COCOSKIES | An art blog: 2012


Twenty thirteen

Above: my artwork and not a lot of space.
Just thought I'd do a quick post to say have a happy New Year whatever you're doing! Also thank you so much for following my blog; hopefully there will be plenty more art work to come in the New Year.


Season's greetings

Secret santa gift and Mac Russian Red lipstick.
Hello everyone, I hope this festive season is treating you and your families well. I can't believe it's nearly 2013 already! Where has the year gone? My blog will be two years old on January the 3rd - I almost didn't realise. I just thought I'd finish the year off by sharing some of my favourite things I got for Christmas.

Above is my secret Santa gift that I received from Maya. I am super jealous of her as she lives and studies in NYC. She wrote me the loveliest of cards that reflected on our London meet-up early last year. It was the best! Along with the card, she sent me some really nice Marc Jacobs items. They are so pretty and exactly what I'd go for if I was shopping in NYC myself. So, thank you so much Maya! Hopefully we will all have a massive meet up again, this time in NYC.

One of my favourite presents this year was from my sister. I've been on the hunt for a red lipstick that isn't too bright and slightly darker than the ones I currently have. So this Mac Russian Red lipstick was perfect. Mac lipsticks smell like chocolate too so that was a bonus. She also got me this cute Cath Kidston teapot which I also love! I've wanted one for ages after my last one broke because I used it so much.

Here is a winter playlist for you all: click here.

What was your favourite gift this year? :)



Snippets of Aesthetic Magazine (now on sale here). Christmas tree decorations and my artwork on a t-shirt.
A new season calls for a new edition of Aesthetic Magazine, and it brings me great pleasure to introduce you to the 'Winter Warmers' issue now on sale. It's packed with illustrations, photography, food, travel, beauty and fashion. Perfect for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in the cosy depths of Winter. Above are a few previews of what to expect inside featuring the beautiful photography of Lily, a wonderfully written piece by Bee complimented by the illustrative work of Ella Masters. I feel like Aesthetic Magazine has come so far in a very short space of time, evolving into something greater with each issue. A massive thank you to everyone who has helped Aesthetic Mag to truly blossom!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a lovely lady named Emily from who kindly offered to transfer my artwork on to a t-shirt. I was ridiculously excited when it arrived (as you can tell) because I've never had my artwork printed onto anything before. I think it turned out great!


Louis Vuitton S/S12

Watercolour & Prismacolor.
It's that time of year again where the last Autumn leaves are beginning to fall, gradually shifting us into the Winter months. Luckily I managed to push some time aside this week to do a few paintings. It always feels quite therapeutic when I've not done anything in a while.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram you will have seen me posting snippets of this painting the other night. I didn't really mention what it was for, but I can reveal it's for the next issue of Aesthetic Magazine! It's going to be a Wintery edition, filled with everything Christmas-related. I'm really excited for you all to see!

I hope you're all well and wrapping up warm for the cold months ahead.


Art Class Wednesdays

Prismacolor on brown card.
When I saw that Bec Winnel was doing a live art tutorial I knew I had to watch it. Her work is not only beautiful but it is incredibly realistic. (I'm usually drawn to any art that combines both beauty and technical skill). She posts a lot of framed work on Instagram and it kind of reminds me of the mirror on Snow White because the faces look like 3D faces trapped behind glass.

On Wednesday Bec held a Google+ event, unfortunately I couldn't see it live due to time zones but I did manage to watch it back on Youtube on Thursday. Which I suppose was better because I could pause it and go at my own pace. Anyway this is how mine turned out, I used a different reference image to Bec - hence the blue iris. But overall I'm really happy with how it turned out!

And I did actually learn something by watching. About half way through drawing mine I thought 'hmmm this isn't really going anywhere, it's not looking very realistic' but I patiently kept on adding more details and gradually it turned into a beautiful eye. I have so much respect for Bec for being able to draw whole faces to a realistic standard. Just drawing one eye took me forever.

If you'd like to watch the video and take part go here. (It will open a new window). And if you want to Instagram your result don't forget to hashtag it '#ArtClassWednesday'.


Art supply storage

1. £5.99 H&M, 2. £4.25 Ebay, 3. £6.74 Ebay, 4. £19.67 Amazon, 5. £11.49 Ebay, 6. £2.25 Ikea.
Now I usually use old glass jars (and basically anything I can get my hands on) to store pencils and things in, but over the past couple of months I've been hoarding more and more art materials. So I thought I'd go on a hunt for some pretty ways of storing them.

I thought I would share my finds because lets face it, I'm presuming most people have desks. And I know most of my readers are students! I think it can be something that people just kind of forget but in my room, my desk is the central feature that ties everything together.

So, why not make it look nice?


LFW: Daks

Daks (Ready to wear S/S 2013). Prismacolor pencils on brown paper.
The other day I was trawling through some of the London Fashion Week videos/photos and this collection really caught my eye. White dresses always look lovely which made this collection so elegant. So I thought I'd have a go at sketching a few. I was planning to do about three but spent more time than anticipated on this one. I'm really liking how Prismacolor pencils blend so nicely, allowing you to create a nice skin tone!

On Monday I'll be back at Uni again - so a massive stationary and winter clothing shopping spree is in order! I've also been thinking of buying a Kanken for a while now, so I'm finally going to bite the bullet and get one. ^_^

Hope you're all having a great weekend!
And hello to my new followers!


Barista creations

Hi everyone, how are you all today? Today is my birthday! But I don't have anything planned till Tuesday so I'm just having a nice chilled out day.

I did this painting two nights ago. It was made for a friend at work who is taking part in an annual barista competition held by my company. Can you guess where I work from the picture? ;)

She has done amazingly well so far, she's beaten four other baristas in our city and also won the regional heats. So because of this she's had to invent her own hot and cold beverages. Each beverage has to be presented to judges and part of that involves making a menu. Her drinks are essentially Thai-inspired americanos, so we thought it would be nice to use some tropical flowers! Flowers always turn out nicely in watercolours too.

It's incredibly tough, the early stages involved making perfect, standard coffee-based drinks such as lattes, americanos, cappuccinos and flat whites. But the flat white had to have a perfect florette, the froth on the lattes had to be specific in millimetres and the cappuccinos had to have a perfect circle of espresso around the froth.

Despite all of this, I'm really looking forward to seeing how far she goes, I know she will prosper and do our store proud!


Keep your head up

Fineliner on Moleskine.
I've wanted to visually present these lyrics for a while now, I just love Ben Howard's album so much and this is my favourite song on there.

Alice in Summerland

Aesthetic Magazine and the cutest diary I've ever owned from Ebay found through Katie's lovely blog. Below: A an illustration done using watercolour.
This is one I did for Aesthetic Magazine! We were trying something new, which involved basically imagining and creating a made-up editorial! This wasn't meant to look like Alice in Wonderland, but it was just something I noticed afterwards.

Aesthetic Magazine is doing brilliantly at the moment, it's been really overwhelming seeing how much support there's been. And it seems that the bloggers who helped contribute towards this issue are just as proud as us! Every time I scroll through my Instagram feed I usually catch a glimpse of our writers posting pictures of their articles in print. Remember, you saw their work here first before you saw it in Vogue! ;)

We've actually sold out at the moment! But due to the large interest generated I believe that Michelle has ordered another batch of magazines. If you feel like you've missed out and would like a copy remember to follow @AestheticMag for all the latest news.

This Blogland edition features the work of Lily, Victoria, Olivia, Zoe as well as many other talented ladies. So it's definitely not one to be missed!



Daphne Groeneveld

Prismacolor pencils & brown paper
So today my Prismacolor pencils arrived. Yay! I was actually really surprised how fast they came, I only got a dispatch email yesterday. I couldn't wait to try them out after hearing so many good things about them. Before I bought them I'd been using some WHSmith ones, which were pretty decent for £7.00. I'd say that the colours are just as good as the Prismacolors. But the Prismacolors have a better variety of skin tone colours, and they blend really nicely.

I did this drawing because I've always wanted to draw Daphne Groeneveld, I think she has such a pretty little face! It's not quite finished yet though, I think I might shade the face a bit more and add a few strands of hair. I don't know, I'm indecisive sometimes.

Hope you all had a good Bank Holiday! But if you're on your summer holidays anyway, it probably makes no difference. :)


Les yeux

Corrugated cardboard, pencil crayons and Sharpie poster-paint pen.
Call me weird, but I love drawing on brown card/paper. Everytime I buy something from Amazon, I save (/hoard) the packaging purely for this purpose. I think brown card is really good for skin tones in particular. But maybe I'll refrain from using corrugated cardboard next time, because I've actually punctured a tiny hole in the drawing. See if you can spot it! I have a brown paper sketchbook so I'll probably use that next time.

As much as I love using bright watercolours, it was nice to take a break from them and try something new and slightly more muted. I really like how the eyes have turned out in this. To add a sheen of moisture I've just added a tiny bit of Sharpie poster-paint pen on each iris. It's made so much difference.

I've ordered some new pencil crayons, so hopefully I'll be doing more like this in the future. The reference I used was an Asos model. I really hope you like this one, even though it's a bit different from my regular stuff.


This week's Instagram favourites

@adamsenatori, @mehmetsert75, @adrianasinke, @jonforeman, @adamsenatori, @shanluk2,
@gunhp, @hellohackney.
Hi guys! I've not been a member of Instagram long but I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourites from this week and introduce you to some new people to follow.

Also, is anybody else suffering from Post Olympics Depression? I know I am! It's sad switching on BBC One in the morning and seeing 'Heir Hunters' on instead of the Olympic Breakfast show. I'm really happy that the Paralympics will be on soon though, it means that we don't have to say goodbye to London just yet.

I loved Ed Sheeran's cover of Pink Floyd's 'Wish you were here' at the closing ceremony, so I just thought I'd share it here. Enjoy!


Summer treats

So I finally finished my Blackberry contract and joined the iPhone brigade the other day. I know that Blackberrys usually have a bad reputation, but I can happily say that in the two years I had mine it didn't break once. But sadly it was time to say goodbye and move on. A small part of me misses being so familiar with it, but at the same time I'm in awe of my new phone. It's amazing. I feel so behind, but there are so many cool apps out there! If anyone has any recommendations I'll definitely check them out!

I was also going to use this post to say 'add me on Draw Something', but the other day I sat down to play it and before I knew it four hours had passed. So I deleted it because I could feel myself becoming addicted. Haha.



I finally an Instagram account! You can follow me @Philippa_V. There's nothing on there yet, but it will probably turn into an amalgam of food and art pictures.


Aesthetic Magazine: The Blogland Edition

Well, I can happily announce that The Blogland Edition of Aesthetic Magazine has finally landed! Months of hard work and preparation from our writers and illustrators have gone into producing this beautiful second issue. And from what I've read and seen so far, the articles have been written to a truly professional standard; we are so privileged to have had the chance work with so many talented bloggers and can't thank them enough.

Interwoven with the beautiful words are lots of vibrant illustrations that have been painted by myself, Ella and Katie. Our art styles are so different, but somehow they work together! There is also some stunning photography in there by the insanely talented Lily but I won't reveal too much! ;)

I would love for you all to get a glimpse into the whimsical, dreamy world of Aesthetic Magazine. We are currently taking pre-orders, for just £4 + postage you can own a copy of Aesthetic Magazine! Not bad ey? Where can I buy it? I hear you ask... Just click on the link on my side bar, and it will take you straight there!

BIG BIG thank you to Michelle who has worked incredibly hard to string everything together. If it wasn't for her hard work over the past couple of months, Aesthetic Magazine would be non-existent.



Miso lace top, Glamorous Paisley print shorts, Acne jumper, Dorothy Perkins tan sandals, Céline bag, Asos watch.


Giveaway winners

Thank you to everyone that entered; sadly there could only be two winners. Congratulations to Islay and Amy, you are my winners and I will be emailing you girls shortly!

P.s. At the moment I'm currently creating loads of illustrations for the next issue of Aesthetic Magazine. I really want to show you all but you'll have to wait! Sorry for my sporadic posting haha :)


A little wishlist

Dream broderie anglaise top by Isabel Marant , Bitten leather platform sandals from Asos, Wayfarer-style acetate sunglasses by Céline, Broderie skirt from Oasis, Chloé Madeleine leather duffle bag, Opi nail polish in 'Bubble Bath'.
The more I read fashion blogs the more I feel that my own style is gravitating towards something new. Right now I'm really liking skirts that have a faded blue tone - like the one above. I've been admiring similar shades sported by Aimee and Rumi, and I just think that these pale shades compliment lightly tanned skin beautifully. Throw in a leather tan bag, shoes and tortoiseshell sunglasses and you've got yourself a winning combination.


Zakynthos, Greece

Blue dresses: Both from H&M, White lace dress: Topshop, Tropical shorts from Bar III (at Macy's) . All photos were taken using a Canon 1000D.
It's so sad to see that Greece's economy is suffering at the moment. Greek people are so lovely and hospitable, they greet you like a family member they haven't seen in years. The islands themselves are wreathed with flowers, spread across old white Mediterranean style buildings. Greece is the kind of place that seems to have a natural beauty about it. When I hear that less people are travelling there it makes me sad. They are grateful that people decide to vacate there, so don't let the euro-crisis put you off. I hope that my photos project this and hopefully convince you to visit one day.

Here are my photos from the lovely Ionian Island of Zakynthos. I am so bad at narrowing photos down to my favourites, so apologies for so many pictures of the beautiful turquoise sea. Bear in mind that I live in the rural England so it's only natural to get excited when the ocean is in sight.

I only went for a week but I'm so grateful that I was able to just escape to a beautiful sun drenched island for a bit. Visiting Greece has definitely propelled my desire to travel even more. The temperature never dropped below 30 degrees, but I didn't mind because I was able to wear some of the sun dresses I'd be eyeing up throughout the year.

The pictures with the bright turquoise water gently lapping up on the white sands were taken at Navagio/Shipwreck beach, it's only accessible by boat. Definitely a must see if you ever visit. You can sometimes spot turtles and dolphins depending on the time of year you visit. The boat trip we went on sailed around the peripheries of the island and was about 22 Euros. Not bad at all.

Not only is Greece surrounded by the beautiful blue waters, but it also contains many varieties of flowers. I always find myself attempting to take a few quick snaps of them. I'm not sure of their proper name, but there are loads of bright red hibiscus-looking flowers draped all over white buildings around the island. So pretty.

I hope you enjoy looking at my pictures, and I hope that if you're going on holiday soon this post makes you even more excited to travel. I've posted where my dresses are from, but if you want to ask me anything else regarding this particular post leave me a comment and I'll get back to you soon.


I'm back from Greece

Hey guys, just thought I'd let you know that I'm back and I was pleasantly surprised to see loads of new giveaway entries! Here's a picture of Charlotte Free I drew from Marie Claire Magazine in the trusty Moleskine last week. I have so many photos from my trip; I'll probably get round to posting them some time this week. Hope you're all well!


New layout

After a whole morning spent trying to fathom image mapping my new layout is finally up! I really hope you all like it. I myself was getting a bit bored of seeing 'COCOSKIES' in plain black text on the side bar - plus I'm naturally a very indecisive person. All the links are now in the header, I'll let you discover them yourselves. :)


Holiday outfit plans

I decided that the best way to justify not spending any more money on holiday clothes would be to plan each outfit in advance, so that's precicely what I've done. I've been spending a lot recently. My self control appears to have completely vanished. Ooops. I need to start saving again after my holiday! I'll be leaving on Friday and staying out there for a week. I can't wait! Just got to go on a last minute shop for mozzy cream and I'll be sorted.

I'm also planning on drastically changing my layout. I sketched out a header idea last night and I'm going to paint it today. I'm excited to put it on the blog.


Oreo brownies

Cookies and cream fudge brownies by Lorraine Pascale. Original recipe can be found here.
On twitter I promised that I would share the brownie recipe I was using if they were any good, so here it is! I don't know if my picture does them justice but they really were delicious! Lorraine Pascale really knows her stuff when it comes to baking. The recipe contains Oreos which automatically makes it a winning recipe for me. I was expecting the biscuits to stay quite crunchy (strange logic) but they just seemed to melt into the brownie mixture - so good! So here's the recipe, promise me you'll treat yourself to some of these this week! They'd go perfectly with a nice big cup of tea.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in square baking tin with butter, then line with baking paper with the paper overlapping the sides a little.

2. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated (or chopped) chocolate. Leave to stand for a few minutes, or until the chocolate melts, and then stir together. Alternatively, you can put the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt in the microwave in 25-second blasts, stirring well each time.

3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until the eggs begin to get light and fluffy. Add the sugar in two additions, whisking between each. Pour it around the side of the egg mix so as not to knock out the air that has been whisked in. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes stiffer. Once the egg mixture is ready, pour the chocolate into it - again around the sides so as not to knock the air out.

4. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and a third of the biscuits and stir until fully combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter the remaining biscuits over the top, pressing them in slightly. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes. The middle should be very so slightly gooey. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin - the top will sink and crack a little.

5. Pull the brownies out using the overlapping paper and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar.

Giveaway time!

Examples: 1.portrait, 2.Outfit snippet, 3.Wishlist.
Over the Summer I will be opening a little illustration shop - you may have seen this advertised on my side bar. I've been planning on selling custom watercolour illustrations for a while now. It was just a matter of time waiting for the academic year to finish. The illustrations will be a small price and can be used for things such as blog headers, blog profile pictures and posts! Each illustration will be unique as it is made just for you. The picture above shows a few examples of my painting style and the types of things I can do.

I decided to do this giveaway not just advertise my upcoming shop but to thank my readers for sticking with me. I really enjoy reading all the comments I receive and they inspire me so much to continue making art.

A few things to note about the giveaway: you can only enter by using the Rafflecopter app (comments won't be counted as entries), there will be two winners, the illustration will be a portrait (above: option 1), the illustrations will be scanned and emailed (you will not receive the original), the winners will receive an email with further details, the giveaway will end on the 30th of June.

If you do not win but would like a personalised watercolour image, you can always buy one from my shop which will be opening soon. Keep checking the sidebar for a link.

Best of luck!

P.s. Oh and before I forget, a big thank you to Pugly pixel for featuring me on her blog this week! If you would like to learn how make a magazine-style caption for your blog posts (like mine), head over there and find out how to do this using css.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edit: Please make sure that you are actually doing the things you've ticked on the Rafflecopter app. I've been checking the entries today, most comply with the rules but there have been some saying they're following on twitter for example, when they're definitely not. These entries have since been deleted. When the winners are randomly picked I will be double checking those entries too.

Recent purchases

Left to right: Benefit Porefessional courtesy of Glamour Magazine, Large Cross necklace from Sitting Pretty, Glamour Magazine, Barry M nail varnish in 'Strawberry Ice-cream' (309),Topshop blush in 'Flush' and Company Magazine.
Yay for exams being over! I can finally put some time aside to blog and sketch without feeling guilty. Woohoo. I thought I'd kick off the week by posting some recent purchases because I love experimenting with Photoshop curves at the moment.


Jazzy Elizabeth's essentials

One I did a while ago for I can't remember if I posted this already.


Kitkats from Japan

Kitkat flavours: Green tea, Satura green tea and Strawberry.
Ahhh I love sending/receiving parcels so much! A few months ago Anamei and I decided to do a little candy exchange. Fresh from a visit to Japan she kindly offered to send me some of these cool Kitkats! Being a sweet-tooth I obviously couldn't resist, so in return I sent her some British sweets/chocolate. Seriously though, how cool do these look?! The colour is so nice compared to the standard milk chocolate ones we have here, and the packaging is cute too! What's even more exciting is that Anamei is coming to England next year and me, my sister and her are finally going to meet up. Yay!!

This summer I would really love to send more candy overseas. In the past I've exchanged packages with American and Canadian friends, so that would be nice to do again. If anyone's interested in this drop me a message on twitter and I'll try and organise something.


Summer wishlist

'Audrey' Sunglasses in tortoiseshell: Celine, Skater Dress: Vero Moda via Asos, Shoes: Asos.
Admittedly, the Sunglasses are quite expensive for my student-self. But I am tempted to buy the shoes and the dress for Summer. Also, I'm really starting to like working with watercolours now. :)


Aesthetic Magazine

Hey guys! A few months ago I was contacted by fellow blogger Michelle of Daisybutter to do some illustrations for her magazine. After watching programs such as Ugly Betty I instantly felt so excited to contribute! Getting work published in a magazine is like a dream for me.

When you have a look you will see that Michelle has put so much work into perfecting it, each page just seems to ooze elegance. I believe she originally made it for her third year Uni project, but we're hoping to continue making issues of Aesthetic Magazine. Since the target audience is predominantly fashion bloggers, we're looking for like-minded people to help contribute towards the next issue. So if you're a photographer, an artist, or a passionate writer that would like to have your work featured be sure to follow the Aesthetic Magazine blog! We'll let you know of the opportunities coming up.

More information:

Aesthetic is the young feminine professionals’ magazine with distinctive fashion flair. Created for the educated, stylish and creative graduate, Aesthetic aims to ensure that the Aesthetic reader conquers the working world, one Louboutin-heeled step at a time. Aesthetic brings the perfect blend of beautiful clothes, luxury leathers, off-the-cuff shopping destinations, interiors and cuisine amongst much more. Fresh and quirky, classic and conventional, inspirational and accessible, opinionated and cultured, creative and ambitious: this is the modern-day female Aesthetic.


An injection of Summer

Gouache paint.
I can't believe my first year of University has almost gone by already! It has seriously flown. In a way I'm glad, I feel like I've needed a proper break for a while. I think it's important to come back nice and refreshed or you'll just end up feeling apathetic towards whatever you're doing.

So today I decided to treat myself to a bit of art after completing a philosophy essay that took a lot longer than I anticipated. It was kind of weird at first, I had a bit of an artistic block because I hadn't done anything in so long. But after browsing Pinterest for a bit I felt inspired. I wanted to do something bright and summery, so here's the result.

Oh also! I now have a Society 6 account. So if you're interested in getting this particular watercolour design as an iphone case, laptop/ipad skin or print then head over there!


Kristina Romanova

Painting done using gouache paint.
Hello everyone, it's been so long since I last posted! How are you all? Today I felt like I needed a break from Uni work so I decided to paint something. A while back I did a painting of Lily Donaldson in black and white and I really liked how it turned out so I decided to paint another. Also, not sure if you've had a look but I've added a links page. Please check out the people on there, their blogs are amazing!