Memento Mori: Death, tarot cards, and a strange photo booth.

Hello! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember the funny/macabre tarot cards I designed for Moving Dust Productions. I finally got my hands on a set of cards, after the first set mysteriously vanished in the post (that’s what you get for messing with the occult). Anyway, Here they are! I’ve alsoposted some snaps of my very own brush with Death, for your enhanced viewing pleasure (please take extra note of my glamorous veil).

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The cards are for The Box, an installation where participants get to meet death…in his photo booth. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I was invited to take part in the latest incarnation of The Box and, let me tell you, Death was a hoot!

If you fancy your own (harmless) brush with death, follow Moving Dust on Facebook for updates.

Wisdom Teeth: Pain, Illustrated.

Hello. I’ve been quiet for too long, and this is part of the reason why: WISDOM TEETH. Evil, evil wisdom teeth making my gums look like angry red balloons. I have a history of drawing my way through pain and illness, and this episode has been no exception. Behold!

Helena-Maratheftis-wisdom-tooth-600pxThat’s all from me today – I’m off to gargle some salt water! I should be back to regular programming shortly  and have a bunch of new drawings and photos to share with you. Oh, and, If you get a spare second, please send some good vibes to my miserable mouth!

Life Is Good: Variations on a theme.

Hello! I’ve got more work to show you! These are sort-of-but-not-really new, and if they look familiar it’s because they are. You see, I spent yesterday afternoon playing with Photoshop (again), converting this drawing into a set of stylized images. It’s so easy to get sucked into a Photoshop black hole where several hours disappear – it’s my equivalent of a Playstation 3. No joke.

Helena-Maratheftis-life-is-good-small-pink Helena-Maratheftis-life-is-good-small-stampHelena-Maratheftis-life-is-good-small-pink2Helena-Maratheftis-life-is-good-small-mosaicWhich one’s your favourite? Mine is the blue/purple one with a rubber stamp-like treatment. The last image is a bit cheesy, what with the mosaic texture, but I really love it! It makes me want to touch it! Ha!

LIFE IS GOOD (Oh Yes)

Hello! If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been (whining about being) ill all week. It has not been pleasant. However, there is a silver lining! I sketch a lot more when I’m sick, simply because I spend less time working on front of the computer. So, life really is good, oh yes.

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Helena-Maratheftis-life-is-good-close4Helena-Maratheftis-life-is-good-small-2Drawing is a kind of meditation for me; I get completely absorbed in the activity (which is GREAT because it means I forget about my sore throat and throbbing ears). I’ll often come out of a drawing-trance and be almost surprised at what I’ve made. My miserable sickly self was definitely surprised when I looked down and saw that I’d spelt out ‘Life is good oh yes’. Ha.

This drawing makes me happy. I like the way the floral pattern obscures the text, so that the words don’t jump out at you straight away. That way, you get a nice surprise a few seconds later when you squint and read it. Another silver lining, I suppose.

Dear Snow, Kindly leave.

Hello! I rarely post on Saturdays, but I’m stuck at home with a disgusting cold, and it’s snowing outside. I woke up at 7am this morning to take my delicious flu medicines, and when I pulled back the curtains I got a shock of the cold/ white/ flaky kind. Urgh, thought I, this is awful, I must draw about it. And so I did.

Helena-Maratheftis-dear-snow-smallNow, let us not pretend that this is the finest artistic endeavour I’ve ever undertaken. It’s a messy sketch produced by bleary morning eyes and hands shaky with SNOW RAGE. However, I needed to share it with all of you, especially the ones who might be feeling the same about our snowy springtime friend. Share it with your friends, Londoners, and maybe Mister Snow will take the hint.

p.s. On a lighter note, I joined Instagram today – come and find me! I’m theftypix.

A Spoonful of Sugar: A hand-drawn Illustration.

Hello! I finished this illustration yesterday, and have been eagerly waiting to show it to you. This one is really quite special: It’s a private commission, and is going to be a gift for someone who is unwell and deserves some cheering up! I love the idea that my drawings could make someone feel even a tiny bit better, and I really hope my drawing fulfils its purpose. I’ll definitely be posting this one off along with an extra pinch of good vibes.

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On a more technical note, I really enjoyed going back to my roots with this one – it’s just watercolour and pen on card, with not a bit of Photoshop in sight! I’d forgotten how much I relax when I sit down and work on a detailed piece, with the radio playing in the background. I hope you like it.

Double Dolls: Playing With Patterns.

Hello! I had some free time yesterday, so I picked up a red pen and started scribbling on scraps of paper. I scanned one of the drawings – a doll in a party hat – and went wild on Photoshop. As you can see, I’m a fan of creating repeating patterns and layering one on top of the other. I get really excited when I get to play around with colours and patterns – I guess my retinas really enjoy being bombarded!

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Helena-Maratheftis-double-dolls-small3 Helena-Maratheftis-double-dolls-small2A funny thought: Although red is the colour I wear the most, I hardly ever use it in my artwork. On the contrary, you’ll find shades of blue all over my drawings, but I don’t own a single piece of blue clothing (except for a single pair of electric blue tights). Isn’t that strange? I wonder why that is.

Random observations aside, I reckon the last image would make for some excellent wrapping paper. What do you think?

To Dry For: A Design Competition.

Hello! This is my entry for To Dry For’s annual design competitionToDryFor is an online boutique specialising in designer tea towels, and I love them in the way I love anything that combines illustration and puns! Below is a mock-up of my tea towel and me. (I already own one of their lovely towels, so I had the perfect template!)

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All of the towels are screen-printed, so I needed to work with a limited number of colours. Naturally, I chose four of my very favourite shades of blue/green. The phrase ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ immediately sprung to mind when I started brainstorming for the brief, so I decided to go for a text-based design.

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In case you’re wondering: I don’t believe in god, but I most definitely believe in cleanliness.

Something For All Fledgling Creatives: Stay On The Bus!

Yesterday I read this article and it really struck a chord with me. By using a neat metaphor about Finnish bus stations (yes, really), the article stresses the importance of having persistence when starting out in any creative discipline. This idea is boiled down into 5 words by Arno Minkkinen‘Stay On The F***ing Bus’. Strong words, yes, but strong sentiments also.

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If you’re a fledgling creative (or know someone who is), I urge you to do two things:

1. Read the article.

2. Print out my doodle and stick it above your desk. (I already have.) I’ve uploaded an uncensored version after the jump in case you don’t like asterisks. Continue reading

Ziad Ghanem for Amelia’s Magazine

Hello! It was London Fashion Week last week, which meant one thing for me: Fashion illustrations for Amelia’s magazine. The two drawings below are my interpretations of looks from Ziad Ghanem‘s rich and vibrant catwalk.

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Ziad Ghanem is an illustrators dream because there’s so much pattern and detail to play with. I’ve illustrated his designs before – see them here – and I positively leapt at the chance to draw his stunning designs (and models!) again.

For the full rundown of Ghanem’s show, click here.

New Posters In Store!

Hello! I’ve revamped my online store and I have a new set of posters in stock!

If you want something on your wall that oozes colour and good vibes, then you’re in luck! The posters are printed on beautiful, 235gsm satin photo paper with a semi-gloss finish, and come in two sizes (A3 and A2). Check them out here.

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Be Happy: Good Vibe Doodles.

Here are some good vibes for you:

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Hello! These are some sketches from the last few days. Ironically, I started drawing while I was in a very bad mood. I’ve now cheered up considerably (and I like to think that’s ’cause of these doodles). I’m thinking of turning them into posters. What do you think?

Death and His Lady: Tarot Card Illustration.

Hello! I’ve been working with Moving Dust on their latest project, The Box, where viewers are invited to enter a photo booth where they can meet Death and His Lady. (If that sounds morbid yet playful…that’s because it is!)  Apart from designing the promotional material for The Box, I also created a set of ten illustrated tarot cards:

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The cards are the size of an actual tarot card, and are printed on proper, plasticized playing card stock. The front (above left) is adorned by a photo of Death and His Lady. The backs of the cards (above right) feature one of the ten pieces of writing which were commissioned for the project. Some of the writing is painfully funny, and some is painfully to the point. The cards were given to participants as a memento mori, aka little reminders of their inevitable deaths! Nice!

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Above: Death and His Lady, behind the scenes.

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What I’ve shown you here is 80% of the design…there’s a little something extra which I’m not going to reveal! I don’t want to spoil the performance. It just wouldn’t be fair! If you want to enter The Box for yourself, make sure you follow Moving Dust on Facebook to find out about future performances.