COCOSKIES | An art blog: 2014


Etsy Print Love

Image Map
None of the prints in this post were created by me.
Just a friendly reminder to support your independent businesses this Christmas! There are so many unique gifts that can be found on Etsy but I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite print artists! If you see a print you like, click it and it should take you straight to the owner's shop.


Japan: Land of the Rising Sun

Location: Osaka Castle, Japan.
I arrived late during the evening but the efficiency of everything was instantly noticeable. What stood out to me most was the lack of wastefulness. People don't occupy unnecessary space if they don't need to, they simply use just enough to meet their needs. The parking spaces are just enough to squeeze a car into, as are the small eateries that line the main subway stations. Osaka City (or Osaka-Shi, locally) is currently the thirteenth largest city in the world, just behind Beijing. It has one of the highest longevity rates, yet the country's fertility-rate is rapidly declining. Combined, these two factors have led to the current Japanese population being predominantly elderly. It isn't unusual to see a senior citizen working late in the Subway, which surprised me at first because it's quite a rare sight in the UK. But as with anything, the longer you are exposed to it, the more familiar the occurrence becomes. Even though Osaka in particular has a high population density, it is a surprisingly clean city. Everybody contributes by doing their small part. There is a strong sense of pride that derives from keeping everything orderly and maintaining this gratification extends well beyond the boundaries of the home.

Very early on in the trip I began to realise that 9 days was probably not enough to adequately document the rich culture that nestles within this amazing country. Though, I have tried my best. The next series of posts are going to focus on my travels around Japan, I really hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed my time there. If you want to ask me anything along the way, go for it! I always enjoy reading your comments.


Creativity blog hop

I was tagged by the lovely Jane to take part in a blog hop on the topic of creativity. These were the questions:

What am I working on?
I am currently working on expanding the travel section of my blog! And, just posting more in general!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I suppose the norm with travel blog/posts is to post photos and a summary of the day's itinerary. I love reading these types of post but at the same time I'd like to put my own spin on them. My aim is to try and do more illustrations when I go away. I want to keep a visual journal of the different food and places I experience because I think it makes it more personal! I guess with illustrations you can use them to try and highlight the simple beauty in things that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Why do I write/create what I do?
Honestly, from a very young age I have always felt a compulsion to create. I enjoy the process. The only way to really describe it is through the analogy of an action potential waiting to release neurons. If I don't create something for ages, it's difficult to focus on completing other tasks. I loved Uni, but I found it particularly challenging going for long periods of time without being able to do something I really enioy! It's strange, but I need to get my creative fill!

How does my writing/creating process work?
Ideas almost always seem to come to me when I'm occupied with something else (usually important). Whenever I had an essay to write at Uni I would always get a wave of ideas with no time to develop them further. But weirdly, if I set aside time to think of new ideas they just don't seem to roll in like when you're busy. However, if I am fortunate enough to have time to develop concepts that have caught me off-guard, these initial thoughts usually act as the base of my creative process. I'd usually roughly sketch those ideas with a biro into an old notebook, because knowing me I will forget them instantly otherwise! From there I'll play around with the position of the elements and see which configuration I like best. Next I experiment with colour schemes, but most of the time (if it's a painting) I'll choose the colours as I'm going along.

I will be tagging some other creative bloggers very soon to also take part, so check your emails! :)


The Laife Journal

Watercolour painting for Anna who blogs at The Laife Journal.
Hello everyone! If you're a regular visitor you may have noticed a few minor tweaks to the blog. I've made the content column a bit wider, I was playing around with it earlier and the photos just looked so much more pristine. So I'm going to leave it that way for a while I think. I will eventually get around to making a new header to accompany it, but commissioned work will always take priority until then.

A while ago I started making a header for my Uni friend Anna (I think I mentioned this a few posts back). But, yesterday I finally finished it along with the blog layout! It's taken me ages because I've been doing lots of other things in between, but I'm happy to make a friend happy by setting them off on their little blogging journey. The piece above was the final instalment of a series of paintings, each of which represent a distinct category of posts.

Anna will be blogging over at The Laife Journal - we thought it would be nice to integrate her surname, Lai, into the name! If you have a few minutes please pop over, say Hello and give her follow. She is new to the game, as we all were once, I'm sure she would love to be introduced to you lovely bloggers! Can I just say as well, she already has about 8 travel posts lined up - at this early stage, I'm already amazed at her blog organisation skills! Wish I had those skills haha.


New in

Everything from Ikea
The other day we ventured up to Leeds to drop my sister off at Uni. It made me feel so nostalgic seeing all the freshers getting accommodated in a new city. While we were there we couldn't resist having a look around Ikea. I absolutely love that store! I entered with the mindset that I would just be picking up a few notepads, what I left with was less money than I intended. Part of it was due to not knowing when we'd be back, as we, sadly, don't have an Ikea close to where we live. So I thought it would be good to stock up on things while we were there.

I bought this small glass vase which is perfect for storing my paintbrushes. Next, I bought a few more notepads. The paper quality isn't the best by no means, but they're relatively cheap, and I think you want something like that for sketching ideas and quick lists. I have wanted a low-maintenance plant like a cactus for a while so I picked up this 3-pack, they've really helped to rejuvenate my desk! Finally, I couldn't resist throwing in a few scented candles too, it was difficult narrowing down the choices.

Vans (Asos), GoPro Hero+ Silver edition, & leaf print bikini (Asos)
A few things I've acquired for the next adventure - minus the cactus. My old blue Vans were getting a little run-down so when I saw that Asos were having a '20% off everything' day I jumped at the opportunity of purchasing a new pair.

Next up the GoPro! I've wanted one of these for a while but at the time couldn't justify buying one. However, my next travel dates are quickly emerging and I know that I definitely want to have a go at making a film this time. I usually bring disposable, waterproof cameras on holiday anyway so I guess this was the next, inevitable, step up!

Finally, a beautiful leaf print bikini, I love the Martinique vibes it has going on.

Rowdy Kittens

A recent header commission for the lovely Tammy! Check out her little blog here! (:


Another part of the header I said I was making for a friend on this post.


Ramen and Sushi

Watercolour and white gel pen.
Whenever someone tells me that they're thinking of starting a blog I always encourage them to do it. Creating my blog has enabled me to meet so many great people and has presented me with many opportunities that I wouldn't have found otherwise. It's just so therapeutic as well, I find, in that it's like keeping a little journal. So when a good friend from Uni told me that she was thinking of making one I was over the moon! It will be nice way to check in on each other's lives too, since we won't see each other as much anymore.

The picture above is going to be part of the header for it - which I will post when it's all finished! I bought a white gel pen a few weeks and it's been so handy in filling in little details on paintings, I would definitely recommend getting one if you use watercolours a lot.

Now, you may have already seen this on the sidebar, but if you could spare a vote for me in the Big Blog Exchange competition I would be extremely grateful! It's a competition where the winner gets to swap countries with another blogger for 10 days - all expenses paid. You could go anywhere in the world! How exciting.

You can vote for me here!

In the comments let me know if you've entered and where you would like to go to if you won.

If you've already voted, you are an absolute star, thank you!

Also, there's a new playlist for you guys in the sidebar!


Seaweed Kisses header illustration

Seaweed Kisses header illustration
Thought I would share with you guys a recent commission!

This one was made for the lovely Michelle over at Seaweed Kisses. If you are into snail mail, stationery and journaling make sure you head over to her little blog! We both share a love for a lot of the same things so this one was fun to create!

Right now I have quite a lot of free time on my hands, so while I do I'm offering you the chance to rejuvenate your blog with a new header created by me.

If you would like a customised header like the one above for your blog, get in touch! Before you send me an email have a good think about what sort of things you feel best represent you. What are you passionate about? Do you have a favourite food? A favourite place to travel to? A favourite magazine? A favourite flower? A favourite perfume? It can be absolutely anything under the sun - so long as it can be illustrated. For a limited time I'm setting the price of each commission at £50 - this is based on the amount of time spent designing, sketching, painting and editing the final image. I really enjoy illustrating and I put my heart and soul into everything I create, so you'll be sure to walk away with something that uniquely represents you. Making things like this really make me realise how much I enjoy the creative process!

Rather than watermarking commissioned headers, I prefer to integrate the blog name into it, that way only you can use it and if it does get stolen it should lead back to your blog. Having a customised header makes your blog feel more personal and from the get-go lets people know what your blog is all about. Mine has been on for a long time, but I feel that it still manages to accurately capture me, so I've kept it on.

Please note: The above price is for an edited digital jpeg file of an original watercolour design. If you would like a print of your design posted to you, this can be arranged for an additional price. Image mapping can also be done if requested. :)

If you are interested, drop me an email at with the title "header".

How to: paint galaxies

Today I'm going to show you how to make a galaxy painting like the one above!



Wednesday the 23rd of July
Let's have a little lifestyle post shall we? I feel like I've not done one of those in a while! The main highlight of this month was graduation. I now have a Bsc in Psychology... woohoo! It was such a wonderful occasion accompanied by beautiful warm weather. It was so lovely to see all my friends one last time. I also feel like it was my final chance to cling onto the title of 'student'- I'm already missing the student discount. On the day, like most people would be, I was so worried about falling over on stage but luckily that didn't happen. It actually all happened so quickly! It was sort of surreal wearing a graduation robe and motorboard hat, but it finally allowed me to register what had been achieved in the years prior to that day. The past three years has undoubtedly been a laborious time in terms of deadlines and exams, however memories have filled the vacant spaces between each workload and stressful times have enabled new found friendships to strengthen even more.

And on that note I will leave you with this video. A good friend of mine was given a pair of Google glasses by our Uni and asked to create a vlog of what it is like to experience graduation day. It features a beautiful poem that he wrote in under a day - which is a great achievement in itself! All the components combined make this an extremely moving video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. See if you can spot me.

If you've also graduated this year, congratulations!! And if you graduated a while ago, I hope this video brings you a little nostalgia!


Breakfast II

Watercolour and a bit of white acrylic for the highlights
Another little practice but this time with a bit more colour. Now that I have the time, what would you like to see more of on the blog? :)



Just did this one almost as a little painting exercise, plus I really fancied just painting some food. In between binge-watching episodes of Orange is the New Black and watching the World Cup I've gradually started sketching again because I finished Uni a couple of weeks ago! It's going to be strange not starting back in September. I've enjoyed studying Psychology, but it's refreshing to be able to do something that doesn't involve copious amounts of writing and memorising. There are loads of things that I've wanted to do throughout the year and now I finally can! One was Couch to 5k, has anyone tried it? I will be going away in October, so I have between now and then to really test it out!

That's enough from me anyway how have you guys all been? Anything planned for the weeks to come? If you haven't already definitely give Ed Sheeran's new album 'X' a listen, it's amazing! Been listening to that a lot recently, as well as Kodaline's oldish album - which is equally good!


Beer bottles

Watercolour & white acrylic paint.
A while ago I painted some beer bottles for my dad and he really liked how the painting turned out. (Here's a link to that post!). This unexpectedly led to a request to add more to this little collection. Occasionally new challenges can be rewarding, it can be fun trying your hand at something different. Being told an idea is also particularly useful when you feel as though you're experiencing a creative block - which happens to everyone from time to time.

After reading countless textbooks and journal papers it was so nice to sit down, listen to some music and do something I've inadvertently neglected for a few months. This year I've realised that it's so important to find time around your schedule to do the things that you really enjoy. So, make sure you treat yourself once in a while!