17 Apr 2012

Book Worm Canvas Tote Bag: Waiting for Godot

When I get an idea for a new project I become totally obsessed with it. Usually I'll be thinking about it as I fall asleep; planing out the finer details. For a while I've been toying with the idea of doing canvas tote bags for the my second hand book stall Bazaar Tales. It was only when ideas starting sparking off about the book themed illustrations that I could do that I became consumed by the idea. 

When I finished college years ago I really wanted to do children's illustration. I worked on making a portfolio for a while but I never had the guts to show it to anyone. In the end I got distracted by other projects and eventually by Nice Day Designs, and the dream was shelved. When I made the connection in my brain between the tote bags and my abandoned dream of being an illustrator I got very excited indeed. I really love the work that I do with Nice Day designs, but lately I've really missed doing artwork. I had chatted with some friends about maybe doing pieces for exhibition, and trying to get back to making work again unrelated to crafts. In reality I knew that I wasn't going to take that time for myself, as there is always a mountain of work to be done. But I feel that this new project could give me the outlet I've been craving while still expanding my range of crafts.

The idea is that I will do images based on books, quotes, famous fictional characters. I don't want to do anything that already has an established image, like Winnie the Pooh. But things like Alice in Wonderland have loads of different versions, so I would happily do my own. I've been wracking my brain thinking of popular books that have a visual element that really appeals to me. On the list so far is; The girl with the dragon tattoo, Hamlet, Frankenstein, Lord of the flies,and the Narnia books. 

I went through my illustration sketchbook and had a look at the ideas that I was working on. There I found this idea sketch for Waiting for Godot a play by Samuel Beckett, this depicts the character Lucky. I was chuffed to find something that matched exactly the kind of thing I was looking for to put on the bags. I set out to do the drawing and dug out my pencils and notebook. To be honest I was a little nervous, drawing is like any exercise, and I was feeling rather unfit and out of practice. The enjoyment of getting back to basics overcame any initial trepidation and after a few hours I was finished.

I got the transfer paper is Silkes and a bunch of blank canvas bags in Aldi. If you are attempting doing any transfer stuff yourself just be careful firstly reverse your image before printing it, and also to iron it for AGES. When you think you are done, iron it for a bit more, it's better to be safe than sorry; especially since the paper is so darned expensive!

I had a look through some of my other paintings and illustrations and I found these two pieces; Beckett and Yeats, which also work perfectly for the book bags. I'm delighted with how these turned out and they make a great pair. I intend on doing more Irish writers as they are so recognizable, and probably popular with the tourist crowd. I plan on doing a good few designs in the next week or two and then after that add a new design each week. The bags will be for sale at the Bazaar Tales book stall from this weekend and they are just €5. Or if you would like to buy one online head over to my Etsy shop.

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  1. they look great well done :-)

  2. I like it, you should definitely continue :D

  3. I am a new reader of your blog and this is such a fantastic idea. I love, love, love them. I am Irish living near Boston and when I moved here I was pleasantly surprised at how the library really is the centre of the community here. Everyone has a library card and everyone goes regularly and guess what they all carry their books in .... I love this idea and know my friends here will be after one ! Best of luck !

  4. Thanks a million! I'm definitely continuing with the series, I just have to discipline myself not to get too distracted, and not do my other work.


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