Barking Bird Art: Hello! My name is Rebecca and I live in Portland, Oregon with a baby, a teenager, a husband, two nice cats and a REALLY stubborn dog. I like illustration, cute things, and a strong cup of tea.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Gemma Correll’s work. Gemma is a well-known freelance illustrator who also makes greetings cards, screenprinted tote bags and T shirts, pocket mirrors and art prints. Her Etsy shop is my go-to place for funny cards and gifts for my husband, who also loves Gemma’s work!
Gemma has been crafting her whole life, beginning with sewing, knitting and crochet, which she was taught by her grandmother. While at college, she started to make plush characters to accompany her illustration work, and she considers this to be her first ‘serious’ foray into crafting. At the same time, Gemma began to sell her plush characters and felt brooches at bi-monthly craft fairs, organised by Gemma and her friends.
When a friend told her about Etsy, which was not well-known in the UK at the time, Gemma decided to start selling online too. She’s since expanded her reach, selling in shops worldwide and online via her own fantastically illustrated website and Etsy shop, as well as the odd craft fair.
As well as selling handmade items, Gemma is a big fan of buying as many handmade products as possible and would much rather find something unique than buy items from large companies, as she feels there’s more of a personal touch. Unfortunately, Gemma has in the past had ideas stolen by large companies, which is a concern for many independent designer-makers and can put many people off sharing ideas with the wider handmade community.
“In five years’ time, I hope that I am still crafting for fun. As I spend more time working and outsourcing products, rather than making them myself – I simply do not have the time or the facilities to print 500 tote bags by hand, sadly – I hope that I can still enjoy making things just for myself. I hope that I’m still going to craft nights with my friends.”
I first came upon Mike O’Brien’s work at the Fenton Street Market, where a poster of his caught my eye. It was all black and white and a bold sunset orange. As is typical for me, I was drawn to the colors long before I even noticed what the images were or what the text said.
Turns out it was a poster for a concert, and although I was unfamiliar with the band, the first thought that popped into my head (after “wow, what a gorgeous orange”) was: I haven’t been to the Black Cat in a really long time.
Not only was it obvious that Mike had a great eye for color, it was also clear he’s really into music. A lot of Mike’s artwork is for concerts, bands, and musicians, and his love for music is evident in the energy of his illustrations. He loves the DC music scene and is inspired by punk rock and its DIY mentality, and it really shows, to spectacular effect.
Mike is a graphic designer with a passion for screen printing. Although he studied journalism in college, he was secretly much more interested in drawing comics for the school paper than writing articles.
After figuring out his true calling was in illustration rather than in writing, Mike found himself intrigued by the process of screen printing. His natural DIY spirit led him to experiment on his own, with zero background knowledge on screen printing, which (as anyone with a DIY spirit is familiar with) led to mixed results.
Mike eventually began collaborating with a friend Kevin Gomes, a much more experienced screen printer, who was happy to show Mike the ropes and the finer points of the process. Mike fell completely in love with screen printing, so much so that he built his own equipment! And the rest, as they say, is history.
Technically, screen printing is still Mike’s hobby and graphic design his job, but the two are so closely related for him that the lines blur quite a bit. “Graphic design is the organizational aspect of illustration – ie figuring out where to put what,” he explains. “Illustration is the raw creative aspect of graphic design – developing the imagery that then gets organized.”
Whenever he is able, Mike is creating images and using his home screen printing studio to replicate them by hand, in what he calls “an exercise in patience and tactile precision.” Although both his illustrations and his graphic design work start out as sketches in a notepad, his illustration work keeps him “grounded in the analog world.”
Visit Mike’s website to purchase his artwork, and to find out where to find him at DC area art events.
kjoo bio: I am a graphic Designer with a passion for illustration and crafts. I discovered the better material in the world, the hand made felt, and since that happened I just can’t stop to try different combinations.
Baggelboy: Artist and illustrator. At the moment I live in Cambridge a small medieval city on the edge of the world. Originally from London I came here to study illustration and found the medieval life suited me.
The linocut pictures I make come from a mixture of the fun side of our darker life and the fairy tales that Grandma used to tell us. They are firmly rooted in the tradition of Medieval woodcuts and early book printing but with a little twist in the tail. Some of these pictures will become book illustrations and others are workings for larger prints and posters.