They Draw & Cook - Illustrated Food - Eat The Rainbow - Part 1

The fabulous folks over at ‘They Draw & Cook’ have just created a new design challenge called Hand Picked. They’ve teamed up with six professionals from a variety of creative backgrounds to be guest curators on their website with a theme of their choice.

The first theme is ‘Eat The Rainbow’ chosen by curator Sandra Salamony. Sandra is the Creative Director for Spirituality & Health Magazine.

The idea is to create a recipe around the theme then after the deadline, just 4 recipes will be selected and showcased from March 11th - 25th.

Since I’m really trying to develop and expand my portfolio, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get involved in and as it turns out, I rather enjoy illustrating fruit and vegetables!

Eat The Rainbow Illustrated Food Watercolour Painting by Susie Batsford

Fleur De Lys - Rococo Inspired Design

I realised that although I’ve shared the visualisation boards I created for my last BA submission, I haven’t actually shared many of the designs here. This one was inspired by a popular highly ornamental trend of the 18th and 19th centuries; Rococo. I adore all those swirls and elaborate embellishments and I imagine I’ll be creating more inspired by the same theme. You can view this one in the ‘Pattern’ gallery on my homepage.

I experimented with this design using various processes in the textile print room at college. I’ll share more of those in a future post.

Fleur De Lys Handpainted Watercolour Rococo Baroque inspired Design by Susie Batsford


Amazing, I actually uploaded my completed assignment with a whole week to spare before the deadline. I’m not sure whether that’s because I’m so much more confident using photoshop than I was even a year ago or whether I’m just more organised than normal. I’ve certainly learnt a tremendous amount over the last year.

So here’s the final mock up of my journals using hand-drawn templates. The gallery isn’t live yet, but I’ll post a link to it here just as soon as it is.

I’m looking forward to the next assignment although it does coincide with a huge house relocation as we’re moving, both home and business. Actually, we’re not moving far away but we have been living in the same place for 13 years and so we’ve accumulated a LOT of stuff. I think a few visits to charity shops will definitely be in order.

As I complete this assignment, my thoughts are also turning to how to get my art out there and maybe try to get some work from it. It’s quite a big scary business and I’m sure I’m not alone in battling with feelings of self doubt. Still, that’s a little way off, first I need to move house!

In the meantime, I’ve started another illustration project, more on that to follow!

Make Art That Sells Bootcamp with Lilla Rogers Magnolia Journal Watercolour Painting by Susie Batsford


Monday saw the arrival of our main assignment for Bootcamp in our inboxes and the brief is to design journals. This gave me the perfect opportunity to concentrate on completing another piece for my website homepage: flowers in vases for the journal cover. I wanted to design a vase for my flowers with a Springtime theme to complement the magnolias.

We’re lucky enough where I live in Devon to occasionally spot little yellowhammer birds darting around. They seem to be shy little birds and so often it’s just a glimpse of their yellow underbelly, but they’re quite unmistakable. I find them absolutely captivating and get really excited every time I glimpse one! Sadly though, they’re on the endangered ‘red’ list here in the UK as their numbers have been declining rapidly in recent years. So, I decided a yellowhammer it was to grace my vase which obviously had to have a vintage feel to it!

It’s actually got me thinking that I might quite like to get into the ceramics room and hand-paint some porcelain, because I’d rather like this vase to grace my own home! The Blue is a deep ultramarine, another colour I have tended to use little of in the past and have fallen quite in love with!

I also had a play in photoshop with my original magnolia design and spurred on by a dear friend, created a repeat pattern.

Next, I will be concentrating on putting this image onto a journal cover and creating some hand-lettering for it, so off to work I go… but I’m nearly there, you never know I might actually have this one ready to submit early, which will be an absolute FIRST for Mats Bootcamp!

Magnolias & Yellowhammer watercolour painting in Handpainted Vase by Susie Batsford
Magnolias Hand painted Watercolour Painting Repeat Pattern by Susie Batsford

Mats Bootcamp February Mini - Magnolia's

I have always adored Chinoiserie, so much so that I would love to create my own. Imagine how utterly elated I was then, when I discovered that for this months mini exercise in Bootcamp my mission was to paint magnolia’s.

I decided for that reason that I’d like to keep my flowers for this assignment relatively representational and I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into my watercolour paints, after several months of learning new processes in the textile print room at college. I also decided to try two new colours that have been sitting in my palette all this time and yet I never use them!

Admittedly, I probably don’t have time to develop this into a Chinese style wallpaper design just yet, but most certainly have visions of coming back to it in future months.

Magnolias Watercolour Painting by Susie Batsford

My Mats Prep for Bootcamp 2019

Hooray! It’s here again, the inevitable anticipation is over and our first ‘mini’ assignment has been released. Bootcamp with Lilla Rogers has to be one of the creative highlights of my year!

We get a week to work on a little warm up exercise before we’re given the main assignment. We then have 2 weeks until sharing our work in an online public gallery. Then a weeks rest before the cycle starts all over again and so it continues for four marvellous months of incredible inspiration with a group of kind, talented and wonderful artists, many of whom like me, come back year after year. There’s always a fabulous mixture of old and new faces alike and a buzz of excitement which is quite contagious.

Before the class begins, Lilla always posts a little preparation exercise or two. This time we had to collect a variety of objects from around our homes to create a colour palette from. That’s a photo of mine below. I’ll be sharing updates of my work from the assignments over the next few months so feel free to follow along.

My Mats Prep Bootcamp 2019 Colour Palette by Susie Batsford