Thursday 22 December 2016

Have An Amazing Christmas!

Okay, it's officially Christmas time for me now! So this is me signing out (from work at least). Have an amazing Christmas everyone! x

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Unseen Advertising & Children's Illustrations From 2016

So, by now you're probably used to seeing lots of my personal work, sketches, or newly released published work online. But I realised, as 2016 draws to a close, I rarely showcase a lot of the work I do behind the scenes for more corporate clients - but this year has been full of work for local schools, festivals, and national business events, that I thought it'd be worth sharing a few of my favourite pieces! 

This very blue themed invitation was created for Small Business Saturday's Blue Tie Ball (does the theme make sense now?), who commissioned me after seeing my small business themed illustrations for last year's Small Business Saturday. 

It was a really lovely project, where I had a lot of scope to spend time drawing amazing small businesses and freelancers, and keep everything simple with pure linework. The ball itself in London was amazing, full of glamorous business leaders and a delicious meal - and it was brilliant to see my illustration work used across all the media for the evening.

I love working for local companies and events, so it's been a great year for building connections around Manchester and Lancashire. 

I had a really lovely few commissions for Cheadle Hulme School (at the top of this post), for their brochures and presentations; as well as this poster for the incredible Grub Food Festival's May event and these (slightly silly, but loveable!) pufferfish illustrations for the Museum of Wigan Life's children's trail.

I was also commissioned by Salford City Council to illustrate a poster and social media campaign image for their annual Bridgewater Weekender Festival over Summer. This was such a fun one, just look at all those happy people! 

I loved being challenged with a bit of problem solving in following EST.1761's strict brand colours for the illustration (which were actually not that far off my usual palette!), and it was so interesting to delve into the history of the Bridgwater canal. That's one thing I love about local commissions, they always spring open so many opportunities to learn new things about the area, and meet so many incredible and creative people! Here's to more in 2017.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Creative Bloggers Secret Santa

I love getting involved with creative groups and, as I've mentioned (so many) times before, I think it's a great idea for freelancers to connect and support each other, even if it's online! 

I've been taking part in the Creative Bloggers social media chats for a few years now, and this year I signed up for the Creative Bloggers' secret santa! I honestly think this is the first secret santa I've ever done - a symptom of freelancing I suppose! We were asked (as we're a creative group) to include something we've made by hand as well as a few other gifts. Okay, so it wasn't 100% secret, we all wrote little notes to our giftees, but up until the packages arrived we were completely in the dark as to who we'd be receiving gifts from. 

I chose to include two handmade items in my parcel, a cute little sketchbook I put together (with a hand-painted cover) and one of my favourite new prints. I went on a bit of a stationery and artsy binge for the rest of it, which I thought the lovely creative lady I was paired with would appreciate it! 

So I was lucky enough to receive gifts from the amazingly talented ceramicist Harriet Cheal. She sent me some gorgeous hand-crafted jewellery, as well as a candle and absolutely beautiful lacy heart pendant she'd made (which I've put on my Christmas tree!). I feel like I've been spoilt, she's so generous! 

It's been so nice for me to feel part of a creative community with this, and I'll forever be an advocate of social media bringing people together. You can read more about Creative Bloggers here and have a look at Harriet's gorgeous ceramics on her Instagram here!

Thursday 8 December 2016

Illustrating Small Business Saturday 2016

For Small Business Saturday last year, I wanted to create a series of illustrations representing the amazing diversity of this country's small businesses. I got in touch with the Small Business 100 (which I was lucky enough to be part of last year), and asked for real-world inspiration to give the project a collaborative edge!

I had such brilliant feedback from the project last year (you can spot the illustrations framed in the Small Business Saturday office!), and after only being able to feature a few of the people that wanted to be involved, I decided to run it again in 2016 with a brand new series!

I settled on six themes, inspired by some truly amazing businesses that put themselves forward, and posted these ink illustrations throughout Small Business Saturday

I definitely found that some companies are much trickier to illustrate that others (eg I ran out of time to tackle drawing a military financial advisor that put her name forward! Maybe next year!), but I think that's what makes the UK's small businesses and freelance scene so exciting - there's just so much variety.

I find myself constantly impressed by how many people are out there taking chances and setting up their own businesses. I know I write about it a lot, but I think it's so brave to have the determination to think, "right, I know what I want to do, and I'm going to give it a shot". So here's to all the small businesses and freelancers of the universe! I hope you all had an amazing Small Business Saturday!

You can see the series of illustrations in more detail on my Instagram, Twitter or Facebook pages.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Busy B 2017 To-Do Diary Review

I'm a sucker for pretty stationery. Give me floral patterns and the opportunity to try and be organised, and I'm all over it. Busy B have been a firm favourite of mine for the last few years, so I'm really excited to have been sent their new 'To Do Diary' to review! As a bit of a bonus, (and as my only Black Friday purchase!) I also stocked up on these this pretty 2017 calendar and these adorable puppy page markers in their recent sale.

I've had one of Busy B's desktop calendars for about three years running now, they're just the perfect size for me to have on my desk, with enough pockets for me to store all my tickets and important notes for the month. But for 2017 I thought I'd try out their 'To Do Diary', as an on-the-go version.

The diary is genuinely lovely, and for someone like me who writes mountains of to-do lists each day, it's really useful to have set pages for reminders and notes - along with tear-out list pages at the back and little wallets for storing bits and pieces. 

Obviously it's not 2017 yet, so I haven't made a huge dent in adding in my dates for next year (although you'd be surprised how far in advance I have some meetings booked!). So far it's been incredibly useful - if you flick through it can feel a tiny bit confusing with all the different sections, but I think this is something that will definitely clear up when you're using the diary more systematically in date order. 

I love the cover illustration (I think you probably know by now I love a grey and floral combo), and the rest of the diary has a cute and simple design. It's extra brilliant when you combine it with other useful bits like the pup page markers, or other stickers (there's space for these in the back!). It's also great to see holder for your pen, although I'll admit it would be extra nice if a pen came included. 

Overall, a gorgeous little diary which packs that extra punch in delivering some incredibly useful extras. You can see more details of the diary over at Busy B and get 15% off your first order.