Akaihane // Designer & Illustrator

Culture Night Belfast Launch Event

Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programmes

Now that Papergirl Belfast has completely wrapped, my focus is firmly on my next event, Culture Night Belfast. As I’ve mentioned before, my plan for the even will be a large-scale illustration combining the goddess of growth, Maia, and Belfast’s Edwardian Baroque architecture.

Speaker at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch EventSpeaker at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch Event

Speakers introducing the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme

Today we had the launch event for the Culture Night Belfast programme. Not only were we able to get our hands on the programme and have a good peruse to see what else was in the plans for the 19th September, but we were treated to coffee, tea, biscuits and soups as well as screen-prints and some live street art. It was great to meet some of the other people involved with the event, and I think helped to get everyone excited for Culture Night.

The listing for my installation is also online. I will be based just off Waring Street (beside Premier Inn). So please come down and visit me there, and take a photo with Maia. I’m currently developing a website where any photos and tweets shared on social media with the hashtag #maia_cnb14 will be displayed in order to collate all the photographs of the piece. So, if you take a photo, please use the hashtag so I can see it!

And keep an eye out here, and on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts over the next three weeks if you want to see little glimpses of the final illustration before the actual event, when the whole piece will be revealed!

Scientists hunt for man-eating plants at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch EventNew street art for Lower Garfield Street at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch Event

Scientists hunt for man-eating plants and some new street art by Eoin McGinn for Lower Garfield Street

Speaker at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch EventSpeaker at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch Event

Speakers introducing the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme

Screen-printing at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch EventScreen-printing at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch Event

Screen-printing at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch Event

Attendees at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch EventAttendees at the Culture Night Belfast CNB14 Programme Launch EventCulture Night Belfast CNB14 Programmes

Snapshot

Lovely to see Culture Night #Belfast #CNB14 all around the city. Can’t wait for the launch later on today. Just a few more elements to sort, and my submission will be complete!

Lovely to see Culture Night #Belfast #CNB14 all around the city. Can’t wait for the launch later on today. Just a few more elements to sort, and my submission will be complete!

My Work // Papergirl Belfast

Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast gallery opening in June 2014

Back at the end of June, I took part in my first exhibition as an artist; the first six works (Beryl, Esther, Nixie, Gretchen, Riverdeep and Seraphina) I created since becoming an illustrator were showcased at the PaperGirl Belfast exhibit in the PS2 gallery, along with pieces by artists of an amazing range of styles and mediums.

Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast gallery opening in June 2014Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast gallery opening in June 2014

This was Belfast’s second Papergirl event. The aim of the project is to make artwork accessible to all. Artists submit their pieces, and after a gallery exhibition, the artwork is distributed for free, by bicycle, to randomly selected people in the city of the event. The initiative was founded in Berlin by Aisha Ronniger in the summer of 2006 in reaction to tightening German graffiti laws. Since then, its participatory, non-commercial and DIY spirit has seen it become an international creative movement, and today Papergirl takes place in over forty cities worldwide.

Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast gallery opening in June 2014

Some of my artwork up on display!

The gallery opening event was thrilling for me. I was not only able to see my work situated next to artwork by so many amazing artists, including well-known local names, but I was able to watch people admire my pieces, hear words of praise from attendees, and explain the motivation and inspiration behind my work.

Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast gallery opening in June 2014Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast gallery opening in June 2014Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast gallery opening in June 2014

Amazing artwork by other exhibitors at the PaperGirl gallery opening

I was also able to talk to many of the other exhibitors, many of whom have much more experience than I. To be able to hear their stories, and find out what inspires them and how they create their art was incredibly eye-opening. It truly made me realise why changing career paths has been the correct decision for me and that the hard work is truly worth it.

So many people attended the opening, from all walks of life (from families with young children to students and professionals), and the venue was packed most of that night.

Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast handout in August 2014Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast handout in August 2014Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast handout in August 2014

Last Sunday, we had our hand-out. After an initial bit of confusion among the people on the street (people are always trying to find the catch when someone offers something for free), the 60 or so rolls of artwork were accepted by all kinds of people.

I hope everyone who received a roll was happy with the artwork. If anyone out their was presented with a piece of my work and is reading this now, please give me a shout in the comments below or send me an email. I’d love to know who ended up with my submitted pieces.

Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast handout in August 2014Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast handout in August 2014Photos from the PaperGirl Belfast handout in August 2014

The whole exhibition was organised by Julie Steenson and Jodie Young. Thank you both for doing such an amazing job.

Artist Spotlight // Tom Bagshaw

Artwork by Tom Bagshaw / MostlywantedArtwork by Tom Bagshaw / MostlywantedArtwork by Tom Bagshaw / Mostlywanted

Tom Bagshaw, working under the moniker Mostlywanted, is a commercial illustrator based in Bath, United Kingdom. As well as working in the editorial, publishing and advertising industries with world-renowned clients, he also creates personal projects, focusing on fantastical but highly realistic digital paintings.

His subjects are most often women with strong, deeply beguiling personalities. As someone who currently finds herself creating illustrations of independent women of all kinds, and who has a fascination with fairy tale worlds, Tom Bagshaw’s work really captivates me. It’s hard to get my head around the fact that these pieces have been rendered on a computer. They are so beautifully imaginative, and the women’s identities shine out of the paintings. His colours are muted but powerful.

Artwork by Tom Bagshaw / MostlywantedArtwork by Tom Bagshaw / MostlywantedArtwork by Tom Bagshaw / Mostlywanted

To see more of Tom Bagshaw’s work, please visit his online portfolio »

Loved Links // August 2014

Rustic Elegant Apartment in SavannahCMYK Photo Dissection Display from A Beautiful MessHand Shit Hand Cream-Apple Blossom VerbenaDeer embroidery by illustrator Chloe GiordanoAmazing Art Nouveau elevatorsDenim tie skirt by Martha W McQuade

Just a few little things that have caught my interest on the net this month.

  1. I love so many elements from this rustic elegant apartment in Savannah, especially this compact office
  2. The guys from A Beautiful Mess demonstrate how to create a CYMK 3D effect photo frame. Definitely a very unique way to display your favourite photos
  3. I don’t really care what this smells like or how effective it is, I simply want it for the tin
  4. I have been following Chloe Giordano’s work for a little while, thanks to her wonderful book focused Tumblr, and I’m so happy to see how her amazing embroidery has exploded all over the internet this week
  5. I really wish they still made things like these gorgeous Art Nouveau elevators
  6. This denim tie skirt by Martha W McQuade is uniquely beautiful

Workspace Wednesday // Culture Night Belfast

Work in progress for the Maia large-scale illustration for Culture Night Belfast

Culture Night Belfast is just over a month away now, so I am deep into my plans for a large-scale illustration as my part of the festival. As I mentioned on a previous post, I’m going to create a drawing of Maia, a goddess representing growth (this year’s festival’s them), inspired by Belfast’s Edwardian Baroque architecture.

Here you can see some of my more refined plans. Maia will stand with her head and shoulders above head height level, in order to give the festival’s attendees the chance to stand in front of her and take a picture without blocking out the major elements of the illustration. She will hold a piece of blue transparent fabric, which will be adorned with stars and the Pleiades constellation (either painted or embroidered), which will further indicate where people should position themselves.

Work in progress for the Maia large-scale illustration for Culture Night BelfastWork in progress for the Maia large-scale illustration for Culture Night Belfast

Maia herself with be clothed in softly draped clothing similar to those seen so often in Alphonse Mucha’s works, with a face similar to that of one of the head sculpture’s on Belfast city’s Malmaison Hotel.

She will be surrounded with a stone frame. This frame will take floral and details and flourishes from numerous historic buildings from around Belfast.

So I’m very much getting there. Now just to finish everything off, and then have it printed large-scale!

Work in progress for the Maia large-scale illustration for Culture Night BelfastWork in progress for the Maia large-scale illustration for Culture Night Belfast

My Work // Dulsia, with the Rainbow Cake

Dulsia eating a Rainbow Cake, an illustration in watercolor and pencil, by Karen Murray / Akaihane © 2014

After many weeks filled with holidays, some admin, and a nice bit of client work, I’ve finally finished another one of my girls. Once again another of my girls with a love for hair dye a minor bit of body modification, in terms of a nose ring. And cake.

My inspiration for this piece was easy. A lot of my friends were raving about Lily Pink Bakery’s rainbow cakes, so I knew I wanted to do an illustration which included such a beautifully coloured cake. I added strawberries, as, well, I just thought they’d be more interesting than a buttercream topping and would add more vivid colour to the piece.

In terms of her features, I wanted her eyes to appear dark in contrast to her light blonde hair, so on went the eyeliner. And I felt a nose ring would make her cute nose even more adorable. As for her hair, I hadn’t yet created a girl with a nice blunt fringe, and the ombré blonde to pink hair is something I may try out myself soon. (In fact the first time I coloured my hair pink, it was in this fashion, and long before the ombré trend kicked in. I kind of have an inverse of the ombré at the moment, but through my pink hair fading back to blonde apart from the crown. I need to stop being so busy and sort out a redye.)

I was hoping to get this post up yesterday, but I couldn’t find a solution to the background with which I was happy. I wanted to move away from the circular backings of four of my other girls, Beryl, Esther, Nixie and Gretchen, but she needed something to anchor her a little better. So after trying a few quick mock ups on the computer, I hit on the idea of a rectangular background, but rather than something solid or computer generated (like the previous illustrations), I created a simple pencil border with minimal flourishes, and then filled it in with a fading blue using watercolours. I’m really ecstatic with the result and the fact Dulsia (Latin for ‘sweet’) has a different feel to the other portraits I’ve created in the last few months, but at the same time, she feels like part of a continuing series.

Well, the background issue was the main reason for the setback. A secondary issue was the fact I got a brand new cuddly kitten who has been keeping me very busy! Not to mention my other two cats …

This work is a piece of copyrighted material. You may share it with a link back, but may not reproduce it, remove any watermarking or claim it as your own.

Dulsia eating a Rainbow Cake, an illustration in watercolor and pencil, by Karen Murray / Akaihane © 2014Dulsia eating a Rainbow Cake, an illustration in watercolor and pencil, by Karen Murray / Akaihane © 2014

You can buy this illustration in many forms, from prints, clothing and tech skins
to homewares such as rugs and cushions! Just visit my Society6 or Etsy store!

Dulsia eating a Rainbow Cake, an illustration in watercolor and pencil, by Karen Murray / Akaihane © 2014Dulsia eating a Rainbow Cake, an illustration in watercolor and pencil, by Karen Murray / Akaihane © 2014

Snapshot

Finally getting around to painting the cake on this #illustration. Knew it had to be a rainbow cake after seeing @frenchforcupcake’s amazing creations.

Finally getting around to painting the cake on this #illustration. Knew it had to be a rainbow cake after seeing @frenchforcupcake’s amazing creations.

Etsy Store Now Open!

Beryl, an illustration by Karen MurrayGretchen, an illustration by Karen MurrayEsther, an illustration by Karen Murray

As a business owner, the one aspect of this whole business thing I’m still woefully awful at is self-promotion. This is very evident in the fact that I haven’t yet mentioned here that I have reopened my Etsy store with all new products You know, it’s not earning money by selling things helps pays bills or anything!

So, yes, we are open! I have a large stack of professionally digital prints in various sizes - A6, A4, and A3 (the listings will tell you the dimensions in both centimetres and inches) - all ready to be posted out to anywhere in the world. There is even a listing for a set of postcards featuring my first four girl illustrations, Beryl, Esther, Nixie and Gretchen. I’ll hopefully be adding to this series as well. It seems lovely young ladies with dyed hair, tattoos and piercings are what inspires me at the moment.

And there is also my Society6 store where you can also purchase my prints, along with mugs, t-shirts, cushions, cases for your tech, and all manner of other things. I mean, they even do duvet covers now!

Riverdeep, a quote from an Agnes Obel song, with hand drawn lettering by Karen MurrayNixie, an illustration by Karen MurraySeraphina, an illustration by Karen Murray

Workspace Wednesday // Cake Girl

Cake Girl - Work in progress

After a little holiday in New York and a heavy dose of both admin and client work, I’m finally back to adding to my line of illustration prints. This is what I’m currently working on. If you’re following me over on Instagram, you’ll have seen a few progress shots over the past few days. Just a little bit more watercolour and then this one will be finished!

Cake Girl - Work in progressCake Girl - Work in progressCake Girl - Work in progress
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