My Creative Block is a Dog

I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since I moved into my new home –  already I’m starting to feel settled. The box mountains surrounding my mattress are slowly getting smaller as I find small but ingenius ways to store all my stuff (shoe-rack under-desk art-supply shelving: hella yeah!) – and for the first time in about three years I have been able to set up my piano again, which I am so excited about!

I’ve been blessed with three charming housemates. I’ve managed to work out how the heating works. I’m even getting used to the sound of passing trains over the viaduct outside my bedroom window.

But still there’s a problem.

And that is I am feeling completely creatively dead.

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I keep thinking, it should be fine right? Sure there are still a few piles of teacups and odd things on my desk that haven’t found a proper home, and my room is still slightly chaotic, but that shouldn’t make a difference, should it? Yet somehow it does.

Creativity is a tempestuous beast. She’s a minx. One day she will fill you with inspired thought and you feel completely elated with how brilliant your imagination is… and the next day everything you’ve done before looks like poop, and you can stare at a page for hours with your mind a total, numbing blank. Creativity is so darned impetuous it needs to be petted and fussed over and coaxed into being, which I think means that any upheaval, even if it’s a positive change, is still such a shock to creative flow that it needs a lot of time to recalibrate and be comfortable again with its new surroundings. I’m making it sound like creativity is a very anxious and delicate old lapdog, with a weak stomach and neurotic tendencies, which is probably an apt description.

So what should I do? I have decided to beat it at it’s own game: by being mundane.

That doesn’t sound like much of a plan but apparently doing mundane tasks like cleaning, dusting, general tidying or walking to the shops allows your brain to switch its focus from the activity and rely on muscle memory to complete the task, letting your mind to wander off and be creative (Science!). So although my days don’t sound very interesting at the moment (ie. this morning I did the vaccuming and mopped the kitchen floor – woohoo!) I still feel like I have achieved something creatively, because I’m allowing my brain to resettle in it’s new environment and find its happy place. I am, essentially, petting the crazy lapdog and telling it that it’s okay, this place is safe for you to do your thing.

Go nuts.

 

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An exciting new collaboration

I have a few exciting announcements to make since I last posted… Firstly I will be having a stall in at the Brighton Etsy Christmas Fair! The competition is really stiff so I’m pretty honoured to be selected! It’ll be happening at the Brighton Dome on the 3rd December, so I hope to see some of you there!

More excitingly I have started a new collaboration with the talented people at ArtsCase! They are an iPhone accessories company that work with a range of fantastic artists and designers to create really unique and good quality products. I am thrilled to say that I will be joining their team of creatives! They’ve even written up a nice little bio introducting me, here. Even better, as a special welcome present, they’re giving 30% off all cases featuring my artwork, take a look here! I can’t wait till I get one myself, it’s really satisfying seeing stuff I’ve drawn on a real thing and not just in my sketchbook! (That and also because I keep dropping my currently caseless iPhone 5 and it’s reaaaaally starting to show!)

And now for my third exciting piece of news: I’m moving house! I have been living with relatives for a while now, who have kindly been letting me inhabit their spare rooms, but finally can now say I am able to move into my own space. At the moment my room is becoming piled ever higher with boxes of books (not an understatement – the majority of my boxes are purely books…) and I am scouring the internet for cheap wardrobes and furniture.

So let the new adventures begin! Thank you to everyone for all your support so far, onward to the future! 😀

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It’s September

I can’t believe I’m seeing the last days of summer and autumn is almost here. It’s too sooooooon!!

On the upside, after a year of slowing building up my business with the help of the Prince’s Trust, my business is finally launched! It’s felt like a slow uphill climb: redrafting my business plan, doing test trades, and learning to take control of my cash flow and branding, etc. etc. I still have a lot to learn and so much more space to grow, but having cleared the Prince’s Trust launch panel feels like I’ve overcome a major hurdle.

For those who don’t know the Prince’s Trust is a charitable organisation that helps young entrepeneurs set up their own business, offering a support network and advice. Now that I’ve passed the launch panel, I can be paired with a business mentor who can offer me advice.

Now the real journey begins!

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Pattern Summer School continued

Hi all!

So the Make it in Design summer school has finished, wow that went quickly! I can’t believe it’s already the end of August and colder weather is just around the corner… Though it’s been so beautifully hot here in Brighton that I’m still able to kid myself that winter is far away!

I wanted to share what I had created for the final creative briefs, these were certainly more challenging than the first round!

For the beginner brief, the theme was Honest Marks. After trialling a whole load of different styles, everything I did seemed too forced and over-complicated. I decided that really simple was best and just went for some hand-painted ink strokes, the results of which I think are really striking!

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For Intermediate, the brief was Souk, which I think is a really fascinating topic! There’s so much you can do with that, so I would really like to give it another go. I kind of ended up with a pattern medley design, but I think I will be experimenting with this theme on my own as well just to see what I come up with.

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And finally, Advanced’s brief was Summer Botanicals, which of course being a floral queen is right up my alley! Sadly with a sudden mass of work I didn’t have time to create something new for this brief, but found a pattern I created not long ago which fit in to the theme (thought I know I’ll be revisiting this brief in my own time too so I can create something new!)

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Beautiful bright bouquets that are reminiscent of spring in the countryside.

So that’s it! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and for all those who also participated in the Make it in Design summer school, a huge well done for completing this epic design challenge!

New Etsy Shop!!

Oh wow. Can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I’ve posted anything! So bad of me, however I have got a new job (yay!) which is taking up a lot of my brain space at the moment. So far though I’m really enjoying it and I’ve met some really great people.

I wanted to announce that I have just launched a shop on Etsy! So now you can get greeting cards and notebooks featuring some of my pretty patterns…HOW EXCITING!! 😀 Click the link above to have a look, I will also be adding a tab to my menu so that you can go straight there from my website.

Even better, for the rest of July 2016, I’m giving anyone who uses the coupon code BLOGREADER will get 10% off as a thank you for being my first customers! Hope you’ll take a peek and thanks so much for tuning in!

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Artist crush: Jessica Hische

It’s a long time since I did my first artist crush post about Erik Marinovich, but I really enjoy sharing my artistic inspirations/icons and talking about how awesome they are!!

If you love hand lettered anything haven’t heard of Jessica Hische, then this blog post is for you because she has amazing typography skills! Her work has been published on pretty much everything, from book covers to art prints to product labels. She did a beautiful typography collection of hardback classics for Penguin Books and is responsible for the MailChimp logo too. Take a look at some of her work below…

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And she has a fantastic class on Skillshare about designing stand-out drop cap lettering, inspired by the Penguin Books project, where she talks about her process and design journey, in all her nerdy glory!

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Amen sister!  Her website is pretty awesome (if you click on the heart on the top right corner you can change the setting to different modes, including teenage girl – complete with flashing stars and unicorns! Check it out here!)

Do you have a favourite designer that you want to share? Tell us all about them in the comments below!

Travel Tips #3: 5 Steps to Packing Light

I can’t wait until tomorrow, I’m going to Barcelona!! I’ve never been to Spain and I’ve wanted to for ages, so I’m pretty excited. I’ve spent the last couple of days printing out tickets and confirmations, getting some euros together and today I’m packing.

After much trial and error, I am now the Queen of packing light. I hardly ever travel any where with more than just a small carry on suitcase, and let me tell you, it is soooooo liberating! Knowing you don’t have to wait for ages at the baggage collection conveyor belt after a long flight is great, but more importantly, trying to navigate a strange city by yourself with a massive bag you can’t even carry up the stairs is no way to travel. Ever had to catch a train with a big suitcase? Not fun. Everyone hates you and by the time you reach your destination, everything hurts. So to help you avoid some unnecessary stress (and pain!) I’ve complied a few key tips to packing light and enjoy your holiday so much more!

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1. You don’t need a different outfit for every day of the week

You just don’t. No one will judge you for wearing the same t-shirt twice in a row. If anything I would pack as few outfits as you can get away with, because there’s always the chance you will buy something while you’re travelling anyway. And you want to have room for souvenirs right?

2. Colour coordinate your clothes

Probably the most important tool in packing light. If you can curate the clothing you pack so that they can work in multiple different outfits, you’ll get away with packing less. The easiest way to do this is by colour coordination. Some people go with black for everything, or black and tan. I wear a lot of blue and red so that’s what I tend to go with when I travel too. Take a look at the photo below for example: I’ve got three tops: red,blue and navy, all of which go with the navy skirt and pattern shorts I’m packing with them. I’ve got a white and navy cardigan and a warmer red cardigan to go with them, the red cardigan also goes with the floral dress on the left. With only a few pieces of clothing I can wear a different outfit for every day of the week I’m away if I want to, and I’m not even packing that much. If I wanted to pack even lighter, I could take away one of the cardigans and one of the tops, and I’d still have plenty to wear.

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3. Buy your toiletries in mini

This is kinda necessary anyway thanks to the size restrictions on liquids for carry on luggage, but it makes good travel sense too. There’s no point packing a full sized bottle of shampoo if you’re only travelling for a week. There’s a huge range of products made in travel size now at chemists – I’ll tend to buy ones that come in bottles that can easily be refilled. That way I won’t have to buy travel sized products every time I travel, and I can fill it with my preferred brands of goop. Often at the bigger chemists and supermarkets they’ll have empty travel sized bottles that you can buy pretty cheaply, so there are plenty of options available.

Extra hint: Sharing is caring. If you’re travelling with someone, it makes no sense for both of you packing a tube of sunscreen or toothpaste each. The more stuff you can share between you, the fewer bulky bottles you need to pack.

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4. Take advantage of the hostel laundry

If you’re travelling for a couple of weeks (or months) the hostel laundry is a life saver. Not all hostels have them of course, but if you can strategically plan it so that every week or so you’re staying somewhere with a washing machine and a dryer, you can pack so much lighter. In the mean time, pack a plastic bag to keep your dirties in so that your clean clothes aren’t mixed in with yesterday’s undies!

5. Packing bulky stuff? Wear it on the plane.

Seriously one of the biggest travelling cheats ever, but one that makes perfect sense. If you’re planning on taking a pair of hiking boots and a pair of sandals, for example, why would you put the boots in the suitcase, taking up heaps of space that you can use for an extra t-shirt or that super awesome knick knack you found at a local market? The staff at the check-in can stop you taking an extra bag on the plane, (or even a handbag, Easyjet!) but they can’t stop you carrying your big bulky coat or wearing your ski boots.

Do you have any helpful hints or tricks to packing light? Let others learn from your expertise and share in the comments! 🙂

Quote of the day

I’m always looking for new quotes to practice my hand-lettering on, or to give me a bit of a boost when I’m feeling unmotivated and blocked creatively. I found this one by Brené Brown particularly inspiring today, it basically encapsulates everything I feel about putting my artwork out into the world, so I made it into a poster. I hope you find it helpful too!

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Are there any quotes that particularly inspire you? Let me know! 🙂

Geometric prints (and jobsearching)

Hi there! Well it’s been a busy few weeks of scouring the internet looking for someone to employ me. Is there really nothing so soul destroying as job hunting? These days it seems all about experience and ticking the right boxes rather than qualifications and skills. Maybe I would enjoy it more if I was looking for some fantastic design opportunity for an awesome creative company, but as it is I’m looking for a day job that’s going to pay the bills. Such is life!

Thank goodness I’ve had pattern design projects to distract me! I’ve been doing Make it in Design’s surface pattern design modules – I’m on number 2 at the moment – to gain more knowledge as I try and build my pattern design business into…well..a business! Some of it is simply reinforcing what I’ve been able to work out myself or have learnt from others already, but I’ve had some great insight into the pattern design industry through the module, and the creative projects they set are really helping me to extend out from my safe zone of floral patterns and sketches of cake!

Last week we were set a  challenge to create six geometric patterns using a ‘summer’ colour palette, and although geometrics are really not my strong point I’m actually pretty pleased with the result. Take a look, I’d love to see what you think! 🙂

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New site!

Hi everyone, it’s been a while! Spent the whole day fiddling around with WordPress widgets and pages to completely transform my site to make it look a bit more professional, and so it can function not just as a blog, but as a beautiful portfolio website as well. What do you think? I think it looks pretty fab, but then I’m a bit biased! 🙂

I also FINALLY got round to uploading all the patterns I’ve created this year, there’s quite a few! This includes my two collections, Kyoto in Spring and the very new Summer Holiday, check them out in my Surface Patterns page.

Have a lovely weekend! xx