Noah completed Gnomevember!

Okay, No more drawing challenges from me for a while now! I must concentrate on my new book! If you see me even suggest that I am going to complete a drawing challenge just nudge me back to my ‘to do’ list please and I would be very grateful. These drawing challenges are a lot of fun but it is potentially not the wisest decision to do one straight after another, a few months break should be mandatory. I just couldn’t help myself and once I had created Noah the Gnome I could visualise all of his adventures so clearly, really I had no choice and I loved every exhausting moment of it. Month long challenges are not for the faint of heart. But here he is on all of his wonderful adventures, Noah the Gnome.

The gallery is backwards because I am technologically challenged and actually thought I had managed to do it the right way this time! I definitely have a few favourites (why can’t I manage a Gnomevember without at least one naked gnome?) and some of them are a little darker than I would of liked but it is November and the lighting is really not kind to sketchbooks at this time of year.

All of the images were painted in watercolour and have been photographed and backgrounds removed where necessary. I love to see the texture of the paper come through with watercolours and adding a few digital effects like the wizard sparkles has been really fun experimentation. I added a full digital background to the rocking horse image which is really simple but I felt it added a little to the story. I have also been trying to create more diverse backgrounds and I had so much fun with the woolly mammoth illustration that I think it is a background which I would like to explore more in the future.

The prompts that Noah followed.

All art challenges are difficult and the longer they span the harder it is to complete them. I do cheat, I do many before the day they are due to be posted and even posting every day is a commitment. I have failed more than one art challenge and that is okay too but seeing a completed challenge all together in a gallery is almost as satisfying as seeing one of my books in print. I have loved drawing Noah, maybe he should get his own book someday too? I feel like Noah completed the challenge with me.

I would love to know which illustration is your favourite or maybe you can think of an adventure for Noah that I haven’t even thought of?

Thank you for reading, Samantha x

I Drew My Week

Inspired by the prolific art of Gary Scribbler and the charming illustrated diary of Sam Stoner (both of whom I follow on Instagram) I wanted to try illustrating my week. I am amazed at how both artists manage to consistently post a new illustration everyday, perhaps it becomes quicker and more of a habit but I set my sights on a week because I felt that it was manageable for me.

Tools at the ready!

I purposely chose Half Term week because honestly most of the time we have the same routine of school runs, painting and lots and lots of naps. I wanted to draw the week where we had plans not only to have seven different images but also as a little diary for myself of the fun that we have had over half term. Believe me our usual week is not this exciting, there are less fireworks and swimming is an incredibly rare treat!

MONDAY

The Webblings stayed with Nana while we went to Tesco, I genuinely bought Halloween decorations and Christmas treats. It made me feel like I need to really crack on with my Christmas shopping.

TUESDAY

OK I know I said we had an exciting week and so far it has been a trip to BIG Tesco and now a whole load of washing but it did have to be done! Also at this point in the week I was a bit too scared to draw anyone besides myself, it is totally OK to butcher an image of myself but I was wary of messing up images of other people. It gets more exciting I promise! (I secretly did enjoy the empty washing basket at the end of the day, it was a little bit exciting!).

WEDNESDAY

I know lots of people go swimming regularly and some of my crazier friends go sea swimming a lot! I am not that brave. This is the first time that I have been swimming since my accident in 2019, the thought of slippery floors and lots of children running around scared me off but we managed to book a private pool so all I had to worry about was looking like a hippo in my swimwear, luckily hippos are cute! I even braved drawing the Webblings who had a great time finally getting to swim again.

THURSDAY

I don’t know about you but I absolutely love to nap. I have fibromyalgia and the busy days and entertaining the Webblings took its toll so I dozed while we watched Sonic The Hedgehog and other movies. I am lucky that Lilly and Harry are so understanding of my limitations, they enjoyed reading and drawing while I gained some much needed energy for the weekend ahead. I secretly think they were happy to have a day at home too.

FRIDAY

Domestic Goddess? Hahahaha so far from it, my poor husband does 90% of the cooking and just as much of the cleaning, he is my rock! But when it comes to baking I am not too bad really, if you keep it simple! I do love to decorate cakes and cookies though. Harrison wanted to make Halloween cookies for the tea party at his Nana’s house on Saturday so we made chocolate chip eyeball cookies and they tasted pretty good.

SATURDAY

Saturday was jam packed, we went to a Halloween tea party, arms full of yesterdays eyeball cookies and then we were invited to join our friends on a trip to Lappa Valley Steam Railway to see the end of season fireworks. It was hard to choose what to illustrate for Saturday but this here was my favourite moment of the entire day. I was finally brave enough to draw Jamie too and although he hasn’t seen it yet I really do hope he likes it. The fireworks were beautiful and the spooky train ride was magical too.

SUNDAY

And as if by magic we were transformed into a kangaroo, a hippie, a wolf and red riding hood! Mr Webb does not like to dress up but he got in the spirit of it with some fluffy wolf ears to be the wolf to my red riding hood! Harry wanted to be the most scary of all animals, a kangaroo!!! Lilly is 13 so she played me like a fiddle and chose her costume around the outfit that she wanted which was nothing to do with Halloween! The pumpkins were carved and we spent the night watching The Mummy movies and eating pizza.

Happy Halloween from the Webb family.

Half term was crazy but magical. Drawing your day really helps you focus on the happy moments in a day and even when you have a bad day or a painful day if like me you suffer from chronic pain there is some part of your day that you can look back on and smile. It is not something that I will be doing on a regular basis because it is a big commitment but there will definitely be more doodles of my day in my planner from this point forward.

If you would like to see how it is done properly take a look at

Gary Scribbler – http://www.garyscribbler.co.uk/finding-joy—doodleaday.html

Sam Stoner – https://www.instagram.com/talking_scribble/

Thank you so much for reading my blog,

Samantha x

Alcohol Ink First Try- This Stuff Is Messy!

I really love Scrawlrbox but I don’t have a subscription myself. I know that the boxes are well worth the money however a lot of the products they include would go to waste if I were to subscribe, markers for example I just wouldn’t use often enough. However I really enjoy watching artists unboxing videos on Youtube and then if my interest if piqued I have the option to purchase a box from their range of previous boxes which works out much more affordable for me despite the extra couple of pounds you pay for knowing what is in the box.

When I watched numerous content creators open the July box I was absolutely mesmerised by the contents. Alcohol inks and a yupo pad. I had never seen these items used in this way and I knew within a few mins that I had to give this medium a go. I purchased the box as soon as it was available in the online shop (around mid to late August). As always it arrived quickly and was really well packaged, just enough to protect the contents without going overboard and wasting loads.

Contents of Julys Scrawlrbox.

The box included two coloured inks, one blender ink and a magical shimmer ink, a yupo pad, paintbrush, pipette, paper straw, scrawlrzine, sticker and art work by amazing artist Jess Kirkman. There was also a chewy bar but Mr Webb had eaten that before I could take the photograph! He says it was delicious.

The Yupo pad is tree-free synthetic paper and feels plastic but is 100% recyclable and it is essential for working with alcohol inks. The inks had to be pierced at the top and as expected I made a mess within seconds of sitting down to give this medium a try. You should probably wear gloves but at this point most people are used to me being covered in some art material or another and a blue and pink hand is nothing unusual. It took a day or two to come off but I could of used nail polish remover if I had needed to.

Nothing new here!

I have never used anything similar to these alcohol inks, they act in a way that is so unpredictable and it is hard to have any control over it. That made it incredibly fun! I found the whole process mesmerising because every drop changed the entire piece. They included really good colours because they blend really beautifully into purple hues without muddying. The shimmer is a nice touch that is incredibly hard to photograph. The smell was really strong but since Lilly Webbling is constantly practicing her nail art I think I have developed a slight immunity to the fumes. Once they are dry they don’t really smell but I wouldn’t recommend sniffing it, make sure you have a ventilated room when you are pouring them.

Pink and blue make lovely purples.

The blender is colour free and it pushes the other colours as far as they can go which adds a lot more pattern and depth. I was having a great time simply just watching them combine and move. They felt like they had a mind of their own. I tried the pipette and the straw but honestly wasn’t finding that I had any more control than just pouring straight from the bottle really.

What can you see?

The freedom of just letting the inks do their own thing was really fun, I could not control them. They were good at not leaving the edge of the paper unless I blew too hard with the straw or tipped the paper. The inks do pool at the edges so I tried not to put too much ink close to the edges.

Photographs do not do the shimmer justice.

I wanted to try a picture that had no white and to add more shimmer, the image above is what I ended up with. The shimmer is beautiful but the photographs do not do it justice at all. The more ink you add the more you get the thick lines that you can see on the image. They take a long time to dry and can be sticky. I have found that the images I have left on top of one another (after 24 hours drying time) are sticking to each other a little. The thinner ink dries really quickly though and dry ink can be reactivated with blender or fresh inks so you can work on it over more than one day.

Sea Scape.

I decided to try a sea scape with mainly blue and just a tiny bit of pink to add the darker blue hues. I then used the paintbrush dipped into the tiniest bit of blender to add some little bubbles to the image. I think I should have been braver and added more but I was happy with the effect. It is great that you can use the blender to take away some of the ink although you would need a lot to get the paper whiter. I think that the blender will run out a long time before the colours. However, these inks are only small and I thought that I would probably get through the bottles in one session but I have done quite a few pieces and barely used a quarter of each bottle, it goes a long way.

Final pieces using the items from Scrawlrbox.

Being an illustrator I couldn’t help to try and create illustrations from the inks. It wasn’t fully successful but hopefully you can recognise a seahorse amongst them. It was recommended in the Scrawlrzine to add permanent marker once the image is dry. I tried it on a few and really liked the outcome. It is almost like trying to spot shapes in clouds. I think that with practice you could possibly create abstract patterns with the finished designs in mind. I used sharpie and silver Pitt pen to create interest to the images below.

I really love to mix mediums and thought that the texture and depth in the illustrations would make fantastic backgrounds. I really love how they came out. I used the seascape to create the two illustrations below.

I really love these colours but wanted to try more. Since it was late there was nowhere open to go any buy more. It occurred to me that since I have hoarded alcohol markers over the years (see, hoarded but not really used!) that I might be able to use them to create some interesting images using the blender and the shimmer.

Promarkers and blender.

I tried Promarkers and honestly it just made a mess, it was awful. The ink was sticky and only spread a tiny bit after staining the paper. It actually looks better in the photo than it does in real life. It was muddy and sticky and just not fun at all. But it wasn’t a complete waste because I managed to use the ruined art piece in some little collage, cut paper art.

Rainbow fairycat.
Pumpkin picking tortoise.

Honestly they are my favourite images that I managed to create with the alcohol ink, it combines the fun of the magical alcohol ink textures with my love of collage and cut paper pictures. I really love how they add extra interest to the illustration. I just added some simple watercolours and coloured pencils.

I would recommend anyone who doesn’t mind getting a bit messy to give these a go. The Scrawlrbox is a bargain while it is available because they include everything to get started. it is magical and mesmerising just to watch even if you don’t like the final image you will enjoy the process which is really just as important if not more so when you are creating art.

I will definitely be using more of this technique in my art, it is too much fun not to, so please do follow my social medias if you would like to see more.

Thank you for reading.

Samantha Webb.

First Song is now available

First Song is the story of a little girl who has her life turned upside down by a her new baby brother who just will not stop crying. Mum, Pops, Nana and Grandpops all try hard to soothe the baby but are unsuccessful, can his big sister find the way to help him sleep?

Dedicated to my own daughter who has always been the best big sister anyone could wish for even if she does argue like crazy with her little brother, no one else is allowed to treat him badly, she is his protector. My Webblings are my inspiration and that has never been more obvious than in this new book.

My beautiful Webblings.

I have written the story and illustrated it digitally, I have been growing and improving, trying to get as much texture and life into digital art as I do with watercolours. It is a process that I have really enjoyed and I hope that it shows with First Song. I know that I still have a lot to learn about story writing and illustration but I am really proud to share this story with the world.

First Song has arrived.

First Song was released yesterday and has had a great reception so far, I can’t thank my family and friends enough for the encouragement and support that they have given me throughout the whole process.

Published by Moby and Puddle Books.

Available from Amazon and Folksy now.

I hope you like it as much as I do!

Samantha Webb.

One of my favourite background details in First Song.

Webb review – Sid the snail has lost his trail by Chloe Helene Harding

Sid The Snail Has Lost His Trail is written by Chloe Helene Harding and illustrated by Marife Gonzales, a picture book written in rhyme that aims to teach children perseverance. Sid gets separated from his mummy in bad weather and has to find his way home alone but it is not an easy journey.

Available from Shookbop.

Harrison and I really enjoyed Sid’s story, it is simple to follow and is full of heart. Sid meets lots of friends on the way and listens to their advice not to give up. I think that children will really relate to Sid, even now I can remember that fear when I was lost as a child (only for a few moments luckily) and the fear of being alone is real. It also shows that Mummy and the whole family never gave up looking for Sid either which I think is a really important part of the story too. The main theme is perseverance and that is exactly what Sid will learn by the end of his journey.

Harrison loves Sid The Snail

The illustrations by Marife Gonzales are absolutely beautiful. A mix of digital and collage with lots of texture. They are bright and impactful and match the tone of the story from page to page. My favourites were the trees, leaves and flowers whereas Harry really loved the characters especially Len the louse. It has a very cheerful overall feel to the story despite some of the darker parts when Sid is scared and lonely.

A great bedtime story.

Sid The Snail Has Lost His Trail made a great bedtime story all snuggled up and ready to sleep. We were very glad that there was a happy ending, a really warm and fuzzy happy ending to Sid’s journey. We would highly recommend this story for your bedtime routine, it was heartwarming and wholesome.

The author, Chloe Helene harding is an advocate of Growth Mindset especially in children and the book includes a great explanation about how helping a child to develop a growth mindset will help them in the future to nurture themselves and the world around them. I believe that this is incredibly important and something that is too often overlooked. Seeing it in the back of the book can be really enlightening to parents and carers, it is in my opinion a great addition. It is a great lesson for adults too and we all need a reminder sometimes.

Stour Valley Publishing are the publishers behind the story and they sent it to us for review and we are very glad that they did, we have really enjoyed getting to know Sid and the world that the author and illustrator have created together. Hopefully it is the first of many.

Harrison awarded 5 out of 5 webs.

Harrison has awarded this book 5 out of 5 webs and has asked if he can read it again soon. I think he will probably enjoy it even more when he isn’t so sleepy too.

You can get your own copy now from Shookbop.

This review is all of our own opinions and is not a paid review.

Thank you so much for reading,

Samantha and Harrison Webb.

Caran D’Ache Gouache Studio First Look

All sparkly and new!

I had a little birthday money (Thanks Grampy you are the best!) and a huge addiction to paint pallets! When I saw this giant pallet in a shop I was very intrigued, I have around 20 sets of watercolour pans but I have never seen gouache paints in pans before. My gouache sets are all liquid and although they do firm up and can be activated with water they are not as firm as actual watercolours so I had to try these paints!

Colour chart on underside of the wrapper.

The tin is also my first ever red tin and I love it. It is just over three times the size of my twelve half pan watercolour tins.

OOOHHHHHH!

There are 14 coloured pans and a tube of white. I am not sure why the white is a tube as opposed to a pan but I am assuming that it keeps its vibrancy more to use as highlights. It comes with a brush too which is always a bonus. The pans are just slightly bigger than a full watercolour pan. The perfectionist in me was annoyed with that little smudge of blue on the lid but luckily it is water activated so it came straight off (phew!).

Feeling Blue?

I sprayed the paints with water in the same way that I do with watercolour pans before I start painting with them to activate them and wow that blue sprayed a lot! It activates really easily so be careful if like me, you like to mist your paints before use.

Swatch catalogue.

I appreciate when a pallet comes with a swatch card but it is always worth swatching on the paper you use most often. I also swatch into my swatch catalogue so that I have all my swatches together, this makes it a lot easier to choose the right colours my paintings.

The paints are beautifully vibrant. They activated with the water very very easily, they didn’t break apart and were a dream to swatch with. Swatching is one of my absolute favourite parts of getting a new set and this one did not disappoint. They are very rich in colour and they seem opaque too. Perhaps not quite as opaque as the Himi gouache jelly paints but these are a lot more convenient to use than the jelly gouache set up.

Side of Pans.

Frustratingly the swatch card that came with the paints and had the names of the paints on did not have the colours in the same order as the paints were placed in the pallet. However the pans are printed on the side with the number of each colour and the pigment used which helped me find out which colour was which. It will also helps if I want to order just one pan to replace it.

Ponyo with a doughnut.

The colour selection in the pallet is pretty basic and has everything you need. I had a bit of a play mixing colours like the skin tone above and they mix really well. I used them very much like watercolour and they were really bright with the smallest amount of water. They are very smooth to paint with and not chalky at all. They dried completely matte and were easy to pencil over. My initial sketch was in red pencil and the colours concealed it brilliantly which is great if you like to do your outlines last, if you prefer to do your outlines first then you will want a more transparent paint. If you like to do a lifeless finish then I think these would work really well too but perhaps use less water than I have.

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed using these paints, I think I will reach for them often, especially when working on my children books because they are so easy to get a really bright finish. I didn’t end up using the white in the end but I am sure I will too and if it dries on the pallet I can just activate it with water again.

These paints are perfect if you like the vibrancy of gouache but the convenience of watercolour, they are a bit too big to stick in my handbag when I go out though, so if they ever do a pocket version I would definitely be getting that one for on the go too.

Thank you for reading my ramblings, I hope they have been helpful!

Samantha x

FIRST SONG Cover Reveal

First Song is a brand new book which I have spent months writing and illustrating, I am so happy to finally reveal the cover ahead of the launch on September 13th! And here it is …

First Song Written and illustrated by Samantha Webb.

First Song is the story of a very fed up big sister who is having to learn that life with a new family member isn’t all fun and games. All baby wants to do is cry and the adults just can’t seem to soothe him no matter what they try.

This story is dedicated whole heartedly to the very best big sister that I have ever known, Lilly Summer Webb. Who even now at age 13 when she should be all surly and moody, will drop everything to be there for her brother if he is hurting. Both of my Webblings inspire me constantly but the bond they share is something that is so beautiful to watch from the outside. Don’t be fooled, they fight all the time but she has his back when he needs it too.

The story is written in rhyme and is fully illustrated in a new style that I have really been enjoying and hope that you will too! None of the characters are named because I hope you have siblings that will relate to them, maybe you could name them for me?

I am a bit mad on ‘art of …’ books because I love to see the concept art behind my favourite stories. Here is a little look at some of the behind the scenes sketches from First Song, very rough ideas. The finished book is digital but all of my initial ideas are done with paper and pencil.

Big sister concept sketches.

I had quite a clear idea of how I wanted the sister to look, sort of a wild version of Lilly I suppose. I did try lots of other ideas but I kept coming back to this one.

Choosing colours.

I wanted to have a deep earthy feel to First Song but trying to decide on a colour palette without it all blending together was difficult. My initial (Top Left) idea was what I had pictured before I started creating my character but I felt like she looked a little cold and needed warming up. I decided on the bottom right as the final design.

Cornlings are planned right from the start!

It was important to know exactly where my characters would be telling their story, this is a close family living in a very cosy and warm home. Of course every story needs a Cornling too although he was moved in the final edit to somewhere else so you will have to spot him in the finished book.

A very rough sketch of the family home.

This very early family live in a cave but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be full of home comforts. My ideas are scrawled all around the sketch. This view of the home is never shown in the final story but it helped me to have a good idea of where everyone belonged.

Baby Brother.

The first coloured image of Baby Brother, he is of course crying, poor little guy. Can you guess what will soothe him? feeding? changing? maybe. Drawing a baby was a challenge but it was a fun one and I just love drawing tiny baby feet which you will see in the book.

First Song will be available on Folksy and Amazon from September 13th and I really hope that you love it but if you can’t wait until then you can buy my previous titles from my Folksy shop and have them signed!

I am excited to see it in print so I best go and sort all of the finishing touches now! Look out for a preorder soon.

Thanks for reading,

Samantha Webbb.

Lino Carving And Printing For The First Time

I have admired print artists for a very long time. The art of Lino printing dates back as far as the 1890s but more contemporary work by artists like The Black Pug Press or Ink Press Repeat are so inspiring and look so ridiculously complicated so I have come into this process with more than a little trepidation and very little hope of creating anything worthwhile. That being said, I love paper, paint, ink, creating and experimenting so when I got the chance to try it out I really could not resist.

Spurred on by a YouTube video by Mira Byler , I decided to give it a proper go. After all, it is experimenting and the worst that can happen is that I end up with some more scrap paper to make collages.

I purchased the Essdee Lino Cutting and Printing Kit from Hobbycraft and read the instructions fully. It seemed simple but so scary. The Lino itself is not the cheapest thing to replace if you make a mistake so there would be no starting from scratch and no undo button, I would have to print whatever I managed to carve.

I decided that I didn’t want to try and carve anything too fiddly or small so it had to be a dinosaur of course but a dino with a difference. This one has fairy wings simply because when I was drawing on the tracing paper I had an image of wings underneath from a previous project and they just looked too cute not to add them. The following pictures are in no way intended as a tutorial, I am still not sure if I am doing this correctly but this is what I created and how I created it.

I drew my plesiosaur onto the tracing paper and added wings.
I transferred it onto the Lino.
I cut all around it and cut off the edges to use on later projects.
Doesn’t he look cute all inked up?
First ever Lino print.

I spent a long time cutting out all of the details, the wings took a lot of brain work to figure out which bits to carve and which bits to leave. Seeing him all inked up though and ready to print was the best thing ever, it was as though the ink had bought him to life. I have never been so nervous with a new art supply I don’t think than testing this print for the first time. At this point I had spent hours on it and might end up with something awful. I took my time and held my breath as I positioned the paper on top of the lino. When I lifted it off I actually squealed with delight. It was even better than I thought it would be, it has little whispy bits where I didn’t quite carve every bit but I actually like that about it. It looks and feels handmade and not digital which is exactly what I was hoping for.

I used the off cuts to make the little cup shown below. I almost immediately ordered metallic ink and a few colours although the more I do, the more I am preferring the black ink. I have spent a few evenings now carving Lino, it has become quite addictive. I am not sure where it will feature in my illustration work, it may never but it is giving me a new perspective on shape and silhouette that will inform my art in the future. I may even make some prints for my Folksy shop if I ever create something that I am 100% happy with. For now it is a relaxing hobby that makes my brain work just a little harder.

It is a terrifying art form to get into to begin with, you just don’t know what you will end up with but there are few mediums that are as rewarding at the end and the bonus is that once you have carved something you are happy with you can print it over and over as much as you like. Look out for more Lino printing on my social medias in the future because I will definitely be creating more!

Thank you so much for reading my blog, if you have more print artists that you think I should see please let me know! Or if you have any tips and tricks that might of been missing from the starter set too, that would be really helpful too.

Samantha x

Part Time Artist, Full Time Mum, All The Time Tea Drinker!

During term time I work full time hours illustrating and creating but during the school holidays my Webblings, Lilly and Harrison, come first. They are at an age where in all honesty they would be happy to stay in front of the screen for the whole entire holiday and not get bored but since we can finally go out, I didn’t want them to spend all week ruining their eyesight. I also struggle with sensory overload and two many screens on at once drives me slightly batty (and no they won’t be happy to watch the same thing, it is not worth the fight!)

Webb Family.

However all of that is easier said than done, I still have work to do and cannot afford to take every school holiday off of work and if I go more than a day without drawing I get almost as cranky as if I try to go a day without tea. So there has to be some balance.

Last week was half term and we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the beautiful Devon and Cornwall coast and countryside. Now that we are allowed out we wanted to make the most of it and to hopefully create some memories for our Webblings. This blog post is a bit like a diary of what we got up to and how I managed to sprinkle a little creativity into it too.

Lilly is a figure skater and despite the worldwide issues that have meant our local rink is still closed, Lilly has continued to train and improve and is very eager to get back onto the ice as soon as possible. While she trains with her amazing coach, Debbie Marsh, the rest of us wonder around the woods and have a play on the skate park (Minus the skates or skateboard). Harry always takes some form of screen in case we need to stay in the car rather than get soggy in the rain but we do try to get out and walk around if it isn’t too muddy! Jamie was very confident getting to the top of the skate ramp but then not is much when it came to getting down. Luckily we managed to have no accidents on this journey.

I didn’t do any work on this day but days like this in the fresh air, watching my family have fun are days that make me feel more inspired. Walking around the woods is one of the main inspirations for my book Sass Feels Lonely. I think that the fresh air blows off the cobwebs and you start to generate new ideas. I always have my phone on me (a blessing and a curse) and I have filled my notes app with so many ideas or fragments of ideas whilst we have been on trips like this where it is too wet to sit and draw or paint.

On bank holiday Monday we were amazed to get an actual sunny bank holiday and we didn’t waste it. We got in the car (we have a red and white mini called Sally!) and headed to World Of Country Life in Exmouth. It was really amazing. We got to see a lot of the animals up close and they looked really well cared for, they had a lot of wide open spaces and the staff seemed to genuinely care for them. Harry has discovered one of my old point and shoot cameras and he spent a lot of the day snapping away at everything from vintage cars to baby goats. He even managed to get a few pictures of me too! We had a brilliant day and I highly recommend it if you are in the area.

As you can imagine it was a full on day and there was time for a game of ping pong with the husband but sadly no art. However on the way back we decided it would be rude to go all that way and not have chips on the beach so that is exactly what we did, followed by ice cream of course. Exmouth beach is very sandy and with the sun shining you could easily believe you were somewhere more tropical. I sat on the beach watching the Webblings play, Harry burying himself and Lilly making a TikTok and I managed to do a few doodles in my scrappy little sketchbook that I take everywhere. These are life drawings and gesture practice not intended as final images but the process of creating them has improved my art and I urge everyone artist or not to take a sketchbook with them and doodle every chance you get!

We also managed to visit family over the holiday and as I am from a big family we managed to have some very fun water fights and barbecues during the days. Lilly and Harrison managed to spend a lot of time in Nanny’s garden with their cousins, they painted rocks and canvases, drew on the path with chalk and bounced a lot on the trampoline. The nice weather was a real bonus. My five year old nephew Toby dared me to paint Nanny’s house and of course being his crazy aunty (he has plenty of sensible ones don’t worry) I got out my paints and a watercolour book that I carry with me and painted a stylised version of my mums house. Toby declared that I am “like an artist” which was one of the best compliments that I have ever had!

We spent the evenings watching Taskmaster mostly which the Webblings find hilarious. Some of the challenges are completely absurd and I love to hear what the Webblings would do to complete them if they were on the show. If you haven’t seen it then it isn for young children because some of the language isn’t great but for slightly bigger kids and adults it is great fun. During these TV sessions I managed to squeeze in a few hours of commission work, mostly for the amazing Nurture Programme and I am very lucky that they are incredibly patient working parents themselves who understand that things take a little longer during school holidays.

Sample of Connie for The Nurture Programme.

We were invited to meet up with one of my very best friends and her beautiful son to journey over the Tamar Bridge into Cornwall and visit Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary and although it is a very small park it is very special because all of the animals have been rescued from the pet trade or other zoos. They have no breeding programme and are a real sanctuary for the animals in their care. It rained but we didn’t let that stop us. Harry was armed with his camera once more and we managed to see some adorable meerkats and amazing racoon dogs. It was a great morning out. We obviously needed hot chocolate to warm us up on the way home though!

To end the holiday it wouldn’t be a Webb holiday if we didn’t get up to the moors so on Sunday evening we took a spontaneous trip to Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor, my favourite place in the world! The sun was shining and there were a lot of people around but we managed to find some secluded spots for a nice cup of tea and the perfect end to a wonderful week. It is Tuesday now and I am still exhausted. I am not a fan of the 6am alarm at all but I am glad that we made time to make memories with our Webblings before they are too old to want to do day trips with us. I will catch up with work I didn’t manage to complete this week but I won’t ever have the chance to catch up with the Webblings at this stage ever again. It is really important to me that they know that even though I work, and I am so blessed because I absolutely love my job, I will always down the paintbrushes for just a chance to spend time with them!

I did manage to get my Kuretaki paints out on Sunday night and do a little paint doodle to end my week, inspired by the fairies and elves that we were pretending lived among the bluebells as bluebell farmers playing in the blossom.

Little Pixies playing in blossom by Samantha Webb.

Thank you so much for reading about my week and about how I fit in my career around parenting or rather how I don’t really do much work when my children are not at school. I am still trying to find the balance and I will keep trying. If you have any suggestions for how to better manage my time or for days out that you think we will enjoy then please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Samantha x