On bank holiday Monday it was the London Bupa 10k run. It was a really good experience and my first race running on my own since I started running last November. On the day I felt surprisingly quite nervous – I hadn’t really expected to after training for the last four months for my half marathon and doing 10 mile training runs but standing waiting for the countdown was nerve wracking, I just wanted to start! I was also wishing I had someone to chat to as most runners seemed to be in pairs or groups. The above photo is just after our wave was released and you can see I’m fiddling around nervously trying to put my phone in my back pocket!The race itself felt like a bit of a blur. My initial goal for the race was to complete it but then I started thinking about what if I can finish it within a certain time…? Once I thought to myself I want to run it in sub one hour it was all I could focus on. It was kind of a shame because the goal took over the run and I was constantly aware of speed which I don’t usually think about during my training runs. That being said I knew once I thought of the goal I couldn’t let it go so it was quite good to give me a focus on the day. My fastest 10k previous to the race was 1:13 so I was really happy to achieve a PB of 58:29. I also achieved PB’s on 1 mile and 5k. Even though I was chuffed that I hit my target I think it made me realise that I enjoy running more when I don’t set myself time restrictions. It feels more freeing to just run. Unfortunately because of the annoying goal orientated person I am I doubt it will be as simple as that anymore!
For the last month or so I’ve been busy creating a series of maps for US based real estate company, Douglas Elliman.
Working on these colourful maps has been one of my most favourite jobs this year. I’ve loved creating the fine-lined pencil drawn buildings and combining them with layers of textures and pops of bright colours. I hope you like them! :)
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve travelled to Switzerland twice to work on some live drawing projects. The first trip I drew alongside Sarah Mcmenemy (a fellow Artworks artist & very talented lady.) We were invited by Martin from Make Believe story telling agency (who I worked with last year in Germany on this giant sketchbook.) Our job was to create live illustrations in response to listening to patients stories. The first trip we listened to the stories of people affected by the debilitating condition CSU (Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria) and the second trip focused on Psoriasis. It was such an incredible learning experience for me for many reasons and it was eye opening to learn more about these conditions. It was a privilege to be able to use our skills to help visually tell their stories. The best bit was seeing everyone connect with our drawings.
I felt very lucky to have been offered the opportunity to work on these projects and it made me think about all the things I love about being an illustrator, so naturally I made a list…
1. It’s a job where you are constantly learning.
These last few weeks I’ve not only learnt more about two conditions I knew very little of, I’ve learnt how to respond to immediate language and put it down on paper through live drawing. I learnt about ways of working, the need to push out of your comfort zone, to worry less and do more. My style of working doesn’t necessarily lend itself to live drawing because of all my little details and tight lines but doing these jobs taught me ways to adapt.
2. It’s varied and unpredictable.
One of my current jobs has been to create a series of illustrated maps of different areas of America, a little different to illustrating personal and emotive stories about chronic conditions. You never know what you’re going to be working on next and that level of unpredictability is exciting and keeps you on your toes.
3. You get to work with a variety of people from different places.
I miss having colleagues sometimes, it’s nice to have the morning chit chat and the familiarity in some ways. On the plus side some of my recent clients have been based in Germany, New York, Switzerland and all over the UK. It’s fun to work with different clients and again learn new things from them.
4. It can take you to new countries (and you can work from any of them.)
So far I’ve only travelled to places in Europe for work but I was also put forward for a job in Japan a while ago that I (very sadly) didn’t get. It’s exciting to think about the potential for more travel and also the freedom of being able to work anywhere in the world.
5. You can express yourself (you get to draw for a living!)
Even though as a professional illustrator I create work for a brief and to fulfil a clients needs every job I do retains a part of my personality because it’s handmade. Whether it’s in the form of a response to the brief and idea related or even if it’s a small element of pattern on a food illustration. Sometimes I forget how incredibly lucky I am to be able to draw daily and use this form of expression in daily life. Read more
It’s hard to believe there was bright sunshine this weekend after a gloomy start in London this morning with pouring rain! Our weekend was low key, on Saturday we went to our town’s local festival and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden in the sunshine which was lovely. On Sunday we just cleaned & tidied the chalet, went food shopping and I cooked some food from my new Deliciously Ella book ready for the week.Our dog training group had an area at the festival so I entered Lil in a dog show for best cross breed. She got her first rosette and came 3rd, bless her! I hope you had a lovely weekend too. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a week of drawing and getting back into my running programme which has slacked a little recently. I have a post about how I’m getting on which I’m aiming to put up soon if you’re interested. Hope you have a good week.
This is one of those moments where I’m thinking, really…does anyone want to see MORE puppy pictures? However, in the name of documenting little moments I had to share these pics to document another month with Lil. It’s one of those sorry not sorry moments.Look at that little face…and that ear! She’s definitely got rabbit in her somewhere ;) Since my last pupdate in April things have changed quite a bit. Lil is definitely settled in and feels part of the family now. She’s still very cheeky but she’s learnt a few manners including leave and off (very important!) She’s still a bit of a jumping bean when she gets excited around new people but she’s a lot better than when we first got her. She’s very quick to learn with training and aside from last week (when all she wanted to do was bark at the horses!) it’s been really fun teaching her new things. At the moment we’re teaching her to fetch (so cute!) and she had a go at flyball a few weeks ago and after not getting it the first time, the second time she was on fire and super speedy to return her toy to me. The two dogs together are so adorable to watch, they’re always playing together and it’s been lovely seeing them chasing each other and tugging on the same toy in the garden. They are still mostly being walked separately unless Chris and I go out together as Elsie is still very protective of Lil around other dogs. We’re still training her but we realise now we need Lilly to get up to scratch as when we’re out Lilly will bark at other dogs to warn Elsie (although Lilly is very sociable.) It’s a case of constant training to get them to be more focused on us and not worry about other dogs. I’m sure we’ll get there in the end! :)