Tag Archives: New Year

Happy New Year- Vive la Vole!

Happy New Year to each and all! If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you gave and received some lovely things!

I know this isn’t the post I had planned to release next, (a silent book project update is almost ready!) but during the past few days a fire that has long been dwindling in me has roared up in the grate- I feel more well, and feel as though I have more energy than I have in months- so I had to make the most of it! (And this is one of those short, sweet posts that’s just bursting to get out!)

One small part of why I’ve been feeling so fantastic is because I have a new hero- a wildlife artist called John Busby. I received a book of his called “Lines from Nature” as a present – please, please seek it out if you have any even slight interest in animals, nature or drawing!

Not only are the artworks in this book technically brilliant and full to the brim of character, they are also observed completely from life- this dedicated man braved all weathers and environments to make drawings again and again, in order to truly understand his subjects.

Shortly after getting sucked completely into this gift, I was lucky enough to meet a vole close up – my partner’s Dad sometimes finds the little tykes in the kitchen, and he’ll keep them for an extra day or two if he knows we’re visiting so I can draw them. (And a five star treatment they get too, sometimes with added Radio 4 if he’s working nearby!)

Glimpses of a Vole 29-12-18 (Web) © 2018:19 Carina Roberts Illustration


The vole was very timid the first time I went in- I gently put a small handful of peanuts into the vivarium and sat waiting, as still as I could be. He darted to and fro collecting, giving me a suspicious eye as he ran between the food and his nest made from moss and woodland detritus. I had to be very quick to get him down on paper, but not move so violently as to startle him. When there were no more peanuts, he dived back inside and that was that.

Glimpses of a Vole 1-1-19 (Web) © 2019 Carina Roberts Illustration

The second time, three days later, I tried sprinkling some sunflower hearts out for him instead of peanuts- a bit of variety, and a little experiment to see if he behaved any differently. Now, maybe I caught him at a different “cycle” in his day, or maybe he felt like he knew me a little better (I’d like to think that the latter is true, but it’s very unlikely!) – whatever it was, this snack really brought him out of his shell. Instead of hoarding them away like the peanuts, he came out to nibble them in full view! (In fact, at points, it was almost as though he was posing!)

And what a little character he was, gazing over one shoulder at me! You know when a dog scratches its head with back leg? It may surprise you to hear that voles do it too! After solving the itch his head had a very sweet little ruffled patch right in the centre of his forehead (see above drawing!)

Two fairly short (no more than 30 minutes each) drawing sessions later, I had really started to break the ice with this little fellow. It was such a fresh flash of excitement to draw completely in the moment like that- something I hadn’t done for a while, or at least not properly. In day-to-day life there are always time constraints, your mind wanders and feels guilty for things you should be doing, that a bit of live scribbling somehow isn’t as important. But it is, it REALLY is.

There is a lot, a LOT to learn here for me. Yes, I can think, I can plan (that’s part of who I am) but I also have to embrace the moment- not all is perfect in life, or in artwork. Sometimes the unplanned scrambles up steep hills and through driving rain will be more fun, and teach you more than the interactions and parties you spend your life rehearsing.

Equally, I can spend hours upon hours at my desk, perfecting my next artwork or deliberating for hours over the phrasing of a message to this or that particular client, but most valuable can be the quick observations I can make just because I took a sketchbook somewhere to draw from life. Instinctive, honest sketches- which can speak in less words than I can,






The AutumnHobbit

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

God Jul! Christmas, New Year and beyond!

Hello again kind readers, and a very merry Yuletide to you all! I realise it’s been rather a long while since my last post, but I have had absolutely no time for the computer at all, or really any time to draw at all in the past couple of weeks- I have been working extremely hard at helping out Father Christmas/Père Noël/Santa Claus/Julenissen- whatever you call him where you live!

No, this isn’t a joke- I have been working a temporary job as a Christmas Elf, taking children to see F.C, and selling them gift ideas of their experience at the end: baubles, snowglobes, framed pictures containing their photo with the big man himself. I have to say- I absolutely LOVED IT. My team were lovely, and it was incredibly exciting going to work in a castle everyday (with a light show on the turrets every hour!)

Of course, as this is a busy time of year for Father Christmas and all his elves, the hours were long and gruelling, and we all suffered being ill at one point or another. We all pulled together though, and it was worth it to see the looks on some of those children’s faces!

I have felt severe withdrawal symptoms though in the last couple of weeks, as I haven’t had time to do any more than eat some dinner and go to bed when I get in- I did try doodling in bed one evening, but to no avail. So now that Father Christmas has finished his rounds for another year and has got a nice footstool and bubblebath waiting, I’m delighted to be able to get back into the swing of drawing everyday- especially as there are so many exciting things happening next year!

First and foremost, I can confirm that I will be a part of Made In Somerset’s Arts Week in May of next year- teaming up with a group of painters and ceramisists from my home town to deliver a week long showcase (with all pieces for sale!) of some of our favourite work. I am pleased to announce that I plan to centre my part of the show around Siggi and Skog- producing some original, finished paintings will come in handy if I’m permitted to go and pitch their tale to some book publishers!

Which, on a side note, I’m planning to really get my teeth into this coming year. In recent years I’ve tried so many new things and been to so many places that the shy girl of a few years ago never would have dreamed of, and I’m tired of being scared of what might happen if things don’t work out. If I don’t take the plunge, I will never know. 2015 will be the year that I can tie up the loose ends of both Erik and Siggi’s stories, (as they are both nearing the stage of being ready to do so) and begin writing my letters. I’m hoping to attend a couple of trade fairs with friends in the first half of next year, so the boys may be going to London!!

I’ll keep you all posted on how they get on.

Before the rush of the last few weeks at Father Christmas’ castle, I also managed to take part in another craft market stall- which was every bit as fun as the first, if not better! It was in the same place as last time (The Old Fish Market Pub) and this time, I was rewarded with double the amount of room to display my wares, and free pots of tea! Definitely a promotion, I think… I also sold a little more as well, which was just great!

Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 1 watermarked
The creatures line up again to be taken to market!
Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 2 Watermarked
Christmas Market 2.0
Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 3 watermarked
Cards, creatures, decorations and tags!
Craft Market 4:12:14 Image 4 watermarked
Handmade boxes, gift bags and recycled Christmas Card decorations!

Now, as it’s been so very long since my last post, I realise that this month’s wordcount is a little heavy… But never fear, there are plenty of pictures to be found! If you have a look in “My recent sketchbook” you’ll find some of the sketches I’ve been working on since last time, specifically some of my favourite SkADaMo (Sketch A Day Month) scribblings from November (they were centred around exploring more about Siggi: his homeland of ancient Scandinavia, his culture- possibly mesolithic, his relationships and his story.) I’ve also included a concept art-style page of drawings that I completed for a friend’s birthday present… But I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I’ll let you find those!

But right here, I’ll share something very appropriate to the time of year- a folk song from Norway that I found called ‘Musevisa’ – ‘The Mouse Song’. It’s a lovely bouncy tune which tells of a mouse family’s celebrations at Christmas-time, despite the biting cold and the threat of being caught, and encompasses all the good cheer and hearty warmness that makes Christmas so many people’s favourite festivity. (Also appropriate as one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to keep up my studies of Norwegian, my passion for which was set ablaze by my good friend KayDraws. I’m hoping to even attend a night school class if I can find one!)

(From an English translation) : “A grubby home at Christmas, would be a great disgrace.
So young ones dance a Polka, their tails sweep out the place.”

Musevisa for blog watermarked

“Om julekvelden da skal alle sammen være gla!”

“A Merry Christmas season is good for me and you!” Enjoy the festivities, and open your minds and hearts to the new year- throw away the darkness that has come before, start afresh, and plan some new adventures!

– The AutumnHobbit.

© Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carina Roberts and AutumnHobbit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.