Behind the Scenes | March – July 2023
Hello! I have wanted to write this post since April but work/life has gotten so busy these last few months. Quite where time has gone since I wrote my Behind the Scenes post in March, I have no idea!
In that last post, I mentioned I was working on a top-secret and exciting project that involved me illustrating starlings and murmurations. If you follow me on social media, you may have seen that the top-secret and exciting project was for the RSPB and WWF. Together we created The Wild Isles Collection, a range of products released in celebration of the BBC television series, Wild Isles. Presented by Sir David Attenborough and co-produced by WWF, RSPB, The Open University and Silverback Films, the landmark series captured the UK’s beautiful and diverse landscape as never seen before.
Celebrating two heroes of our wild isles, the mighty oak and captivating starling, I created a repeat pattern design for application on a variety of products, including mugs, cushions, scarves and bags. All items within the collection are for sale on the WWF and RSPB websites. Each product is sustainably and ethically sourced, with 100% of the profits going towards helping vital species and habitats across the UK.
I decided to create the illustrations on my iPad – partly because the timescales were quite tight but mainly because it meant I could do it whilst letting Ottie nap on me. Drawing on the iPad with an 8-month-old sleeping on you is much easier than drawing the traditional way! Fortunately, four months on, Ottie can now nap on her own and, wait for it, in her cot (woohoo!), which is brilliant news to my sanity.
Some new products have made their way into the warehouse too recently – my highland cow pot holders (which I am LOVING!) and my 2024 calendars, which are available to pre-order now! If you are on my newsletter subscriber list, you will be the first to hear of their launch. I created a slimline version of my seasonal flowers calendar from last year and considering creating floral postcards to match.
Despite being a creative person who illustrates/designs products for a living, my working day is largely spent doing quite the opposite. You’re far more likely to see me working on an Excel costings sheet, managing stock levels and/or responding to trade enquiries than drawing in my sketchbook. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing those tasks (I do genuinely enjoy working with spreadsheets, fact.), I just want to have a better balance and do more of the things that bring me joy and calm. Designing typically only happens when creating a new collection, twice a year or thereabouts. So, by way of bringing creativity back into my daily life, I am trying to do more sketch booking and creative journaling in the evenings, as opposed to just collapsing on the sofa and phone-scrolling. Nowt wrong with doing that, of course (no judgement here!), I believe ‘intentional living’ is what I am trying to manifest.
I recently bought a Leuchtturm 1917 sketchbook and LOVE the square format. I still have my teeny tiny sketchbook that I enjoy using, and my Yop & Tom bullet journal is also pretty good for sketching in. Even though it’s been over 18 months since we moved into our house I still enjoy drawing the sheep and fields that live in the fields behind our back garden. I see a sheep range in the future!
However, allotments are still my favourite – I’ll never tire of sketching allotment-related things. Thankfully, Arto loves to paint and draw, although he is strictly about drawing buses and farm-related vehicles but, when he’s not looking, I am able to sneak in a drawing or 2 for me. On one occasion, he got distracted by something on the telly for a good 15mins which allowed me to paint an elephant. No idea why I chose to draw an elephant but either way, Ottie has a new picture for her bedroom. I also managed to do a quick paint study of the fields in my tiny sketchbook, I’m loving its textures as the grass is so long at the moment. I liked my drawing so much that it is now my phone’s background image. If you would like it for your phone, then sign up to my newsletter to be emailed a free download.
Arto’s short attention span came to my advantage again on another painting session, for I managed to get some outlines of a rabbit and pig sketched out. I later completed them in watercolour when the kids were in bed. It was my birthday in May, and I always do something, usually offering a limited-time-only sale. However, with it being my 40th, I wanted to do something extra special. With 1983 being the year of the pig and 2023 being the year of the rabbit, it seemed apt that I create a print with the two adorable creatures combined. All online orders placed from 23rd May (my birthday) will include my miniature art print, at least until they run out!
So what am I working on now? I have a few more bespoke projects in the pipeline for existing trade customers, which is exciting. I have a rather important announcement coming soon which I am looking forward to (if a little nervous) sharing. But to give you a teaser, there will soon be another 50+ products getting added to my ranges!
With Ottie starting nursery at the end of this month, I am looking forward to having 2 WHOLE days to myself to be able to work in a more organised, consistent fashion. Trying to cram in all the tasks during her nap times and in the evenings is far from ideal. I can’t count the number of times I’ve cursed the person who dared to ring our doorbell whilst she was sleeping. Pretty sure the postie thinks I hate him, which is a shame because I really don’t, he’s lovely!
Anyway, that’s enough rambling for the second instalment of my ‘behind-the-scenes’ blog updates, I need to save some for my next one!
x Cherith x