25.01.23- Inspiration- How To Find It
Being freelance can at times be stressful, however this does mean that I can also pursue my personal creative passions. Sometimes the drive to create something is so strong, but I have absolutely no idea what to produce. 
Within school and nowadays when I hold workshops, I encourage students to start off with a mind-map. This might start with their chosen medium in the middle, or perhaps a theme that they're passionate about. Word association and then discovering artists who have also worked within these areas is a great branching off from that. Never underestimate the power of Pinterest, one of my favourite social medias. 
Perhaps the best inspiration I have ever found, has come from entirely random and obscure places. For instance, once I was walking along a road in Bournemouth and found a playing card of the 8 of diamonds. This strange occurrence, inspired me to create my own set of cards. Another time, I found a book in a Guernsey charity shop on local monuments for 50p which would then go on to inspire a whole chapter within my own book. A small ceramic vase I found in Greece, would prove to be the beginning scene for a lot of my future animations in order to tell a story. A blooming lotus flower in a pond in Marrakech, would be the foundations of my first personal logo.
Inspiration is truly everywhere, in the mundane and the extraordinary. Never take a unique and perhaps slightly bizarre encounter for granted, as it can prove to take you down a creative route you never expected. Therefore, potential employers and followers in general will know they are viewing something different, obscure and inspirational compared to everyday design.
20.01.23- Book of the Month: 'The Midnight Library'- 4/5 Stars
One of my favourite books of all time is 'Piranesi' a book centred entirely around fantasy, with a slightly ominous element and interesting characters. I wanted to read something similar, and found The Midnight Library. Funnily enough, this book was also recommended for those with an INFJ personality type, which I do indeed have. If you've never taken the 16 Personality Types Quiz by the way, I highly recommend. 
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a story about a young woman named Nora Seed, who one day decides that life is no longer worth living after a series of unfortunate events, and commits suicide. Instead of ending up at heaven's gates, she instead finds herself in a library, where the Librarian, a familiar face from her root life, tells her she has the opportunity to choose and relive any parallel lives. This is in order for her to eventually realise that her current life was not so bad after all. She chooses lives where if she had made a different decision, would have happened. Lives that would be seemingly happy, but all are inevitably miserable and she ends up back at the Library. 
Without giving away too much, this story absolutely mesmerised me. It teaches the reader that we may have lived completely different lives if we had chosen differently, but that does not mean we would be happy. The main essence of the story, is that life is worth living, and to appreciate our ties to everyone within it. A fascinating book, one that made me laugh and cry and I would highly recommend if you are a fan of parallel universes and the ultimate question, "what if?"


20.01.23- Current Projects: 'Limone'
Back in September 2021, one of my best friend's and I had expressed a want to travel after we graduated from our degrees. We wanted to have one last final blow out before entering the working world. I have practically grow up in Italy since my mother took me there as a baby to write a column on a small town there, and we've been going ever since. My friend, has never been to the country. With my knowledge of Italian, and her excitement at a completely new place, we decided there would be no better place to go.
We spent three weeks out there together. Recently single and travelling across the whole country by ourselves. Before we went, I knew we would have an amazing time, but I never expected the trip to be as life-changing as it was. We grew closer than I ever imagined, and experienced wonderful places all around the country. We met interesting people, did activities such as yoga on rooftops and life-drawing classes, and at times drank far more than anticipated. We laughed together and cried together too. We also had less pleasant experiences in some places. We drew pictures in each place we visited, and I kept a diary throughout the entire trip. It was truly special, and the time went by so quickly.
For our own way to cement this trip, we decided to create a magazine of our travels. Travel magazines I find can be incredibly dull, and only ever really describe incredibly touristy and uninteresting destinations. Therefore we wanted to create something that was from our young, honest and relatively broke perspectives. This is where we came up with 'Limone' which we believe is the colour and symbol of Italy. Each page is filled with our own photographs, drawings, and real diary entries. This is still currently being made, and is a true passion project for us. This not only has enhanced our writing and magazine layout skills, but has also made us aware of how unique our trip really was. We explored hidden coves in Sorrento, secret private bars in Rome, and experienced ancient ruins at Lake Garda.
We're busy working away on this all the time, and hope to have it finished this year, and if enough people are interested, perhaps this side-hobby will very much become publicly available.   
19.01.23 Master's Degrees- Would I recommend? 
I found my true style and passion for Folklore at the very end of my BA in Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth. Whilst this meant that I left Uni feeling very glad that I had, I also felt that I wasn't entirely ready to enter the working world since I wanted to explore and refine this new knowledge even more. This was also still within the effects of COVID, and my last year was very affected by a lack of in-person teaching and zero group work. I felt that a Master's would mean that I could hopefully come out of the other side of COVID with a truly refined style, and an extra degree under my belt to therefore take on full-time creative work. 
Going straight from a BA to an MA meant that I was still in the learning mindset, and was able to give my full attention to the course. However I underestimated the differences in teaching when it came to the two degrees. BA is all about gifting you with essential advice and turning you into a self-confident person whatever field you are in. MA is much freer, with people on my course who had been working within Illustration and Design for 20+ years. The course is also designed so that you can study and complete projects alongside work, as a lot of people do. This was great as it meant I could complete my freelance work, but I was only in Uni one day a week. I think I wanted something a bit more hands on, but that's a mistake I made rather than the idea of Master's themselves. 
MA Illustration, whilst daunting at times being surrounded by professionals, was also fantastic as a way for me to learn about my fellow students' experiences within the industry and seeing their range of styles. This was hugely different to BA, and meant that I was surrounded by people who had made a living in this profession, and undoubtedly inspired me even more. Group work was therefore meaningful and something I began to genuinely look forward to. On BA, my friends on the course were around my age, and on MA one of my closest friends was in her 70s and on her fourth Master's. I loved this.
I walked away from my MA feeling like I had been given the opportunity to explore what I was passionate about more, and if I hadn't had done an MA then I probably would never have written 'Guernsey Lore'. It's funny how things like that work out. Do I feel like MA Illustration/ Design is necessary to further your career? Not particularly. It's more an opportunity for yourself rather than for potential employers to see. However it does show that you are constantly re-training and re-educating yourself which is a great skill for a company to see. 
If you also think that an MA will be similar to a BA, you would most likely be mistaken. If you are looking for consistent structure and very hands-on teaching, then an MA may not always provide this. This is why I would recommend taking time out between a BA and an MA. See a BA as an opportunity to find your craft and refine your skills, and see an MA as you taking control of your education and your passions whenever in life. I think if I had taken time out I would have probably ended up creating entirely different work due to the experience I would have gained. 
I suppose my advice is, don't do an MA for your career, do it for you and pursuing your passions because that's what really matters. If you're going to give your time and effort to it, do it for you and your own achievements and for nobody else. 
06.01.23 Current Read: 'The Entrepreneurs' Magazine
I often walk past magazines when I see them in the stands as the topics they surround usually don't entice me. However a strong front cover and I'm sold. I walked past Issue 5 of Monocles' The Entrepreneurs and had to browse through due to the illustrations on the front. 
Monocle is renowned for discussing business and covering global press, but The Entrepreneurs is aimed at a different target audience, particularly those within design who wish to go their own way within work. Their success stories are honest, and they interview countless creators who faced difficulties along the way of starting their own business, but undoubtedly made them reach their true potential.
As a young creative, navigating the working world isn't always easy, especially with the dog-eat-dog nature of job availabilities and knowing how and what to pursue. But The Entrepreneurs is essentially a collection of hope and reassurance to the reader, that if you are passionate about what you can do and deliver, then there is a market for that. Their tips and tricks on how to get going with this as well are vital and offer perspectives from those who have been within the business industry for years. Not to mention, there are some wonderful illustrations and stories from talented journalists inside. Would recommend to anyone who wants a quick and interesting read, or is looking for advice on how to make it. 
06.01.23 'Guernsey Lore': Creating Work With A Purpose
When I first came up with the idea for creating a book surrounding Guernseys' folklore heritage, I never expected it to be anything other than my final project on MA Illustration. I had been passionate about folklore as a subject for many years, as I found reimagining old tales and ways of life through the modern medium of Illustration to be fascinating and challenging. It also keeps the tales alive within the ever-changing world. It was natural for me to therefore explore my own culture, as a way to dig up the past and also test myself within the relatively new medium of book-making.
It was only as I begun my research into local folklore, that I realised there were only a handful of books surrounding this topic. The ones that were around, were not only outdated, but incredibly text-heavy. This, for visual learners such as myself was difficult to highlight the important tales through the sheer masses of information. Through the writings however, I learnt that Guernseys' own folklore was at risk of dying out due to being frequently undocumented and through the disappearance of local monuments due to quarrying and natural decomposition. This therefore meant that I not only discovered more than I anticipated, but it gave my work a purpose within the modern world. To reinvent and reimagine age old tales, not just through illustration, but as a new-found act of preservation. 
The collating and refining of information took a solid six months, which then lead me to create three distinctive chapters of Monuments, Characters and Superstitions from local lore. The illustrations themselves took three months, as I am a fast worker when I know exactly how I want something to look. Around 150 pages later, with a front and back cover and the general content written, I had created my final piece. 
Getting a Distinction for this project was enough in itself, but to then be reached out by Blue Ormer Publishing on Guernsey was a wonderful surprise. I never imagined I would be able to have a book of my own published, but Blue Ormer expressed how they too saw this book as a form of preserving an important part of Guernsey culture. Working with them, they identified layouts and designs that could be better, and with the unified thought of wanting to educate people on local folklore, we were able to launch the final version in October 2022. 
You don't always have to start out with a solid purpose when creating work, sometimes it can be just a form of lighthearted self-expression that could lead somewhere. Sometimes you'll find new information or themes that you didn't expect, that will unlock an area of interest not just for yourself but also potentially to an entire group of people. That's a pathway to explore. 

02.01.23 The Designer: Collaborative vs Independent Working
Being a freelance designer for the past near six years has its perks. I am my own boss and I have nobody to argue with about the outcome of the work I create. This in turn has made me fiercely independent. I was convinced that this was the best route for me to take within Design, as it encouraged my skills and reinforced me to realise that the work I create is truly down to me, nobody else. 
But within the past year or so, something in me has shifted. Since COVID, us remote and independent designers were blessed with very little change happening to our working lives. However, we no longer had the choice, whether we wanted to work alone or not. Studios were shut, and communication was slacking in every corner.  It's funny how one can feel truly happy with the set-up of their independent work, until they realise this truly is the only option for them for the foreseeable. Then the loneliness hits. I began to miss the company of other people that I truly had never experienced before, so how could I miss it? 
Up until a year ago, whenever I had worked within marketing or design, I was always the sole person responsible for the work. It was only when I embarked on an internship where I became part of a team that I realised how much I had missed creative interaction and connection. At University, I hated collaborative projects, this was perhaps because I was so head-strong I only wanted to do things my way. Plus, you will always have a team member who simply does not offer much input. Due to these experiences I was convinced that independent working was the way forward for me seeing as I didn't believe I could ever work with others. How wrong I was. 
Working in a team took some getting used to, it still does really, but that first internship where I was employed taught me so many important things. I received vital creative feedback (even if I did struggle taking it at first). I was given praise and appreciation for my work, and ultimately, realised that whilst everyone in a team may differ hugely, you're all there to reach the same outcome. To create truly meaningful and original work for whatever or whoever you are working for. 
Don't get me wrong, there are some days where I absolutely love working by myself, but that element of bouncing off of others for inspiration and listening to what people can bring to the table, is truly what makes great design in my opinion. Being able to balance the two, and finding comfort in both scenarios, will ultimately lead you to produce work that is the culmination of your own hard-work combined with the flair of those you work with. That's where you create work that can be truly influential. 
14.12.22 Book of the Month: "Don't Get a Job... Make a Job"- 4/5 Stars
After recently graduating from MA Illustration in September, and filling my time with freelance and part-time work, I've realised now entering the New Year that I want something more substantial and routine-based. I got this book for Christmas, mostly because I had read the good reviews but also because I was intrigued as to what kind of advice this little book could offer.
To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I often find with advice books that they can potentially come off condescending, or like the reader is an idiot for not understanding how they should be traversing through life. This book is far from it. A collation of world-wide designers across multiple fields share how they first started, where they are now, and the advice they would give.
What I like is how no two people's approach to tackling the design world is the same. In fact hardly any of them talk about having a design degree or years and years of experience within the sector. Truly, the underlying consistent way of thinking with each of these people, is their passion for what they do and their belief that if you know you're meant to do something, then the success and necessary money to live will find you naturally. I learnt more than I ever expected, and unfortunately I don't think I will ever be able to lend anyone this book due to it being profusely highlighted with important quotes that I shall carry with me. 
23.11.22 Current Going's On: Lecture at Ladies' College
I attended Ladies' all the way from Year 7 to the end of Sixth Form. I would be lying if I said I loved it all the time. I am a creative, and not a lot of schools always know how to cater towards those who truly are good at nothing else. Granted, I had terrible attendance and I wasn't academic, making me a not so great student. But art I was incredibly passionate about.
After the release of 'Guernsey Lore', I was surprised to find an email from Mrs Thompson, about giving some of the older girls a talk on how I created the book and about being a past student. Regardless of what I stated above, I jumped at the chance. Turning up to my old school, and walking around like I only left yesterday was truly bizarre. Everything was the same and yet so different. I had teachers recognise me, which was rather heart-warming as they wave goodbye to countless students every year and I never thought they would remember them. 
I had never been very good at public speaking, but something about being in a place I knew surrounded by students I still remembered was comforting. The girls couldn't have been better listeners, even though I know I used to lose focus when people would come in and give lectures. I learnt how to keep a talk within a certain time frame, deliver my point well, and also leave room for the girls to ask any questions. They asked me what A-Levels I did, where they could buy the book, and if I could even sign some postcards I had brought for them. Their response was wonderful, and I encouraged them to remember that sometimes life can take you on a path you don't expect, but it's always important to take a lesson from everything. Also, Foundation Degrees are great and worth it if you don't know what you want to do. I knew amongst them there would be creatives in particular who did not feel understood, or know where to start. I told them University is where I truly found myself and my style, and where I understood the concept of being an Illustrator. 
The old student in me felt immensely proud, and I never imagined that I would have an opportunity like that presented to me. I ended my time there by walking through the school, reminiscing, and taking the old route out the back of the Sixth Form centre to grab a baguette from Doyle's like the good old days.  
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