It all starts with a doodle

Hey there,

So it turned out that my major challenge with the Facebook Illustration Challenge that I’ve been involved with in the past is keeping up with the weekly themes! Also, my illustration work has evolved over the last 12 months, and I often don’t have any idea of how an artwork will turn out. It starts with a blank page and a doodle with a fineliner pen and then just sort of happens. A face will start to appear behind flowers, a bird or two will fly in and the foliage just grows and grows… sometimes off the page!

It’s been hard to fit this way of working to an actual theme but I’ve managed it for 4 weeks in a row. (Don’t ask me what happened to weeks 1 to 3 – I have to catch up!). Below are my results for weeks 4 to 7:

Week 4: Ode to Favourite Children’s Book
Week 5: Peacock
Week 6: Garden
Week 7: Botanical

Spread the love

So, it’s almost Valentine’s Day and if you’re looking for something special with a personal touch, this could be for you…

I’m offering my “LOVE” illustration as a FREE A4 download for you to print out and colour in as you wish to give to your beloved (or keep it for yourself and pop it into a pretty frame so all can admire your fancy colouring in skills).

Simply download, print to A4 and colour!

Free Valentine Printable ūüíė

Alternatively, head to my Etsy shop to download the image in a folded card format for AU$0.50 (to cover my Etsy listing fees). You’ll also receive the A4 image as shown here. Here is the link: Etsy card

Happy Valentines and happy colouring… ūüíėūüĖć

Exciting news

Hello Hello! I have some very exciting news to share. One of my illustrations created for my challenge has been chosen along with 19 others to feature in the next issue of Tickle the Imagination magazine! You may have heard my whoops and cheers from wherever you are when the illustration winners were announced. Here is my illustration:

Cocoon_smallThe challenge was to create an illustration around the word “Cocoon” which could represent home and security. Tickle the Imagination is a beautiful independently produced magazine with a focus on handmade, craft and design in Australia, and¬†is full of projects¬†and ideas to inspire creativity. I’ve been a reader of this magazine for some time which makes this even more exciting for me. The “Cocoon” issue will be out some time in June.

I’ve let myself get behind with my Illustration challenges somewhat over the last few weeks. I’ve been putting all my energy¬†into building my graphic design business, updating this website and working on new logo design projects for existing clients, as well as progressing with¬†some new invitation designs for my Etsy shop.

But before I say adieu here is my last illustration challenge (before I got behind), theme is “Whimsy”. That’s it for now folks ūüôā



Eek, a new chapter begins…

It is with a certain amount of trepidation that I write¬†my post today. I have just taken the plunge and upgraded my WordPress blog, and my domain name is now I have spent the last few weeks rebuilding my website in WordPress, after finally accepting that my old site just isn’t working for me anymore. I get lots of comments about how great it looks from people who have managed to find it. But, that’s the problem you see¬†–¬†not many people have actually been finding it. I’m not an expert when it comes to SEO, but I do know that if Google doesn’t like your site and its workings, you may as well be invisible. And if your site is not fully responsive you may as well forget it!

But, I’m a designer at heart, not a technician, and I did love my old site design so have tried my best to replicate it here on WordPress. I’ll have to¬†keep a¬†keen¬†eye on its performance though!

So, here’s a brief history of my Mookoo website, and Mookoo Design beginnings in general. My business started quite suddenly in 2009, when I was a crossroads career-wise. My second baby had arrived and I was quite sure that the long working hours of an Advertising Agency were just not going to work for me and my little family. Terrified at the idea of starting my own business, and finding my own clients, I had considered working for myself, but that evil inner voice kept telling me that I just couldn’t do it!

Along came my beautiful friend, Jodie, with a proposition. She had completed her book “You Sexy Mother” and it was in the process of being published. Jodie needed a website design which reflected herself and motherhood, which would also be a platform for selling her books, as well as¬†notifying customers of her upcoming speaking events. Jodie did me a HUGE favour by giving my baby brain a creative nudge in the right direction, and together we came up with a beautiful website, with¬†lots of promotional materials to complement her book. Jodie was a wonderful advocate for my business promoting my business wherever she went, and my initial worry of finding my own clients was suddenly not an issue. I was inundated with work.

Here is the design I created for Jodie’s website:


I quickly needed my own website, and business cards¬†for Jodie to¬†hand out at her events….

…and so this¬†is how Mookoo looked back then:

Technology moved along yet again and my Flash built website just wasn’t¬†cutting it¬†anymore so it was updated to HTML¬†in 2013¬†and can still be found at until mid-April (insert a certain amount of nail-biting here):

And so, eek! Here starts an exciting new chapter for Mookoo Design! I haven’t been a great blogger thus far, have been far too inconsistent, but I’m hoping that now that everything is in the same place I can get some sort of structure going to keep up with¬†regular updates.

Doodle Days

In between graphic design jobs I do like to get my pens and watercolours¬†out for some handdrawn illustrations these days. However, just recently, I feel like I may have lost my “mojo” a little in that direction. Every time I’ve tried to put pen to paper recently, it just hasn’t felt right, and the idea has quickly been rejected as quickly as it formed.

One¬†sheet of black paper, one white pen and one gold pen soon changed that as I got involved in a small “doodle” which grew and grew from the centre outwards (and is still going). It’s so true that art should be fun, and I have to say this was just what I needed to get a little of that “mojo” back.



Hello 2015

So, I’m not sure when it officially becomes too late to say “Happy New Year”, and since we’re already out of January I suspect I’ve missed the boat there somehow. The end of 2014 went by in a flash of Christmassy excitement, and the new school year kicked off here in Australia last week.

And so I find myself with no little ones at home for the first time in around 8 years. I suddenly have 5 days a week to work instead of 3. Ok, maybe “days” is pushing it when you’re talking about the school day, averaging out at about 5 working hours per day between drop offs, pick ups and all the bits in-between (and let’s not even get started on school holidays!).

But. It’s still 2 days more than I had last¬†year and I’m having quite a productive time of it so far. I’m going to kick off my “Hello 2015” blog post with some illustration challenges. I’ve joined the 52 week Challenge again this year, and so far I’m keeping up! Compared to my entries from this time last year I think my style has vastly improved. I’m very much enjoying doing¬†handdrawn illustration with copic fineliner and watercolours, which for me is a complete turnaround from the digital illustration that I’ve specialised in for the last few years.

Anyway, 4 weeks in and here are the weekly challenges to date:

Week 1: Fairytale.

Week 1: Fairytale

Week 2: Italy – Venus meets Valentino….

Week 2: Italy

Week 3: Retro – Fashion in the 70’s

Week 3: Retro

Week 4: Insects No. 1 (I was super inspired this week and completed 2 illustrations for the theme).


Week 4: Insects No. 2


Next weeks challenge: Kitchen…


Something magical happened over the weekend….

My kids were disagreeing over something (to put it politely), while I was trying to work at my computer, and basically all hell was breaking loose around me. After several attempts to quieten things down to no avail, I gave up on the computer and silently got out my drawing pad. Then continued to work on my illustration for this weeks challenge theme: Black & White.

All of a sudden. Silence.

Then: “Whatcha doing Mummy?”.


“Whatcha drawing?”


"Black & White" in progress
“Black & White” in progress

Suddenly¬†there was a little gathering at the table. A shuffling to get paper and pens, then more silence. Ok, this is not unusual for Miss 7, who would draw all day every day if she could. But for energetic little Mr 5 this is quite magical…

Mr 5: “I’m going to create a whole army of rats. There are going to be lots of them.” He then proceeded to draw and carefully cut out each rat (inspired by the movie Ratatouille I might add, not because we have a rat infestation). He spent a good few hours creating and cutting, happily commentating on each and every rat.

Army of rats

“This one is called Mister Wobbly Head, because he has a wobbly head.”

Mister Wobbly Head

Yes, he actually has a wobbly head, so why not call him Mister Wobbly Head? We can learn so much from 5 year olds. I inspired him to draw but he inspires me in so many other ways. And they didn’t fight for the rest of the day. Now that really is magic.

“Ratatouille” by Miss 7

More illustrations to share from my challenge

Just a quick post today. I haven’t updated my Illustration Challenges on here for quite some time so get ready to be bombarded with images! Since my last post about these Challenges (which feels such a long time ago),¬†I really feel like I’m finding my style. I’ve been more of a digital artist for years now but my roots at art college were in hand drawn very detailed illustrations, and I’m suddenly excited about fine drawing again. I’ve even discovered a new skill in watercolour painting which I was never really a fan of at art college. So, here are they are…

Week 13 Water
Week 13: Water. Fineliner and watercolour.
Week 14: Simplicity. Fineliner & watercolour
Week 14: Simplicity. Fineliner & watercolour
Week 15: Detail. Fineliner & watercolour
Week 15: Detail. Fineliner & watercolour
Week 16: Book Cover. Acrylics on canvas + digital lettering.
Week 16: Book Cover. Acrylics on canvas + digital lettering.
Alternative layout for Week 16: Book Cover
Alternative layout for Week 16: Book Cover
Week 17: Horse. Digital illustration in Adobe Illustrator.
Week 17: Horse. Digital illustration in Adobe Illustrator.
Week 18: Celestial Body. Acrylics on canvas.
Week 18: Celestial Body. Acrylics on canvas.
Week 19: Fish. Fineliner & watercolour.
Week 19: Fish. Fineliner & watercolour.
Week 20: Colour. Digital art in Adobe Illustrator.
Week 20: Colour. Digital art in Adobe Illustrator.
Week 21: Boxes. 3D "Jack in a box"
Week 21: Boxes. 3D “Jack in a box”
Week 33: Toy. Fineliner & watercolour.
Week 33: Toy. Fineliner & watercolour.

New beginnings

I am currently reading an ebook by artist¬†Kelly Rae Roberts. I’ve admired her for some time now, not just because I love her style but also because of her inspiring journey from social worker to successful artist.

The first piece of advice to jump out was to connect with your blog and be as genuine as possible. I’m a very guarded person so opening up doesn’t come too easily to me but from now on I’m going to try to inject a little more of “me” into my blog posts.

I’m not a writer. I’m a graphic designer and have been a graphic designer for around 20 years. Until earlier this year that was what I did, it was what I’ve always done and all I thought I could ever do. However, earlier this year I started an illustration challenge through facebook and all of a sudden I was back to being a child again when drawing, painting, making was all I wanted to do all day, every day. So inspired was I that ideas came tumbling into my head quicker than I could create them. The world suddenly seemed full of possibilities again. Maybe I could try to make something that people will actually want to buy…? How cool would that be?

I bravely opened an Etsy shop and started listing party printables that I had created for my own kids parties over the years plus a few more new designs. My excitement hit the roof when I got my very first order. So, that’s where I’m at. Every time I get a new order, the excitement is the same. Someone out there likes what I’m doing, hoorah! It’s early days yet and I’m still first and foremost a graphic designer but maybe one day I’ll also be able to officially call myself an entrepreneur¬†with a flourishing home based business and… maybe, dare I be so bold… an artist. Not quite yet but maybe one day…

So that’s it really. This blog will be about me. Design. Illustration. Anything that makes me smile or inspires me really. Maybe some personal parenting anecdotes thrown in for good measure (although that’s a completely different story and almost worthy of a blog in its own right).

So for today, just words, none of my images to hide behind. Not exactly of the ground breaking, soul baring stuff but its a start.

Illustration Challenge: Numbers

Well, I have to say, I thought this weeks Illustration Challenge would be very uninspiring… Numbers? How am I going to illustrate Numbers I asked myself? After coming up with a complete blank, the idea for my little Number characters actually came to me while pushing my trolley around Woollies doing my weekly grocery shop. It was a little lightbulb moment and I couldn’t wait to get home, pack away the food and get my drawing pens out to get my ideas onto paper! It’s turned out to be one of my favourite themes, I loved creating these little characters, and it’s quite addictive. I’m now seeing the whole alphabet in the same style….

Until recently I have barely touched pen to paper since college; most of my illustrative work has been created completely digitally using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. The Illustration Challenge is fantastic for me as it appears to be getting me back to basics, and back to good old-fashioned sketching. The downside of course, is that I’m used to having an “Undo” button – don’t like what I just did? “Apple Z” it and it’s gone. Not the case with pen and paper, so I decided to keep track of each stage of this drawing, so that I could learn from my mistakes, or look back and realise that perhaps I should have stopped before adding the background, or that last bit of detail, before announcing Ta Da, it’s finished (to anyone who might listen).

So, here is my work in progress, and the finished result….

Step 1: Race home from Woollies and start sketching my ideas with a Copic fineliner.
Step 1: Race home from Woollies and start sketching my ideas with a Copic fineliner.
Step 2: Sketching out in pencil, and then outlining in pen onto my watercolour paper.
Step 2: Sketching out in pencil, and then outlining in pen onto my watercolour paper. Looking back at my original sketches, think I prefer my first attempts at Numbers 1 & 2 & 8, but it’s in pen now, so no going back.
Step 3: Finished the basic outlining. Next step, painting!
Step 3: Finished the basic outlining. Next step, painting!
Step 4: Bit more detailing with the fineliners, and started the painting. Knew I wanted my Number 8 chick to be yellow so thought that was the best place to start.
Step 4: Bit more detailing with the fineliners, and started the painting. Knew I wanted my Number 8 chick to be yellow so thought that was the best place to start.
Step 5: Finished painting all my characters. Trying to decide whether to leave it there, or give them a bit of background colour... Wishing I had that Undo button right now....
Step 5: Finished painting all my characters. Trying to decide whether to leave it there, or give them a bit of background colour… Wishing I had that Undo button right now….


Ta Da!!! My finished painting. Went for the background in the end, and glad I did, it kind of looks more finished I think.
Ta Da!!! My finished painting. Went for the background in the end, and glad I did, it kind of looks more finished I think.