Visit our Shakespeare and Opera Shop online!

Immortal Longings is an artist-run London company specializing Shakespare & Opera illustrations.

What you'll discover: Delightfully dramatic Shakespeare gifts featuring the Bard's best loved characters. I'm passionate about offering inspired gifts for actors, literature lovers, teachers, poets, dreamers, dramatics and romantics. My Opera Series provides art for international productions, giving an illustrated style to the thrilling music and characters.

My unique Shakespeare Gifts and Opera Gifts include: Giclée Art Prints, Art Cards, our Leatherbound journals (which make wonderful diaries and sketchbooks), Postcards, iPhone Wallpapers, and More.

The artwork is created by designer Elizabeth E. Schuch, working with local artisans in the UK and Society6 in the USA to produce gifts. Elizabeth has worked with Shakespeare's Globe, The Metropolitan Opera, The Seattle Opera, The Royal National Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, and other venues around the world to create illustrations based in the world of drama.

Tudor Portraits

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Holiday Coupon!

It's Thanksgiving!
So, as a Thank You to my blog readers,
I'd like to offer you a Holiday Coupon for my Online Shop!

You'll get 10% off any purchase by using the code in the Coupon below.

I've built a snazzy new retail shop
(it's the same goodies and service, but in a private shop all our own)
or you can always visit us on Etsy

Enjoy the Pumpkin pie!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Adventures in Designing

These last few months have seen projects in Greece and Berlin, as well as new artwork in production, branding designs, and a spanking new Immortal Longings Shop!

First Project: TO SKIAHTRO
(The Scarecrow)
Costumes & production design for a Music Video.
Shot in Athens, Thebes, and surrounding areas in Greece.
Some of the areas had suffered deliberately set forest fires (seriously, we found the petrol cans and areas where they began.) It made for an unearthly landscape of white, crisped olive trees and soil covered in bones. Black mountains with black skeletal trees were next to lush green farms and hills. Our footage will likely have been the first non-news film shot of the area, and the result is really unreal.

The band:
Active Member, an Athens based hip-hop/Low Bap group.
They were amazing to work with, and have a very devoted following in Greece. For scenes in Athens/Perama, we had a whole group marching in the streets. Sadahzinia, the lead female looks like a goddess of ancient times, and B.D. Foxmoor a majestic mountain king.

Also we found an elderly lady with fantastic pandofles (slippers).

Will post a link to the video once it's been completed by the post-production whiz.

Nächstes Projekt, Berlin: Wella Trend Vision 2009

An International Hair Awards Show.
I collaborate now and then with a fantastic London aerial company: Aircraft Circus.
(They did LOTR the musical here, and plan fantastic aerial shows, and also run a circus training charity.)
For Trend Vision's big award of the night, we needed a unique aerial act.

I designed a large golden cocoon that burst open to reveal an aerial silks artist. Since it needed to be an onstage "hair cut", I tied hundreds of strings for dancers to pull and trim.
Also- designed the bond girl style gold lamé cat suit to match. It's all about the lamé.

The now defunct Tempelhof Airport was the venue. Strange history, and a very big, very curving building.

Show went really well, and to be surrounded by wild-couture-hair models for a few days was pretty wicked.

More about the award show here.

Other Bits and Bobs:
I'm helping rebrand London's most fabulous Pole Dancing School,
with graphics and products to fit their classy, modern approach.
Led by World Champion Pole Dancer, Elena Gibson, they offer the best pole training and technique you'll find. Pins and Dancer Journals will be appearing in my public shop soon.
In the next year, they'll have a snazzy new site to match!

New necklaces from Lori Patton are on sale in her Etsy Shop, and soon in my own!
They are so lovely, and make the dramatic art very wearable.

You may notice some Monsters and Diamonds in my new Shop..
More on that next time!

Heartworks by Lori
Immortal Longings NEW Shop (We're still on Etsy, too!)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The New 2010 Shakespeare Calendar

The favorite with my customers in 2009- the Shakespeare Calendar is back for 2010.
It's the perfect way to bring a little of the romantic and the dramatic to your everyday.

This year, I've made it in a bigger and less expensive- with a full 12 pages of my best illustrations.
New in the calendar this year are Taming of the Shrew, and new colors for Hamlet & Portia.
It comes bound with a black satin ribbon tie for a little glam finish.

Over 80% of our Calendars last year were delivered to the USA.
So, I've decided to reduce our environmental footprint and take out the nail-biting of waiting overseas shipping for the holidays by having it produced in the USA.

With faster US shipping, a $9.99 price tag, and a lovely large format- it's easy to be decadent.
visit Etsy to reserve yours here

Featuring the following illustrations:
JAN- A Winter's Tale
FEB- Romeo & Juliet
MAR- The Tempest
APR- Ophelia
MAY- Portia (The Merchant of Venice)
JUN- A Midsummer Night's Dream
JUL- Merry Wives of Windsor
AUG- Much Ado About Nothing
SEP- Taming of the Shrew
OCT- Macbeth
NOV- Hamlet
DEC- 12th NightTo stock this item in your store, visit our Wholesale Shop Online.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

New Opera Designs: Carmen, Lulu, and Tosca

Some new artwork I'm working on in the Opera Series.

First, the red dramatic one:
Carmen is a mix of watercolour, and pastel/pencil.
This one is more painterly and less of my art nouveau line work.
Painted on brown paper, hi-lites have been brought out with the paint and pencil.
I'm excited to see how this one looks on fabric- I think it will make a spectacular couture purse.
The pose captures Carmen in the midst of a dancing leap, full of life and just above heaps of skirts. Free and lively at a glance, there's a little fraying/decay of the letters hinting of the unraveling of love and happiness.
The Zeffirelli curtain design...
Inspired by: Zeffirelli's sumptuous scenic renderings for the Met production. First saw his designs by chance- in a full exhibition on his work in Florence..... beautiful. I love his style, and his sense of texture and scale and colour and well, everything.

Lulu, the quintessential art deco woman, and a blank canvas for the men in her life. She's a beautiful and playful fem-fatale. I've decorated her with feminine trappings of beads and feathers in just as playful a fashion.

Inspired by: Art Deco adverts and posters, and the bobbed silent screen star Louise Brooks.
Lulu is a less well known opera, but a great character to work with.

After I'd completed my inking and selected my colours- I happened upon this actual poster from the period!
I was shocked a bit- but at least I was on the right track for the era.

Tosca: After doing some on-site research in Roma, with a trip to the top of Castel Sant'Angelo (where the opera tragically ends), I felt the angel made the perfect image of Tosca's justice.
Normally pictured with knife in hand- here we have Tosca nervous before her lover's "execution". The angel in the statue wields the sword for her, she has recently killed Scarpia.
“Tosca combines Puccini’s glorious musical inspiration with the melodramatic vitality of one of the great Hitchcock films,” says Music Director James Levine.
(Source: Met Opera Website)
I'm a huge Hitchcock fiend, and this idea really stuck me. Tosca does have that claustrophobic victimization and entrapment Hitchcock used so well. So Tosca has a little in common with Ingrid Bergman's character in Notorious, trapped by her own sensuality and thrown into intrigue. The light and composition are inspired by Hitchcock, and the wings of the angel reference his most famous film, as well as his use of well known monuments.
The lettering needed to be ornate and capture the style and richness of Rome.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Stop the Presses!

I'd been itching to try some new products for the Shakespeare collections, and Cafe Press had caught my eye.

So, now you'll find the illustrations on a whole new series of gifts from Cafe Press:
There's a King Lear throw pillow,
new Spiral Journals
Love Quote ceramic tiles
and my favorite- little ceramic ornaments!

Totes and ...maybe... t-shirts. I've been a little against t-shirts, but hints have been coming in...
Feedback and requests welcome- this one is new for me!
Visit Immortal Longings on Cafe Press:

Monday, 3 August 2009

Roman Holiday

Roma è Bella

I managed to escape for a little bit to Rome this summer. It's always an inspiring escape- great friends, great coffee, great food... It's easy to find inspiration in such a stunning city. The mix of graffitti and baroque, ancient and fashionable and the pistachio ice cream make it a treat for the senses.

Spent my time reasearching my upcoming Opera illustrations, and hopefully the fruits of my labour will arrive soon!

Some of my Rome favorites that you shouldn't miss (beyond the usual sightseeing.)
- Gelato at San Crispino - just at the back of the Pantheon. All modern and fancy schmancy, but well worth it in quality. Nocciola, Bacio, and Pistachio are my favorites anywhere in the city.

- Opera at the Baths of the Caracalla - Ruined baths on an epic scale, the source for many a public building and train station since. Quite possibly the most peaceful place in Rome during the day, they hold opera performances there at night. With Zefferelli sets!

- Pizza at the Vatican - Al Taglio on Via delle Grazie. I want to eat lunch here every day for ever. Try the melanzane (just eggplant and spice, it's heaven.) Don't let the queue stop you, it's the perfect treat for energy to pound the cobblestones. (Or in the evening Dar Poeta in Trastevere, but go early, it fills up.)

- Go for Apertivo - anywhere in Trastevere, really. A selection of dinner morsels comes with the price of a drink. Perfect beginning to an evening. My favorite: Freni e Frizioni
I love wandering the alleys around Campo Dei' Fiori for hours. Peeking in any churches or into any doorways you find can lead to lovely things. Doorknobs especially are my favorite. Find a rooftop for a night out, try the back of a motorino for the best city tour, and the gardens around the Villa Borghese for some shade. Secure yourself a good cafe seat and sketch the people or the history around you. It's quite a life!

And it always gives me lots of ideas...

Sigh... really should live there at some point.
Now, I must get back to work!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Other Adventures!

So, outside of drawing for my Immortal Longings art, there's quite a bit I've been up to...
After much neglect - I've given my portfolio a brush- up.

My first career is as a production designer for theatre and film, where I've been working on set and behind the scenes of a mad range of subjects: costumes futuristic communist stunt sequences, the silk road of China, sci-fi, Romeo and Juliet set in Portugal's football teams, lizard costumes, trenches, modern psychodrama and more.

I've even designed an add for ITV Bingo Party Gaming. Who knew?
It's always a surprise what the next job holds..

Other drawings on show dip into architecture and children's books,
and my weird little sketchbook thoughts.

It's all there. (Okay, I've one or two more things to add, but):

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Taming of the Shrew

"I'll not budge an inch."
-William Shakespeare
The Taming of the Shrew

It's been an uphill battle indeed. I've had a version of this one knocking around the studio since I began the first 10 of the Shakespeare Series in 2004. Yup, 5 years later, I finally had one I could publish.

It's the dynamic of Katherine and Petruchio that made it so tough.
Do you show a "tamed" shrew- victim of an abusive and domineering suitor?
Do you make her mid-fight and aggressive, perhaps making her too harsh and unsympathetic?
Or do you sling her over the back of a horse kicking and screaming? That's a bit too much and too comic. (Though I did toy with a version of that.)
And Petruchio- is he lecherous and abominable- in it for the bet, the money and the cheap thrill of demeaning her? Or does he really love her fighting spirit and it's all bravado for show?

It's a tough one to get right.
And somehow, I did think the horse should be in there, though don't ask me why.

You'll see my first attempt- too melancholy and Kate is too obviously a victim.

And my second attempt- just appalling really. Too comic. And Petruchio still looks a bit too creepy. And again with the victim thing, albeit a fighty victim.

At last, I hit upon the idea of the dance/fight. Petruchio has just swung Kate around to him, rather savagely by the wrist. But chin upon and forehead butted up to his, she's strong enough to take it. Next she'll kiss him or sock him in the nose.

With a happy floral be-ribboned arch, this is another of my favorite "romantic looking- but slightly amiss" designs that disguises a battle with flowers and movement.

Who knows what the horse thinks of it all.

Once the idea was there in a rough sketch, I was able to complete this in one night's work.
Not bad after 5 years of wrestling for the right idea!

Here you can see me take the sketch in stages:
1. Rough sketch for placement and movement.
2. Frame-Layout detail. Often involves rulers, compasses. Always my cheap papermate pencil.
3. Human poses: used photo models for this. Pose your friends, click, and there you go- perfect assemblage of hands and noses. Great for those tough poses. Sometimes the figures are done in my head, and sometimes that little bit of help is great.
4. Putting the layout together, matching of the characters and frame, still pencil. Some shading.
5. Inking, and making it all clean and pretty. A copy of the pencil layout is printed out (in case I mess up the ink) and I ink on top of it until satisfied or my eyes go buggy. Tiny black pens for details- the G-tec C4 and any random gel ink for thicker lines.
6. Paint! Watercolour and ink (Sennelier is my favorite) complete the look. Several cups of tea have been consumed by this point.

This design will be premiering on cards at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival giftshop,
and is on sale on prints now at my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Shakespeare's King John

This one has been hiding in the bottom of the pile of drawings on my desk for some time now, it's colour just wasn't right. But with some rich browns and gothic flourishes, it's time for it to see the light of day. King John!

The tragic young Prince Arthur sits uneasily upon the throne of England. Illegitimacy and family quarrels over the throne have lead to the order that the boy be killed. An assassin stands over the boy. Hubert wasn't able to kill him in the play, but later the boy falls to his death escaping.

The play is full of double crosses, poison and intrigue, and the poor Prince was caught in the middle. The scene of Hubert's attempt to kill him is very powerful on stage and stayed with me when I decided to illustrate it.

I'm listing all my new print designs in my Etsy shop today.
And just about ready to show a design that has alluded me for years: The Taming of The Shrew!