Excuse Me While I Change…

I’m updating this site at the moment. Please don’t listen to any bad words I might say and overlook any messy bits or missing labels and so on.

Please have a look at my GALLERY by selecting it from the drop down menu. There are loads more pictures and different sections, including crafts and applied art.

redThank you.


A Brief Blog about Commissions, Why I Don’t Do Them, and Earning a Living as An Artist

Gosh.. that’s quite a big subject.   I’ve been turning commissions down for a while, but recently I seem to have annoyed one or two folks, and I saw an artist I admire comment that “Commissions stifle creativity.”  I understood immediately what they meant..

It’s like this:

I love making art and trying out new techniques.  I have a job a couple of days a week in a picture framers. Which is great. The rest of the time I make art. Or think about making art.  There is never enough time.

I’m a latecomer to making art.  I drew a bit always.  I took ‘A’ level Art in my early 40’s, then went on to an HND in Fine Art.  Then I painted a bit and made lino prints and sold a few things.  Art was never a serious contender in the making-a-living stakes for me.  Time passes.  You get older and wonder what you are doing with your life.  (Trust me, you will.)  The world alters.  There is the internet.  You share drawings and someone asks you to illustrate a poetry book (Thank you x).  You start to draw and make things  and you start trying to sell them..

If you are making art you develop and grow by doing it.  I’m learning as I go.  When I grow up I’d like to illustrate picture books.  It’s harder than it looks but I’m learning and teaching myself.  I like applying my illustrations to products and I like designing things.  Happily other people seem to like these too and want to buy them.  I like trying  different materials and art forms. Sometimes I’m ok at these and people want to buy them.

The Bit About Commissions:

I don’t make much money doing art, but I have a plan.  My plan involves learning enough to be an illustrator; drawing and designing things that I can use on lots of products to earn me money; learning new skills and techniques that will help me with both of those.

I meander a bit off course quite often.  I’ve tried etching and taught myself to paint with watercolour.  It’s interesting and each technique teaches me something I can carry over into the other stuff I do.

I’ve been making needle felt animals lately.  I’m enjoying it.  I’ve sold everything I’ve made, mostly within minutes of it going on sale.  I’ve had lots of requests for commissions.  If I’d agreed to all those requests I would have made the first 3 things over and over.  I would have learnt no new techniques.  I would have got bored.  I wouldn’t have sold any more than I have.  I would have been stressed about deadlines.  I wouldn’t have developed.  It would have brought me no more work other than more of the same.

It’s the same with everything.  If you ask me to make you something, I have to think about the price, the time, if it’s going to help me to get where I want to be professionally. I’m really sad that I can’t keep everyone happy.

So.  Commissions (Can) Stifle Creativity.  I know lots of artists are happy with them.  Right now they’re not for me.

This is me. Trying. Learning.  Needing to do new things all the time.  Aiming for the sky.  Hoping it’ll all work out.  Hoping you’ll enjoy what I do and that I’m spreading a little joy.

And if you like what I do you can support me by following me on Twitter , Facebook, buying from my shop, or generally shouting and cheering.

Thank you xx













My Creative Place #mycreativeplace


This is my work space. Sometimes I swap the cat for my laptop and graphics tablet.  I usually have flowers, a selection of bears, and cut out characters from projects I’m working on.

Are you an artist, illustrator, writer, musician, blogger, maker, knitter, craftsperson?  What to you create and where? Do you have a studio, kitchen table, desk, armchair, tree?  It would be lovely to see your creative space.  Take a photo and share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, anywhere else you can think of, with the hastag #mycreativeplace

Jools x

Merry Christmas…



Wishing you all a very jolly Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I was pleased to have this picture in the SCBWI Advent Calendar this year alongside Christmas illustrations from some super talented artists.

Lots of micro stories were written to go with the illustrations, you can read them on Twitter.

Thank you to the lovely SCBWI writers who wrote words to go with my illustration:


Finally, thank you all for your support during 2016.  Hoping 2017 will be peaceful and marvellous.

Jools x



A Brief Ramble about the SCBWI Conference 2016

I’ll keep it short and incoherent. For those of you who don’t know SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (British Isles). Last weekend they held their annual conference in Winchester (and have lots of other exciting and interesting activities the rest of the time).

This was the 2nd time I’ve been to the conference.  It’s so fabulous I just have to tell you about it.  It’s also very intense, and fabulous.  I’m still mentally digesting all the wonderful fabulousness and remembering odd bits of fabulous stuff at odd times, so this is a very garbled account of some of the bits I did.

3The Sketch Crawl.

Drawing out and about in Winchester with a bunch of other illustrators and non illustrators. I drew skaters, buildings and other things.  Then we met up to compare sketches and chat over a mulled cider.  Here’s one of my sketches in progress:

Roman glass in Winchester Museum

Being inclined towards art the best thing about the conference for me is the opportunity to 8listen and talk to proper illustrators with books out in the real world…

This year Leigh Hodgkinson (she’s @hoonbutton on Twitter) was one of the keynote speakers and I also attended a break out session with her.  It’s completely fabulously fabulous to find out what goes on in the head of another artist. I love all her making different things and ideas, and came away with ideas of my own about collaging things and ways of working to try.

Viviane Schwarz gave an amazing picture book workshop. Lots of fast drawing, cutting up, stealing other people’s drawings and making a group picture book.  I learned a whole new way of thinking about ideas and creating characters.  You can follow Viviane on Twitter.

2One of the other things I did was to dare to put my portfolio out on a table where people could see it. That won’t be scary next time. It was brilliantly educational just seeing my work alongside other peoples.

10And there was so, so much more. So many people, opportunites, interest, books, pictures, cake.

The weekend was a lovely bubble of talking about writing and illustration.  I learnt so much and met so many lovely people.  I made friends.

You can visit the website of the SCBWI here.

Thanks to Dom Conlon for letting me steal some photos.

Summer is here…

…and my thoughts have turned to the garden with birds, bees, gardening and sun-photography.

Page of designs and ideas for gardening brooches and earrings. Below: Some of the final results.

I’ve also experimented with cyanotype photography, using garden flowers and drawing on glass to make the images…

…and using the images to create jewellery.


I’m looking forward to finding other ways of applying this technique.

There’s an explanation of Cyanotype photography here.  I bought ready to use paper, which is extremely easy and fun to use.

Items shown above are available to buy from my Etsy shop, BearsGetCrafty.

Have a lovely weekend in the garden. x