Paris and Gautier: Le Marin

Inspiration, Paris and Gautier: Le Marin
Grand Palais was the perfect venue

Grand Palais was the perfect venue

When I came to France I got bizarrely self-conscious about wearing stripes; I think my logic might have been that it would look like I was trying to fit in too hard. We all know the stereotype – beautiful people adorned in berets and stripes with baguettes casually slung under their arms as they cycle through cobbled streets. Whilst we all want to be that person, I was trying not to. My style was once described as “nautical chic” by a friend and so once I removed the stripes from my wardrobe, I was pretty much left with a pair of socks and some jeans. Now, I don my stripes with pride.

Jean Paul Gautier is the king of the french stripe. A veritable hero in the fashion world, he created Madonna’s conical breasts and is on an innovative level with Lady Viv herself (she is my all time favourite).

Where the pointy boobies started - the Madonna collection.

Where the pointy boobies started – the Madonna collection.

When in Paris last week my friend and I went along to the exhibition of his work at Grand Palais. It was spectacular. The mannequins has light projected on to them to give the illusion that they were speaking, and the exhibition walked us through Gautier’s life in fashion. I love an old fashioned silhouette – corsets are a love of JP, and they were everywhere.


The corsets of my dreams

The punky influences were fab too. The pictures speak for themselves – so I’ll stop rambling and let you have a peruse.

Made entirely of ribbons

Made entirely of ribbons

The wigs!

The wigs!

The wigs - look at the wigs!

The wigs – look at the wigs!

Brown Paper Day Dreamer

Brown Paper Day Dreamer, Inspiration, Portfolio

I have always doodled as a form of distraction. I used to draw myself in a sort of comic strip style, illustrating my day to day life with a particular emphasis on telling myself off for various things – writing essays late at night, burning cup cakes, that sort of thing. I didn’t search for other artists to get inspired, I just scribbled away on the page corners of whatever notebook in which I was meant to be writing (a French and History degree means you’re meant to do that writing thing a lot).

Anyway, since I moved to France, in September of 2014, I have allowed myself far more time to develop my little alter-ego and and tried to turn my drawings into more of a positive force – hopefully without losing the charm that originally attracted me to pick up the pen. I have invested in decent paper, I finally got myself some decent colour pencils, watercolours and ink pens – can you believe I didn’t actually have any of that stuff?! I am such an idiot.

Last weekend I went to Paris and spent time in Musée de l’Orangerie, seeing Monet’s work and Musée d’Orsay wandering round their exhibition of Bonnard, delving into Joseph Pennell’s ink drawings of France’s cathedrals and marvelling at Degas’ ballerinas.


Strasbourg Cathedral in black in by Joseph Pennell – I completely fell for his lines.


I was pretty happy to see Monet. You can’t tell at all!


The lillies!

It was a bloody brilliant. I bought books on Bonnard, Matisse and Degas, all of whom I love, and have spent this last week drawing and thumbing through for inspiration. My bank balance wasn’t happy, but I certainly was.


Joseph Pennell’s charming chickens

Here are the products of last week’s efforts – I have put more up on my facebook page which can be found here. My new and more colourful alter ego!


My new mini me!


A post-Paris self portrait – just colour pencils and black ink on brown paper.

Naughty Nancy

Naughty Nancy

I have started the creation of a new character based on my eldest sister, Nancy. Nancy is an outstanding young woman who makes our world a much better place. She is able so find happiness and magic in the things I often overlook and she is always the life and soul of the party. She also has some special needs. It has been a dream of mine for some time to create a story book for children based on her with a message of love, inclusion and friendship. Here are a few ideas so far based on the real life woman.

Nancy’s nickname for our dad is “Baldie” and she will often ask “How the devil are you” at breakfast time.

Freddie the Frog

Freddie Frog, Illustrated Childhoods

This is Freddie “Frog” who likes playing rugby and feeding the little birds in his garden. This is an example of an “Illustrated Childhood” commission. To commission your own “Illustrated Childhood” please drop me a message in the form below.

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We Can Do It!

We Can Do It!

On Sunday 8th of March the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. This day honours, celebrates, and recognises women’s achievements whilst shining a light on gender [in]equality. I think it’s pretty important. On the lead up to IWD I’ll be posting illustrations of some women you might recognise.

4 Days to Go…

” Livi is to Illustrating what Rosie is to Riveting. “


“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”

– Frida Kahlo

2 Days to Go…

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“Beware: I am fearless and therefore powerful.”

– Mary Shelley

1 Day to Go…

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” Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapons. “

– Malala Yousafzai

Have an empowering International Women’s Day!

Photo 08-03-2015 12 38 58


Kim Hay

Kim Hay, Testimonials

“I asked Livi to create personalised drawings of family members to be given as Christmas gifts. I sent photographs and explained some characteristics of the subjects and what I got in return were charming, characterful images which we now have as wonderful keepsakes. I will be going back to commission more and would recommend her to anyone looking to have illustrated work done.”

Kim Hay

Eve Livingston

Eve Livingston, Testimonials

“Livi was part of the design team for my student union election campaign in 2014. She was a fantastic asset to the campaign; always reliable and enthusiastic, and able to follow direction whilst also contributing her own creative ideas. I would highly recommend her!”

Eve Livingston – Vice President of Societies and Activities of Edinburgh University Student Association