Happy New Year!

As always at this time of year, I set about doing new work - to use the "quiet" time of January and February to explore new ways of doing things, new ideas. 

I've been interested for a while in Leporello sketchbooks - often called concertina sketchbooks. I made a few of these for friends and family as Christmas gifts. Why do they excite me so much? Well, I love the idea of just carrying on a panorama - on and on, as if you're going on a walk, but I also love picture books. A concertina book offers the opportunity to create a continuous picturebook. Rather than telling a story, it takes you for a walk, a chance to imagine,ruminate and observe.

This is one of the books I made recently:forest concertina sketchbook

It is an imaginative composition of my daily forest walk.

I began to imagine doing something like this for my familiar townscapes - like Ballydehob, for example. Rather than placing head-on facades beside each other, I'd like to explore walking through the town, with the perspective constantly shifting as we move. Even as I'm writing this, I'm getting more ideas - so this  recent drawing already seems too strict and tight to me:

concertina sketchbook ballydehob

You can imagine how this would take you through the whole town, shifting perspectives all along - and then folds up into a beautiful little book...

I suspect the key to the idea may lie in actually getting out and doing my drawings on the street - but I'm finding it quite cold and hardy (and mainly wet) at the moment, so I'm working off photographs. But the information they reveal is quite limited. I shall keep working!

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Tiny Crawford Art Gallery

I began making drawings of Crawford Art Gallery last year, and only during spring 2019 did I put my head around making this model.I learned that it was originally built in 1724. Back then, Emmet PLace was a waterway known as King's Dock. The building was a custom house. In 1880, it was extended by Arthur Hill for William Horatio Crawford.The modern extension was designed by Erick Van Egeraat in 2002. I love the little tower in the middle, and the garden all around.

Crawford front gatefence detailconed roofcrawford facade



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Trying to go plastic free!

It just shows that bad decisions at the beginning sometimes take a long time to iron out. Initially all my A4 packs where in plastic sleeves. This made them shiny and showed off their bright colours. But I soon lost sleep over the though that I'm sending out thousands of plastic bags every year. I came up with a recycled, die-cut folder, printed at Cityprint in Cork. The kits are now 220gsm cards inserted into these folders, with a picture of the relevant models peeking out of the front frame. I hope you like them!

Recycled card packaging

The A5 kit greeting cards, are in PLA biodegradeable cellobags.

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A new "Tiny Schull" with quirky illustrations

My last post was in January (yikes, where has the time gone!), about my desire to learn to draw. I tried to do drawings of my surroundings, or my imagination every day. Of course, as soon as things got busy for the summer, I found it very difficult to continue this practice. But I did come out with a series of nice drawings of Schull, my next town here in West Cork. I worked these illustrations into my new model kit: Tiny Schull

The old graveyard, Schull

Schull Regatta

Fastnet Rock

Long Island Beacon

Jewellers at work in Enibas

As always, I worked these illustrations onto my models. This, I feel, gives my models an added gifty feel. They are like three dimensional postcards, and they put the chosen buildings into the context of the surrounding landscape and history. Please take some time to look at the finished sheets below to see how my illustrations work on the buildings:

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Learning to draw

Follow me on my drawing adventure for 2019. I want to improve my drawing skills - find new day at a time.
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Tiny Hotel Meyrick - The Christmas Edition!

This commission was especially challenging and a lot of fun - as I find the Christmas theme quite a tricky one. Normally I rely on the ambient light around the model to illuminate it - but creating a model which had Christmas lights all over it and lights on inside the building as well was challenging.

The front entrance of the hotel shows a festive wedding party:

I liked the idea of the front of the hotel being brightly decorated, while the sides and rear are in night-time darkness, full of the mysterious atmosphere of Christmas. Using the railway station theme (which was always so closely linked with the history of the hotel - it used to be "The Railway Hotel"), I drew in the Polar Express:

Beside it, just behind a huge Christmas tree, is a festive afternoon tea party - another seasonal treat which takes place at the hotel.

The right and left wing show the festivities on Eyre Square, and the hotel's famous gingerbread house...


And this is what the model looks like :

To get your own Tiny Hotel Meyrick kit Christmas Edition, visit the hotel asap!

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The Imperial Hotel

Every town in Ireland has its own special atmosphere - Cork is so different to Dublin, and in turn different to Galway, Limerick, Sligo etc. The Imperial Hotel is as essential to the feel of Cork as is the Shandon Tower, UCC, The English Market, McCurtain Street....

Imperial Hotel Model Kit

Again, I tried to illustrate some of the history associated with the hotel while making the model. The front facade is very much the present day with, however, some old fashioned visitors - a hint towards its history. As you turn the model, you'll find Sir Thomas Deane (who originally designed the building in 1813) looking out of one of the top floor windows - down upon a horse-drawn coach.For the rear of the building I drew a scene of Franz Liszt giving his famous piano recital at the hotel in 1843.

liszt piano recitalrear of Imperial Hotel Model Kit

Charles Dickens, also a famous visitor, is busy writing down thoughts, while Michael Collins stands by his iconic armoured car: the "Sliabh na mBan". On the western gable I placed an old map of Cork.

Michael Collins with Sliabh na mBan

It is a relatively easy model to make: simply join the central block and attach the wings to it. The roof then fits onto it after the decorative facia is turned up to meet the facade.

The "Tiny Imperial Hotel" model kit is available at the hotel itself - so please visit soon!

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The Spike Island Challenge!

It's been such a busy few months that I have only now come around to appreciate all the projects I've done this year already... March the 10th 2018 seems like a long time ago. On that bleak Saturday afternoon, Fionn and I, took the ferry from Cobh to Spike Island. As we approached the island, the melancholy, eerie mood, which was to stay with us during the whole visit, overcame us.

Spike Island in March

How was I ever going to create a TinyIreland model of this? The star shaped fort was hardly visible from the waterside - it is set into the island surrounded by a deep trench - and yet, it is its most remarkable feature. My initial idea was to somehow project the ruins and landscape around the fort onto its walls. So, I began by making drawings...drawings of Spike Island

The views from the island of the harbour all around where breathtaking - beautiful and interesting. I fostered ideas of working this into the model as well...

It took us about 40 minutes to walk around the whole outside of the fort. We then entered through the impressive entry archway. This also needed to be featured on the model, I decided. But how could I accommodate the huge fort as well as its impressive interior buildings and architecture? If I made the whole thing to scale, the fort would be huge and the buildings absolutely tiny... and all this was to fit on an A5 card!!!!

 I love the patterns the buildings form - like playing cards folded out to line the interior shape of the fort...

After trying out various ideas, I also realized that the inward slant of the fort walls were important - they could not be vertical - it just didn't look right. This made the layout of the artwork much more complicated. It had to be arranged in a curved pattern:

This formed the exterior of the fort on the base shown. But I also needed the interior. I decided to place that on the reverse side of the card, which posed the challenge of alignment during printing.

And this is what it looks like when assembled!

Spike Island Paper Model



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Build your own Tiny Bandon

Have a little peek into this collection of paper model kits inspired by Shops, pubs and buildings of Bandon...
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More West Cork landscapes featured in Tiny Rosscarbery

My sketches of impressions gathered of Rosscarbery and its surrounding landscape make great backdrops to the beautiful facades of the town. 
Collage of the Old Barracks, Rosscarbery
After scanning in my images, I use Photoshop to merge the drawings together. I then bring them into Illustrator, where I use my technical model drawings to trim the artwork into a kit:
Now it's time to make the 3D Model: score all edges to be folded with something pointy , then cut out carefully, fold and glue! Ta Da!!!
This is just one of five beautiful models you'll find in Tiny Rosscarbery
The preliminary collage of Pilgrim's Rest: a view of the Drombeg stone circle and two deer in the foreground...
O'Callaghan Walshe's with a backdrop of Warren strand and the seals basking on the rocks.. fishermen bringing in the pots...
And here is the full pack: 5 models to make, enjoy, display - easy to fit into an A4 envelope and send all over the world. Not everyone will make it to Rosscarbery this year!
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