorkshire Print Workshop where I did my course and start selling my prints.

Throughout January, I worked on some new drawings to make prints from and I arranged my induction at WYPW. The friday before my induction, I excitedly paid my membership and had spent the weekend making lots of different colour layers to print linework over, as well as some prints with printed block colour. I had lots planned and was so excited about the prints I was going to make!

The following Monday, (the 8th of February and the day before my induction), I set off for work as usual and (to get to the point) I had a nasty car accident. My car was written off, I was clearly very lucky to not be more injured, but I broke two bones in my right hand. And yes, I am right handed. So as you can imagine, since you are reading an illustrator's blog, it's been a stressful few months. My hand has taken such a long time to heal and the progress so barely noticeable day-to-day. There has been tearful moments infront of frustratingly vague doctors and lots of worry about whether my drawing would be effected. But it hasn't, it's still painful and I have to take lots of breaks, but I can draw again and just as small and detailed! Sometime's a bit more wibbly still and it takes me a bit longer but I am still going through physio and believing that painlessness is yet to come.

Here is a picture of me looking happy that I'd broken my hand. I wasn't! I was happy because I still went to the 6 music festival in Bristol the weekend after the hand break! I was granted a disabled wristband and got to watch Foals in a safe little spot.

I tried to embrace left handed life and did try some drawing with my left hand...

After having a cast on for several weeks, my poor little hand was in agony when the cast came off and I felt like I was back to day one. That week was probably the hardest, I'd never been in pain like it and was full of worry for my career. Anyway, after a few days, the pain eventually started to ease and as I worked through my hand exercises and practised picking things up, I managed to hold a pen and did this:

Knowing that my hand could still do what my brain was telling it to was a lovely feeling! It was the third week in March when my pot came off and about a month later, I started to draw again. Just after my accident, I found out I had been accepted to show my work in the Saltaire Arts Trail. I had no idea how my hand would be but it seemed like a long way off, so I thought it would be a good way to hit the ground running when I got back to using my hand again. And it has been, so far! I've been working really hard to get all my drawings made into prints and packaged up, along with framing my artwork and a million other little prep jobs. It's been very exhausting and quite hard but also really fun! The Arts Trail is this weekend, so now that my frames and prints are packed up and my living room looks like a paper-bomb has exploded, one of my last jobs was to update my blog with the story of the time I broke my right hand. Here's to my right hand and hopefully our happy future together!

This is one of my new pieces especially for Saltaire, I will share more after the arts trail.