My thank you post

This time last year, after 4 years of working with the same company straight out of uni, I handed in my notice.

Work had became a home from home and a reassuring constant as I moved between 7 homes in 3 years and travelled back and forth every weekend to see the boyf, so handing in my notice was like cutting the strings and seeing whether I could stand on my own two feet. It’s a relief to say, I’m still standing!

I had so much support in making that decision and I was fully prepared to fall flat on my face. I had nothing lined up after my notice period and didn’t think I knew enough people in the industry to reach out to other agencies. Luckily, it turns out that the people I did know were so fantastically generous with their time and connections!

Through their help, I have had the opportunity to meet with a variety of agencies and work on some great projects. Happily, each agency I’ve worked with has asked me to come back to work on further projects, so I’m doing something right!

I realise this isn’t really a post about art, but I thought that if the only thing I can complain about recently is a lack of inspiration with my paintbrush and having to stay an extra night in Paris due to strikes, then I am obviously in a good place right now, so I wanted to celebrate and share it with you. I am so thankful and grateful for the support you have all given me this year, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you!


thank you stars

Summer painting update

Over the last few months I haven’t been painting very much due to a mixture of working hard and lack of inspiration. But now that the sun is out and I’m managing to sneak more days at home, I’m trying to track down some inspiration and rediscover my pencils and paints.

So here are a few things that I’ve been painting recently:

bakery dog

This is based on an instagram pic of a cheeky little labrador at a bakery window. I’m still going through a painting cute animals phase, so this popped onto my feed at just the right time! I update my instagram more often than the blog or Facebook, so follow me on instagram for more frequent updates!

Talking of cute animals, I went to see Jurassic World at the cinema last weekend, which inspired a little birthday card that I did for my cousin’s little boy.

dino cardPersonally, I think little dinosaurs are adorable, but that might just be me! I’m thinking of doing a few more of these to make a cute little group as my go to for young age cards.

Another card I did this month was for my friend who recently moved in with her boyfriend:

congrats card

I’ve only met her boyfriend once so far (I know, I’m a terrible friend), but they seem very happy together, so I’m really excited for them!

The final painting I’m going to share is a quick sneak peak…

sneak peek

I’ve been working on a name illustration for a different cousin’s little boy (I have a lot of cousins), with a riverside theme, so this is a little snippet of the final thing.

This is the fifth name illustration I’ve done (I’ve previously shared Hattie’s on my Facebook page and Ella’s here) and it is definitely my favourite thing to paint! I’ll share them all in my next post, once I’ve given this one to it’s new owner.

I’m always open to requests, so if you know anyone who’s nursery or child’s room is missing that something special, please get in touch!


Happy Egg Hunting Day!

Happy Easter everyone!

happy easter

We had an early Easter gift yesterday when my mum and step-dad came over wielding an arsenal of garden tools to help us tackle our jungle of a garden!

The boyf pointed out we should have taken a before picture, as it was truly a huge mess, but now we have proper borders, healthy plants, a tidy little lawn and cute hedge ball things! Weeds have been scared away, wild honeysuckle has been tamed and we actually used our outdoors tap for the first time (turns out it wasn’t covered in as many spider webs as we thought)!


So although it isn’t quite egg-hunt ready yet, by summer it will be the perfect sunbathing and barbecuing spot!

I hope you all have a day filled with egg hunting, chocolate and bunnies 🙂 and I’ll leave you with this little close up as he’s just so cute!


happy easter crop

Work hard, relax hard – wait, that doesn’t sound right…

March began with a two week project in Geneva and ended with two glorious weeks relaxing at home. This was the first time I’d been onsite for 15 days and it felt like such a long time – I am definitely a homebody at heart!

Once the project got going, the production team left for home and I stayed on with the group of martial artists and a physio. The martial artists were all lovely and very different people and the physio was brilliant, keeping my spirits up and keeping me sane! As quite a shy person, spending a fortnight with a group of strangers was quite intimidating, but luckily (this is not the right word), we were all in such a small cosy room, we got to know each other very quickly and it taught me a few things about myself:

1. I should be less vocal about my love of all things Disney – it makes people think your head is filled with fluffy kittens and rainbows…

2. I will never be comfortable in business clothes – jeans for the win

3. I have an entirely impractical selection of shoes – the comfy ones don’t quite have the grip for walking on wooden ramps and the smart ones leave me with no feeling in my toes!

4. I should spend more time with groups of people my age – it turns out they are lots of fun

5. I am awful at quick fire questions – when asked what is the thing I use too much of and should live without, most people answered ‘mobile phone’ or ‘the internet’… I said moisturiser… seriously, who says that, it doesn’t even make sense?!

Anyway, here is a little sketch of the performance, just as the heroine beckons the baddies towards her so she can take them down! We had two female ninjas throughout the performance run and they were both so impressive and fierce, it was amazing to watch!

geneva 2015

So after two weeks of going bright red when answering any quick fire questions and losing my patience a few times with bad time keeping, the boyf met me at the airport and brought me home.

The plan for being back at home was to get back into a routine of yoga, reading blogs, painting and building on contacts for future projects… Two out of four isn’t too bad…

One of my favourite blogs that I wanted to catch up on was the Skunkboy blog, my sketch below is inspired by one of the Autumn outfits Katie wore last year. It’s such a cute blog, with crafts, fashion and little updates on her family life, and not least her gorgeous hairstyles, which I’m sure many of you will have seen on pinterest!

skunkboy inspired

Also, as the boyf was banned from watching any of my (numerous) tv shows while I was away, our planner was stacked, so I’ve spent quite a few pyjama days indulging on everything I’ve missed! One that I’ve especially enjoyed is Indian Summers, about British rule in India in the 1930s. I’ve found the storyline pretty addictive and I love the 30s fashion. This sketch is inspired by one of the characters, Leena, and admittedly it looks a little like a passport photo, but I thought I’d share it anyway!

indian summers

Now that I’m fully recuperated after 2 weeks of (let’s be honest) laziness, I’m determined to be more productive with my days at home. I’m hopefully working on a project with another agency in the coming weeks, (which I am beyond excited about!) and I have projects pencilled in until the end of the year, so now that I don’t have to worry too much about finding work, I am going to fill my home-days with some painting projects to share on the blog!

So, hopefully we can expect some more regular illustration updates both here and on my Facebook page!

Finally, here is the painted version of a sketch I shared in the January post – I normally do sketching and painting in separate batches, so sketches can go naked for weeks before seeing any paint!


jan bench

Working from home – I could get used to this!

This month, I’ve had a lot of days working from home, which I absolutely love! No more 3 hour daily commute, no more 6am starts and no more worrying about bad hair days – what more could I want!

To help me to try to concentrate and get into work-mode while I’m at home, I’m trying to turn part of the spare room into a little office space with a cute little desk and some pretty art prints on the wall – I know, I’m a walking Pinterest cliche!

I’ve started my collection by treating myself to the most amazing Audrey Hepburn sketch by Ileana Hunter, its so gorgeous and Ileana’s based in Norwich, so I’m loving supporting a local artist! I’m looking forward to growing my collection, so let me know if you see any great illustrations, art or sketches I could add on my wall.

In the meantime, I’m trying a few different things in my sketchbook as I’d love to add a few of my own illustrations to the wall! Firstly, is Hoot my purpley little owl, isn’t he cute?!


I’ve also been doing some more ladies, such as the below, who’s based on a Ginger Rogers pose.


And the below, which I still need to finish!


I’ve also been trying to think of some more postcard ideas based on the broads, and I thought, what better to focus on than my favourite place on the broads.

I love this house, so I wanted to give it warm, bold colours and lots of life by trying a different style using ink outlines and painting wet on wet. It feels warm and sunny, but it’s not quite how I expected! I think it just needs a few more attempts, then I’ll get there.

rainbows end

So after nearly a month of working from home, I’m going to Geneva on Saturday for just over two weeks for work. I can’t remember the last time I went away for longer than a week, so I am not looking forward to packing… which I was meant to have started today…

Two weeks of smart client-safe clothes… eek! I’m going to have to empty the wardrobe and do a mega trying-on session this evening, and even worse, I’ve already heard that it’s super cold onsite from some of the crew already out there. Snuggly socks and a woolly hat are apparently a must have, which I’m sure will look great with my work dresses!

Then hopefully, when I’m back home with my puss cats and the boyf, Spring will finally be on its way here!


spring bear

A new year, a new approach to blogging

Last year I tried a 52 week challenge, blogging weekly about what I’d been up to – it was hard! It turns out that illustrations of me binge-watching Supernatural are both uninteresting and hard to draw, leading me to quietly give up around week 18.

I realised that I blog to share my illustrations (contact me if you like what you see and you want one of your own!), to connect with people that I don’t see regularly (hello long distance friends and family) and hopefully to connect with new people.

This year, I’m going to post monthly, around the last Wednesday of every month, sharing a bit more about myself and multiple illustrations and use my facebook page and instagram for smaller updates throughout the month. So, here we go…

Now that Christmas is a distant memory, I can share one of the illustrations I did as a present for my friend to give to her niece.

jan ella

This is the fifth name illustration I’ve done and it’s one of my favourites, just because of the cute toadstools! I love doing these name illustrations, I remember getting one from one of my mum’s friends when I was younger and it felt so special that it had my name on.

I’ve been drawing quite a few little animal illustrations over the last few months, although I’m not entirely sure what to do with them! I drew one the other week, inspired by the Roald Dahl Esio Trot film on the tv over Christmas.

jan tortoise

I hope you had the chance to see it (maybe it’s still on catch up?), it was such a lovely film! I watched it snuggled up on the sofa with the kittens (the boyf was at football) and it was one of those films that give you a warm happy feeling inside! I’m hoping that in true BBC fashion, they’ll have it on tv again next Christmas!

Over the last few months I’ve been trying to create a selection of post cards based on the Norfolk Broads and I have been hit with the most unhelpful painters block (I’m sure that’s totally a thing) and aIl I’ve managed to do so far is a little illustration of the cutest door stop I’ve ever seen.

jan duck

And as lovable as this little duck doorstop is, I’m not really sure what I can do with him (it’s wearing a bow tie thing, so obvs a boy) to make a postcard?! Every so often I sit down with my pencils and paints and try again to create something I can use for these postcards and more often than not, the page stays blank and I get extra wrinkles from frowning at the sketchbook.

If anyone has any ideas on solving painters block or what I can do with my duck, please get in touch!

As I’ve been focusing on Christmas requests, non-successful postcards and little animals in general, I seem to have drifted away from the girly illustrations that filled my first few sketchbooks when I got back into painting.

jan bench

They haven’t disappeared completely, but they are definitely less frequent in my latest sketchbooks. Perhaps I’m going through a small animal phase? or perhaps I’ve run out of interesting girls to sketch?

So this has been rather a long post, thank you if you made it this far! I promise they won’t always be quite so ramble-y once I get back into the swing of things!

I would love to hear what you think on my illustrations, cures for painters block, and on the new monthly plan, so please get in touch on my facebook page (comments sections on the blog attract way too much spam!).

To celebrate a new year and new blog approach, I’d like to leave you with my final illustration: party sheep.


jan sheep

ps. apologies if there are any typos, I’ve been dancing to the new Fall Out Boy album as I type 🙂

Countdown to Christmas

There are now only 25 sleeps until Christmas!

I am a huge fan of Christmas, I love all the cheesy Christmas songs, the stress of trying to find the perfect present, the endless evenings spent wrapping said presents as well as all the decorations, the hope of snow, sausage rolls and festive feasts.

The best bit is the anticipation for Christmas morning, finding out what Father Christmas has brought (I may be 26, but I am a good girl every year and rewarded appropriately), the promise of a lazy morning with a delicious breakfast, as many family as possible together in the living room around the tree and the look of joy/horror as they unwrap the presents.

In our family, there is always one person that hands out the presents from under the tree, the designated Santa for the morning with festive hat included. I have no idea why, but parents always take so long to open their presents, I think they like to build up their own little pile to make the rest of us jealous.

As you can probably tell, I’m getting into the festive mood just thinking about it!

However, the boyf is one of those unfortunate people to have a December birthday and as a result, we have to wait until after his birthday to get into the full festive swing. I’ve asked him to consider moving it to a more convenient time of year, but apparently this isn’t an option.

Luckily his birthday is on the 4th, I don’t know how I’d cope if it was the 24! So I have a few more days left before I can go into full Christmas mode. But come the 6th (I’m working on the 5th), we’ll be getting the tree out, sorting through our decorations and putting the Christmas music on loud and proud.

I’ve already made a start on re-watching the Harry Potter films, so I’ve had a sneak preview on the festive feelings, but this weekend will be the official start of the countdown to Christmas.

On top of the tree decorating we’re also planning on going to the Elveden Estate, where they have a Christmas market, fluffy dogs pulling trees on sleds and even a reindeer… so now I’m off to do a snow-dance in the hope of completing the winter wonderland atmosphere!


christmas window shopping

Back to the office

This week I’ve been back at my old office, which was my home from home for the last four years until I handed in my notice this summer.

It was such a daunting prospect handing in my notice and deciding to strike out on my own. I didn’t have any projects lined up and I had no real back up plan in place, but I knew that if I didn’t go for it now, I never would.

7 weeks on from my last day working with them and I’m back in the office working as a freelancer rather than a full time member of the team. It’s still early days yet, but it definitely feels like I did the right thing!

I spent the last 6 weeks working at a different agency, which was a huge learning curve. As quite a shy person, suddenly I was surrounded by people I didn’t know and in a sprawling office that I did not know my way around – in sum, it wasn’t the ideal situation for me, but if I was going to go freelance I knew I had to get used to starting out somewhere new.

The first few days were especially awkward, I’d gone from running the office to not knowing where the meeting rooms were or how to use the printer, which I ended up avoiding for all 6 weeks! Also, I am the worst at striking up conversation with people I don’t know, but luckily the people I was working with were so friendly, chatty and helpful, so I was let off the hook and I soon felt comfortable, if not quite at home there.

So this week, I’ve been back in familiar surroundings, but everything is ever so slightly different. Firstly, I’m at a new desk and there are new people in the team, but it’s more than that, the everyday discussions about the office don’t apply to me anymore, I don’t have a stake in any of the decisions or outcomes.

It took a little getting used to, but then I realised, this was exactly what I was looking for when I handed in my notice in back in summer. I’m now officially an events producer, not an events producer slash office manager, not an events producer slash IT help desk, not an events producer slash web manager. Just an events producer.

So now, when I’m not in the office, doing my events producing, I can focus all my energies on other things, such as building this blog, improving my illustrations one drawing at a time and spending more time at home with my family.

I think 2015 will be an exciting year 🙂

To celebrate not having to dream about my perfect job any longer, I decided to focus on what I have at the moment, so rather than my dream work wardrobe, here’s a quick illustration of what I actually wore on my first day back in the office – I told you I’m a jeans and jumper kind of girl!


work outfit

November calendar

Time has passed so quickly this year, I can’t believe it’s almost November!

I’m also a little late in posting the October calendar, as I only painted it yesterday… oh well better late than never!

oct nov calendar

At least its finished just in time for Halloween tomorrow, I hope you all have a spooky evening planned!


Wrapping up for Autumn

Nothing is nicer on a brisk Autumn day than wrapping up in a thick, warm and snuggly scarf.

I’ve dug out all of my knitted jumpers from the back of the wardrobe, found my favourite duffle coat and started to live in boots, relegating my ballet pumps to the bottom of the shoe pile – no cold and wet feet for me, thank you!


I love cold weather clothing with endless layers and thick fluffy socks, nothing makes me happier, except for maybe my new hot water bottle 🙂