D is for... April 13 2020

Sorry all, it took me ages to get this online... I re-opened the online shop and have been busy packing orders. But here is finally the letter D.

I figured that D had to be for doodle and I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce you to the zen doodle, which is also known as zen tangle. A zen tangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing different patterns.

So I thought it would be nice to make the letter D out of doodles. We will just use one pen or pencil for this. So all you will need is a piece of paper and a pen, you can pick any colour you like but often zen doodles are made with a black pen. You can either fill the letter D with doodles or you can fill the space around the D and leave the letter blank. 

Here are some ideas to get you started...

If you click on the picture it will take you to the Craftwhack website where you can find lots of doodle ideas. But you can also just give it a go. A good way to get started is to fill a small space with circles or squares or triangles and add a pattern within those shapes.

Here is the D that I made in a time lapse. Remember how Design School is all about not being fussy and just having fun... I made my D on an iPad pro so I would be able to share the video with you. If you would like to have an outline of your letter you could draw or print one on a separate piece of paper and put it underneath the piece of paper that you will doodle on.


I really liked the little matted bit in the bottom left of the letter so I did a separate little time lapse to show you how I made it. You start of with the small squares and then alternate connecting them up on the inside of the square and on the outside. It looks really complicated but you will soon get the trick.


I added some shading to give more depth to the doodle. You will be able to find lots of examples online and you will find that it's so much fun that you end up doodling the day away. As always... I would love to see what you have made, so email a picture of your letter to

I will try to have the next letter up a bit sooner. Happy Easter Monday everyone.

x Onneke

Make a macrame rainbow... April 02 2020

It's Thursday just after 8 and we have been outside just now clapping and making noise for our NHS. I agree with everyone who says that instead of clapping they need better pay, protective gear, Covid 19 tests, free parking etc, but I am clapping anyhow, for all the key workers that are working through this crisis, and I am crying too and I am sure you are all feeling the same. 

I did a round of deliveries tonight and I loved seeing all the rainbows in the window everywhere and I remembered that someone asked me about the macrame rainbow and whether it would be possible to post a tutorial. So here it is...

You will need...

* Left over bits of yarn in different colours
* Thick macrame roap (I used 18 mm thick and you need about 2 metre of it).
I was thinking of a replacement of the roap with something that you have in the house and I thought you could use an old hula hoop, you wouldn't be able to make the fluffy yarn clouds but you could put white pompoms on the bottom instead...
* Some garden wire.

And here are the instructions...

(Please note that these were written for the kit that I used to sell in the shop, sorry I haven't got any in stock at the moment. The first thing you need to do is cut the roap in 4 different lengths like in the picture above)


C is for... March 31 2020

A couple of you have messaged me to ask where the next post is... Sorry!!!!! I meant to have it ready yesterday but the days are filling up with home schooling and design work quickly. But here we go!

How have you all been???

Today we will be working on the letter C, and no... C is NOT for Corona virus, C is for Colour. Colour theory is a very complex subject and we are not going to be talking about that today. Instead we are going to have some fun with colour. 

You know that question that people always ask you: What's your favourite colour? To me that has always been a silly question, because a colour on it's own is just a colour. Instead we should ask: What's your favourite colour combination?? :-) Because when we put two or three or more colours together a magical thing happens...

If you asked me what my least favourite colour is, I would probably say red, or purple. I am not fond of red on it's own, but I do love red together with other colours. I made a quick colour palette here with a picture from my phone, and I love this red together with the lighter pink and the different tones of blue. 

When I was little, I was the proud owner of a large box of caran d'ache colour pencils and one of my favourite things to do was ordering the pencils into different colour palettes. Now when I start a new project, I still do a similar thing but I do it on the computer. I make a palette with colours that I plan to use, sometimes it contains lots of colours, sometimes only two or three. 

Let's get started...

For today's project I would like you to have a look around the house for things that you could use to make a colour palette. You will need a phone to take pictures again. Try out some different colour palettes by arranging colours together and take a picture each time so you can look back at it a little bit later. Are you going to use lots of colours or just two or three?

For your piece you could use pieces of lego, colour pencils or felt tips, buttons or paperclips, hama beads or a mix of all the colourful things you can find. When you have decided what colours you are going to use, I would like you to use all your elements to make the letter C!

Let's make a flat lay...

This beautiful picture was made by artist Lisa Congdon and we call this a flat lay. A flat lay is a picture taken from above of a collection of items laid out on a flat surface. Your final piece today will be a flat lay of the letter C using the colours that you picked for your colour palette (or you could use a rainbow of colours, like in the picture above).

Last but not least I wanted to share a picture with you of my son when he was six years old (he is nearly 15 now!), he used to love making pictures with things from around the house :-) It's also your reminder not to be fussy but to just have fun. Remember that you can email your picture to me via I will be back again in a few days with letter D. 

Keep safe, 



B is for... March 26 2020

Thank you everyone that visited our first class at design school. It was read and shared so many times and some of you have started to send in pictures of your work, which makes me so very happy. 

For today's class we will be illustrating and designing the letter B. But first I am going to be talking to you about one of my favourite things in design: the element of surprise. This is the bit in the picture that makes you go: Ha! It's the thing that catches your eye and makes you smile. 

Remember you need to pick something that starts with a B first. B is for bear... bumble bee, baby, ball... 

Let's look at some examples of surprise and you will also see what I picked for the letter B...

This picture is from one of my sketchbooks (it's from 2012!) It was drawn with a black pen on brown paper. If you have never tried drawing on brown paper, I would say give it a try because it is so pleasing to draw on. You can even use that white pencil or crayon that is always unused. It doesn't need to be a brown paper sketch book, you could use a paper bag or some kraft paper. 

So my B is for boat. Can you see how by putting the boat in an unusual place, you create an element of surprise? My favourite thing in this picture is still the little face in the cloud, that makes the rain look like tears. I made this picture a long time ago and I called it storm in a teacup. 

I have always loved a ship in a bottle. Have you ever seen one? In this picture a tiny boat is lifted out of a bottle by a whale. The little boat becomes the symbol for the adventure that we can have when we think outside the box. Remember that you can also add surprise to your picture with the text that you add. 

The following picture is from artist Oliver Jeffers, I am sure you know him from his beautiful picture books.

I remember reading this book to my children when they were little and I always loved turning to this page. Every time I saw it the picture took me by surprise. I love the boat seen from above and the shapes of the whales. 

This lovely picture is from Belle & Boo and I love that the boat is a paper boat. It makes the picture dreamy and magical. The paper boat is the element of surprise in this picture.

Let's get started...

Now for today's class I would like you to make a drawing using any material. It needs to include the letter B and your 'thing' that starts with a B and I would like you to think about the element of surprise in your picture. Let's take the boat as an example. Think about where you will place the boat. Could it be part of the letter? Or could the B be somewhere in the water? Maybe on a buoy? 

Remember to have fun with it and not to be fussy. 

I would love to see your pictures. You can email them to me at or send them to my Instagram or Facebook. A little bit later down the line I will put a gallery together. 

Take care and keep safe, 




A is for... March 24 2020 1 Comment

Thank you for coming to design school. Please read the whole post before you start on your own piece. Your big project is to design (and illustrate) your own Alphabet poster, but I will break it down into 26 projects. That seems like a lot of work, but in each project we will do something different and the aim is to have fun with it and learn something about graphic design along the way.

There is one rule in my graphic design book that I need to share with you before you start, and it is: Don't be fussy! In order to make something, you sometimes have to let go of the idea that it has to be perfect. So try to just have fun with it and don't be hard on yourself.

So first of all you need to pick something that begins with A... Astronaut...  Airplane... Alligator... I picked Apple. I used to design surface patterns (these are patterns that are printed onto things, for example on fabric) and I often made prints with apples in.

For our very first project, we are going to be playing with composition.

Composition is the way we place all the elements we use in our picture. So in my A is for Apple picture I am going to have at least the following elements: the letter A, the apple, and maybe a leaf attached to the apple.

The best way to play with composition is by making sure all your items are separate so you can move them around. A lot of the time graphic designers do this on the computer. But today we will be making a collage. We are also going to use a phone. So you can make lots of different compositions with your elements and each time you can take a photo, and you can look back at it later.

So here are the things you will need today:

* A piece of paper to make some sketches, and a pencil or a pen.

* A phone with a camera! If you haven't got one, you can ask your parent or carer if you can use theirs.

* Some coloured pieces of paper (could be cut from a magazine or newspaper or anything. Check the recycling!) or some pencils or felt tips or paint or crayons to make your own coloured paper.

So let's start with some sketches. Remember I said you can't be fussy. Well, you definitely can't be fussy with a sketch because a sketch is just a sketch. That's why sometimes I have to make them on the back of an old envelope or on a receipt.

Think about the shapes you are going to use, and think about your letter that you will add as well... And then cut all the shapes out of bits of paper. You can draw on the paper first or you can just start cutting (remember we are not being fussy). I call this drawing with scissors and it's a very nice thing to do.

So here are the pieces I cut out...

Can you see how the apple at the bottom right looks like a peach? :-)

To make my letter I just cut some strips of paper.

This is where the fun begins...

You can now start moving all your items around. Try out some different backgrounds... And have a think about how much background you would like. Remember we are taking photos, so your background could also be the table, or your floor or a big or small piece of paper. When you have 5 or 6 or more photos you can have a look to see which one you like best... Here are some of mine...

I quite like the middle picture with the yellow. I turned one of the shapes I cut around and found the lovely blue colour :-) Remember you need to add your letter as well. I made a very simple capital A with 3 strips of paper.

The picture in the middle was made on a big tray with the lovely grey and white pattern :-)

When you have had a look at all your pictures you can also use the crop tool to play with the composition a little bit more.

If you want to make a final piece, you can stick all your elements on the background that you like (maybe not the table) using some glue. You can also make a final photo instead. Often when I am happy with my composition, I still add some little details. For example: the apple could have a little colourful sticker on it. Or you could add the words 'is for apple'.

I won't share my final picture with you. Sometimes when we make things we get very distracted with the work of other people and that takes away from the fun a bit. That said... I would love to see what you made! Please email your picture to or send it to my Instagram or facebook page and I will put a little gallery together.


If you stick with me at design school and you make all 26 letters, I will help turn all your pictures into a poster for you at the end so you have your very own alphabet poster.

Thank you for joining. Pop back for letter B soon. I will try to have it up on Thursday.

Keep safe,



Join us at... March 23 2020

I have thought about re-starting the blog (I used to write a creative blog years ago) for ages. And now seems like the right time. So I would love for you to join me at design school. It's for kids of all ages, let's say from 4 to 104. But you could give it a go if you are younger or older too :-)

At design school you will be learning all sorts of things about use of line, shape, colour palettes, composition, texture, white space, typography, hand lettering, illustration, use of pattern and much much more. Because these are strange times, we will be using only materials that we have in our houses already. If you haven't got them you can be creative and think outside the box.

For our very first project, we will be designing and illustrating a whole alphabet. That's right, all 26 letters. Don't worry, I will help you along the way, and we have got plenty of time :-) Each letter will be one project with new things to learn and explore. You could finish it in 20 minutes or you could take a couple of hours.

Young children might like to do this together with a parent or carer and older children might rather do this all alone. Anything goes. Just have fun with it. I would be thrilled if you or your child shared their work, via email or Instagram and I will be putting together galleries of all the letters we make together.

Let's get started. Tomorrow will be our very first class. I hope you will join us :-)

PS. Please note that I am not a teacher, I am just a creative person and ever since I was a child I have loved making things.



Spring is coming February 26 2020

The february artist window (our first artist window, I should add) was made by the very talented Flo Woolgar.