Harajuku Inspiration

When it comes to ideas for something to draw, or indeed for something to Blog about, I get my inspiration from all sorts of places; a walk across The Moor, a snippet of overheard conversation, the glories of the Internet, the darkest recesses of my imagination. But I still find there is nothing better than a good book to spark my imagination. I’ve got a lot of non-fiction books stuffed full of images from art to architecture, fashion to ornamentation. And a prime example is this one.

Fresh Fruits 2

 Fresh Fruits is a collection of photographs taken by Shoichi Aoki from the main street in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. Every Sunday from the late 70’s until 1998 this street was declared a pedestrian haven and all traffic was stopped for the day so the teens of Tokyo could strut their stuff. Now referred to as Harajuku Street Style their outfits are incredibly inventive and so much fun. Tokyo has thrown up a vast array of fashion styles and trends that are constantly changing and I love drawing them.

Rather than slavishly copy an image I take aspects of lots of different photos and, like a photo-fit image, merge them together.

This pose….

Harajuku pose



Plus this skirt and fabulous pair of boots…

Harajuku skirt and boots


Plus this hairstyle…..

Harajuku hairEquals this drawing..

Harajuku Girl 2014

harajuku girl face


Where do you find your inspiration? Do you plunder the internet or pore over books? Or do you simply turn to your imagination?







An Elf Child is born

For the very first time on the Ziggy Shortcrust blog we have an elf child. She has been created especially for This is Lemonade I discovered this little gem of a blog yesterday, left a comment, followed, then received this message;

“I’m bowled over that you draw, love a good brew, have a gorgeous camper van and work in a children’s literature museum. I also draw (drew), and love tea…but I have an imaginary child in an imaginary camper van, for whom I have secretly started a stash of real children’s books whose beautiful illustrations and stories I fell in love with! Please could you elf my imaginary child?”

So here is Elf Child……


I am so taken with this little character I think I might do more with her. Watch this space.

Thank you “This is Lemonade” for the inspiration.

Inspiration from Nick Sharratt

At the children’s book museum we are currently running an exhibition dedicated to the work of Jacqueline Wilson. Of course her stories and characters are brought to life by illustrator Nick Sharratt. He has a very distinctive, cartoon style that, until now, I had paid little attention to. For the last couple of months I have had the privilege to live with his original art works and sketches while at work and I have been inspired. Sharratt’s work is deceptively simple. Oodles of ideas and sketches have gone before the finished piece, but it’s the detail that he leaves out that creates the character. For Sharratt less is definitely more.

Illustration by Nick Sharratt

The work that really caught my eye was for Wilson’s novel “My Sister Jodie”. He designed twelve different versions of the book cover alone. But it is the line drawings that I love. Although the figures remain simple there are lots of patterns and detail in the background which sets it apart from much of his other illustrations. It is wonderful to be able to press your face almost up to the glass and study the pictures so closely.

It’s this work that has been the starting point for my “Five Minute Faces” as I struggle to keep line to a minimum and learn when to stop adding detail.

There are several different originals from this book in the exhibition as well as notebooks kept by Jacqueline Wilson for My Sister Jodie. We also have a studio area inspired by Sharratt’s own workplace complete with light boxes that looks remarkably like the real thing. But my absolute  favourite illustration in the gallery is a personal piece he did for Jacqueline Wilson to celebrate the ten millionth copy sold of her books. It is a tiny pen and ink drawing of Wilson’s hands complete with rings on each finger marking the figure out in roman numerals. Exquisite.

If you are in Newcastle before the end of September 2012 stop by and take a look.