The artist who kicks everything off for January is Alice Hole, an artist who finds inspiration for her work from old towns, villages and crumbling tin mines.
Here's the banner Alice made for us in all its glory:
Here's how it appeared in our newsletter:
Cult Pens: Tell us a bit more about yourself.
Alice: I'm an artist/illustrator who qualified with a degree in metals and textiles, but have always had a passion for drawing and painting which has become my main focus in the last few years. I have taken time away from my artwork recently to have a family, but am really enjoying getting back to it now that the kids are a bit older.
Cult Pens: How would you describe your work?
Alice: Drawings, paintings and some textile pieces of buildings and town-scapes, especially historic buildings and views with a real sense of the past and a story behind them. I try to capture this sense of history so that viewers of my work can almost see/hear/feel the echoes of ghosts from the past. Since fulfilling a life-long ambition of moving to Cornwall last year, I've found real inspiration in the old towns, villages and crumbling tin mines.
Cult Pens: What got you into drawing/illustration?
Alice: I have always loved drawing, ever since I was a child. I studied art through to university, and although my degree was in 3 dimensional art, my sketchbooks were always my refuge and gave me the inspiration to produce my metal and textile pieces. After I left I considered becoming a jeweller, but my drawings and paintings began to sell, and I as I did more and more, I found I loved doing them and moved almost exclusively into that area.
Cult Pens: If you weren't a illustrator, what was the back-up plan?
Alice: I would always be drawing, even if it makes no money! I've often had to supplement my artwork with a 'normal' job. I've worked in shops and currently am a co-director of an architectural firm I've set up with my father and husband in Cornwall.
Cult Pens: What are your favourite subjects/topics to draw?
Alice: Buildings, street scenes and views with a sense of history and the past. I love the fact that throughout the years, man has continually adapted his environment to suit his own needs. As a result I can see beauty in mundane or industrial scenes which may pass others by.
Cult Pens: Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
Alice: From my surroundings and places that I visit. Having recently moved to Cornwall I am being constantly inspired as it is largely unspoiled and is rich in history.
Cult Pens: What are you currently working on?
Alice: At the moment I'm doing a series of quick sketches to give me ideas for larger pieces, There are a couple of pencil sketches of Helston which are looking down some old passageways, or 'opes' as they are called in Cornwall, which are very atmospheric. I'm looking forward to drawing them larger scale.
Cult Pens: How long does it normally take to complete a project?
Alice: It depends on the size and detail. A detailed A1 sized drawing usually takes about 2 weeks.
Cult Pens: What are your top 5 pens?
Cult Pens: Do you prefer black and white or full colour?
Alice: I love working in colour, but since discovering the Copic Ciao and Sketch markers, I've loved working tonally in shades of grey and sepia. It adds to the historical atmosphere of my drawings.
Cult Pens: What pen or pencil couldn't you live without?
Alice: Ooooh tricky! I couldn't live without any of my top 5, but if I was stranded on a desert island, I guess a decent sketching pencil would be what I would want the most, so that would be a Faber-Castell 9000 pencil in 2B.
Cult Pens: Do you know when a work is finished or are you constantly tweaking?
Alice: I do know when it is finished, although I have to force myself to walk away before I tweak it too much and ruin it!
Cult Pens: What work are you most proud of?
Alice: I recently finished a large drawing of Church Street in Helston, Cornwall which I have been complemented a lot on. It took a long time to get the perspective right and build up the shading so that there was a sense of distance, but once I'd achieved those things, it all clicked into place.
Cult Pens: What tips do you have for aspiring artists/illustrators?
Alice: Don't give up! You may well have to do other things to bring regular money in, but persevere with your art and get it out there, even if it's just on social media sites. I've been really encouraged by people responding on Facebook and Twitter to my work and they've given me ideas as to which direction to go next.
You can see more of Alice's work below or alternatively visit her site.
If you’d like to have your artwork featured on our newsletter drop a note to email@example.com with a link to some examples of your work.
7 January 2014