Welcome to the my blog. My name is Lucy Farfort i'm a freelance illustrator & designer maker. This is where you can find out what i've been up to of late, read my attempts at a decent post & the rantings of a visual addict. Hope you like it. You can contact me to say 'hi' by email on lucy@lucyshappyplace.com
If you would like to take a look at my work (& i would very much like you to) please visit my site:

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Not long now!

By the end of this week i'm expecting delivery of 400 beautiful illustrated calendars.
I've mentioned a couple of times how in June 2013 I got together a group of other illustrators to discuss collaborating on an art project. It was an idea i've had for ages but never quite seemed to have time to get if off the ground.

Finally this year the Bait collaboration has come into being.
Its been a LOT of work but after seeing the proofs its definitely worth it.

Here is a sample page i've put together for your delectation!

There will be an exhibition on at Quilliam Brothers' Tea House from 3rd November and if you're in the area we're having an official preview on Friday 7th Nov from 7pm, so please pop along for a lovely cuppa and meet the artists.

If you'd like to have your very own
calendar by the end of the week (or at least by Sun) you'll be able to purchase one from the blog - http://baitcalendar.blogspot.co.uk/ (which has been distracting me somewhat from this one).

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Malawi trip #2 - The Safari

On the good advice of Tom and Janey from Mabuya Camp we pre-booked a safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park with Kiboko one of the more upmarket Lilongwe establishments.

Arriving in good time and thinking we were all sorted, we boarded the bus along with another 16 safari-ers (is that a word?). 

Before heading off the driver addressed everyone to make sure we had all the necessary documents for the Malawi-Zambia border. 
Passport, check! $50 for the visa, check! Yellow fever certificate…….uh oh!
The one thing we didn’t have. After the driver consulted briefly with the booking agent, in true Malawian style we decided to try our luck and hope it would be overlooked. In fact what they said was – just have some additional cash ready.
Ah yes, the good ol’ bribe. If in doubt – bribe your way out, a take home message from the holiday.
So off we set on the six hour journey.

At this point we’d only been in Africa two days and the views from the bus were a real eye opener into what life is like for the average Malawian.
Here are a few photos captured from the bus, including some impressive hand painted adverts:

At border control we lined up to have our temperature taken before going on to the office for the admin bit. ‘Sshhh, don’t mention the yellow fever certificate’. Luckily they didn’t ask anyone for this, so got away with it.
We’d actually previously been advised that they don’t often ask for the certificate except in the case of tourist buses like ours, because there’s potential money to be made.

Finally arriving at the camp, a guide showed us around. There we were thinking we’d be roughing it on roll mats & sleeping bags (which we’d brought along), and this place was uber plush - swimming pool, swanky bar overlooking a hippo inhabited river, a library, plus a gym and a spa no less!

Definitely more glamping than camping and a far cry from the Zambia we’d travelled through, just yards down the road. The tents had electricity and actual beds. Just take a look at their website (checkout that pool)
The lodging was situated in the National Park itself so there were monkeys and baboons roaming around before we even started the drives.

In a serious voice the guide then told us to make sure we had no food especially apples in our tents as
elephants can smell them and will try and get in.
For some reason though I didn’t twig from this pep talk that wild elephants would be strolling round the campsite. And it was only at 3 in the morning after being woken up by some distinctly un-human snuffling from behind the tent followed by the hulk of a giant bull elephant striding a mere five feet from Dave’s head past the canvas, that I caught on. Needless to say I lie there bricking it!
I was just grateful that our campsite wasn’t over the other side of the river where the lions and hyenas were.

Elephants on camp:

The safari consisted of four drives, which we did with Fred, our very knowledgeable guide and two other Brit couples – Jack and Heather from Edinburgh and Tom and Lyndsey from London.


We were there for two days and on each there was a morning drive and an evening one. The downside was that the morning one entailed a 5am rise, ready to ride out for 6.

Still it was worth it. 

To be continued... 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Introduction – A mzungu (foreigner) in Malawi

I knew going to Malawi would inspire some blog posts and it was my intention to start writing last weekend, but I instead spent it perfecting a proposal to Brass:Pitch which involved writing an educational kid’s story about the Industrial Revolution. I’m not convinced it will lead anywhere, as my idea is quite different to anything else they’ve commissioned, but I thought it was worth a go. Anyway I digress.

Its difficult to know where to start with documenting the holiday, as so much seemed to happen over what was a very short period of time - just 2 & ½ weeks.  I’ve never had a holiday where time seemed to pass so slowly – and I mean that in a good way, but what was just over two weeks felt like a month.
I guess the best place to start from is the beginning. So why Malawi?
Two reasons: 1) because we wanted the honeymoon to involve some kind of festival, in tribute to how we originally met (at Glastonbury), and 2) because Dave’s friend from school - Tom & his wife Janey, own MabuyaCamp in Lilongwe so we wanted to visit, plus knowing someone in a foreign land has obvious advantages. Huge thanks to Tom and Janey for all their help and advice.

Now this is going to sound naïve and weird, but as someone who has never been to Africa and whose only knowledge comes from the news, I was really struck by how Malawi is exactly like the images you see of Africa on T.V.  Women carrying water buckets on their head, children pumping wells, bikes laden with sugar cane, thatched mud huts etc. I know its crazy, but when watching it on television, being so distant from it, I think a big part of me unconsciously felt like it was probably a bit set up to capture a clichéd image. So I was actually a bit shocked to see that things are exactly as depicted. Yeah I know that sounds totally ridiculous!



 I really knew very little about Malawi before going and having never visited a developing country before it was a real education. It was only during the visit that I found out it is one of the poorest countries in the world with 40% of its budget relying on foreign aid. 



 Despite a tough existence though almost all the people we met (and not just the touts looking to sell their wares) were really friendly and helpful. 

The holiday turned out to be split into three parts. I say turned out because there was a big part of it that we deliberately hadn’t planned, so we could get a feeling when we arrived of what might be best to see & do. So there was the safari, which was in Zambia not Malawi, then the road trip, and the ‘Lake of Stars’ festival at the end.

Its impossible to condense our trip into a single post so I’m going to do three (or four) to reflect the different parts of the holiday. And rather than start here I’ll post the first one about the safari next week.
In the meantime if you’d like to take a gander, I’ve uploaded all the photos from the holiday onto Facebook, and below is one of my favourite pics as it sums up the people and the attitude pretty well -  ‘resourceful’ and ‘hakuna matata (no worries), it’ll be fine!’

Captured through the back window on the drive to Cape Maclear – a small pickup carrying a boat 2x it’s size.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A tasty new project and a catch up

I'm back with my tail between my legs and apologies for going AWOL for a couple of weeks.

The good news i'm back with some interesting news!
Last year I did a post about my involvement in a calendar collaboration with 11 other artists. Unfortunately having left it a bit late last year there wasn't enough time to actually get the project going. This year however its 'Bait' is back and everything is good to go.
So to recap the project is to join forces with 11 North East based illustrators to produce a 2015 recipe calendar and accompanying exhibition.
I've just finished creating a blog from which all the collab related news will be shared. Please take a look and find out about the other illustrators involved -
Keeping with the Geordie food theme, this project is going to be 'Epic' as the Hairy Bikers would say.

On a separate foodie note, now that the summer is drawing to a close the work Dave put into the vertical veg project is paying off big time with a bumper harvest of runner beans and Trombone Squash (which are more like courgets than squash really).
Heres the obligatory Trombone pose with said squash -

Plus a small sample of the beans.

This is around about a fifth of the beans harvested so far. Theres now a bulk load of runners bagged up in the freezer.

In two days time we'll be jetting off to Malawi for over 2 weeks on a belated honeymoon.
WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!! Yep i'm just a little bit excited.
The next time I post i'm hoping to have lots of lovely photos to share and tales of our adventures. Check back at the beginning of Oct for the latest. Byeeeee!!

Friday, 22 August 2014

A Catty Commission

Have you heard of Will Rafuse? He's a fine artist that now paints very bold lush hyper-realistic images, but his earlier work includes numerous paintings of irregular looking cats in interiors and (rather oddly) chefs in restaurants. Go check out his work here.

One of my good friends loves the cat paintings and being unable to afford a Will Rafuse original he instead commissioned me to do a melancholy quirky cat illustration, in a bold Rafuse style.
Very sadly whilst working on this piece his cat 'Astro' was knocked over by a car and killed, so in tribute I was asked if i could change the colours to make the cat look similar to Astro.
So here is the final image 'Moon Gazing With Astro':

It was created with gouache and finished in PhotoShop
. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and like how its different to my other work but still has elements of my own style.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search competition

A couple of months ago I was given the heads up about this competition with Lilla Rogers agency and although I know they will get thousands of entries and it is highly unlikely that my work will get to the shortlist stage, i thought what the hell i may as well go for it. Besides it sounded fun and would give me an opportunity to do some different work.
The deadline for the first stage entry was yesterday so i think its now safe to tell people that the the first stage assignment was to produce wall art with the theme of 'Little Terrarium'. There are three stages and from this first one 50 are selected and go through to the next round.
So wish me luck!

I started off by gathering together lots of different images of terrariums. Before this competition I had never even heard of a terrarium before.
After lots of pencil and paint sketches and a number of different thumbnail design ideas I spotted a beautiful terrarium bonsai on a blog. In a moment of inspiration and after producing a little thumbnail version of the idea i decided to work it up into a full size sketch -

I liked it so much that I decided to go with this and here is the final illustration, which i've titled 'Sanctuary':

Its created using watercolours, gouache and PhotoShop.
I really like the way it turned out, but i have my doubts that it will get selected amongst the 50 as i don't think its really what the judges are looking for - not sure its commercial enough. However if by some miracle it does get through then i'll be sure to post an update on here.

Friday, 8 August 2014

A furry guest

Today there is a bit of a deviation from the usual illustration related posts in the form of Seaweed; a guest Guinea Pig whom we're looking after for five weeks while two of our friends are in China.
She LOVES spinach and just the sound of the rustling salad bag is enough to get her going. A series of high pitch squeaks (or more like wheeks) can be heard whenever the possibility of food is imminent. In fact its pretty much the only thing that she gets enthused about.

I've taken, rather embarrassingly, to calling for her to come out of her hutch in a high pitch voice. I don't think she really pays any attention but i'm hoping that after a couple of weeks just calling out SEEEAWEEEED, in "the voice" will set her off wheeking in the hope of grub.

Tonight is going to have to be hutch cleaning night i think, judging by the state of her abode. Oh and no, that stuff in her bowl is NOT droppings (despite it looking very much like it), it is in fact special GP food...although shes far more keen on salad leaves and carrots.

I've gone to the length of making a video for your viewing pleasure. You'll notice the special "Seaweed voice" part way through, oh and my husband sabotaging the movie shoot by the asking if i want a coffee - so please just ignore these bits :)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Sock it to me!

Ever made a sock monkey before? I haven't and i'm totally clueless as to how you can make something quite so cute from a pair of old socks. But never fear there will soon be guidance in the form of Cheeky Monkey Workshops; a new indie biz started by the lovely Jo Sullivan a former Made In Newcastle contributor, and guess whose done their logo - yep yours truly.
I'm honored that Jo thought of me for this, and i had a lot of fun doing it -

Hope you like him. Once the workshops are up and running i'll be sure to point you in their direction so you learn how to craft your very own sock monkey.

Friday, 18 July 2014


Blimey i'm so busy at the mo I don't have time to think. So i'm simply going to share this new illy with you -

Hopefully next week i'll get a chance to do a more full post, but for now i'll say farewell.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Deer Friends

This new illustration has taken far longer than I wanted it too. Sometimes when i'm developing a piece of work it can be a real battle, especially when things don't quite work out the way I expect them to & have to make more alterations and additions than originally intended. This was one of those pieces.
When an illustration starts taking shape I always have a vision for what the final result will look like, but particularly with my more recent style of working i'm never quite sure where its going to take me & theres often a self doubt period of 'oh shit this isn't going to work'. Perhaps i shouldn't really be sharing this admission, but on the plus side so far though it has worked out and the result is often better than i expected.

Anyway i'm dedicating this piece to my sister Jennifer, whose been going through & has gone through some very tough times. Its just a token to express how I'll always be there and to say thanks to her for being a wonderful role model and influence over the years. Without her I may never have got through my New Kids on The Block phase, and would now probably be listening to James Blunt or something, hahaha. I wish I could make a positive difference to her life as much as she has to mine, and somehow erase all the crap that shes had to contend with, but I can't.
All I can do is say i'm here for you my dear sister and friend -

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


My husband & I were married for one year on Sunday (just gone) and to celebrate rather than go out, seeing as we had a couple of nights in the Lakes the weekend before to celebrate being together for 10 years (now thats a landmark), we made a posh meal at home.
We managed to bag ourselves 2 lobsters for the bargain price of 10 quid.

And made a lobster paella (possibly a little sacrilegious to use lobster like this)...

but it was bloody lovely. This was followed up with the richest chocolate mousse known to man, made from a Nigella Lawson recipe. Look at that selection of healthy ingredients:

Its was amazing but so rich we could only eat half, although you'll notice below that we did have a huge glass full of the stuff as i didn't have anything else to put it in -

We ate the rest last night, and it was even better having been in the fridge overnight - it sort of became like ice cream.

Friday, 4 July 2014

New designs update

So last Friday I blogged about a new image which is going to form one of a series of new greetings cards to replace the current designs in my Etsy & Folksy shops.
The aim is to create cards that are character led, fun and different.
I'm continuing to work on these so this is just a super quick update. First off here is one i've just finished:

And heres one i'm working on. This ones a bit special as i'm dedicating it to someone who means a lot to me.

In addition to new designs I'm also going to rework a couple i did last year and add to the collection.

Friday, 27 June 2014

High Tea

Recently our friend Andy gave my husband (I still hate saying that word) a book for his birthday - Nicey and Wifey's 'A Cup of Tea and a Nice Sit Down'. I was intrigued by this particularly the biscuits section in the later half, being a fan of biscuits...well lets face it who isn't? Its an amusing read,  and it kind of inspired a new tea based illustration.
I wanted to do a series of new greetings cards/ prints for my online shop but also with a view to submitting designs to Phoenix Trading and some other card companies. I'm aiming to have six in total to replace the current designs I have online.
So 'Tea with Moon' is one i've just finished & i also intend to have it for sale as a print very soon.

I'm half way through the next planned design & here it is in it's pencil drawing phase:

I'm hoping to finish the painting today, but i'm taking 1/2 a day off to go on a weekend trip to the Lake District to celebrate mine & the other half's 10th (YES 10th!) year since meeting.
Yes as all those lucky folks wake up at Glastonbury Festival, i remember 10 years ago waking up in a semi-muddy field to find someone had hijacking half of my tent pegs by pitching their ten right next to mine. Little did i know that would be my future husband (ahh i hate that word).


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Spot the difference

I'm really excited as today my shiny new website produced by the lovely folks at http://sitely.co.uk/ is live on the cyber waves. I'm now a .co.uk rather than a .com and you can take a look around at all the swish new features here.

I created the old version along quite some time ago and with some help here and there improvements have been made but it had some major issue like a) not being compatible with those new fangled devices - tablets, phones & such like, and b) it being virtually invisible to Google due to a lack of SEO thingy-me-jig stuff....yep you can tell i'm really hot on all this interweb malarky.

Now though the site can be viewed on phones and other people's computers as well as just my own lowly Mac - wow! So what are you waiting for hop over and have a gander -

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Veg Update

Now we're well into summer I thought it was time to bring you some vegetable growing news. Remember my post back in April about the Greening Wingrove Vertical Veg project we're taking part in? Well following on the plants are now in production mode and the first signs of edible greenery are now sprouting, so heres some highlights in pictures.

Back yard salad -

Indoor beans -

Front yard gooseberries, beans and squash (possible a little over zealous with the front yard planter) -

Its a veritable green feast!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Finished product and character sketches

It all went a bit quiet on here last week as I had several things on the go that needed completing. One of the two major things was the illustration spoken about in the previous post done to accompany a picture book text which an overseas publisher has shown interest in.
I managed to complete the piece yesterday along with some character sketches which i've now sent off to the publisher and here they are:

Who knows if this will lead to anything but I couldn't miss the opportunity and I had fun doing it, although painting all those little fish in the shoal was a total pain in the behind!
Anyway we'll see what happens, and perhaps you may see more fish action on here in future.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Fishy business

It was my intention today to do a post about a show and tell illustration session I did with a lovely group of kids at a local library yesterday morning as part of a half term project. I was meant to take pictures of all their fab work and character drawings, but unfortunately in all the excitement I completely forgot to take a single photo so that post has kind of gone out the window.

Instead I thought I would share a work in progress in its sketch stage.
A little while back I mentioned that the writing bug had bitten me, at which point there were 3 complete picture book stories. Now however there are five and this image is for one of the newest. I wasn't actually going to do any images for this but I have had a bit of interest from a publisher and they wanted to see some artwork for it so this is mainly for them:

Will update you if anything exciting comes out of it, fingers crossed.

Friday, 23 May 2014

New brooches

Yippee i'm pleased to say I have finally two new items for my shop which have been in the pipe for what feels like ages now.
A while ago i had some ideas for new brooches and its taken me about four months for me to finally realise them as a) it took a LOT of searching to find local company to laser cut my designs, and b) as per normal i've had several other projects on the go at the same time.

But now finally three prototypes later, I can share the two new finished pieces with you which i originally sneakily posted the designs for here.
Before I reveal all I must thank Jonathan at Laser Cut Hut for being so incredibly helpful and creating the wooden brooches from my designs and here they are in their original unpainted state:

They're cut from oak and made from two component layers.

I then hand-painted them which is a bit of a fiddly process, but in a moment of serendipitous timing I was asked out of the blue by the daylight lighting company if I would like to test out their new MAGnificent lamp in exchange for a guest post on their blog. Of course i practically bit their hand off, particularly as i'd been thinking about getting a lamp anyway.
The light has a built in magnifying glass, created with artists and designers in mind and I used it to make the painting process for these brooches a LOT easier.

I actually don't know how i would have managed without this lamp.

Anyway the brooches are now complete and are available on Etsy and Folksy. Here they are:



Hope you like them. I've got another couple of ideas for designs so depending on how successful these are you might see more in the not too distant future.
I only just realised it was a bank holiday Monday, not that it really makes any difference to me anymore; what with paying myself it will be a typical working day, but I hope you all have a good one.