Octlantis – an octopus city

I may have immediately imagined a ‘Sharky and George’ metropolis but the truth is still pretty amazing.

The gloomy octopus species (Octopus tetricus) are usually described as isolated and solitary creatures, maybe that’s why they’re so gloomy, but this is the 2nd discovered ‘city.’

Octlantis is made up of dens built out of sand and shells, and home to up to 15 of individuals.  The octopuses were seen meeting up, living together, communicating with each other, chasing unwelcome octopuses away, and also evicting each other from dens.

We usually think only vertebrates behave so socially which makes Octlantis such an interesting place to study.



Usually my science illustrations are pretty simple but I really enjoyed painting this and it became a bit more detailed.  I was also asked (begged) by Dan to leave off my usual thick black lines. I’m still unsure if it’s better or not!

The research has been published in Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology.

Return of the lynx? UK lynx reintroduction.

There is something about walking in the woods which stirs something old in me. My senses go into overdrive listening for every rustle and peering for any movement.

But for a few hundred years the forests have been empty of top predators. There are no big, bad wolves, or scary bears.  The woods miss them though. The deer population increases without the wolves and lynxes so they eat more saplings so no young trees replace the ones which die.  Without these species which evolved to be part of these islands it will be incomplete.

There are plans for lynx to be reintroduced. These forest cats stick to densely wooded areas and mainly prey on deer but rarely will take sheep. Farmers who have their sheep taken will be compensated. Lynxes have never been recorded attacking people.

I hope one day I can wander a forest full of new growth and whenever I hear a rustle I can imagine it may have been a lynx.


How to etsy 4: Holy moly I made a sale!

My last how to etsy for beginners. I hope this helps someone out there ❤ it would have helped me a year ago!

Ok. So you have stuff to sell and a place to sell it but to make a sale you need to attract customers. It’s a catch 22 but you’re more likely to be found on etsy if you already have a few sales and positive reviews. So how do you get started?

My first sale was by one of my best friends, and so was the second, and the third. I owe them so much because they helped to kickstart my job and allowed others to find me. I wouldn’t have had the courage to even post things if they hadn’t told me they loved them.

I use instagram and facebook to let people know what I’m up to and get asked to make certain things available in the shop which is great. Also this blog! I’m still finding out how to make myself more ‘discoverable’.

Anyway! So you made a sale and the app makes a really satisfying “ka-ching!” noise. How are you going to pack it? I started off making my own cardboard and parcel paper packages but now I have boxes of tubes and reinforced envelopes ready for orders to be slipped in. I pop in a postcard with my details and a personal thank you message. Some sellers make beautiful packages and I’m working on how to make my items arrive at their new homes in style. Like making hand stamped gift tags!

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months watching videos and reading blog posts to improve my etsy shop. The best source is Etsy itself which has forums between sellers as well as free email courses to help you out and a blog full of inspiring stories. Sites like Skillshare and Makelight also have courses, some of which are free.

Also there are plenty of makers who share their experience on Youtube. One Youtuber said something which really made me smile; “There’s room for everyone.” So whatever it is you do just go for it. You don’t know until you’ve tried

Painting Hedgehogs

Eeeeh! I got to paint a bunch of hedgehogs last week!


Usually I sketch out very basic shapes lightly with a soft pencil which I rub out later but this time I used WATERCOLOUR PENCILS!!! How didn’t I do this earlier? The marks disappear as I paint so I can be super messy 🙂

I filled in my hedgehog shape with water and splooshed in  some sepia, yellow ochre and cerulean blue. Apart from the black ink and white highlights I only used these three colours. Oh and a sprinkle of salt to see what it would do.

These hedgehogs are going to the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to help explain how to help these critters. Find out more about their excellent work here.

I ordered new hedgehog stickers and this time my sticker sheets will have teeny snails and cute leaves on to. I can’t wait for them to arrive 🙂



How to Etsy. Part 1

My etsy shop has been up and running for almost a year now and I finally feel like I know what I’m doing! Kind of? Maybe?!

Here is a step by step of how I get an item on etsy with what I have learnt on the way.

* Ok I wrote too much and instead of cutting down I will continue on next week xx

  1. Product

I imagine most makers first get the idea of an online shop when a friend tells them they would buy their stuff.  My first customers were my lovely and supportive friends and I really value their opinion when thinking what to add to my shop. They are incredibly helpful when I post a question on facebook and they really steer me to the final product.

Deep down I knew my friends would prefer these more nerdy versions!

Instagram is also great for feedback. Somethings get more likes than others and that gives me a guide to what may prove more popular. Some people even suggest things and it’s a good way for me to keep an eye on what’s trending.

As you can see my things is painting, mostly wildlife. Painting is great because even though the original piece may take days  to create I can sell prints, make cards, and my favourite thing: stickers! These are much more affordable to buy, but I do plan on putting up some originals on etsy and a listing for commissions like this one below.

I’m always looking for a new thing to put my designs on. My idea for stickers came from selling greeting cards to a local nature reserve who mentioned they needed more things for children. I discovered Awesome Merchandise and got hooked on creating stickers!


It takes a bit of a gamble but you don’t know until you try! I would love to hear your ideas on what to try next. I may already be looking at how to create pins 🙂

Next time I will be talking about photography! It’s definitely my weakest point so I have read so many blogs and watched courses upon courses.




Hello! I had the zippiest trip to London last week and the very first thing I did was head to the Natural history museum.


Museums are a great source of subject matter that you can draw from life. The first thing that caught my eye was a cabinet full of humming birds. It was mesmerising, but trying to get a view where I wasn’t in the bustle of other visitors was impossible.

I kept walking. The next corridor was full of natural light which bounced off gigantic fossils and hallelujah! A bench facing them. The sketchbook was whipped out, and my lovely blackwing pencil made soft abstract lines of a pliosaur. My little watercolour set sat next to me and I used cerulean blue  and yellow ochre  to dab on cold shadows and the warmer highlights of the bones.

I kept correcting my proportions but still I made the skull and flippers far too big. I find it happens when I really enjoy studying one part of an image over another.

I tried to correct this on the next scribble. I made a box so that even if I did go overboard again at least I had room to correct it. This stegosaurus is near the entrance and I had to lean against a wall, sketching different corners as people passed me and took selfies.

Also that’s all I need to paint on the go, but I did come skipping out of Cas art shop with a brush pen and a water brush. I can’t wait to try them!


Speak to you soon,