Being Brave and Selling My Art

Confidence is something I definitely do not have. I’ve never believed in myself or my work and really struggle when it comes to receiving compliments or criticism. In my mind, if someone says something is good, they just feel sorry for me and are lying to make me feel better, or alternatively, if someone says something negative, its the end of the world and I should just stop drawing altogether.

THIS is something I am working on this year. I want to be more positive, and more proactive. I’ve updated my Etsy shop to now sell prints, working with the company Twofifteen who offer drop shipping at a really reasonable price.

I mean, worst thing that happens is they sit there and I don’t sell anything and have to pay the monthly Etsy charges, or I sell something.

So in an effort to raise my confidence, I am selling original artwork prints. Some are completely original designs, and some are fan art from video games and the like.


My shop is AshaFreemantleArt, super original. A lot of thought went into it (not).

I hope if nothing else you have a look. And yes, I am looking for feedback on ways to improve, without it destroying my soul. I want to get better at my craft. I want to make my friends and family proud that I am actually accomplishing something with my shop. And all proceeds go towards my partner and I’s dream of owning and living aboard a Narrow Boat.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. It’s an important one for me. It’s not about creating more sales or marketing myself or whatever. This time its just about taking a step and putting myself out there. If I fail, I fail. But I’ll get back up. And I’ll try harder. And eventually I will succeed and be a bonafide Illustrator.

Asha x


New Year, Same Me

So there’s the big cliche of making a new start in the new year.. Mines a little late.

January so far has been a right shitter. A whole bunch of bad stuff happened, and I’ve generally been a miserable cow. Now its almost out of the way I’ve decided to start trying to better myself, mentally and physically.

I’ve been working a lot more on my degree the past few weeks. Even though I’m shockingly tired all the time thanks to the M.E, I am finding that having a genuine, vested interest in the subject matter has made me actually want to do more. Its working well at the moment as I’m working part time. I finish at 2, come home, rest/nap for a couple of hours then pick it up in the evening. It’ll be interesting to see if I can cope once I have to go back to full time.

Wedding planning is coming along nicely! So we have the venue.. Which is actually at a bike rally hosted by my families bike club (fiance and dad are both members), we have the celebrant booked, and the registry office is booked. We want a big fancy bell tent for the weekend since we’ll be there from the Thursday to the Sunday/Monday, and I don’t want to attempt getting ready in a two man tent! There’ll be live bands, food, drinks and bikes. Super exciting. I was never interested in getting married so I’ve never had any plans for it. This is entirely for Chris. I’d be happy down the registry office with a couple of witnesses, but you can’t win them all.

hq poster

Another MASSIVE cliche I shall be partaking of, is losing weight! I’m joining slimming world with my Mum next week. I haven’t weighed myself since I moved out of my flat and back into my parents with Chris, and everyone tells me I haven’t put any on, but I feel massive and unhealthy. I imagine the M.E plays a big part of it, and like, the fact that I hate every single part of me, but I don’t want to be huge at my wedding. Not when there’ll be photographic evidence. Usually I can avoid ever seeing photo’s of myself, but I suppose I’ll have to see these ones eventually.

Birb Update! He’s still a twat. He’s literally obsessed with stealing any people food he can get his beak into, but I hear that’s not an uncommon trait. His feathers and beak are a lot better now. Much healthier. We’ve started sticking him in the shower with us whenever we shower, since his idea of a wash is sticking his face in his water bowl and flapping around. Its brought his green out beautifully! I doubt he’s ever had a proper shower before so it’s taking a little time to get him used to it, but it’s pretty funny. He likes to sing and wolf whistle, which is a nice little confidence boost when you’re nakey 😉

So those are my plans for Feb onwards. I just want to be healthier and generally happier. I mean, I;m not unhappy, just unhappy with myself.

Things will get better!

Illustration 1: Key Steps in Illustration – Assignment 1 – Say Hello Self Assessment

When first starting this assignment, I struggled with the brief a little. It specifies the were to create a greetings card, but the content of the card is so vast that it doesn’t actually seem to be what were being asked for at all. It could be any size, include and materials, and could be made in any way. I did a little secondary research into greetings cards, and I just couldn’t make the connection. Greetings cards seem to have a direct point or are for a specific occasion. Introducing yourself didn’t appear to be one of them. I think that this particular assignment would have benefitted from a change of wording. Perhaps instead of a greeting card, a postcard would have been more suitable. But I digress.

The actual content of the card I had some issues with. I couldn’t find any inspiration, and the idea’s I did want to tackle were perhaps a bit too ambitious to be crammed on to a card. I took a week or so to just draw. Doing some new sketches and getting comfortable with colour composition and some new tech I had recently bought. I did it all digitally as its the medium I am most comfortable with. I have spoken to a few other students at OCA and it appears I am not alone in this regard. It does mean that when I draw, I need to make a conscious effort to stop and save the sketch before inking and colouring them. I think when it comes to submitting assignments for formal grading, the general consensus is that we can print everything and bind it into a book of some sort.

I find it really difficult to speak about myself, my likes and dislikes without being negative. My first objective was to break my attributes down without bias. I figured the best way to do this was by spider diagram. I use these pretty regularly so I’m no stranger to them. I was still a little negative when it came to things about my health and looks, so I decided to focus only on good points, and include these in my image design.

For my final image, I actually re-used an old rough drawing I had used previously when I originally started studying Graphic Design, before the switch to Illustration. Since then though, my art style seems to have changed significantly so I redid it and changed a few things. There were however a lot of things I missed from my spider diagram. Almost everything. Instead I focused on video games, colours, food and films as the things I like.

I’m happy with my decision to use a rough digital marker for the line work and colour. My aim was to give the image a childlike quality, hoping to convey my own childishness and love of bold lines and bright colours. I could have made it a lot cleaner, with perfect lines and better anatomy, but that’s just not me. I’m very much a ‘that’ll do’ or ‘close enough’ sort of person. It’s not a great quality to have and perhaps one that I should focus on improving, but it’s gotten me this far.

The colours I chose were intended to complement each other. Purple as the background, yellow behind the character. I think perhaps the colour shades were a little off. They both could have been brighter to really draw each other out. Looking at it now, I realise there are small details I forgot to colour completely. This is pretty typical of my work. I am not good at noticing small details like this, and often rely on other people checking my work before submission.

For my display method, I again chose to go digital. I realise the brief specifies that the final image was to be printed and made into a physical card, however I thought that as an illustrator, a lot of the work I will potentially do in the future will be presented to clients as digital mock ups. I’m happy with my choice of mock ups, showing both the main image on the front of the card, and the text introducing myself within. The text was a bit of a struggle as I have already spoken to Laura, my tutor on many occasions as she was also my tutor for Graphic Design before the switch to Illustration, and the first assignment was very similar.

Overall I’d give this assignment a 6/10, and my work a 7/10. As previously mentioned, the brief wasn’t very clear, and has some conflicting ideas. I think this can be improved with better working perhaps, or a slightly different final piece other than a ‘greetings card’.

I’m relatively happy with my work. I think the quality is good, and the content is meaningful. If I didn’t feel so constrained by the term ‘greeting card’ I think I could have done more with it. I was perhaps a little afraid of putting too much detail in an image and losing it when it was shrunk down to A5, a more traditional greetings card size. I think my backup work and build up to the final image were thorough enough. Admittedly I could have done some more designs and different variations. My biggest issue creatively is having an initial idea and not being able to stray too far from it. I’m hoping this is something I will be able to improve throughout this course.

You can see everything I did for Illustration 1: Key Steps in Illustration and Assignment 1 – Say Hello here.

As always any feedback or constructive criticism are welcome.

iPad and Procreate

For those of you that follow me on social media, you should know by now that I recently got myself and iPad Pro. I did have a big, clunky Ugee tablet, it just didn’t work for me how I wanted it to. After speaking to a couple of my artist friends, I decided to invest in an iPad Pro. There are a few reasons the Ugee didn’t work for me. Firstly, it took up too much space on my desk. Secondly, I could ONLY use it at my desk. In my house I can’t always be at my desk just because other people need the space as well, so this limited time I could be drawing.

‘‘Why not use paper?’ I hear you yell. I just don’t like it. I’ve always preferred digital. The iPad means I can carry it around, draw whenever I want, and even use it for other things. I’m writing this blog on it right now.

now the 2nd gen Pro’s with the Apple Pencil rack up about 800 beans. I paid 319 for mine. How? It’s second hand. And from CEX so I traded in a bunch of stuff to go towards it as well. My old Ugee tablet, some old DS games, and a whole mess of DVDs I don’t watch anymore. Managed to save myself some money.

I would not however recommend using CEX online. They are terrible. Go in store if you’ve got something to trade. It took nearly a month for them to sort out my payment and things.

Anyway. Back to the iPad. The pencil is stupid expensive. Even second hand it cost 70 quid. But it is annoyingly good. It’s got a good weight to it. And the rubber tip gives just enough friction it really feels like you’re drawing. Really impressed with it. Only downside I can come up with is that there’s no way to see how much charge the pencil has until it dies. So that’s rubbish. But apart from that all good!

Procreate is also good. It’s 9.99 from the App Store. I haven’t done a lot with it yet, just a doodle and a sketch or two, but it’s fairly intuitive and nice to work with. When I have some time I fully intend so sit and watch some tutorials and download some extra brushes.

I drew this:

Created in Procreate on IPad Pro

This was just a warm up using the basic pencil setting. I reckon without too much scrutiny you get away with this being ‘traditional’ art. It also automatically records time lapses, which is amazing, and really useful since I’m doing my degree in illustration and submit most things digitally. I’m sure seeing my work being done will earn me some extra brownie points!

All in all I’m pretty impressed with it. And I’m even more impressed with myself for getting it all without giving apple too much money. They don’t anymore. I’m a starving artist, not them!

Does anyone else use this set up for artwork? If so what are your thoughts on it? Are there any other apps I should be looking at to complement Procreate? Leave me a comment!

Life – An Update

Hi All

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post and just wanted to let you all know what I’m to at the moment.

For those of you that know, I’ve been back at work for 3 weeks now, and I am really really struggling with it. Due to my poor mental health and this crippling fatigue I’ve been dealing with, I’ve dropped my hours right down to 25 a week. Annoyingly this is still too much for any kind of government financial help, so I’m just trying to trudge on and cope with a 3rd less money a month. My fiance and family have been amazing though, and both are helping me out while I try and sort out some kind of routine and get my finances in order again.

Being back at work, and sleeping when I’m not, means my creativity has taken a huge nose dive. I haven’t been able to find time to burn anything, and my studies are taking a hit as well.

I actually have another doctors appointment on Monday because I’m just not happy with what I’ve been told. Every single symptom I have get’s blamed on depression, despite my mood being fine. I should be able to function for more than 6 hours a day without a complete crash afterwards. So I’ve been doing loads of research to try and back myself up when I go in, as I’m tired of being fobbed off.

Chris is working odd shifts at the moment so currently I have weekends to myself. Obviously I should be studying and cleaning and doing all the housey stuff that needs doing, but I’m just too tired. I did a bit this morning, and I’m paying for it now. Back hurts, hips hurt, hands hurt. I don’t have a headache yet, so that’s good. But I feel like life just shouldn’t be this hard.

I promise I’ll get back into crafting and burning again soon. I need to stock the shop up with Christmassy stuff anyway. I just need another 12 hours in a day and another 4 days added to my weekend!


The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask Box

“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?”

This hand burnt, Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask inspired box was made to protect your jewelry, trinkets, or dice. Or Rupees. Heart Pieces. Anything you can find.

The box is a hexagonal pine box with a brass clasp, measuring approx. 16cm x 14cm x9cm and is lined with a dark green felt. It’s finished with a clear layer of Plasticote.

You can see some of the creation of this box here:

If you have anymore questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


The Legend of Zelda Trinket Box

Back in August (I think) I was approached after finishing my Marauders Map box with the idea of a Zelda box for a friends daughter. Luckily Zelda is something I love so I actually had some idea’s already on the back burner.

We had a chat about what aspects of the games her daughter liked, and we selected the image for the front. The cover image is the cover illustration from the Ocarina of Time, Part 1 manga. I chose this particular image as Ocarina of Time holds a special place in my heart, and I wanted to be able to transfer those feelings to wood for this gift. The images on the sides of the box were drawn by myself. Just a few images to include various aspects from different games.



Cara had this to say about her commission:

Commisioned this for my daughter and i honestly couldnt be happier
Asha was great talking through the design and working out what i actually wanted, she is utterly commited to providing what her customers want
My daughter loves her Zelda box too
Thank you Asha i’m certain i will be back for more 🙂


I’m so pleased that Cara and her daughter loved the box, and I’m looking forward to making more in the future.

If you’d like to commission your own gift, you can contact me here, or head on over to my Etsy Page.


Re-learning Photoshop

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone out of my way to do anything illustrat-y and decided I would make a start before my course transfer is completed and I receive my new course materials.

First things first – Tablet

I’ve always preferred digital illustration to more ‘traditional’ mediums. With this in mind, way back in May I bought myself a new Tablet Monitor. The dream would be to own a Wacom, but that’s way to expensive while I’m studying so I settled for a Ugee 1910B. It took a little fiddling, and some help from my IT guy friend, but its up and running now. I just need a DVI lead as its running through a VGA at the moment so the resolution isn’t as good as it should be.


I used to be pretty good at Photoshop, but again its been years. I used to be able to create things like this:


But I’ve since lost all my skills and shortcuts, so it’s basically back to square one. I essentially watched loads of video’s on YouTube and made loads of notes.

Here are a couple that I found really helpful:

I’m probably going to add to this list as I find more useful videos and tutorials so I have a useful list of references.

So using this new info I set out with a quick doodle:

41678569_247088249283664_6874236762319749120_nhalloween practise puff

I really wasn’t happy with the finished doodle. The perspective is off somehow? I think it’s just where I need to get used to drawing directly on to a tablet screen. I used to use an old Wacom Bamboo tablet, which had no display, so it just translated on to your monitor as you drew. This is a learning curve for me though so I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Just need more practice.


Studying with OCA

For those of you that don’t know, back in February of this year, I started studying for my BA(Hons) Graphic Design. I’ll be honest.. it hasn’t gone well. I lost all motivation for it a few months back when my mental health started to deteriorate and I didn’t physically have the energy to manage that and working full time. I’m currently signed off work for that very reason, and decided that a step towards improving my mental health would be to sort this out.

After some careful consideration, I’ve decided to switch from Graphic Design to Illustration. It was always my dream to study Illustration and even went to Falmouth Uni for an interview, but alas, didn’t get in. Since then its kind of taken a back seat to real life. One of my deciding factors in originally choosing Graphic Design was that I was working in a marketing role, and I had it in my head that Graphic Design was more marketable as as a career path.

Since then, things have changed. I have met a wonderful man that fully supports my passions, (weather they’re marketable or not) we’re getting married next year, we’re saving for a canal boat AND we have a Parrot! I’ve come to the realisation that I shouldn’t be spending my life trying to do the things that I think people want me to do, and that is it actually ok to do some things just for myself.

For regular readers, you’ll notice a new menu option at the top of the page ‘OCA Learning Log’. We’re required to keep a learning log documenting all work and research we do for our tutors as everything is online. Click the link if you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to. I mean, soon. At the moment there’s nothing there. But I’ll be updating it as soon as I can, and probably more often than I do here. Ooops!

I’m feeling better. Not good, but better. I’m hoping making steps to sort this all out, and focus on something I enjoy will help. And obviously I’ll keep the various crafts and wood burning coming.

Thanks for reading