28.12.23 Book of the Month - 'The Mountain is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage into Self-Mastery' 4.5/5 Stars
It has been a little while since I have updated this blog, however I have been busy attempting to read the slightly overwhelming pile of books next to my bed. One of them, which I purchased for myself was 'The Mountain Is You' a book about the act of self-sabotaging, where it comes from, addressing it and moving on with life.
I am a huge self-sabotager and I will frequently deny good things in life or 'fail' at them so as to not get my hopes up or to feed that voice inside my head that says i'm simply not worth of it. Being proactive I decided that these thoughts can't haunt me my whole life, it would be far too exhausting. It's safe to say this book gripped me from the first page and validated thoughts that can make oneself believe you are the only person who has them, when that's far from it! 
Whilst validating the reader, don't mistake the message for babying or not allowing you to take control because it still delivers some harsh truths. Particularly, that our trauma is down to us not processing it correctly and in order to feel anything going forward we must accept this part of ourselves. The book even includes valuable exercises and thought-provoking situations such as talking with your future self, what do they look like? How do they seem? What do they want to tell you? This fascinated me. 
Brianna West also discusses how important our gut-instinct is as a second brain, but to differ this from anxiety and self-fulfilling thoughts that serve no purpose. She also says to recognise that most of our thoughts are not based within reality, so to not trust what they are saying as much as we do because they are based on learnt behaviour including trauma. Also, that people don't think and judge you as much as you think they do. Perhaps the most validating underlying current of all in this book, is the understanding that everything will be okay one way or another.  
Brianna perfectly describes the form of self sabotaging and how it is not this huge mountain within life that we need to scale and get over, but the bigger mountain within ourselves. I feel renewed. 

19.04.23 Implementing Creativity Outside of the '9-5'
I started my new role as a marketing & business development assistant nearly two months ago now. I am so grateful to have a job that already has elements of creativity when it comes to event management and branding. Going from student life to the working world is a change within itself, but it can also be difficult to now balance our interests outside of work.
I know that initially I found it difficult to come home after a busy day and have the energy to pursue something creative. At first this didn't particularly bother me as I was still adjusting and getting used to this new routine. However, over time I started to notice that when I wasn't taking time for myself outside of work that it was affecting my ability to focus and my health in general. For some people, working out, swimming or other forms of activities are what they need to separate their work and home lifestyles. For creatives, if we're not always utilising our creativity to the maximum within the workplace, then it's important for us to do so in other areas. Ultimately, what this comes down to is exploring whatever we enjoy outside of work to better ourselves and also better us as workers.
Studies have shown that by increasing our hobbies outside of work, no matter what they are, can reduce stress and therefore mortality rates by up to 50%. It also enables us to have solo "me" time. Sometimes we can get so caught up with trying to be social as well that we run the risk of not setting aside enough time for ourselves. Even 10 minutes of reading, or watching your favourite show, or going on a walk is enough to bring balance.
Last week, I picked up my iPad and pencil for the first time in over a month. I didn't really know what I wanted to draw, and it was also late into the evening. However once I got started it was difficult to stop! I felt that I was dedicating creative time to myself, which meant that when I woke up the next day, I felt refreshed and more focused at work. I started painting again on the weekends, as I'm now working on some personal projects. Giving ourselves an outlet other than work helps us to enrich our lifestyles and also makes us even better at multi-tasking. I find that I enjoy being at work, and I also enjoy coming home and dedicating a small amount of time to something else. This means, that sleep isn't the only way we can feel well-rested and re-juvinated. Pursuing your small creative passions or whatever passions you have outside of work also means that when you're huddled around the coffee machine in the morning with your colleagues, that you have something interesting to talk about. This broadens your identity, makes you more interesting and inevitably furthers your connection with your colleagues. You may even find that a new passion, or a passion you have that you haven't discussed with others, makes you connect with like-minded people and form a group based on this shared experience.
Pursuing the small things we enjoy outside of work is vital to not only help ourselves switch-off, but to also switch-on when we are working. It is key to our development and also our ability to thrive. So perhaps it's worth starting that new LEGO set, or taking that evening painting class, because it will give you an expressive outlet that you will learn to value. 

18.04.23- Book of the Month: 'Surrounded By Idiots'- 4.5/5 Stars
I was travelling to the UK recently and have a habit of picking up a book in the airport. Guernsey has a relatively small selection of books within it's airport, however I stumbled upon this. I am rather obsessed with studying human behaviour, and understanding other people. I am constantly wanting to build connections and understand why people are the way they are. That's why I couldn't resist this book. 
Thomas Erikson, a Swedish behavioural expert has spent most of his life helping businesses to grow, whilst analysing the many different kinds of humans he has met and ultimately learning to recognise their ways of thinking. Erikson states that fundamentally there are four types of human behaviours, Red, Blue, Green and Yellow. People can be a mixture of more than one, but ultimately this measurement makes it easy to spot and understand who in your life belongs to which category. As someone who was starting a new job, I was fascinated to learn not only what category my colleagues could be, but also which category I fell into. This book describes the positives and negatives of each type, with Reds being driven, task-orientated and strong leaders, whilst also being aggressive, dominant and overpowering. You may also run into a Blue, numbers and facts based who is incredibly methodical and detail orientated, however stubborn and emotionless. Greens as well, the loyal, respectful worker bees who aim to please, however cannot take criticism or positions of power. Finally, Yellows, the social, bubbly, fun members of the office who have great energy, but can hardly sit still and get the actual work done.
Without revealing too much, this book enabled me to assess not only the personality types of those we work with, but also the types of people I associate with outside of work. If you are looking for a book that divulges WHY people are each personality type, you will not find your answer here. However you will find out how to deal and communicate efficiently with every type, regardless of your own category and how to ultimately create a working environment that you thrive within and feel respected. I could not recommend this book more. If you're someone who wishes to gain answers to why you're misunderstood, or someone who is never listened to, then this book will help you understand why. 
01.02.23 Not Being Afraid To Create
I was always convinced that hand-drawn, dainty illustrations were the only style and medium I would ever pursue. I was passionate about this, to the point where I would say I was stubborn about it. It was only when I was on my BA in Illustration at AUB that this was challenged. For the first year, I could get away with this way of working due to most of the year surrounding exploration and refinement. However, I refused to experiment outside of this style. I believed that this was the only way of working I could do. This inability to experiment and trial new mediums and styles, meant that I started to get bad marks. My tutors were encouraging me to branch out, and try something new in order for me to create work that was the culmination of multiple ways of working. I was not brave enough to listen for fear that I would create work I was not proud of.
Halfway through the year, I was very generously gifted an iPad and an iPencil for Christmas. I very nervously decided one day to download Procreate to see what it was all about. It was safe to say that my first attempt at drawing was terrible, so I didn't touch Procreate and my iPencil for a while. For anyone else that is a perfectionist, I am sure that you can relate to this. I continued to get poor marks at Uni, and it was only when one of my friends showed me some of the hacks and extra ways to use Procreate that I decided to re-visit it. I ended up creating my first GIF. It was jumpy and basic, but it surprisingly made me want to create more. 
After months of getting used to creating digital work, I handed in a project that was solely created by my iPad of a book about an unlucky dog. It got me the highest marks I had received yet. Three years later and the same style and iPad would mean I had created a book and multiple animations that I ended up winning awards for. It would also get me a place on my Master's. My new style got me commissions, and ultimately I was able to showcase my creative themes better.
Allowing yourself to try something new and experiment is terrifying at times. It means you have to be vulnerable and open to criticism. You are letting an intimate part of yourself and thoughts be potentially visible to others. If you're not ready to do this, you can convince yourself that what you know is the safest and best way to go. But the truth is, trying a new medium or a new style, could provide opportunities that you never expected. You don't even have to show anyone if you try something new, but you know within yourself that you have branched out and made the scary step into unknown territory. If you hate what you create, then at least you know and get yourself closer to the refined style and medium that you were meant to explore. This doesn't even have to apply to especially creative projects, this ideal can be used within multiple areas of life. Being afraid of trying something new can ultimately hold you back and prevent you from unlocking new potential. What this experience in particular taught me, is that when we are at our most fearful, is when we are capable of achieving the most change. 
29. 01.23 Current Going's On: Linocut Workshop at Ladies' College
For the past three Saturday's I have been hosting a Linocut Workshop for some of the students at Ladies' College. I offered up my linocutting expertise to the school if they ever wished to hold an extra-curricular workshop, and I was really pleased when they accepted. I have never held a workshop before, and to do that at my old school meant I could test my verbal and authorative skills whilst feeling a sense of ease and familiarity. 
With the help of Miss Alston and Miss Clements, we split the workshop into three main sections. The first section would be on brainstorming ideas for the students' prints. The second, would focus solely on carving their final idea. The third and final day, would allow the students to finish up carving and create their prints. 
Although I was originally nervous, the students' couldn't have been better listeners. They took on my input but also brought so much of their originality. Due to most of them being on GCSE Art, they related their print ideas to their chosen theme once we had mind-mapped original ideas. Not only was it wonderful to see all of their unique ideas and perspectives that each of them brought, but I did feel that we all shared a creative connection over the passing weeks. That made the workshop feel like it had a true purpose for me aside from showing the students a new art form. 
The work they ended up creating after finalising their ideas, truly astounded me. They created pieces that I had never imagined using linocut within. Some printed on clothing to use for fashion-based work, some created optical illusions and others told meaningful tales. I could see how genuinely excited they were to see what their prints would look like, and to see their hard work come to fruition. It was fascinating to see how individually they all thought and used their creativity. I learnt so much more myself within this medium after watching their new perspectives, and feel very blessed to have been a part of this experience. I hope I can hold more workshops again at Ladies' and at other schools on the Island. 
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.  
Back to Top