Illustration in Context: True Story Exhibition at Mettricks Woolston Waterside

I am very pleased to announce that a solo exhibition of my major project is up at Mettricks Woolston Waterside until the end of September when it will move to Mettricks Guildhall.

You can see all the illustrations for the show in the Daff Gallery as well as pictures of the limited edition box sets of prints and posters that are available to purchase now.

Text to accompany the exhibition:

“This is a True Story

The Westwood Woodland Park is a Local Nature Reserve less than four miles from the centre of Southampton and a 10 minute walk from my studio in Sholing. I’ve walked the same routes through the woodland, across grasslands and ponds since I was a child.

Over the past year I wanted to discover how a closer relationship with my ‘nearby nature’ could help develop my creativity and improve wellbeing: watching birds, listening to their songs, focusing on something other than my own thoughts, getting more exercise, breathing fresh air, being still and quiet, crawling under branches, shaking the raindrops from trees, looking…observing…taking notice.

Immersing myself within an environment like the Westwood gave me inspiration and boosted my creative energy.

This series of illustrations tells the story of a walk in the Westwood on a sunny day in early Spring 2017: 10 birds, 10 wildflowers and 8 butterflies. At the same time I wanted to reveal our impact on this green space from the 1950’s to the present day. During the Second World War the Westwood concealed the Spitfire Factory’s Z-battery artillery emplacement (concrete bases can still be seen amongst the undergrowth today) and after this the area next to the ancient woodlands was used for refuse disposal.

Fortunately the council took over its management in 1986 and the Westwood Woodland Park continues to be a public space protected by its status as a Local Nature Reserve and predominantly cared for by volunteers.

Until the late eighties the wildlife and plant life continued to live alongside the landfill site. However, now diverse habitats of grasslands, marshes and woodlands provide a home to rare, native plants, beetles and dormice, as well as many species of birds.

This collection of illustrations aims to challenge the audience to think about the impact of our consumerist culture on the environment and our own wellbeing. The products that are advertised here have no place within an animal’s environment. These birds don’t need mascara to feel beautiful or hairspray to hold their feathers and they certainly don’t need the shiniest pots of pans to prepare their dinner.

Consider what it is you need. Look, observe, take notice and act.”


Illustration in Context: Map of Southampton at The Docks House Cafe

It’s up! The original watercolour and ink illustrated Map of Southampton I created for The Docks House Cafe has been scanned in and blown up to 2 x 2m to create a big and colourful mural on their wall. Go and take a look, they do great food and coffee and the owners are the friendliest people!

I’ll be writing a piece of text to go with the map to explain the concept behind the illustration and the stories within some of the details that you have to look a little more closely to find.

Illustration in Context: ‘Introduction to Drawing’ Workshop @ The Art House, 07/06/17

This evening’s ‘Introduction to Drawing’ Workshop at The Art House was a Dip Pen and Ink special!

We started the workshop with mark making exercises to familiarise the group with using the dip pen and then created character illustrations based on extracts from one of Ralph Steadman’s books. The group were given reference images for inspiration.

Illustration in Context: Mural for The Docks Coffee House

Since my last post I’ve completed a big commission for The Docks Coffee House on Oxford Street in Southampton. The owners are in the process of getting it printed to put a huge copy on the wall and there will be prints available too. So until then I can’t give away too much…but here are a few sneak peaks! (below)

The project was a great challenge and really improved my ability to communicate a lot of information in a limited space. The style was a fusion of ideas chosen by the client. We decided to go for a black and white map in order to celebrate the colour and life within the parks and sea surrounding the city. I’ve had some great feedback about it so far so I’m really happy with the result. The amount of detail keeps the audience engaged for a long time and the fun characters are especially popular.

I’ve also got some sea bird illustrations up in the cafe, 10% of the sale price will go towards the RSPB as I now have their in aid of logo to use on prints and originals.

Last Friday I took the seabird prints and a few originals to the MacMillan coffee morning at Banana Wharf in Ocean Village as part of the Southampton Sailing Week. I also did some live painting at the event – a watercolour and ink painting of a Kittiwake (bottom).

Illustration in Context: ‘Introduction to Drawing’ Workshop @ The Art House, 05/04/17

The ‘Introduction to Drawing’ workshop at The Art House on 5th April was a papercutting special. The group had lots of fun making beautiful papercut artwork in a range of bright colours. Everyone worked so hard to create really abitious pieces and their efforts really paid off!

These sessions take place on the first Wednesday of each month at The Art House Cafe in Southampton, 7-9pm for £10 per person.

Illustration in Context: ‘A Summer of Love’ Exhibition at Portsmouth Guildhall

‘A Summer of Love’

An exhibition of illustrations by Caroline Misselbrook, celebrating generations of her family’s love of nature and creativity.

To mark the 50th birthday of the Summer of Love in San Francisco, the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) at the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Cultural Trust (PCT) invited CCI students to submit a proposal to showcase new creative work as part of our ongoing exhibition programme to enrich the visual and cultural experience of visitors to the Guildhall.

The aim is to offer students and alumni an opportunity to showcase their work to a broad public audience, developing their professional creative practice. For this exhibition students submitted proposals responding to the theme: ‘Summer of Love’.

The selected student was Caroline Misselbrook, an MA Illustration student at the School of Art and Design, who was awarded £250 towards materials and display. This show will be part of a series of Summer of Love celebrations in Portsmouth. Talks, exhibitions, performances, film screenings, live music and other events will shine a spotlight on the history and legacy of the sixties counterculture.

The selection panel looked for creative excellence, originality in response to the theme and clear method of display. The judges were Simon Brooks (Interim Dean of CCI Faculty), Andy Grays (CEO of Portsmouth Cultural Trust), Eva Balogh and Oliver Gruner (Art & Design Visual Culture), Tony Spencer (Aspex Gallery Manager) and Denise Callender (CCI Faculty Promotions Manager).

In this series of 10 illustrations, Caroline gives a new lease of life to the birds from her father’s egg collection, which he started as a child in the 1950’s during walks in the Westwood Local Nature Reserve and along Weston Shore in Southampton.

While organising the box Caroline found a complete copy of the Daily Express from 1961 underneath the sawdust. Adverts and articles form part of the watercolour and ink illustrations and highlight the juxtaposition of animals that continued to live happily around us while we focused on our materialistic lifestyles and had unhealthy expectations of men and women. It was this post war culture in the U.S, Canada and Europe that eventually lead to hippies or ‘flower children’ during the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967, rejecting these consumerist values and turning to art, religious or meditative practice and politics.

Caroline accentuates the expressions and characteristics of each bird to create satirical and humorous illustrations. These artworks challenge the audience to ask whether values reflected in a newspaper from over 50 years ago have really evolved, or have they just become more deeply engrained in everything we read and watch?

Richard Louv’s book ‘The Nature Principle’ in which he discusses his theory of ‘nature deficit disorder’ has been a key source of inspiration for this project. He believes that stepping away from screens to discover and appreciate the wonders of our ‘nearby nature’ can improve wellbeing and creativity. This exhibition is a celebration of the variety of birds within the haven of the Westwood and Weston Shore, which is less than 4 miles from the bustle of Southampton city center.

‘Creative Block’ by Danielle Krysa helped to inspire a daily challenge called ‘Blockvember’, leading to the development of a more distinctive and expressive style. Caroline describes her choice of media as a natural progression towards materials that forced her away from a safety net of precision and perfectionism. Ink and watercolours are difficult to control and embracing mistakes, drips and splashes gives the composition a more dynamic quality.

The series closes with a photograph of the artist’s father and his mother. Caroline’s grandmother raised a family centered on creativity and a love of nature. She continued to watch the birds outside her window until she passed away in January.



MA Illustration student Caroline Misselbrook wins competition

Strong Island:

A Summer of Love Exhibition by Caroline Misselbrook at Portsmouth Guildhall