Daily Sketching Goal

They say you should draw something everyday if you want to improve. Lately I’ve been a bit slack on the drawing front. It’s so easy to fall behind when life gets in the way. Juggling projects, client briefs, admin, emails and trying to have a life as well, sometimes leaves little time for self development work and without a goal it’s easy to let it slip.

With that in mind, i’ve decided it’s time to set myself a little daily drawing challenge – to draw something everyday and post it up on my Instagram (#FGDailyDrawings) and my blog once a week. It should be a good way to get into a sketching routine!

I had a little warm up drawing session yesterday, both in town and with the birds. To keep it neat though I’ll start properly today – 1st August

Pubs of the Cathedral Quarter Walk

It’s been a couple of weeks since I joined one of the free walking tours of the Norwich Cathedral Quarter, that my illustrated map was used to promote.

There was a huge response to the press campaign and the walks were all booked up within a couple of days of being promoted.

Luckily, I managed to book a couple of tickets for the ‘Pubs of the Cathedral Quarter’ walking tour before they ran out. I’m so glad I did, as it was a brilliant couple of hours.

We all met at the Adam and eve pub, where we had a swift half before Jonathan Hooton, our guide and current chairman of the Norwich Society introduced himself and handed out copies of the map.

He talked about the history of the Adam and Eve which is believed to be the oldest public house in the city still serving. The links to Kett’s Rebellion and the death of Lord Sheffield who was killed in the area and supposedly died in (and apparently haunts) the pub.

We moved on to the law courts, where there were at one time three pubs on long gone roads. the Worlds End, the original Beehive, and the Cupid & Bow. This area used to house the gas works, so was once a busy part of the city. The Beehive had a huge window attached to the side of it, which, when it was demolished, was relocated to a building on Whitefriers, and can be seen today.

Walking past over white friers, and down Palace st we passed the wig and pen (White Lion), and two other long gone pubs, the Bakers Arms and the White Friers. On Riverside he told us about the New star/Jolly waterman and we made our way onto Fye bridge.

On Fye bridge Street lies the Mischief, Originally a merchants house, built with mullioned windows, knapped flint and a fancy fireplace, which can still be seen today. It was originally named the Wine Vaults, and then in 1763 renamed the ‘Man loaded with Mischief’ after the Hogarth painting of the same name. In the 60s it was renamed the Mischief Tavern

We made our way up Magdalen street, and around to Fishergate, where there are several long gone pubs. Then back onto Fye bridge street where we walked past the Ribs of Beef, Olives, which was once a pub called the Turkey Cock, the Black horse tavern (now the opticians) and Take 5 (the Waggon and Horses / louis Marchesi) – these were all affected by the widening of the road to make room for trams. There used to be a building next to Olives (Turkey Cock) on the corner, but it was demolished to make room for the road. They were all owned by Stuart and Patterson (S&P) who re-fronted them in a mock tudor style.

We finished up at the Maids Head Hotel, where we had a brief history of the building, and some of the clientele and societies associated with it.

It was a brilliant walk, and if they decide to put on some more, we’ll definitely be checking out some of the others – there was something for everyone. The full list can be seen here http://www.cathedral.org.uk/cathedral-quarter-walks. The Medieval churches walk looked really interesting, and they have their own website here, and had produced a brilliant leaflet with info on each church and a map, which can be picked up from the Forum or the Adam and Eve.

There’s also a great book on the history of Norwich pubs, it’s recently been updated, and includes some handy maps and lots of info and photos. I found it in Waterstones in the city, but I think it’ll be in Jarrolds, it’s on Amazon too: Amazon link. The website www.norfolkpubs.co.uk is also a great resource for anyone interested.


Illustrating a new map for Norwich Cathedral Quarter

Earlier this year I was approached by the Norwich Cathedral marketing department to illustrate a new map to help them promote the historic ‘Cathedral Quarter’ and an upcoming series of free, themed walking tours to take place in the area.

It was a great chance to have a play about with different styles of map illustration. So far the majority of my maps have involved pen, ink and watercolour, then once painted, are scanned and finished digitally. However the deadline was tight for this project so we decided to go for a simple, digital, icon based approach.

A couple of years ago, I designed an illustrated map depicting ‘Nelson’s Norfolk’. Although each part was painted individually in watercolour, then scanned and put together in Photoshop, I adopted a similar approach this time (albeit digitally) by illustrating the elements separately and dropping them onto the base image.

First of all, I worked alongside the Cathedral Quarter team to decide which of the many important buildings to depict as illustrated icons to appear across the map.

Once these were decided, I took some time to walk around the area and take reference photos of the key buildings. I then set about producing a basic roadmap framework and drawing rough illustrations of the icons, alongside a sample icon style to be approved before finalising the remainder of the map icons.

The map had to be fun and visually appealing, as well as informative, so we agreed to add in some walkers on some of the footpaths, some cycles in the new Tombland cycle lanes, busses where the major bus stops are and cars on the busiest roads.

After a few amends and the addition of road names, labels and a title, it was sent off to print and added to the website: Cathedral Walks Website

A week or so later, the organisers of the walks and I gathered at Fye Bridge for a press release and to have our photo taken with a giant copy of the map to go in the local press.

The tours proved hugely popular and all booked up within days. Here’s hoping they do some more!

The Making of GoGoDennis

This Summer, Norwich will be taken over by a blaze of 84 huge Dragons sculptures – the GoGoDragons. A follow on from the gorillas of 2013 and the elephants before that. 

GoGoDragons is an interactive art trail organised by Break charity (You can see their website and the excellent work they do here) and Wild in Art. Each sculpture is sponsored by a local company, and painted by a local (and sometimes not so local) artist. The sculptures all have Bluetooth sensors in them, so with the help of an app, you can complete the trail using a smartphone. You can also fill in the trail map and send it off the old-skool way to win a pair of flights from KLM. You can download the trail map here, or pick one up from the Forum, or Jarrolds.

My world map design was sponsored by Konectbus and Anglianbuses, and was inspired by medieval maps and the monsters who inhabited them. 

Continue reading “The Making of GoGoDennis”

I’m a Busy Bee at the mo…

It’s been a while since i’ve posted on here, I’ve been super busy working on new books for the Bolognia book fair at the end of the month, alongside some other brilliant projects.

Some great stuff has been happening lately though that I just wanted to share…

The little Illustration collective that I’m part of has an exhibition up at Cherryleaf coffee house in Norwich all this month. It looks fab, and i’m dead proud to be part of a group of such lovely talented and organised people. We all took a classic book, and re-designed the cover art. They’ve come out brilliantly and everyone has done a fab job.

Continue reading “I’m a Busy Bee at the mo…”

Release the BEAST! (From the east…)

A lot has happened here in the past month or so, I’ve had my stand at craft markets, been to conferences, and have been getting out and seeing people, which makes a nice change from working at home in isolation. It’s good to get out and connect with other people.

One of the most exciting things lately came from a twitter conversation and ended up with a group of us starting an illustration collective here in Norwich.  – BEAST!

BEAST! are:
Grace Sandford
Karl Newson
Kellee Rich
Mark Standbrook
David Hurtado
Me (Fiona Gowen)

We gave ourselves  a little project to get started on first, put all our names in a hat, and drew a beastly portrait of the beast who’s name we pulled out. It was a super fun project, and there’s some awesome drawings!

You can follow us on twitter here @BeastNorwich
We have a website HERE
and a Facebook page HERE

We’ve been working hard on some christmas cards, and have chosen a charity (The Hamlet Centre) to donate all the profits to. They’re currently at the printers being finished off, and we should have them available to buy in all our etsy shops, and at local craft markets soon!

Hooray for collaboration!

Autumn Clutter City and Winter craft market preparations.

On September 28th, I took part in the Autumn edition of Clutter City, a local craft market held at Norwich Arts Centre. It was a fab day, and I met some lovely people, Including the super-talented Kellee Rich, and Deerly Beloved Bakery, with their tasty cakes. 
I took along a fair bit of new stock: a good few of my new little notebooks, – Mushrooms designs and Norwich themed ones – as well as a new, improved stand setup.

For a couple of weeks beforehand, I’d been preparing some screenprints of my Norwich Illustrated map down at the Stew gallery and print rooms. It’s the first time in about 7 years I’ve done any proper  screen printing. I had a brilliant time, and learned a lot. I’m definitely going to go back and do some more work down at Stew. It’s a brilliant resource for local artists and printmakers.

I’ve also been accepted for several local craft markets in the run up to christmas. 
• Sat 26th Oct – Pottergate Crafts – Rackheath Holy Trinity 
• Sun 17th Nov – Pottergate Crafts – Costessey Centre
• Sat 23th Nov – Thorpe Christmas Fair
• Fri 6th Dec – Castle craft fair
• Sat 7th Dec – Norwich Makers 
• Sun 15th Dec – Pottergate Crafts – Costessey Centre
The Courtyard garden centre cafe is also stocking a selection of my earrings too. 
I’m currently working on some new stock, and should have some new screenprints, cards, notebooks and earrings for sale soon.

Autumn Clutter City

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been getting ready for the Autumn Clutter City at Norwich Arts Centre. 
It should be a good day, with live music, and lots of stalls selling arts, crafts and lots of handmade goodies. There’s always some pretty fab cakes there too. Yum. 

I’ve been expanding my stall a bit too, there will be lots of affordably priced illustrated earrings, notebooks, bunting and more.
Pop down and say hello! 

‘Yesterday’s World’ Map – Behind the scenes.

Earlier this year, I was approached by the lovely chaps at Creative Sign Co. to produce a visitor map of ‘Yesterday’s World’ – an attraction/museum based in the sunny seaside town of Gt Yarmouth. It’s a fab collection, showcasing old packaging, tradesman’s tools and lots of other weird and wonderful objects. They have a great display of old cameras and even an apothecary too.

Now the project is all finished, I thought it would be nice to share some of the process here.

After a couple of site visits, conversations and hundreds of reference photos, I got to work sketching out a plan of the building, the rooms and areas both upstairs and down, onto squared paper.

Once both floors were planned out, with everything lining up, I transferred the drawing onto isometric paper, where I started working upwards, plotting in the walls and walkways and making sure the map was clear and easy to read. 

I altered the plan on both floors to accommodate the 3D nature of the map, ensuring all areas could still be seen. Once the detail was all roughed in, I scanned it and dropped the drawing into a rough indesign layout and sent it off for approval.

After a couple of inevitable tweaks, I was able to start inking up the final drawing. Using the lightbox I traced over the rough in ink, with crisp lines, adding in more detail as I went. Once inked the drawing was ready to be scanned again, imported into photoshop and coloured up digitally.

For the colouring, I used solid colour layers with vector masks for each of the large areas – the floor, walls etc. This makes the colours far easier to alter once it’s all coloured up. When the base colours are all down, I started painting in the detail, shading etc and when finally happy with it, I dropped it into the indesign layout again, and sent it off to the client for approval.

Once approved, I made the file ‘print ready’ and sent it off to the client.

It’s brilliant seeing the illustrations you’ve worked on in their final environment, in this case, printed as 2x massive panels, to be placed both inside and outside of the attraction, as well as on a printed map and as a downloadable file from their website. This was one of my favourite jobs so far and I had a lot of fun and learned a lot whilst doing it.

The final project can be seen over in my Behance portfolio HERE

Clutter city!

I’m dead excited about being included in the spring Clutter City Market this year at Norwich Arts centre. There’s going to be lots of local artists and craftspeople selling their handmade goodies! 
If you’re about in Norwich on Sat 20th, then pop in and say Hello!