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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

50 Facts About Me

So I thought I'd do something different this week. I share a lot of my work on here but I rarely show myself so after being dared by a pal I thought I'd share 50 facts about me... this will be hard!
So if you're new around here my name is Siobhan Beer and I'm a freelance illustrator/artist. I am 28 years old and live with my partner in Wiltshire in the UK.

  1. I have lived in the same town for my entire life just in two different houses.
  2. I'm a country girl at heart and love that I live somewhere so close to fields and trees. 
  3. I absolutely hate big towns and cities, I can't see the big deal with them and have no interest in staying in them for longer than a few hours.
  4. My nickname is Shiv, short for my full name Siobhan. I rarely get called my full name by anybody unless I'm being told off or being professional.
  5. I rarely go out without any nail varnish on, it's like a constant thing with me. If I'm not wearing any I'm usually very stressed or snowed under a lot of work.
  6. I used to want to work with animals but the world kept that door shut for me so I could find my way to illustration.
  7. I was completely obsessed with cats as a child, then horses in my early teens followed by rats in my late teens.
  8. I am a vegetarian and have been my entire life, I hated the taste of meat. I've also been very healthy my entire life so don't believe that vegetarianism is unhealthy for kids!
  9. I have severe anxiety which can get in the way of life at times.
  10. I'm constantly fighting my anxiety and depression which makes people think I'm either stuck up or overly happy and annoying.
  11. I'm good at cheering people up.
  12. I love animals, in this world they are the one thing that can just fill me with utter joy.
  13. I don't really like kids and am not interested in having any.
  14. I am however a romantic and do want to get married some day.
  15. I used to work in only graphite and acrylic paints when I was younger until I found coloured pencils and watercolour and I haven't looked back.
  16. I am an only child.
  17. One of my favourite plants are Bromeliads and I currently have two that seem very happy, well they're still alive after a few months so I'm guessing they're happy and I'm doing something right!
  18. I am a bit obsessed with prehistoric life, like dinosaurs and ice age creatures to put it simply. I wish I could incorporate them more in to my work.
  19. I wanted to be a writer when I was younger and spent a lot of my time writing stories that then transferred to comics for a short while.
  20. My favourite colours are blue, purple and teal... so basically a peacock!
  21. My favourite place to be is Cornwall, nothing beats rambling around the cliffs of Cornwall and a good cold drink in a village pub.
  22. I don't drink. I have had alcohol a couple of times, the first time I got migraines and the second time ended in me getting a little tipsy and thinking I was having a stroke... I decided then that alcohol wasn't for me!
  23. I'm a bit of a doofus and goof about a lot to make people smile.
  24. I don't get on with technology... all the parts I use for work are basically me winging it.
  25. I love to cook and experiment with food.
  26. Autumn is my favourite season and October is my best month.
  27. Fluffy socks and candles are the way to my heart.
  28. Long nature walks bring me back to earth when I feel like I've lost my grip.
  29. I get affected by the moon cycles, I get very twitchy and anxious around every full moon. 
  30. I also come from a family where the women are more in tune with the world around them, we call it our witchy side. I have the rough ability to know when bad things are about to happen.
  31. I love to make pom-poms.
  32. I'm good at painting, baking and making people smile.
  33. I'm bad at maths, social situations and being tidy.
  34. I am naturally dark blonde haired but can never decide whether I want to be blonde or brunette.
  35. I have never studied art and failed GCSE art because I wasn't fast enough.
  36. I was told I was wasting my life and was never going to achieve anything.
  37. I run Silly Badger Designs by myself and hand make every product, all the prints are printed at my home studio along with the greeting cards and bookmarks and every little thing is done here.
  38. I love birds. It's always been an obsession but then again my family have always kept birds. Cockatiels are the best pets and I love corvids and hornbills!
  39. I'm terrified of grasshoppers and crickets. I got bitten by one when I was little and ever since then I've been terrified of them.
  40. I nearly always walk in to door frames, it's like I have this magnetic pull towards them and tend to bounce off them well!
  41. I'm badly allergic to rats and can never own them again which is why I draw them so much. I miss them.
  42. I paint both realistically and characterized, I can't pick just one as I work with both equally.
  43. I love playing games but never give myself the time to sit down and relax. It's a bad habit.
  44. I've been with my boyfriend for almost 5 years and we're still as weird as we were when we first met.
  45. I would love to own a ragdoll cat and adopt a dog.
  46. I have trouble thinking about facts about myself!
  47. I'm a believer in hard work not talent. I believe talent helps but hard work is what wins in the end and I truly respect hard working people.
  48. Foxes are my lucky charm. Every time I see a fox something good always happens after.
  49. Badgers are my spirit animal.
  50. Silly Badger comes from my initials, SB. It came to life when I was on holiday watching wild badgers and I started doodling them. that was over ten years ago now and the little Silly Badger has stayed with me all this time.
Well! That was fun... and silly... and full of randomness which pretty much sums me up. I'm mainly all about smiles and animals. I'm a very simple person when it comes down to it!
So that's a bit more about the person behind the business! I hope I haven't ruined my image too much!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Process Of A Portrait!

So today has not started well and I'm not in the best bouncy mood so instead of doing an update I'm going to do something a little bit different! Pet portraits, especially the ratty kind are one of my most popular products so far and I love doing them so I thought I'd share a peek at the process that happens with every portrait I work on. Thank you to the rat mums who let me use their portrait as an example!

First off I give my customers a couple of roughs of their ratties to choose from or just a single rough sketch if we've discussed it more. These ratties were a pair of boys who'd sadly passed over the rainbow bridge so this was very special.
The rough sketch is very basic and just serves the purpose to give the customer an idea of poses and which rat goes where, here I have the top ear rat on the left and the dumbo on the right.
Sketches obviously evolve as you'll see further down but this is the first step, drawn in to my little green commissions book as a tiny little thumb nail.
I kinda like having them all together as I can look through and see the commissions I've worked on over the past few months.

Once the customer is happy with the sketch I then start work on the final sketch, working on it so that the pencil lines are fairly light. I use a 4H pencil for this to keep things fairly faded.
This was a gift so I tended to hide a lot pf progress shots just in case!

Once the sketch is done I'll then send it to the customer to make sure that they're happy with their portrait. I constantly check this to make sure I'm getting things right. All pets are so individual so I like to make sure I get the smaller details perfect.
I'll then work on the colours using winsor and newton watercolours and inks along with faber-castell pencils, these two were fairly white rats so there was a lot of pale shading to do to make them look 3D. 
The customer also wanted their names and a rainbow background (I hadn't drawn a rainbow since I was a kid so this made me super excited!) So I got the rainbow ark added and penciled in the names, again checking this was okay with the customer.

And finally I got the background painted and the names inked in before adding a small amount of shading under the rats themselves. This has probably been one of my favourite commissions lately as it's had so much meaning and has been so colourful. It really has felt like a bright remembrance of these two boys who meant so much to their owners.

If you're interested in a pet commission from me I work on any pet (I like a challenge!) and do both A5 and A4 sizes.
Prices start at £25.00 for A5 and £35.00 for A4.
You can find the listings for these over on my Etsy shop here 

If you're interested in a commission for Christmas please do make your order within the next couple of months to guarantee delivery in time, especially for anyone out of the UK.

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Insane Week

I've got to admit this week has got me both crying with laughter and with sheer horror.

I managed to get myself a sinus infection on Monday that has slowly gotten worse and worse each day, I'm not sick but I have so little energy, major headaches and a swollen face an neck which is leaving me super miserable.
This of course is also making simple every day tasks feel like climbing mountains. Cooking and house work is leaving me feeling like I've gone jogging and along with all the little business bits on the side I'm feeling so rubbish!

And of course, this week is full of work and I've felt really bad as some of my customers are suffering. Something I am extremely embarrassed by and trying desperately to rectify!

But all is not lost, I've finished a commission this week that is heading off to its new home today which I'm super happy about as it's been a very special one and such a joy to create. I've also got lots of new products that need to be listed later on today or tomorrow! They're a bunch of new art prints that I'm pretty excited about. And the big thing this week! I finally have a varnish being delivered today that I can use on the coasters I've been working on for a while now which means I should be able to list those up next week if all goes to plan! Phew!
I'm also working on a couple more commissions at the moment that are proving to be both challenging and fun, I suddenly have a real pressure upon myself to make something special for people which is good and bad, good because it's going to be amazing yet bad when I'm putting myself under so much pressure that nothing is good enough!

But I don't want to go too much in to that so here are some previews of the new products coming soon!

I'm very excited to get these two prints available, a lot of the new prints are old paintings that have been lost and forgotten so it's been nice to actually give them a new lease of life and let them out in to the world!

I've also found myself drawing something very different. As you know I'm well known for my rat illustrations but did you know I'm actually a gerbil mama!? And today whilst I was trying to come up with new ratty designs I found myself drawing something that wasn't very ratty at all...

The gerbils have arrived!
I'm quite happy with how their little design turned out so I'm hoping to keep this up and maybe do a few gerbil paintings when I can finally find the time! Maybe even start with drawing my own boys.

So that is my insane week so far... I've been desperate for the weekend since Monday night and even though it's in sight it's seriously not close enough... I just hope I get all this work done before the weekend so I can have a long lie in without feeling guilty!

Now back to commissions and waiting for deliveries!!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

That Moment When You Realise You're Doing Well

This is such a sappy post.

I am a sap.

But I'm not gushing about the love of my life (even though he is the BEST dude!) but instead it's about my business.

Silly Badger Designs is something I really didn't know if I could pull off but in typical me fashion I ran in, jumping in the deep end and loving the challenge... there wasn't a point at the beginning where I thought I couldn't do this.

Sure I've had moments where I've wondered why I'm doing this, what's the point, people don't really care about what comes out of my mind and then I'll see the orders I receive or I'll get a review that just gets me so choked up.

I love what I do. I love that I have this opportunity to splash some colour in to the world and to bring ratty joy to lots of people.

I can honestly say when I first started Silly Badger Designs there was no part of me that could have imagined what I've become. I didn't have a plan, I was winging it every second.
And that worked for me, it allowed me to see my strengths, to learn new skills, to hone old skills to grow.
I would never have imagined myself making rat products like I do, I never would've dreamed that I would be drawing peoples pet rats, giving them a memento of a dearly loved and lost pet, something that someone would treasure.

I never thought that possible.

And as I write this my printer is setting up ready to print out some new products, something that I'm making from scratch and I'm checking my Etsy stats and just seeing the massive jump I've made in stats and sales in just a year...
Unfortunately this year has been a financial struggle for us at times and making enough money has been a constant stress for me as a self employed person, I'm not complaining, this is life and we've been living together for just over a year, money being tight is just something that happens but it has taken my attention away from the improvements in my business.

Lately I've been looking at everything I do from the shop to the site, the images, the artwork, the packaging and I'm seeing such a huge improvement, I'm seeing myself learn and it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy now that I can take a step back and see the whole picture.

And you know what? It makes me want to jump with sheer joy!

I have the most amazing customers and commissioners who get me doing some incredible work, working with people who have lost pets or who just adore their pet and want to show it to the world.

I've been doing lots of gift commissions lately that I can't show for obvious reasons and there is a super new product coming very soon! A product I'm very excited about and can't wait to share.

So after my little sappy post I will leave it here and get back to work!

Thanks for reading and following my little adventure in to the illustration/creative world!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Rat Week at the Badger Den!

So this week I had a few commissions to work on and not much else thanks to me getting all of the Christmas designs sorted last week.

I will admit I felt a bit lost and commissions can be a slow task with the communications that need to happen etc and people get busy so a lot of commission time is spent with the painting in the works waiting to get the customers approval so I was lost on what to do.

I feel like this is the first time in months where I'm actually ahead of everything and ridiculously organised for the near future so this really has been an odd week. Super relaxing and probably what I needed after being so insanely busy but odd.

So as my current commissions are ratty based (I'm having so much fun!) I thought I'd stick with that theme and have a ratty week!
So this week I had a new ratty painting each day so I'm now holding five new designs!

If all goes to plan I will have these illustrations available as A5 and A6 art prints tonight and three originals for sale!

So check out Silly Badger Designs Etsy Shop from Friday evening GMT to find out more!

I haven't had a chance to draw any fun rats for a while now as it's all been very Christmas based so I've loved having this week to take the time and create some adorable paintings! It's been nice and refreshing and broken my art block a bit.

Sometimes you just need to go back to where you started and remind yourself why you're doing this.

Which takes me back to my commissions that I'm also loving at the moment, I'm working with some awesome animal lovers which makes everything that little bit more awesome. I can honestly say right now when it comes to my job I am extremely happy and so grateful for all the opportunities I'm getting along with the love that I'm getting for my work and the new designs recently.

So a HUGE thank you to everyone who's liked stuff, left wonderful feedback, made orders and left sweet reviews that make me all warm and fuzzy inside! You're what make my job worthwhile!

Now I need to head off and get some product photos taken so I'm ready for the uploads later on!
See, I'm in such a good mood I'm not even moaning about the product photos! ;)

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Hello September!

How is it September already!?

I'm now starting to feel as though 2017 is being pulled away from me and leaving me behind! Although I will admit I have been able to keep up with so much lately that I've been run off my feet to the point that I will admit to not even knowing what day it is!

But September is here and the Autumn feelings are starting to kick in... so what does that mean?

It means the Christmas Update has happened at Silly Badger Designs

Of course I know this is way too early for most people but I also know there are a few early birds out there that like to get a head start. It also works well for me with listing times etcas I'd prefer not to have Christmas stuff heading over in to 2018!

Oh gosh, did I really mention 2018!?

But anyway! There are lots of new shiny goodies over in the shop now for you to browse through, many are ratty related and some are just damn cute!

You may recognise a couple of designs including this one! Of course this is one of my favourites and now comes with it's own 3D red ribbon on the top. 

This is the first time I've had Christmas designs available through Etsy as last year I just ran out of time so I'm quite excited and proud that I managed to get this all done!

Running Silly Badger Designs has been such a full on adventure and one big learning platform, I've learned so much about business and art but at the same time I'm learning so much about myself.
A year ago I wouldn't have believed I could've been this organised!
A year ago I would've expected Christmas stuff to start popping up around late November or not at all!

So this has been a massive boost on all sides and I'm very excited to release it today!

So go enjoy some early festivities or grumble at me which is more likely!

As I've been ending every instagram post that includes anything with Christmas in it... I'm so sorry! :P

I'm now hoping to spend the first weekend of September resting and chilling out after not having a weekend off in over a month!

And then on with commissions! (pet portraits are still open!) 

Have a great weekend and happy September!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pet Portraits and Etsy Update announcement

It's approaching that time of year, Autumn and September are just around the corner and that's when things start getting busy for me!
I want to post this here for anyone who's interested in a pet portrait in the near future after my experiences last year.
I'm still offering pet portraits, they're still at £25 for A5 and £35 for A4, for more information please go here
I've found it's better to get your order in earlier rather than later for any orders even Christmas orders that seem far away right now and especially if you're not in the UK.
I don't want anyone not receiving orders in time for certain dates.

But that's not me saying get your orders in now, just bear in mind that it's better to get custom orders to me by the end of October/mid November to guarantee it will be delivered.

And on that slightly festive note... oh gosh the joys of running a small art business!

My Christmas products are going to be going live on September 1st! Yes, a  week tomorrow! This is mainly for anyone who wants to be super organised and so that Christmas products don't go in to 2018, I'd rather not have cards and decorations hanging around in February!

And yes, this year unlike last year where I was running extremely late and didn't really know what I was doing I have lots of products planned!
I have a variety of cards, some gift tags (one set is featured above!) and some tree decorations going live next Friday and there's a part of me that is super duper excited by this even though it's still very warm and sunny outside and I'm still wishing I could go sit on a beach for an afternoon in the sun and relax.

I'm now in full glitter and winter mode! That's what happens when you spend two days solid working on Christmas products!

So next week will be full of printing and packing products and taking those annoying product pictures before the update goes live!
I feel like I'm going to be working over this bank holiday weekend!

Hope everyone is having a glorious summer!

Remember custom orders are always welcome! 
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