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 :)