THE FLORIST

I think I have a problem at the moment of coming up with the most intricate concepts for new works that ultimately end up taking me weeks, if not months, to finish, whereby I end up constantly pausing them to start something new.
Which is exactly what happened this week. Growing a little tired of the tedious details of my current illustration, as well as the freezing cold weather we've been experiencing Down Under, I thought I'd try to hurry Spring on a little bit with a floral-themed piece.
I'm no where near done with the Thumbelina-sized girls just yet (will I ever be?) and I thought it would be lovely to have one carrying an enormous bunch of blooms.
I've titled this one 'The Florist' because, well, sometimes I just think it would be the most wonderful job in the world - surrounded by beautiful flowers all day long. Can you even imagine?

'The Florist' is available in my store now in a limited edition of 30 A3 and 30 A4 prints until sold out.
You can plant her in your home visiting the nursery here: www.birdyandme.bigcartel.com

Now, back to client work as well as that complicated piece I've been putting off...

TITANIA PRINTS

Another new print has been added to the shop.
Created last year for the 'Les Petit Fours' exhibition, 'Titania' is inspired by the couture shows of John Galliano and Giambattista Valli, along with the character of the same name from William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'
Limited to a very small edition of 25 A2 prints only, including one very special framed metallic print, 'Titania' is available to purchase now.
www.birdyandme.bigcartel.com

BELLE

Sharing this because I am beyond excited for Disney's live-action re-make of 'Beauty and the Beast' which dropped its first teaser trailer last week!
It looks so incredibly stunning and I'm sure it's going to be worth the (very long) wait! (2017 - YIKES!)
The teaser also felt timely given the fact that I'm currently working on the next installment of my fairy tale series, which is...you guessed it! Belle and her Beast!
Stay tuned...and re-watch the trailer below. Over and over and over again.

BACK TO FAVART...

I first stayed at La Maison Favart a few years ago on my Honeymoon and I'm so happy to have been back here again on this current trip. On top of the marvelous exterior, there's just something so incredibly whimsical about this beautiful, boutique hotel. From the smoke-grey walls to the pink upholstery of the breakfast room, it's the perfect blend of Parisian charm!

But, somebody better pass me a croissant while I pack my bags...I've got a plane to catch *sniff*

TOKYO

Just touched down in TOKYO!

It's no secret that Japan is one of my favourite countries in the entire world and I'm so excited to be starting off my adventure with the bright lights and floral scents of Tokyo + Kyoto.
While I might have JUST missed out on sakura season, I'm bound to be blown away by the azalea and wisteria that will be in full bloom this week. Not to mention the sartorial choices of the cos-playing, colour-loving, Harajuku Girls. KAWAII!
P.S I wish I had the guts to take my hair to this colour...

THE LITTLE MERMAID

What girl DIDN'T grow up wanting to be a mermaid at some stage in her life? Looking at you, Ally, if you're reading this!
'The Little Mermaid' is one of the first Disney films that I remember seeing in the cinema. For years I was under the impression that I must have been at least 8 or so. But, no - I was 4! That's right - Disney's version of 'The Little Mermaid' was released in 1989!
You: Whaaaaat?
Me: I KNOW!
Needless to say, my earliest memories of the story were purely those of a sassy Sebastian, Flounder the guppy, and THAT scene which always made my Dad cry; when King Triton gives Ariel her legs back so she and Eric can get married and she whispers 'I love you, Daddy' before sailing off into the sunset. I know, Dad. It was emotional stuff.
So, imagine my HORROR when I first encountered the TRUE story of Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Little Mermaid'. You know, the one where she DOESN'T win the love of her prince (he marries someone else) OR get to keep her legs (they felt like walking on razor blades 24/7 FYI) but disappears instead into a cloud of sea foam, ceasing to exist.
Thanks, Ursula, you sea b*tch.
You can view a 1975 Japanese animation of the original story here. But, be warned - it's v.sad.
(But also kiiiiiiiiinda funny when her name translates simply to 'Princess Mermaid.')
This original ending does not a fairy tale make and just goes to show how sinister our favourite stories were before Walt got his magical, sugar-coated hands on them.
The final line from the 1975 re-telling goes thusly:
"Eventually, The Little Mermaid's soul was allowed to return from heaven to the sea, where it had dissolved to foam with the coming of dawn's first light. From that time on, through her story, the story of her love and her courage, she has guided the wayward hearts of men and so she shall, forever."
For this reason my version of 'The Little Mermaid' does not include a sassy sidekick, a singing crustacean, or even a well-coiffured Prince unable to reciprocate her love.
It focuses purely on the Mermaid herself, who, in my imagination, is something of a magpie of the sea; scouring shipwrecks in search of lost treasures and jewels. Of course in this instance they are sparkling gems of Chanel and Christian Dior, her tail wrapped in Tiffany & Co pearls.

Glittering prints are available in my store here: www.birdyandme.bigcartel.com

More mermaid-spiration below:

Jean Paul Gaultier S/S 2008 on display at the NGV, 2015

Jean Paul Gaultier S/S 2008 on display at the NGV, 2015

Lily Donaldson by Alexi Lubomirski, VOGUE Spain, 2012

Lily Donaldson by Alexi Lubomirski, VOGUE Spain, 2012

Kristen McMenamy by Tim Walker, W Magazine, 2013

Kristen McMenamy by Tim Walker, W Magazine, 2013

Lexi Boling by Laurie Bartley, Numéro China, 2014

Lexi Boling by Laurie Bartley, Numéro China, 2014

Kristen McMenamy by Tim Walker, W Magazine, 2013

Kristen McMenamy by Tim Walker, W Magazine, 2013

Daryl Hannah & Tom Hanks in Splash, 1984

Daryl Hannah & Tom Hanks in Splash, 1984

'Untitled' by Alix Malka. Jean Paul Gaultier S/S 2008.

'Untitled' by Alix Malka. Jean Paul Gaultier S/S 2008.

Alexander McQueen S/S 2012

Alexander McQueen S/S 2012

RAPUNZEL, RAPUNZEL

High on a ladder in a Grand Château, amongst a sparkling crystal chandelier and the cascading wisteria and ivy that weaves its way through the large wooden doors, stands Rapunzel.
Although traditionally famous for her golden locks, in my imagination she is a raven-haired beauty, resplendent in a cascading confection of ruffled pink Giambattista Valli tulle.

As a child I had a curious fascination with the story of Rapunzel. While, to a young girl, that mane of glorious hair is the epitome of fairy tale fantasy, the original story is quite sinister - especially the end that sees the Prince blinded by the jealous witch. There was definitely always something a little bit frightening about it, but it captured me none-the-less.
My interpretation focuses on the fashionably-glamorous side of the woman at the heart of the tale rather than the twisted roots of the original.

Fun fact - I started this illustration almost 6 months ago...which is CRAZY. I had almost started to lose track of how long it had been taking me to complete it.
I don't know if it was the minute details, or the constant stopping-and-starting between client projects. As most creatives would understand, you can sometimes lose the enthusiasm for something when it starts to becomes a bit stagnant. But, little by little, I pressed on and finally - I finished! My Mount Everest. I have to say that I'm so glad I kept going as I love how she turned out, and I feel a real sense of accomplishment with this piece. (Although I may not do anything quite so detailed for a while...)
She is the latest in my storybook series, and available in my store now HERE.
I hope you love her as much as I do!

View more Rapunzel-style inspiration below via some of my favourites:

Lily Cole by Tim Walker, VOGUE UK, 2005

Lily Cole by Tim Walker, VOGUE UK, 2005

Kate Moss by Alasdair McLellan, Another Magazine, 2016

Kate Moss by Alasdair McLellan, Another Magazine, 2016

Magdalena Jasek by Maurizio Bavutti, Harper's Bazaar China, 2015

Magdalena Jasek by Maurizio Bavutti, Harper's Bazaar China, 2015

CRUELLA DE VIL

My next storybook femme is a villainous vixen that we all love to hate, the dastardly devious, Cruella De Vil,
from Dodie Smith's '101 Dalmatians.'
While her taste in coats might be questionable, there's no denying that she is fashionably fierce.
As long as the fur remains faux, and no puppies are harmed in the making of her sartorial choices, she's okay by me.

'Cruella' is available as a limited edition print now, in my store here.

I've also been (slowly) working on my version of Rapunzel on and off over the last couple of months, all the while cursing my decision to draw the maiden with the ridiculously long hair in such detail. She has been beyond time-consuming, but hopefully she'll be worth the wait. Stay tuned...