Scarlett – Girl’s Birth Picture

A friend and former colleague, Jacqui, contacted me a few weeks ago, to ask if she could commission me to create a birth illustration for a new member of her family, who is called Scarlett. Jacqui’s cousin gave birth to the little girl last year and she is to be christened today (Easter Sunday) in a church in Durham city.
Scarlett (complete)byMichael Quinlyn-Nixonforblog
When Jacqui stated that her cousin, Steph, had requested an Easter theme for Scarlett, I wasn’t sure how pastel-coloured eggs, ducklings and rabbits were ‘going to go’ alongside a name like Scarlett, which evokes a bright vivid red to one’s mind. The name Scarlett originates from the colour scarlet and the name became well known during the 1940’s when Vivien Leigh played the part of the vain, self-centred and bewitching Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone with the Wind’ (1939). The name has also had a recent boost of interest, which is probably due to the popular and glamorous actress Scarlett Johansson.

After careful consideration of the colour scheme and layout and despite my initial forebodings about the pastel colours and the name ‘Scarlett’ I was pleased with the finished result. I had used a mid-pink for the lettering, adding in small scarlet-coloured dots to the edge of the letters, so that there was some scarlet included in the picture.

I hadn’t done an Easter birth illustration (though I was really looking forward to doing my first), so I was as happy as a sandboy when drawing the ducklings and the bunnies that are enjoying the spring sunshine amongst the Easter eggs. And of course, I had to include one of my favourite spring flowers too – the forget-me-not, which always flowers in my garden from mid-April.
Scarlett sketchby MichaelQuinlyn-NixonforblogThe sketch for the illustration

I hope the illustration is a success with Scarlett’s family and with Scarlett herself in years to come. My client, Jacqui, was so pleased with the illustration that she confessed to wanting to keep it herself, which I consider very high praise indeed…    Michael

Thoughts On – Eighty-Eight

The number eight, for as long as I can remember, has always been my favourite number.  I am not sure why it was, but if I were to think about it…it would probably be to do with the fact that it’s pleasing to the eye.  It’s really two circles placed on top of one another.  Eight has no hard edges and is a friendly, warm shape.  A friend of mine, who was involved in analysing handwriting for large companies and police bureaux, told me that people who favoured the number 8 were generally very kind and approachable people; the kind of people you would want to hug.
88ducklingsbyMichaelQuinlyn-Nixonforblog
Eighty-eight in Gill Sans font

I have always loved handwriting, but many of my friends have noticed that when I write a number 8, I don’t do it it as one continuous movement.  I have always drawn one circle and then the other below (rather like the duckling diagram).  I have only ever met one other person who has done this and she was a graphic designer, called Kylie.  Another friend, Jennifer, told me that this form of writing out the number 8 is often used by technicians or draughtsmen, so perhaps I am in the wrong job!
88bunniesbyMichaelQuinlyn-Nixonforblog
Eighty-eight in Times font

Now, if you’ve read my earlier posts, you will know that I also love same-digit double-numbers, so it’s no surprise that the number 88 should find favour with me.  You may also be aware that today is the 88th day of the year!  So, today I printed out some 88s and had a little play with them, doodling and colouring them.  Today my friend, Marie, has just given me some rather nice Easter gifts and this probably led to the fact that two of the doodles are ducklings and rabbits.  The third doodle is of girls with rather 1950’s looking beehive hairdos and make-up.

88ladiesbyMichaelQuinlyn-Nixonforblog
Eighty-eight in Giddy-Up font

Everyone will no doubt know that in bingo-calling terms that the number 88 is often referred to as ‘two-fat-ladies’, but here are eight rather interesting facts about the number 8 that you may be interested to read and may not have known…

  • 8 is a composite number and it is also the first number which is neither prime or semi-prime.
  • 8 is the base of the octal number system, which is mostly used with computers and digital media.
  • The ‘figure-of-eight’ is often used in sporting terms, such as skating, but can also relate to the way that bees fly and communicate messages.
  • 8 is symbolic of new life, the final Resurrection and the anticipated resurrection that comes from baptism.  The number 8 in the Bible represents a new beginning, meaning a new order or creation, and man’s true ‘born again’ event when he is resurrected from the dead into eternal life.
  • There is also a visual resemblance between two digits, “88”, and 囍, the “shuang xi”  (“double joy”), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (“xĭ” meaning “joy” or “happiness”).
  • Infinity is shown as a figure 8 on it’s side and symbolises a never ending cycle, as there is no start or end to the shape.
  • 8 is an auspicious number in many Asian and Chinese countries and is the number associated with wealth and abundance.
  • The summer olympics in Bejing commenced at 8-seconds and 8-minutes past 8pm on 8 August 2008 (08.08.08).

Perhaps I should issue this blog post on the eighty-eighth day of the year, at 08:08pm and watch the money and abundance come rolling in!  Watch this space…

Thoughts On – Easter Time

Easter is one of my very favourite times of the year. Not only is spring my favourite season, but I love the lighter days and the new bird song that it brings, along with the colourful bulbs and new growth in the garden. There’s something that makes me feel so alive and excited at this time of year, as Mother Nature prepares to share her bounty of greenery and floral wonders.Easter basket for blog
Every year, I prepare an Easter basket, filled chock-full of chocolate eggs, which are enjoyed by my family and friends when they visit. The selection varies, but the bountiful amount of confectionery doesn’t. I must admit that I am tempted to eat one or two (sometimes three!) of them myself, as there is nothing quite like breaking a family-sized Easter egg and cracking off pieces to enjoy…bit by bit. It’s the one treat of the year that I always allow myself and this year I am not breaking the tradition.
Weeping Fig with Easter egg decorationsDucklings under the weeping fig tree
Not only does the Easter basket get a yearly airing, but the weeping fig (Ficus Benjamina), that sits near the basket also gets a seasonal makeover and is covered in Easter chicks and eggs. There’s no reason why we should just decorate trees at Christmas, now is there? It could be that I’m a trendsetter…

There’s an old saying that when something fresh, bright and cheerful is on its way…that it’s like ‘April on the wing’…and that’s how I feel now that spring has arrived.

NB. The knitted chicks were made by my friend, Jennifer, and were sold to raise funds for cancer research. They each contain a Cadburys egg – so they are not just good on the outside :0)