Fact and Fiction

An Illustration student exploring a group of workers around Edinburgh

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Fiction Fiction Fiction

Here comes the exciting part! I love storytelling but I particularly love children’s books. As a little girl I would always be read them before bed. From my own childhood, children’s books that have a warm, comforting message are the ones I love to read. So I knew I wanted to take this opportunity to try writing and illustrating my own picturebook.

I took inspiration from Whitmuir to create a children’s book inspired by some of the animals I met there. I have been through many different stories ideas but have settled on one thing… the chickens name will be Mavis!

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Final Fact Booklet

My finished zine follows very closely to my original plan.

I originally planned the style for my final illustration would include my original sketches from my visit to Whitmuir Farm. So I collaged my existing illustrations with new drawings and textures. I even tried collaging in some photographic objects.

I found this process really fun as it was very tactile and there was an element of surprise in how the illustrations turned. However when compiled the together to create the long, panoramic concertina, they were less effective as they didn’t flow very well.final fact booklet- front


So instead I went back to good old drawing and redrew the concertina as one drawing. This gave me the flowing story that I couldn’t recreate on photoshop… my digital skills are slowly growing!COMPLETED FRONT FACT

For the back of the book I painted a pattern of the farm fields typical of the borders countryside. I also included facts about Whitmuir so that in theory the booklet would be sold/ provided as a little artistic factual booklet.COMPLETED BACK FACT

I added colour and texture to the final illustrations to create an interesting little book.

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My Whitmuir Booklet

For my factual response to Whitmuir the Organic Place I wanted to create a concertina booklet that illustrated some of Whitmuirs most successful attributes. I wanted to use the actual drawings I made on site at the farm to keep the energy and feeling of the reportage illustration.

Here is a mock up of the layout:

booklet try

I want the concertina booklet to create a layered landscape when folded up.

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Whitmuir in Photos


I headed to Whitmuir Organic Farm for a solid weekend of drawing. It was so inspirational and the country bumpkin inside me felt very at home there. The people were very friendly and the animals were such characters. i gathered as much information as i could, sketching, taking photos and talking to the workers.


I got up close and personal to the chickens and piggies… so much so one of the piglets decided to nibble on my jeans!

P1180379  P1180391 P1180386 P1180381P1180371P1180408 P1180377

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A Farm Decision

After discussion with my peers and tutor I came to the decision to focus on one stall in Edinburgh and trace it back to its source. This way I could really concentrate on one business and indulge in in- depth visual research and build more of a relationship with the place and the workers.

whitmuir signI did some research into the farmers market and found an organic farm 20 miles from Edinburgh, Whitmuir the Organic Place. I was instantly interested in the ethics and strategy of the business so was certain this was the group of workers I wanted to research.
Whitmuir is a family run Organic Farm that produces fresh fruit and veg, free range chickens and eggs and the highest quality organic Scottish meat. They also have a shop, café and gallery on the farm making it a fantastic place to visit and see how an organic farm works.

I have decided to visit there this weekend coming and have a weekend of solid observational drawing whilst chatting to the workers and getting a feel for the farm.

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An Uncertain Start

With street sellers as my group of workers I set off to the Royal Mile for some location drawing. The weather was fortunately with me and I had a beautiful afternoon to sketch in. I wondered to the Royal Mile with my ink and a scarily new sketchbook handy. Spotting the first stalls I settled down on St Giles step and began sketching.stalls1

I drew the stalls and tried to include the people perusing and their surroundings. I chose to work in ink and my dip pen to achieve varying thickness of lines and to quickly capture the atmosphere of the Mile. It is funny how many people’s attention one attracts when drawing in the street; tourists stopping to look, others seeming awkwardly unimpressed and the promised few who keep peering back and forth from your drawing to the scene you are sketching. An artist from across the street wondered over and had a chat with me. He was very friendly and encouraging although I could not understand what he was saying half of the time.

treestallI then moved further down, conveniently right beside a Starbucks. I spent another hour or so drawing the stalls and people watching. I always notice how wrapped up the stall owners are, never underestimating the cold! The stalls were not that busy considering the constant flow of people passing by. Everyone seemed to be going somewhere and didn’t have time to browse the stalls.

stallsellerAfter the session of drawing the stalls on the Royal Mile I felt a bit unfocused and lost in terms of my choice of subject, as it is so broad. Perhaps I will focus on one stall or one type of stall, eg. a Jewellery stall. Whatever I chose I want it to be something I am really interested in and excited to research. But not to panic… nothing a good old tutorial can’t sort!