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Contours in Nature – design ideas

Blue & green agate slice painting by Joanne Griffin at Arnold & Bird

Following on from the contours in nature mood board, we’re now exploring the design potential in this topographic trend!

First up is a painting of an agate slice I did that I’m currently reworking into a product range. Although not strictly a landscape contour, I love the topography lines that are reminiscent of these curves. Agates are beautiful examples of luxe nature, where natural objects are so decadent without any man made influence. It’s beautiful to surround yourself with little pieces of opulence like this.

Topographic drawing by Joanne Griffin at Arnold & Bird
Topographic drawing by Joanne Griffin at Arnold & Bird

These two pencil sketches of contour lines are filled in with geometric shapes, representing cities or circles. I like the patchwork style and contrast between the natural formations and regulated lines. I’m not sure what direction I want to take this idea in yet, it’s one for the backburner for now. If you have any ideas then I’d love to hear them!

city grid geometric surface pattern shower curtain by Arnold & Bird on Society6

This city grid is from a drawing I did at college while in Art Foundation, based on a project about Las Vegas. I loved the grid structured layout of this city and it just seems like a town like no other. Las Vegas has always been a place I’d love to visit, however tacky and crazy it may be! I digitally created the original drawing into this repeat surface pattern design and uploaded it to Society6 where it features on a range of products, including this shower curtain.

Abyss Table by Christopher Duffy

I had to highlight these two design pieces as an amazing and innovative take on this theme. The Abyss Table by Christopher Duffy takes the everyday coffee table and turns it into a work of art. The depth that is created through layering wood and glass is remarkable and it really feels like you are looking (or could fall) so deep into the gorgeous blue ocean beneath you. It is a stunning piece that really creates a focal point in a room.

Wood chart wooden topographic lake

The Wood Chart uses laser cutters to carve the contours of each of their water inspired pieces. Once layered together and hand stained, these vast landscapes turn into glorious detailed and beautiful pieces of art that would look seriously impressive in any home. Plus you can also pick a piece that is personal to you due to their vast range!


Thanks for checking out my contoured inspired designs and inspirations. If you have any work inspired by this trend then please share it as I’d love to see your take.

Joanne Griffin signature


Images sources: My own designs unless otherwise stated



Decorative feathers – design

Decorative feather trend design - Arnold & Bird

In the last post we dived into the feather trend for inspiration and started exploring how this theme can be applied in different ways.

Today I’m sharing a little bit of my interpretation – from initial sketches to final designs:

Feather drawings - Arnold & Bird

Moody blue feather surface pattern design repeat

Navajo feather circle repeat surface pattern design

Want to see more feathery designs? Hop over to my surface pattern portfolio!

So tell me… what’s your take on this theme and how would you interpret it into your work? Leave me a comment below or tag your interpretation on social media with #ArnoldAndBirdTrends. You can find me @arnoldandbird on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Can’t wait to see your feathered designs!

Joanne Griffin signature




Drawing – pencil sketch of an eye

pencil eye drawing

This weekend I did a 20 minute sketch of an eye. It’s been a while since I sketched so was really pleased with the outcome.

It was fun to put pencil to paper – I have been wanting to do it for so long and although I didn’t have much time that day I just knew to take 20 minutes from my day would be nothing. Plus it felt great to achieve this.

Image by me.

Like this? Shop the Arnold & Bird design range on Society6

Arnold & Bird Society6 shop

Creative – Dr Sketchy drawing

Dr Sketchy burlesque life drawing

I have been to Dr Sketchy’s three times now and it is always so much fun. Life drawing combined with burlesque – mental but it works!

I have been lax with my 52 week challenge (two months off, pretty bad actually) so maybe it will now be a 44 week challenge instead..

Dr Sketchy’s was a good way to get back into it plus wine did seem to help the drawing. This sketch above won a runners up prize as one of the performers favorites! Bonus.


Creative – 52 week drawing challenge, week two

girl looking out the window drawing

life drawing model

So last week I went life drawing which was my drawing number two of 52 week challenge.

I haven’t been life drawing for a while so was so nice to go again. Plus the teacher made us do lots of different tasks such as continuous line drawing, drawing with my left hand (I am right handed) as well as drawing with both hands at the same time.

It was really strange sensation but it was a lot more successful than I would’ve imagined! Plus it was really good experiments to try out to loosen up my drawing skills.

The first drawing was of a girl who was there to do life drawing, the model showed up late so she kindly volunteered to sit for 10 minutes!

The second is of a longer pose, about 20 minutes, I still ran out of time and it would of been good to finish it off more.

Overall as I haven’t done life drawing for a while I was happy!

Images taken by me.


Creative – 52 week drawing challenge, week one

feather pencil drawing

One of my goals for 2013 is to take on a 52 week drawing challenge – essentially a drawing a week for the whole year!

My first one was last week. I knew when I undertook this challenge that I could not be hard on myself, some weeks my drawings would be terrible but that would be ok. I would accept it and move onto the next week. The main point was I haven’t drawn for ages and just want to get back into, put no pressure on myself and draw for fun.

I loved the first week, I started one night and spent a few hours drawing the feather above, and I loved it. I really enjoyed the experience and loved the outcome. SO much better than what I thought it would be.

So I was very happy.

Feather image taken by me.

Feather drawn from Wikimedia Commons


Drawing – Diamond Jubilee window lights

Happy families window drawing inspired by the Diamond Jubilee

Yesterday I posted about an old game I used to play called happy families. I wanted to create a simple drawing from this based on the house illustration on the back.

When I started with this idea I kept drawing windows using continuos line. It was very simple but for some reason I was drawn to drawing the windows and not the whole house over  and over again. I also had the thought of adding different colours to each of them as I had drawn the windows layered over the top of each other.

It was odd then when I was watching the The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert on Monday night and during one of the acts they lit up each of the palace windows in different colours! I saw it as a sign and continued on with my idea.

You can see my drawing above and (the only image I could find!) of what the palace looked like that night as well as well.

It was great to have such a long weekend and I loved all of the Jubilee celebrations. Even getting wet in Hyde Park to watch the parade on Tuesday. 🙂

Lighting up the windows on Buckingham Palace at the Diamond Jubilee concert

Image sources: Drawing by me.

Buckingham Palace via ITV news.

Colour inspiration for drawing via Creature Comforts colour inspiration daily 11.16.11


Creative – my love list

My love list

I have started a scrap booking course that I found through one of my favourite blogs A Beautiful Mess. It is an e-course which allows you to art journal all year with 52 different projects. I thought it would be a fun thing to do and be a little extra inspiration through out the year.

This is one of my first attempts – my love list! I loved this page from an old Elle Decoration magazine as it was a fabric selection that I wrote my list on. It was nice to document little and big things that I love it life.

Image: taken by me on Instagram.

Art journal all year e-course via Red Velvet shop.