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.

Weekly Inspiration: Black + White + Neon.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-02My latest jumper + necklace combo. It’s still really cold in London, so I’m trying to keep my winter clothes interesting!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-04I’ve been eating a lot more soft boiled eggs since I bought these fluoro plastic egg cups. Aren’t they great? (Yes.)

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-07Speaking  of fluoro, I think this is the brightest lunch I’ve ever had.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-08So. I’d been perving on this mug from Design House Stockholm for a very long time…so when I spotted its doppelgänger on sale for a mere 95p in a charity shop, I had to buy it! So, so pleased.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-05Now, this was even more exciting than the mug. I was photographing specimens at the museum when this label caught my eye. It’s one of Charles Darwin‘s own specimens! Argh! This resulted in a complete fangirl meltdown moment.

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These biscuits are Iced VoVos, a favourite treat from my Aussie childhood. I finally cracked open the box I’d brought back from my holiday last December, and they were good.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour20-06On my desk this week: Jars of paint water, bowls of fruit, and brand new drawings.

It has been a bright and jam-packed week! What have you been up to?

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.

Teleidoscopic: Colourful Photography and Film.

Hello! I’ve got something very different for you today! If you were a follower of my old blog, you might know what a teleidoscope is. I’ve had mine for years, and it lives on my desk in my pencil mug. Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I pick it up and walk around my house peering through it. Yesterday, I took this to another level, and decided to shoot a short film through my teleidoscope!

The film is completely silent, but I strongly recommend you play this track by Andrew Bird at the same time!

Helena-Maratheftis-teleidoscopic-collage2I also took a series of photos through the teleidoscope. If you look closely, you’ll see books, wooden flooring, a fireplace, and even my slippers. I’ve uploaded many more to the Thefty Facebook Page. Go and have a look!

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Beetles! Photographing Gold & Stripes.

Hello! This is part of my Natural History Museum series – I’ve been taking photos for the beetles department (officially known as the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’)! I will be sharing my favourite images with you every week, so stay tuned!

Today I’m showcasing some stripy, golden beauties (click here for a detailed close-up). Aren’t they stunning? I love the contrast of soft metallic gold vs. glossy black stripes and swooping antennae. Have a look:

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Helena-Maratheftis-gold-stripes3Helena-Maratheftis-gold-stripes5My (accidentally) matching gold nails and black ring.Helena-Maratheftis-gold-stripes2

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Nature: Just Too Cool. When I stumble across specimens like these, I can’t help but marvel at how much style nature has. I’m a complete sucker for shiny metallics and bold stripes (in case ya hadn’t noticed), so it’s nice to know that I share the same tastes as mother nature!   Those are my hands in the photos – I happened to be wearing matching nail polish and jewellery on this particular day, which made me extra excited.

Click here to see other Beetles! posts in this series.

Weekly Inspiration: Spring Colours and Jelly Brains!

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

Last week was oh so colourful! For a brief moment I convinced myself that spring had arrived.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-04A snippet of my embarrassingly large and tacky earring collection. The fish bones are my current favourites.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekinthelife209-16Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-08Isn’t this mask beautiful? I love the colour scheme and those crazy yellow eyes.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-07I dug out my old headphones last week, and realised that they’re the exact same colour as my new phone case. Ha!Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-16As soon as the sun came out I ran to the flower nursery. Sadly, I was too indecisive to buy any plants.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour19-05A massive pan of  melting marshmallows: Rice Krispie treats in the making.

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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?

Weekly Inspiration: Markets and Museums.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

This is meant to be a weekly feature but I’ve been oh so busy over the last…er…month. To apologise, I’m giving you a mega-mashup of my favourite photos from February. They include a couple of market trips (to East London and Camden Passage) and some colourful ones taken at home. Also, because I’m feeling extra-generous, there’s a bonus video at the end. Oh yes. Enjoy!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-05For the record, I don’t think the East End sucks. I love it. I spent a freeeezing Sunday walking around Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market, snapping at street art and old-school bric-a-brac.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-04A sneaky self portrait taken in a vintage mirror.
Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-06My flat is often full of rainbows. (I’ve got crystals on my windows, you see.)

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-02More pictures after the jump. 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.

Illustrated Recipe: Cherry & Coconut Truffles

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Hello! This blog post is part of my illustrated recipes series. This week I felt like making peppermint patties, but when I realised I was all out of peppermint extract, I knew I had to get creative. I had recently bought a bottle of Morello Cherry Cordial and thought it would work perfectly. Of course, cherry and chocolate always makes me think of these, so I had to throw coconut into the mix as well. You can always leave the coconut out if you prefer, and you could always substitute the cherry cordial for any other flavour.

INGREDIENTS (based on this recipe)

For the cherry filling:

  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons cherry cordial
  • A few drops of red food colouring (optional – I didn’t use any)

For the coating:

  • 450g of dark chocolate (couverture is best because it melts easily)
  • 2 cups dessicated coconut

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DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl, and stir until combined. You should end up with a firm, dough-like consistency. If the filling is too sticky or wet, simply add more icing sugar until it firms up. With your hands, roll teaspoonfuls of filling into balls, and then flatten the balls into  discs with the heel of your palm (see above picture). Lay the discs onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper, and put them into the freezer for at least half an hour. (I left mine there overnight and they were completely fine.) Make sure you don’t skip the freezer step, because this prevents the discs from falling apart when you dip them into hot, melted chocolate later on!

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2. While the filling is in the freezer, prepare your coatings. In one small bowl, melt your chocolate. You can either do this using a double boiler, or you can do it (carefully) in the microwave. Fill another small bowl with the dessicated coconut.

Helena-Maratheftis-cherry-truffles-33. Remove the discs of filling from the freezer. You will need to coat each truffle individually or you will make a giant mess if you do them all at once! Start by dropping a frozen disc of filling into the bowl of melted chocolate, so that it is completely coated. Using a tablespoon, lift it out of the chocolate and immediately drop it into the bowl containing coconut. I used a fork to flip the truffle over to make sure both sides are covered in coconut. Then place the truffle onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and wait a few hours until the coating hardens.

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Enjoy!  That’s all that’s left to do!

These are delicious and make very cute presents. They can also be stored in the fridge for several weeks.

Clashing Colours & Video Cameras

Hello! I spent a day last week playing with cameras, tripods and video editing software (the latter being a first for me). I really enjoyed styling up my house  – and myself – and jumping in front of the video camera! The aim was to create an ‘about me’ video, hence why I went crazy with the colours and bright details. Here are a few stills:

Helena-Maratheftis-filming-day-2Above: As you can see, the bookshelves behind me are loaded with art books and cook books. I’m guessing you’re not surprised! My house is full of books, and what you can’t see here is the science section and the fiction section. Seriously. (Unfortunately, what you can see is my Argos catalogue. Classy.)

Below: I used my mobile to take a photo of the camera set-up…and later in the day, used my camera to take a picture of my phone! (Confusing? Yes.)

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Below: The full backdrop for the shoot. I took some of my favourite objects and art prints form around the flat and piled them onto the shelves. I wanted the backdrop to be bold and cheerful, but I didn’t want it to overwhelm me (which explains my choice to wear super-bright and block-coloured clothing).

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Oh, and, here’s a little GIF I made (Yep, that’s me!).

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You know what? I’m at my happiest when surrounded by colour.

Valentine’s Day Lovebugs

Hello! I’m partial to a good Valentine’s day doodle, but I thought I’d do it my way this year (by which I mean, insects were involved). The word ‘lovebug’ magically popped into my head while editing these photos, and a little while later I’d created these:

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I hope you have a lovely day, no matter what you’re doing.