Come say hello at the Surbiton festival

teefsA little sneaky look at more papery teefs!

I’ve been beavering away on some new things for the Surbiton festival and they are nearly ready! The teeny pointy teeth? Those were not unfiddly you guys.

I’ll be exhibiting some prints and new papercuts on Maple Road in Surbiton on Saturday (26th Sept) from about 10am- come say hello and see the finished beasties!

Charity auction

350-crocHey! I’m auctioning a print of my worried little astro crocodile (and a pencil sketch as an extra goodie) for Save the Children UK. Hooray!

All proceeds go to charity, so why not have a little bid? You get a fun, signed, limited edition print for your wall and dosh goes to a great cause. Win-win.

I’m doing this as part of the Twitter Colour Collective, a very talented bunch of creative types who get together on Twitter to share their work, based on a different colour each week.

Have a look at some of the lovely stuff they are auctioning too. Ooooo arty goodness.

It’s been really great seeing so many illustrators get involved. Gives me faith in people. All the warm fuzzies. Feels really good! *sniff* What? Oh nothing. Just got something in my eye…

Only 4 days left, so don’t hang about!


Working on something

Papercut by Lara CrowJust a quick post today as I’ve been pretty busy getting ready for the Surbiton Festival again! Last year was a blast so I’m exhibiting some of my work again this year. Fingers crossed for sunshine.

If you’re around on 26th September I’ll be on Maple Road with some other arty types, showing our work. Come say hello!

Here’s a little sneak peek at something I’m working on.
I had a great time at the Natural History Museum visiting Dippy… researching for this project. I bloomin love that museum.

Ooo, teefs! Stay tuned for more details soon.

Beastly plates

Bear platePlates! I meant to write a little blog about them a while ago but only just got round to it. Ah plates, so much fun to draw on! It’s really satisfying starting with a shiny white circle and working into it. Also, of course each one comes out a little different.

I’ve been experimenting with different pens and different colours, but I think the stark black on the white plates look the best! The coloured pens I’ve tried just don’t have the same oomph.

The plates can be cleaned gently, but aren’t really dishwasher proof. I did try out some pens that claimed to be, but they didn’t give such good lines and when I tested them, they weren’t any more dishwasher proof! Tsk, rotten pen liars.

I take commissions for special beastie plates. Dogs looks especially rad, so email me if you’re interested!


Here’s a little chap I’ve been working on this week. Probably should have been drawing something sensible but instead drew this awkward astronaut, who is also a crocodile. He’s all uh… excuse me? Guys? I have a problem with the controls. Yeah, no opposable thumbs…

Astronaut crocodile illustration by Lara Crow

I was having a bit of an off week and this little guy really cheered me up. Thanks dude! I don’t often use a lot of orange, so this was a good push for me. It just has such a strong space flightsuit association (not least because of this for me!). I kind of want those boots… I may make a print of him sometime, or perhaps draw him some astronaut buddies.

And because I find it interesting, here’s a gif showing the initial sketch (green biro again!) and the layers that make up the final illustration. It’s pretty close to the original sketch, I usually change it quite a bit more than this. Not so many layers this time either. For once I managed to restrain myself!

Lara Crow illustration

Feeding the beast

Thought I’d write another little post with a bit more information about how I like to work. I always find it interesting reading about how other people approach their work and the thinking behind it!

Hound illustration by Lara Crow

This beast image was an editorial illustration. I often work on these and when I do, the article’s Editor will always give me some suggestions on what they had in mind and what the gist of the article is. We usually then have a brief chat about different ideas and directions. I suggest options and they let me know which one sounds best to them!

I also always ask the Editor for the tone of the piece- I’d hate to approach the subject in a cheery or jokey manner if that would seem too flippant for the article, likewise I don’t always want to draw something too serious or macabre if that wouldn’t suit the tone either. It can be a tricky balance sometimes.

With this particular article, the Editor told me that the subject we were talking about was the absolute worst. All thoughts of a funny fat beast being fed cake were quickly abandoned in favour of a more frightening, hopefully more thoughtful interpretation of the brief. I wanted to get across a primal, instinctive sort of gnawing drive. The gaping maw of a beast seemed to tie into both that hunger and also a nightmarish side that I thought would be interesting.

houndsI started out with some research, looking up photos of wolves and bears snarling and yawning. Mainly to try to get an idea of how their jaws fit together, where the teeth and gums show and where they are hidden by lips or fur.

Although I liked the bulkiness of bears, I decided wolves were closer to what I wanted- being a sharper shape and having a stronger association (at least in my mind!) with folklore and ideas of hunger and nightmares.

Then I started scribbling. Here are a few of the sketches. In good old green biro again! I was starting to stylise the hounds at this point, so there are some longer faces and exaggerated gapes.

hound-sketchObviously this is no great revelation or anything, but I find sketching things the best way to understand, just looking at something don’t seem to cut it as well for me. I think perhaps my brain does some sneaky colouring in around the edges when I’m just looking and sort of glosses over anything confusing!

I liked the sketch on the left a lot, but it didn’t seem hungry enough and looked a little too worried. More like a gasp than a gape! It seemed better for the beast to be looking up, so it was all teeth and mouth.

Using my sketch as a guide, I roughed in the dark lines in Photoshop. I often do quite restrained and smooth linework but this time I was trying to keep it all a lot looser and scruffier (turns out that’s a lot easier when you’re drawing a hairy beast!).


I played around with various backgrounds, but in the end decided keeping it quite simple and having the beast appear from the gloom suited the feel I was going for. But it still needed a little something to lift it.

The spark of light from the eye seemed to be what I was after- though I’m still not entirely sure why I decided to do it! Sometimes just playing around with stuff gives you a new idea.

scary-model Working on this beast was really satisfying and I hope to do some more soon. Who knows, maybe there’s a series or a story in there somewhere…

Luckily I have this excellent (and most terrifying) beastie to draw when I feel inspired. Here she is pulling her best Hound of the Baskervilles face.

The Golden Mario

Steve turned 33 recently and to celebrate this, we had a MarioKart party! Because we are grown ups now… Yeah.

mario-1Getting into the true spirit of the thing, I decided to make a Golden Mario trophy for the winner of the championship. Inspired by this party idea post on Offbeat Home.

Here’s everyone’s favourite plumber being sprayed a lovely gold. I bought the vinyl figure online and planned to just spray him, but the spray didn’t take very happily to the vinyl. I ended up priming him with a couple of layers of watered down PVA glue, which worked brilliantly.

What was less brilliant was that Steve later stepped in the bowl of glue I’d left on the floor…
a nice little reminder to tidy up during your craft projects people!

mushroomsDespite hating actual mushrooms (come off it, they have gills and grow on dead stuff for goodness sake, don’t get me started I could rant about their creepiness all day) I also made some mushrooms.

Look at these little guys in a row! Now that’s the kind of mushroom I can get behind.

I already had lots of paper lanterns, so that was handy. Adding the paper faces and dots didn’t take long. Shame I didn’t have any green ones. Those are obviously the best.

The estate agent who happened to be looking round our flat at the time definitely didn’t think it was weird decor… not at all.


Maggie did not enjoy the party, (despite getting a lot of fuss from everyone) because celebrations got noisy when the trophy was handed over.

She doesn’t enjoy party poppers or people jumping about, but she did rather like the Mario. And the crisps that fell on the floor, which she selflessly helped to clear up.

I’m afraid despite this sad face she pulled, she had to let the Mario go. So long Golden Mario, see you at the next MarioKart Championship!


Papercut commission

the-clawIn December I was commissioned to make a layery green papercut as a present for someone. Weeee papercut! This was good fun to work on, though a little challenging as due to an irritatingly extreme cough, I was ill during the week I had planned to work on it. Wielding a scalpel while coughing violently is not such a good idea I find.

I had to do it all in a bit of a mammoth paper cutting session over one weekend to make sure it was ready in time and boy did that mess up my hand! I virtually had a claw by the end of it. Claw Hand.

Here’s a little cartoon to show you the claw hand. (No, it didn’t really turn green thankfully! But the fingers did start to point in alarming directions for a bit… Yikes.)

I made a gif of the different layers for fun (what? Yes I am very cool and fun). Shame I forgot to take a photo before I glued the door and roof bits in. Nevermind, you get the idea.

The last image is the finished papercut in the cool glassy frame my client found. I thought it worked really well for this kind of design. Hopefully it is looking good and behaving itself in its new home!

I’m glad to say my claw hand has now fully recovered, so if you’re interested in commissioning one of these papery bad boys for yourself or a loved one, give me a shout!

Christmas fair

lamb2Thought I’d write a belated update on what I’ve been up to besides eating too many mince pies and watching Die Hard.

In December I took part in the Made In Surbiton Christmas fair in The Lamb pub which is a bloomin lovely, cosy place. It was extra Christmassy at the time, what with fairy lights, a (fab) band getting people to sing along to songs and the smell of mulled (wine? Mulled something anyway) drifting about. Ooo it warmed my cockles!

I was a little nervous setting up, what with everyone else seeming to know each other and all the locals chilling out in the pub greeting each other like long lost friends- it all made me feel a bit like some damn outsider taking up a whole table of precious cosy room in the small pub! But actually everyone was super-welcoming and lovely!

It was great chatting and seeing some of the neat crafty stuff people are making. Thanks to everyone who came along and said hello- apologies if I sounded a bit gravelly towards the end of the evening, I was starting to lose my voice!

lamb1I always enjoy talking to people at fairs but also find it incredibly tiring! It’s partly that I’m one of those irritating introverted types, and spend a lot of time on the tube so tend to instinctively freeze in horror if someone starts talking to me! But I suppose I’m also just a bit out of practice at talking about my work.

I don’t want to come out with naff cliché answers to questions but I’m also aware that people might not want to stand around listening to a slightly confused ramble about the different things that influence me or how I work! They’re fun questions to answer though. I guess that’s a subject for another blog post.

One more thing to add: I loved that big solid hunk of a wooden table I had at the fair. I loved it so much- look at that grain, I mean, come off it. *Furniture swoon*