Wednesday, 18 July 2012

BlueSkyInking (art)

I discovered BlueSkyInking by chance last Saturday. I visited Something Literary in the Enterprise Centre, a friendly independent shop which stocks unusual gifts and cards for readers and writers. The shop recently moved to Eastbourne from Steyning and Gina, the owner, is keen to meet other local literary-minded types.
Oscar Wilde ceramic tile

The BlueSkyInking cards are on the till-side of the shop, above the shelves of second-hand books. The images are quotes from famous historical authors (the one I bought was Oscar Wilde) illustrated with a humorous depictions of the characters speaking. All are the work of professional illustrator Liz Monahan and are designed and hand-drawn in her Norwich studio.

tE: How did you start your art career?
LM: I studied illustration at Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Design for four years, after which I found myself an agent and started receiving publishing commissions. I have been working as an illustrator for 20 years and am currently signed with Plum Pudding Illustration.
tE: And what inspired your current literary-based work?
Creating a scene from 'Emma'
LM: My passion for reading and books has never subsided and whilst working as an illustrator, I also studied for a degree in English Literature at university. I wrote my final year thesis on Jane Austen’s work, so I’m very familiar with her novels and characters. I first opened BlueSkyInking in 2010, offering mostly animal cartoons and assorted historical and literary character illustrations. Since then BlueSkyInking has undergone several reincarnations to emerge as the shop it is now, honing in on literary themed artwork, prints and cards. The Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton also stocks my prints and cards, and just recently, Something Literary, too.

tE: Is Jane Austen your favourite author?
Pride & Prejudice ceramic tile
LM: Although Austen is my favourite author, I love all the classics because they offer such a rich source of characters, wonderful stories, beautiful use of language, and they merit re-reading with fresh eyes and new interpretations. I think these books also appeal to our desire to return to a bygone age, whilst still exploring recognisably modern themes and human concerns.

BlueSkyInking greeting cards are available at Something Literary in the Enterprise Centre.
If you are not so local, Liz Monahan has an online Etsy shop and also has her own blog when she showcases and talks about her work.

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