On this episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about blogging, illustration, and newsletters with my guest Claire Robertson. Claire is an Australian artist and illustrator based in the Pacific North West island of Salt Spring, in British Columbia, Canada.
Marshmallow Bunny doll by Claire Robertson.
She is well known for her much loved blog loobylu.com which she began in 1999, and for which she has won many awards and accolades. She is also known for her iconic children’s book illustrations including for the ongoing Truly Tan series (affiliate link) written by Jen Storer for Harper Collins Australia. Claire works both digitally and in traditional media: inks, acrylics, paper-cutting, ceramics, and textiles.
“Girl2” by Claire Robertson.
Although neither of us is entirely sure, it’s very possible that Claire’s blog, loobylu, was the first craft blog. Yep! The first one! In many ways, Claire blazed the trail and helped to invent the form.
I first discovered loobylu.com in the fall of 2004 and it was Claire’s program, Month of Softies, in which participants designed and sewed a softie based on a monthly theme and posted images on Flickr, that started me off on my current career. I remember being absolutely amazed that I could be part of a creative community led by a woman on the other side of the world (Claire was still in Australia at that time). It was mind-blowing!
“Midnight Picnic” by Claire Robertson.
In our conversation we think about what blogging has meant to us through the years, including how it felt to be part of a small, tight-knit group in the beginning and how it’s grown, professionalized, and commercialized so extremely over the last few years.
A few months ago Claire launched an email newsletter, Small Batch List, which she describes as, “a little like my blogging days of yore: rambling thoughts, illustrations, recommendations, and odds & ends according to my whims – but this time directly to your inbox.” Claire explains why she chose email as a format to communicate with her current audience and why email is special. According to Claire, email is “punk rock” like the zines of the ’90s (I couldn’t agree more).
The Truly Tan series (affiliate link) written by Jen Storer and illustrated by Claire Robertson.
Claire also explains how she built her career as an illustrator including illustrating books for young adults and children and what she’s hoping to do next.
In the conversation we reference:
- Next Draft by Dave Pell
- Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (affiliate link)
- Moomin by Tove Jansson (affiliate link)
- Little Letters published by Klutz (affiliate link)
- my interview with illustrator Jenean Morrison
And, of course, I ask Claire to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Claire recommends:
- acrylic artist inks (affiliate link)
- Mozart in the Jungle (affiliate link) on Amazon Prime
- and her new home town, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia (Claire literally Googled “artist colony” and found it!)
This episode is sponsored by Shower Art. Rosalie & Douglas Gale of Ugly Baby invented Shower Art – waterproof art you can hang in your shower with a suction cup. They hand-cast each piece in rubber add glitter, discarded toys, and other weird stuff – along with a fair amount of sarcasm. Visit uglybabyshop.com and use coupon code ABBYRULES for 30% off a single order.
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