October 2020


Framing, Composition and Battleship Potemkin

I've been watching films to develop an understanding of framing and composition. Eisenstein's 'Battleship Potemkin' has been a brilliant starting point for understanding storytelling through framing. Drawn thumbnails have been turned into a flik book a 'film' comprising of thumbnail stills....

July 2020


An unprecedented worldwide turn of events

We are half way through what has been a (*massive understatement) topsy turvy year. One that could never have been predicted or planned for. Those intense early weeks of 'lock-down' began with my daughter breaking off her degree in Liverpool to resume studies from home alongside my son studying for his A-Levels, and myself studying for an MA. -Thanks to the Lecturing staff in Cambridge I was able to finish my second semester remotely from home. Days merged with little differentiation, yet when looking back retrospectively, I am aware of how significantly certain tectonic plates have shifted, and the world is in quite a different place now.


We collectively have quite different personal stories with unique ebbs and flows of events and emotions unfolding against a backdrop of the worldwide Covid outbreak. I remember the early days being a moment of unity with neighbours where on a Thursday we clapped and showed thanks to our carers for helping us through this crisis. Set against the crisis, George Floyd 's death  sparked a response of worldwide outrage at this injustice, starkly revealing the endemic racism that can no longer be ignored. Black Lives Matter.


I wanted to share with you my long overdue updates to my website, but as I began writing, felt that these wider events that have taken place needed to be acknowledged. The personal is political. Humanity is collective. I hope that from this unsettling period in history we truly learn to value and live by the meaning of sharing and caring for each other, as families but also as wider communities, -locally, nationally and internationally.

Additional pages



Here's the biggest bit of news on a personal level for me: I've finished my first year of an MA in Children's Book Illustration!


Alongisde Limited edition prints, bespoke commissions, commerical and heritage commissions and Education (there are some subtle changes, see if you can spot them) I have also added examples of the work so far undertaken on my MA .


There are drawings from Observation and Experiment in Semester One. The time I managed an early morning and didn't miss my train (apart from the connection in Ely once, but that's another story!) Sequential Image in Semester two began in Cambridge and half way through had to switch to online. We had to produce a series of connecting illustrations that were readable as a story. They didn't have to be necessarily child focused. More an exercise in the process.


I miss the weekly life drawing classes at Cambridge but my wonderful MA peers have come up with an online version whereby we watch a life drawing class and draw remotely. I really need to get into practice again! I am continuing to explore colour which began as part of the Sequential Image module. Again, more practice needed... Sequential Observations began as a way of capturing journeys to Cambridge, but in the time of lockdown (I've not been on a train since early March!) I now try to capture movement when watching a film or TV programme.


The year has been an intense year of learning and stretching -a workout in drawing with more consideration given to framing, composition and colour. I'm getting there, but am aware how much more I need to learn. Writing this, I am aware of the time I gave to practicing drawing techniques. Because of other commitments this has dropped somewhat. Time to begin again!

February 2020

When you're busy making other plans



As a sit to write my first blogpost of 2020, I am reminded of the John Lennon quote 'life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'. I'm not sure if the quote quite fits, but since my last blogpost, another year has rolled by while life's other plans have included: moving my studio back home and into the garden...

...my beautiful daughter has headed off for her University adventures...

the all important trip to IKEA

... and I've also gone back to school by starting an MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. I am now into my second term, and despite the early train departures from Nottingham to Cambridge (I've never been a morning person) becoming a student open to learning, with all the vulnerabilities that to with challenging yourself, has been exactly what I've needed.

For now I am no longer taking part in craft and design events, but I'm still delivering workshops in museums and undertaking commissions. Here are some examples of recent commissions:

framed and above their mantlepiece!

If you are interested in a commission, feel free to have a look at my commissions page.











I hope to write more regularly than once a year (!) but until the next blogpost, bye for now!


Hannah x

all images © Hannah Sawtell 2017

T: 07941711658 E: hannah.sawtell@ntlworld.com