Happy Anniversary: A Comic Strip.

Hello! Here is an illustration that I completed last month. It was commissioned as a wedding anniversary gift from a wife to her husband! Sweet!

I was asked to illustrate the text messages that she and her husband sent to each other on the eve of their wedding, and on the morning of the big day. I turned the texts into a hand-drawn comic strip! I really loved playing around with the layout and adding dialogue (as well as slightly absurd details such as an owl out the window).

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If you’re wondering why there are greyed-out bits, blank spaces and empty speech bubbles, it’s because I edited out the names of the bride and groom to give them a bit of privacy!

In other news, his is my 3rd marriage-related commission of the summer (Here’s the first and the second)! It’s really kinda nice to be involved with so many people’s happy occasions – these kind of commissions really give me the warm and fuzzies.

An Illustrated Coat of Arms

Hello! This has been a real Summer of Love at Thefty HQ, as this is the 2nd (out of three!) wedding-based commissions I’ve worked on since June! This one was commissioned as a gift for a wedding which took place last month. The brief was to create a Coat of Arms for the bride and groom, incorporating the couple’s story, as well as their favourite things and personal jokes. What a sweet, thoughtful gift, huh? I really enjoyed working on it.

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Helena-Maratheftis-Coatofarms-SMALL-05 Helena-Maratheftis-Coatofarms-SMALL-03 Helena-Maratheftis-Coatofarms-SMALL-04Before starting this piece, I was given a long list of things to potentially include in the design. Here’s some of the back story to what I’ve drawn:

Firstly, the groom loves bananas (one of his nicknames is ‘Banania’, I’m told) and the bride is a vegetarian, hence the inclusion of a whole freakin’ grocery store on the coat of arms. (I really love the bananas – they look quite grand yet also very silly.) The bridges represent where the couple is from and where they live – Sydney and London respectively. There are also some owls at the top, which are the couple’s favourite animal (I drew two of them, to represent the Love Birds themselves, hee hee).The ring is quite self-explanatory, but the bike? Well, that’s the Engagement Bike that the bride gave to the groom! Ha! Finally, I also included the wedding date, and the initials of the Bride and groom.

Oh, and I added some rhinestones too, but that was my own input ;-)

Congratulations, guys! May the House of C&I prosper!

Hold me closer tiny canvas (aka Little John)

For my birthday,  a friend of mine gave me a bunch of tiny canvasses. I got excited when I saw them, but I also had no idea what to do with them. However, I had a bit of an aha! moment this week. You see, whenever I do big paintings, I always end up with leftover paint which I hate to throw out. In the past, I’ve used the leftovers to paint my flowerpots…but I have now run out of flowerpots. And now? Well now, it’s tiny canvasses to the rescue:

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I love how silly the tiny canvas looks next to my massive portrait of my boyfriend. (Yes, that’s Andy Warhol’s Mao hiding my boyfriend’s face. My Dearest One started to get weirded out by seeing himself hanging on the wall all the time, so we’ve covered him up for the time being.) After I finished drawing on my tiny canvas, It struck me that the man I’d drawn looked kinda like my brother. I’m therefore going to call this one ‘Little John‘.

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The best thing about tiny canvasses is that they’re unintimidating. There isn’t a massive blank space staring at you, daring you to mess it up. It was so easy to slather the hand-sized canvas in paint, and and to pick up my black marker and doodle a face on top. So easy. Sometimes, it’s nice to draw easy things.

p.s. if you’re wondering what this post title is all about, listen here.

Wedding Illustrations: Cities of lurrrve!

OK, so, here’s the truth: Some illustration projects are more fun than others. This one was definitely one of my favourites, and I’ve been dying to show it to you!

I created a series of ten framed drawings for the wedding of Tom and Sophie, one for each table at the reception. The couple asked me to draw the cities that they have visited together, including where they got engaged, where they live, and where they where they went to university. They sent me a list of things they did in each city (mainly revolving around drinking, ahem!) so that I could incorporate them into my illustrations. I love projects where I can add lots of tiny details and personal touches, so this was right up my street.

Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-1bNo. 1 Tom asked Sophie to marry him in art deco bar in Sofia, Bulgaria. (She said yes.)
Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-2No. 2 Living and studying in London, England (hence the fruit flies and microscopes).

Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-3No. 3 Sophie and Tom went on a train trip around Europe, which involved ‘flat bums and lots of queues’.
Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-4bNo. 4 NYC, USA! A holiday involving lots and lots and lots of shopping and sightseeing!Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-5 No. 5 Oxford, England. Studying, punting, and drinking, drinking, drinking.Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-6No. 6 A holiday in Tokyo, with ‘lots of temples and sushi’Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-7 No. 7 A trip to Berlin, where Sophie and Tom drank cocktails by the river in Traditional German Beach Chairs.Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-8No. 8 Barcelona, Spain. Swimming, beaches and Gaudi!

Helena-Maratheftis-table-numbers-collageSophie and Tom wanted to decorate the wedding venue very simply, with floral bouquets and my illustrations giving colour to the room. The colour scheme for the wedding was apple green, orange, and berry pinks – I was so happy that my drawings perfectly matched the floral arrangements on the tables, as you can see below!

Helena-Maratheftis-wedding-numbers-small-bloomsAfter the wedding, Tom and Sophie told me that they’re planning to hang the illustrations in their living room, to remind them of their wedding day. What a sweet, lovely idea! I’m so pleased that they were happy with my work.

Congratulations, Tom & Sophie!

The English Summer Breaks My Heart

Hi. The sky is grey today and I’m feeling gloomy. I’ve lived in England for almost a decade, and I love London so much, but every June my heart starts to tremble and long for sun-drenched lands. This weather makes me homesick. I need some good, summery vibes!

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My current solution to this grey-skied homesickness problem is to fill my house with colourful flowers and play Belle & Sebastian as loudly as possible, while making drawing after drawing after drawing. Any other tips would be received gratefully!

What should you post on Facebook? A Flowchart.

Do you ever find yourself on Facebook, about to press ‘post’, and thinking ‘is this a good idea?’ 

If your answer is YES, then I’ve got something to help you out! If your answer is NO, then you’re either a natural at self-censorship, or you have absolutely zero filters at all. Either way, a little bit of guidance wouldn’t hurt, so behold the Facebook  TMI-prevention Flowchart:

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This flowchart is based on a sketch I made with my boyfriend, as a joke gift for a  family member with a tendency to overshare (we love you, A!). I figure that we could all do with some help in navigating the perils of social media, so feel free to spread the word! If there’s anyone on Facebook that forces you to shield your eyes on a regular basis, send them a link to this post! Consider it a dose of  Facebook-TMI-rehab. You’re welcome.

Theftypix on Instagram!

Psssssst! I recently joined Instagram, and as predicted, I’ve become a total Instajunkie.  Fortunately, I’ve managed to keep the food shots to a minimum (I swear). I’ve been having a lot of fun snapping at my palette and works in progress, and I’ve posted some of my favourites below.

Come and join me @theftypix!

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Are you on Instagram? Leave your handle in the comments so I can follow you back!

Mr. Turtle: My colourful plastic sculpture

Hello! This is Mr. Turtle, my latest in a series of colourful turtle sculptures (see here and here). He is the result of a private commission, and is destined to hang in the sunny kitchen of an Oxfordshire home, swimming for evermore through the air. The sculpture is made almost entirely of up-cycled materials, including plastic bottles and old shopping bags – his snouty little face is made of a ginger beer bottle! Have a look:

Plastic Turtle Sculpture by Helena Maratheftis

Plastic Turtle Sculpture by Helena MaratheftisSince the sculpture is going to hang from the ceiling, I focused on decorating the underside. I went for bold stripes and contrasting colours. I wasn’t given a particular colour scheme, but was simply told to make it as colourful as possible.  He’s covered in many, many coats of acrylic paint, and embellished with splashes of silver ink. 

Plastic Turtle Sculpture by Helena Maratheftis

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You know, I’m pretty fond of this guy. He doesn’t have a name yet (and could be a Ms. Turtle for all I know). I handed him over with the request that he must be given a name! I can’t wait to find out what it is.

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?