I assume that I’m quite similar to other illustrators when I say that I am very rarely satisfied with what I’ve done in a year. I’m constantly thinking about the next illustration; the next thing I want to do; wishing that I’d done this or that and telling myself off for not having done more with my time. 

While it’s great to be constantly looking forward and I think it’s part of what makes me good at what I do, I also think it’s a really unhealthy way to be and a quick road to becoming burnt out! I often find that I am so focussed on where I want to go next that I very rarely stop to appreciate where I've been, so I think it’s really important for me to sit down and reflect on what I’ve already achieved.

2017 was a really intense year for me, both personally and professionally. On a personal level, I bought a house, moved to a new area, fostered dogs (3 dogs in a terraced house went about as well as you’d expect) and did all sorts of other fun stuff that I’ve currently forgotten. While all of that was lovely and wonderful, it did sort of distract me from everything I managed to achieve professionally so in the interest of chronicling my professional achievements here’s some notable things I did in 2017: 

  • I got to work with a bunch of really lovely companies and publishers to create illustrations for various projects. 
  • I became an official stockist with Handmade Nottingham a maker space in Nottingham city centre (England). This all came about because of an exhibition I was part of in late 2016.
  • I was interviewed and featured in some really awesome publications. 
  • Collaborated with Studio Pizza to raise money for The Samaritans by producing an illustration for their Linkin Park zine.
  • I was commissioned by Anorak Magazine, a personal goal of mine (I think I actually jumped for joy when I got the email)
  • I was invited to join The Pretty Picture Club, an international collective of illustrators. This was probably one of my favourite things to happen this year - it has pushed me creatively and having other illustrators for support has been invaluable. 
  • I took up a permanent job at Coventry University as a part-time printmaking demonstrator. I was also invited back as a visiting lecturer in the Illustration department, which was a nice surprise. 

So it’s been quite a busy year! On reflection, I’ve done a lot more than I’d thought - sometimes it’s hard to remember everything so seeing it in a list is quite useful. It’s also a lot more than I’d set out to do - which brings me to my list of goals for 2018. Although i’ve just spent the last few paragraphs wittering on about how important it is to appreciate where you are now and to stop constantly looking to the next thing blah blah blah.. I do think it’s important to set goals and have something to aim for.

So, with that in mind these are some of my goals for 2018:

  • Continue working with lovely companies on fun projects and work on some exciting new illustrations with new clients. Specifically I’d love to expand my work and try to get some projects outside of just editorial. 
  • Collaborate more! Being part of the Pretty Picture Club has encouraged me to collaborate with some wonderful people and I want that to continue into 2018.
  • Figure out my Etsy shop At the end of 2017 I felt like it was all getting a bit overwhelming as I was teaching, freelancing and running my Etsy shop, so I took a step back and temporarily closed my shop. In 2018 I want to reopen it with some exciting new illustrations and take a proper look at what i’m selling to try to keep it aligned with my illustrative practice.
  • Put myself out there more! Whether that’s through exhibitions, competitions or something else, I want to take advantage of opportunities more in 2018.
  • Experiment more Sometimes it’s easy to get stale when you’re illustrating for a living so I want to force myself to be more creative with my approach to illustrating in 2018. 

Here's hoping 2018 will be a positive and successful year!