Books make you cry sometimes

Below you will find my next blog post that is a snippet from my newsletter that goes out each month!

Please subscribe to my monthly newsletter here – you can get some free downloadable colouring sheets!

Hello! I hope this finds you well and that you are doing okay in all that is happening right now. 

It’s seems a bit strange to be sending a blog post like this, I want you to know I appreciate you so much and your interest in my work. Every day takes a certain amount of ‘Keep Going you got this’ energy, so I just want to tell you that. Somedays I have ZERO motivation, like its out the door, she doesn’t live here? So I really have to do a little personal hype talk to get me though. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. So I just want to say, really, YOU GOT THIS! Keep going! There is room at the table for you. 

My Queer Eye cards are back!
They sold out for a little while, but they are now back in stock. A lovely pick me up in these trying times. You are gorgeous! I’ve also been enjoying the new series, but trying to savour them a bit and not binge them in one go! 

I also recently showed a few of my favourite snacks over on Instagram – I have been really enjoying baking and making some delicious treats! My latest venture was a cheesecake I made this weekend. The recipe was actually given to me by an amazing Instagram follower, you guys are the best! 

Shiny new images now in my Etsy shop! 
I have been giving my photographs in my Etsy store a bit of an overhaul. I had a big photography session last week and am still working on editing them. I always struggle with photography, it’s been my long time nemesis and I feel like I might have finally hit something that works for me so I’m running with it.

If you would like to see my latest studio vlog, here it is! It’s quite a relaxed affair. You will see me working on some gorgeous wedding invitations. A super cool couple who wanted a personalised illustration, and to reflect their happy personalities and a nod to their disco/70s themed wedding. 

Things to watch: 

If you haven’t seen 13th yet, I implore you to do so! It takes a good look at the dark history of America and why it is so seeped in the racism we still see today. It is really compellingly told, with fascinating interviews and archive footage. I learnt a lot, and I think this is an important documentary to watch and understand. 

Okay so my next recommendation is Disclosure – a documentary on Netflix. It discussed trans representation in the media and how that impacts societal views of trans people. It is really insightful and tells the history of these issues in a really thorough and engrossing way. It was a bit of a lightbulb moment to see how and why trans people are conveyed so negatively in the media, how influential that is and how much work we still have to do. Sometimes to ‘un-do’ and ‘un-learn’ prejudices it is important to see where the came from in the first place. Another essential watch!

Just before we get documentary heavy (I watch a lot of those!) here we have something joyous. A Whisker Away Film on Netflix. Oh my gosh! A beautiful, beautiful film. If you know me you may know that I love Japanese animated films. When I saw this brand new animation had dropped on to Netflix I was EXCITED. The animation is stunning and the story is sweet and touches on some really complex themes. Definitely one for cat fans! It’s by an animation studio I’m not familiar with so I definitely want to check out some others by them – particularly Penguin Highway (how cute?)! 

BONUS VIDEO: I have also had a listen in to a delightful conversation between two friends. I love them both so!

Things to read: 

Women Don’t Owe you Pretty by Florence Given

Check out Flossy on Instagram if you don’t already follow her. Her book is full of the kind of things I wish I had known a lot earlier in my life, and things that I am still struggling with and continue to improve on. Things like internalised misogyny, taking the WHOLE CAKE and not settling for crumbs from people in your life, and the inequalities that still very much exist in the world. I’m going to pass it on to my sisters now I have finished it! 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

If you saw my latest vlog you will know that this book MADE ME CRY okay? You got me. I wasn’t expecting it to, but it got me good. It’s the story of a young girl growing up in Germany during the Second World War. The characters are so well drawn and amazing, and I also loved the fact that it is narrated by ‘Death’. I haven’t seen the film but definitely want to now. Have you read it?  

Just before I go, I also just wanted to pop in a few links below where to donate and keep up the good work that is being done for the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s incredible to see the strides being made by this incredible movement, but we cannot let up and must keep pushing! We don’t want it to be this way, we must change for the better! 

Please Donate:
Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
BLM UK https://uk.gofundme.com/f/ukblm-fund
Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund https://uk.gofundme.com/f/black-lgbtq…
Black Minds Matter https://www.blackmindsmatteruk.com/

I hope you are well and looking after yourself! Take care and I will see you next month.

Love

Jess

Letters From Jess – A newsletter

I have just started a brand new newsletter! If you would like to receive monthly letters from me right in to your inbox then subscribe here!

I thought I would give you a little extract from June’s newsletter below. Enjoy!

Hi, look, I’m really doing this! My very first letter, I am so glad you are here. 

Just as a proper introduction, my name is Jessica. I am an illustrator and work from my home in Derbyshire. I also have a part-time ‘regular’ job along side my business. 

I am planning to do these monthly, so I will be talking about what I have been working on for the past month. WHAT A MONTH. Time is moving very strangely for me, is it for you? It’s long and fluid and also moving so quickly I can’t believe it has slipped by me. I have been trying to not feel bad about ‘using time wisely’ – how on earth can we use it wisely when it has become a whooshing indescribable entity? 

Anyhoo, I have managed to upload a few new products on Etsy. I have created two new Father’s Day cards, and also a new range of birthday cards. I have been enjoying creating cute animal characters recently, they are just so cute and make me smile! 

Just to let you know that if you would like a portrait for a gift for Father’s Day, it would be wise to order as soon as possible. They take around 2 weeks to complete and delivery has been experiencing unfortunate delays recently, for obvious reasons. The Royal Mail have been FANTASTIC during this crisis and I cannot thank them enough. 

I also created a little comic story over on Instagram about my quarantine cat friend I have made. She visits the garden every day and I wonder about her often! Who is she!? Beautiful creature why do you grace me with your presence? 

You actually catch a glimpse of the majestic feline in my latest studio vlog that can be found below. I am planning on doing a Q&A for my next video so feel free to leave a question in the comments over there. 

Here is the part where I will recommend a few things I have partaking in this past month! 

Things to watch: 

I watched Years and Years on iPlayer – it came out last year but I have only just watched it and OH MY GOODNESS. Shows the future over the next few years and how it affects the life of 4 siblings and their surrounding family. Perhaps a little too close to the bone for what is currently going on with the world – but I definitely recommend if you can tolerate a bleak look in to the ‘future’ if things do not change. If you like Black Mirror I think you would like this. 

On a somewhat lighter note, I have just got so into Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! I wanted to watch the new Netflix interactive ‘Choose your adventure’ episode with Daniel Radcliffe (I LOVE HIM OKAY) so I am obviously watching them all from the beginning before I watch that one. Full of wit and heart, I love it for a humorous distraction. 

Over on YouTube, Contrapoints released a new video which is, of course, brilliant. Contrapoints is one of my favourite YouTube discoveries of last year – her videos are works of art! With genuine film-like quality she delivers really interesting discussions on topics I am usually woefully under educated on. The latest is a 1 and a half hour long masterpiece on ‘Cringe’. 

Normal People on iPlayer – I think I watched this month? I feel like the pain has been part of my life forever! The book broke my heart a couple of years ago, and the show did the exact same thing. I’m still not over it! Beautifully made, excellent casting and devastating in all the best ways. I assume you’ve heard of Connell’s Chain? 

Things to read: 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This book was last months book club read, and I am so glad it was. It tells the story of Cora, a slave on a plantation in the USA during the 19th century, who makes an escape to try and gain her freedom.  Chilling and devastating as you can imagine, I would usually file this type of book under ‘too upsetting to read’ and shy away from it, so I am glad I was encouraged by the book club to read this, an it’s also made me reevaluate my future novel choices. The story it tells is so powerful and gripping, and essential reading to remember what people have been through and just how much of the world was built on slavery. 

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

This was recommended in an online course I have been taking recently and was luckily free on my library app. I listened to this as an audio book, and it made excellent company as I was doing my illustration work this month. Gilbert talks about the nature of ideas, creativity and inspiration. I really enjoyed her insight and attitude towards being a creative person, and not needing anybody’s permission to live a creative life. 

I think that is enough for now. I hope you are well and keeping safe in all ways! Look after your self and don’t feel bad about it.

Love 

Jess