Author Archives: samithorpe

Scotland’s Trade Fair 2016

Yahoo!  That’s me… I’ve officially booked my stand and accommodation for January’s Scotland Trade Fair – Spring 2016!!!

It was in 2008 when I did my last trade show, just before my first born arrived.  That one was in Harrogate.  In 2007 I exhibited at the trade shows in Torquay and Scotland and before that in 2006, I did the massive Spring Fair in Birmingham’s NEC.

Two little nippers later, I had a break from promotional work to concentrate on my young family and my portrait commissions.  My youngest will shortly be starting school so more time for my business once again.

I can’t say that taking part in trade shows have been up there with the most enjoyable times in my life but strangely enough I’m really looking forward to this latest venture.  My card range has grown considerably since I last exhibited and now, several years on, my confidence and knowledge in this area has grown considerably too.  I’m so proud of the products that I have so I’m really looking forward to showing them off.

I’m hoping to have a little look around Scotland’s Autumn Trade Fair later on this year.  Although I already have my stand planned out, it’s always well worth seeing what your competition is up to.  Not only that, in the past I have found that fellow traders are often very helpful and happy to share advice.

Roll on January!!!

Labradoodle Portrait

Where does the time go?  Too busy drawing portrait commissions and running photo competitions on my portrait Facebook page, that’s where!

Anyway, here I am back in the Blog world for a quick update…

Last month I ran a Labradoodle Photo Competition on my Facebook page, on the hunt for a card design to join next years new arrivals.  The competition was a huge success, mainly due to the fantastic support that I had from Doodle Trust and a number of other rescue kennels.

Winning Photo Poster - Martin Borrett  (Eric)

Martin Borrett had the winning photo of this gorgeous fella, Eric.  Labradoodles always seem to be one of those breads where the dogs are given the most brilliant names!  Anyway, I digress. Here is the portrait in progress…

Labradoodle - Stage 1 Labradoodle - Stage 2 Labradoodle Competition - Stage 3

Just over 32 hours behind the drawing board but what a result!  One of my favourite portraits to date.

Growing Pains cards and prints

Calling all Beagle fans… this weeks special offer is for you!

Facebook Growing Pains Card and Print Offer

“GROWING PAINS” (A6 Blank Greetings Card)
Order 10 cards or more and get 50% off!  (Price before discount – £1.70 each)

“GROWING PAINS” (Open Edition Print)
Order this unmounted print and get 50% off!  (Price before discount – £12.00 each)

But hurry, offer ends on Saturday 18th April.

To place an order, please send an email letting me know the quantity of cards/prints you would like along with the delivery address. I will then email you back with details of how to pay.

Contact me on…

Cards are sold as seen.
Postage and packing – £2.00 within the UK

Unmounted print sold without stand.
Print size – 244mm x 214mm (fits 10″ x 8″ frame)
Image size – 181mm x 144mm
Postage and packing – £3.00 within the UK

Order both cards and print/s…
Postage and packing – £4.00 within the UK


It’s been busy, busy, busy since I last had chance to write.  The January Sale commissions have been keeping me busy enough, but with urgent portrait requests on top of all of those… well,  I could do with a 10 day week!!!!

Anyway, to keep things moving on the Blog front, I’ve decided to start up a weekly treat especially for my Blog and Facebook followers.

This week I am offering a treat for all of you Friesian fans out there.

“KEEPING YOUR NOSE CLEAN” (A6 Blank Greetings Card)
Order 10 cards or more and get 50% off!

(Usual price £1.70 each)

But hurry, offer ends on Saturday 11th April.

To place an order, please send an email letting me know the quantity of cards you would like along with the delivery address. I will then email you back with details on how to pay.

Contact me on…

Cards are sold as seen. Postage and packing – £2.00 within the UK

Keeping Your Nose Clean - Facebook Special Offer

Wrapped In Ribbon – New Cat Card Design For 2015

Photo Competition – Cats At Play… Winner Number 2   “Wrapped In Ribbon”

Thank you to Nicki Bailey for allowing me to use this lovely photograph which captures Dotti at play.

Photo Comp Winner - Nicki Bailey - Dotti

Comp Winner - Nicki (Stage 1)  Comp Winner - Nicki (Stage 2)  Comp Winner - Nicki (Stage 3)

The photograph was perfect to copy from as I could easily see every detail in that wonderful coat of hers.  Needless to say, it took a few more hours behind the drawing board to get this little kitten onto paper.  It took about 27 hours in total but well worth the effort.

As with, “Lean On Me” and all of the other portraits that I have done specifically for my card collection, this was drawn onto an A4 sheet of medium surface cartridge paper using a mixture of 2b to 5b pencils.

Colin Leonard’s design, the final of the three winning photo’s, will follow later on in the year.  I introduce eight new designs in the Spring of each year.  Colin’s will be joined by seven other new card designs early in 2016.  That all seems like a million miles away but with the January Sale being such a success I only have just under two months to fill with portrait bookings before the Christmas commissions start flooding in.

Lean On Me – New Cat Card Design For 2015

Photo Competition – Cats At Play…  Winner Number One   “Lean On Me”

How could anyone resist such a cute image, fantastically captured by Louise Shaw.

Cat Comp Winner - Louise Shaw light

Comp Winner - Louise (Stage 1)  Comp Winner - Louise (Stage 2) Comp Winner - Louise (Stage 3)

This was a gorgeous photo to get my teeth into (or should I say, get my pencil around).  The three main textures, all very different… fur, wood and material.

Like with all of the portraits that I draw for my card and print collections, this was drawn onto an A4 sheet of medium surface cartridge paper using a mixture of 2b to 5b pencils.

New Cat Card Designs For 2015

Throughout last year I ran several photo competitions on my Facebook page, looking for new characters to join my card collection.  The amount of interest these competitions got went way beyond my expectations.  I had a huge amount of fantastic entries getting sent to me from all directions.

Photo Competition Poster - Cats at play

A special big thank you to several branches of Cats Protection who kindly let me promote my competition on their Facebook pages.

The Photo Competition – Cats At Play, ended up having three winners instead of just one.  The level of entries were so high, I could have chosen many more.

Well done to Louise Shaw, Nicki Bailey and Colin Leonard.  Your photographs are superb. Thank you.

 Cat Comp Winner - Louise Shaw light  Photo Comp Winner - Nicki Bailey - Dotti  Cat Photo Comp Winner - Colin Leonard

Christmas Portrait Commissions

Long time, no write… sorry.

Since my last post, things have been extremely hectic behind the drawing board.  Christmas portrait commissions galore!

Here are just a few of my favourite dog portraits…

Anne-Claire Howard - Photo 2    Anne-Claire Howard - Facebook

“Thank you for Hugo’s portrait! I love it and it will make the perfect Christmas present.”


Judy Long - Photo    Judy Long - Facebook

“Oh Sami that’s gorgeous! It couldn’t possibly be any other dog! Actually has brought me to tears (of happiness!)!! I think my sister will be really delighted. Thank you SO much”


James Hudson - Photo 1 (Teasle)    James Hudson - Facebook

“That looks fantastic! Thank you.”


Gareth Perry - Photo (Fred)    Gareth Perry - Facebook 

“It’s arrived and it’s absolutely brilliant; thank you so much! My mum will be utterly thrilled. You certainly are very talented”

Oh, how I love my job!

And now it’s coming to the end of my Portrait January Sale which, like last year, has proved to be yet another fantastic success.   Busy, busy, busy… just the way I like it.

Horse photo competition

Way back in May this year I announced my latest photo competition.  This one was to find a new companion to join the horse card collection.

Like with all of the other photo competitions that I’ve ran on Facebook, this was another huge success.  So much so, I ended up selecting two winners…

Horse Competition Winner - Jade Storey - Tasy Horse Competition Winner - Hannah Bown - Finn

Between choosing the winning photos and drawing them, I had to squeeze in several urgent portrait commissions on top of an already busy drawing schedule, so it did take a lot longer to get to this final stage than I had originally planned but, at long last, here are the finished results…

Horse Comp Winner 1 - Stage 1 Horse Comp Winner 1 - Stage 2 Horse Competition Winner 1 - Stage 3

Horse Competition Winner 2 - Stage 1 Horse Competition Winner 2 - Stage 2 Horse Competition Winner 2 - Stage 3

Roll on January 2015 when they officially go on sale along with the 6 other new card designs.  I can’t wait to show them off!

My first A1 size pencil portrait

What a hectic couple of months that has been, the last of which was spent drawing a huge pencil portrait of a tree never-the-less… can you still call it a portrait when the subject in question is a tree?

Anyway, I thought my concentration levels were going to dwindle towards the end but surprisingly it was the exact opposite. I would go as far as to say it was quite therapeutic… it would have been even more so if it wasn’t for the strict deadline!

It all started way back in January of this year when I was commissioned to draw an A4 size portrait of…

Tree Photo

The main reason for the drawing on this occasion, was for it to be used within a new letter head design.  As an A4 portrait it looked great but seeing it reduced in size as part of a logo (for want of a better description) well, it looked simply stunning.

A couple of months later, I had second request emailed through that I couldn’t resist and the challenge was set… The same tree drawn onto an A1 sheet.

I can’t remember ever drawing anything on such a large scale, not even at school.  I must admit, secretly I was very nervous about the whole idea.  Not due to whether or not I could draw it but more concerns about the practical side of things.

I use an A1 size drawing board every working day so that wasn’t a problem.  It was more things like sourcing the paper… surprisingly not the easiest, storing the portrait while it was in progress and the thing I had most kittens about was packaging the portrait safely for it’s travels through the postal network.

Believe it or not, it took me well over an hour to get it ready for sending.  The heavy weight paper that I use isn’t very forgiving if handled without the utmost care.  After spending four weeks working on such an intense project the thought of slightly creasing or marking the commission while trying to roll it up into a tube was almost unbearable.  Thankfully my patience rewarded me and it arrived safe and sound the very next day.

Needless to say, my client was very happy with the finished result, equally was I.

Tree Photo A1 Tree Commission A1 - Tree Commission