Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday Finds - Lucy Banaji - Illustrator



Good morning! Today's creative talent is illustrator Lucy Banaji who I met once in London with some other artist friends I'd met through the Make Art That Sells course we all took on line.


© Lucy Banaji

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental?

I’ve been steadily building my portfolio for a couple of years while getting my business off the ground. 

My current work evolved from drawings I started making a few years ago. Although I have a degree in fine art painting I broke from it after I graduated in order to work so when I returned to the visual arts I started from scratch. 

I made huge drawings that were very decorative and I thought they’d look great on products, but I didn’t know how to go about doing this. I loved making them but the process was very slow and so I refreshed my digital skills to find a more efficient way of working.

During this time I landed some design work for local projects and I took the e-course Make Art that Sells) which teaches you about the field of art licensing. 

I read as much as I could about the industry and over the last year I’ve floor walked at trade shows such as Surtex and Printsource in New York and Brand Licensing Europe in London. 


© Lucy Banaji

Do you do your business part time or full time?

I work two days a week to pay the bills and spend every other minute on my business.

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you happy with it as it is and why?

I’d love to grow it into a much bigger business. I’d also like to collaborate with artists working in other disciplines – a ceramicist for example. 


© Lucy Banaji

Would you say you earn a good living from your work?

Not yet but I’m getting there. My other work supplements my income.  

Where do you sell your work?

Some of my designs are sold through the online shop Society6 that stocks a range of products from T-shirts to shower curtains. 

I’m also about to join the online shop The Ink Nest, which sells hand-drawn vector clip art. I’ll create collections specifically for that purpose.




© Lucy Banaji

Have you had publicity in national magazines? If so how did you go about achieving this? 

I haven’t begun marketing myself yet so I’m honoured that you asked to interview me. 

Who do you think your typical customer is?

She’s a woman probably in her 30s or 40s who likes the arts and crafts. I do check data to work out who may be interested in my work and it’s mostly women.

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most?

I enjoy the process the most - getting lost in a drawing or painting. However, I work mostly digitally now. For me, making drawings to scan is less intuitive and free than making a traditional drawing. When I make a drawing to trace in Illustrator I don’t put as much feeling into the linework so I don’t enjoy it as much. 

The enjoyment comes afterwards when everything is taking shape digitally and I start to add textures and it feels like the work is coming alive. I really enjoy this part of the process because it can take you in lots of directions. 

I also enjoy researching colour because it can really change the mood of a design. I usually try out at least five different palettes until I find the right one.



© Lucy Banaji

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I always had an end goal but I used to work very intuitively. Over the past six months I’ve started setting specific goals each week and I find I’m more productive.

Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of your business? For example, book keeper, accountant, packers? If you do, how did you find people who were the right fit for you?

I do it all by myself at the moment but I’d love someone to come in and do the sellling and marketing part of it. 



© Lucy Banaji

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see that changing?

I have a room where I can work in my flat in Stoke Newington. I find working at home works best for me. I did once share a studio with a designer but he used the space to cut up large sheets of MDF which made my eyes really dry so I left. 

I like working alone most of the time, but there are days when I feel restless. When this happens I take a walk or meet someone for a coffee and crossword and then hopefully the restlessness disappears. I only get restless if something’s not working in my artwork. A walk or a break usually helps clear my head and solves the problem.

I think this will be how I continue to work for the time being. I’m usually very productive despite the presence of an extremely demanding cat. She wants me to curl up and sleep all day like she does.


© Lucy Banaji

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?

I’m part of a social networking group of artists and illustrators who I met doing the e-courses. It’s the best place to find information and get advice. I was also mentored by licensing artist Amy Schimler-Safford. I had a couple of sessions and will continue to return to her for professional direction.

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you – business or otherwise?

With breakfast in bed, I get up-to-date with emails and social media and do some research for the day ahead. Then I have a bit of a clean up of my desk while I listen to the radio before I begin to work. 

I usually work into the night with breaks for food and coffee. 

I schedule sports into my routine a few times a week as I think it’s really important to keep active when you’ve got a sedentary job. 

I’m a rock climber so I go to an indoor wall and I try to keep up with yoga too. Sometimes I have to force myself to do it as I don’t want to stop working, but I always feel better afterwards.


© Lucy Banaji

What is your dream day?

I receive a very exciting commission to create a collection for my favourite shop but it has a tight deadline so I’m working against the clock. I like pressure!

A huge window appears in my studio right in front of my desk. It’s overlooking a forested lake: mountains and sea in the distance. The sun is shining. Actually that would probably be way too distracting!

Where can we see and buy your work?

At the moment you can buy my work here:


My website URL: www.lucybanaji.com

Thanks so much Lucy - it's interesting that you like pressure! I'm not sure if I do or not - I think it depends whether I've had enough sleep ;) and I'm going to take your advice and get moving tomorrow. It's so easy to find that you've sat in a chair painting all day, despite good intentions. Hope you get that call from your favourite shop before long.






Thursday, 25 September 2014

Things I've been up to this week - painting and photographing



How fast the weeks are going. No sooner am I enjoying painting on a Tuesday it is suddenly Thursday. I am sure you know what I mean. I am someone who secretly loves the week more than the weekend....

This week I really had fun in my shed :) I'd worked hard on Moobaacluck orders on Sunday so that I could use Monday to pack it all off to customers and then make a cake for my daughter's birthday on Tuesday. At about 3.15pm I opened the front door for her return from school and went hurriedly back to the kitchen to spread the top layer of icing on her cake and put three packets of smarties on top. Not unopened! I tipped them out into my anxious palms and carefully placed them all one by one on top. I had literally (the real use of the word) just put the cake under the tin on it's stand and flung the chocolatey evidence in the sink to wash when she walked down the hall to rummage in the biscuit box. Close call. You can see the cake in my instagram feed ;)

So on Tuesday morning I had a few card orders to do but once they were done I put on my painting apron and felt that lovely rush of possibility as I looked at a blank canvas.




I'd been dreaming about one of my most important values - freedom and decided to make a painting purely from imagination. It turned out almost as I'd imagined it - perhaps more vintage in style in the end and surprisingly compatible with this teacup I was given at my niece's wedding last year! I adore acid yellow.



I've designed a card from the painting and am working on two prints - one square and another A4 in format. It'll be interesting to see which sells best. They'll be available from Moobaacluck.com by next Monday along with some other cards I've just photographed. Hope you like them!







Friday, 19 September 2014

Friday Finds - Rebecca Jones - Illustrator





Morning! Today's Friday Finds is fabulous English illustrator Rebecca Jones who now lives in Australia. I first saw Rebecca's stunning work on Facebook; she has just been named as one of the six finalists for the Global Talent Search (the Lilla Rogers competition) so no doubt is working hard on the last stage of the competition now. The badger piece below was the work that saw Rebecca through to the final round.

 © Rebecca Jones

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started
meticulously or was it almost accidental?

I have been a textile designer for my whole career, about 15 years now. I have mostly
worked as an in-house designer, and in recent years I began to feel that I wanted to
design in my own style and under my own name. I also felt that I wanted to expand what I
designed for, and move a little more towards illustration. I didn’t really have a set plan of
how to do this. I decided to take Lilla Roger’s Make Art That Sells e-course, as a way to
experiment with my own style. After completing that course in October 2013 and starting
my own blog and website, I began to get freelance illustration work almost immediately.




Do you do your business part time or full time?

At the moment I work part time on my illustration. I have a young son and a part time
in-house design job. I am able to spend lots of time with my son, and still fit my
illustration work into the evenings and my days off.



Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you
happy with it as it is and why?

I would love to turn it into something bigger! I have a list of dream companies that I
would love to work with. I would love to have a range of my own products. And I would
absolutely love the opportunity to illustrate a children’s book.




Where do you sell your work?

I have some projects in the pipelines that I can’t yet talk about, but hopefully in the
new year some of my designs will be available for people to buy in stores.
I also have a Society6 shop and an Etsy shop.




Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most?

I love being able to work on different projects all the time, and having the flexibility
that being freelance gives you. I love mostly just being able to spend so much time
drawing. I also love researching trends. As a textile designer, I have always been used to
working within current trends. I think the key to being a successful illustrator is finding
the balance of staying true to yourself whilst making sure your work has an element of
trend in it too.





Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I wish I could be a bit more of a planner, and write down goals for myself and carry them
out. But I think I am naturally just a bit more instinctive, I just like to go with the flow
and see where things will take me.




Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with
others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see
that changing?

I am very lucky to have my own studio at home. I live in a townhouse in Melbourne, and
my studio is on the top floor overlooking our roof top garden, and is filled with light.
There is plenty of room to paint, sew, make a bit of a mess and to work on the
computer. I do work on my own at home. I think I would go a bit mad if it wasn’t for a
group of fellow artists and designers I keep in touch with that I meet during my online
course. We chat daily through Facebook about work, business and a whole lot of other
stuff. They really make me feel that I am not alone, and most importantly they make me
laugh!




Finally please tell us where we can buy your work! Links please . . .

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DrawnByRebeccaJones

http://society6.com/drawnbyrebeccjones

Also see Rebecca's portfolio site here http://drawnbyrebeccajones.com

Thank you so much Rebecca - glad I am not the only one who is more instinctive with my career plan! It looks to me as though you have done exactly what you are best suited to naturally.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Friday Finds - The Paper Creative - Illustrator Sarah Glover


Morning  all, today's Friday Finds is an illustrator and bookbinder at the beginning of her career: Sarah Glover - "The Paper Creative". I came across her work on line one day and love the delicate quirkiness to it. Sarah has created a children's book which has sold really well for her and is now creating a new line of stationery and has plans for a second book aimed at an older audience. 


© Sarah Glover

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental? Tell us your story of how “The Paper Creative" came to be!

My business started after I graduated in July 2013. I had some funding through an enterprise scheme linked with the university and this allowed me to get a shared studio space to carry on with my creative practice. I thought it would be an easy transition from university to working on my own projects, in fact it was the opposite, I felt overwhelmed by the freedom of writing my own briefs and not having set deadlines. 

After a few months bumbling along I revisited my favourite university project, an illustrated children’s narrative. I started re-working specific illustrations that I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with. It took a good few months, and plenty of cups of tea, to get each spread just how I wanted. Now that the book flowed correctly, I decided it was time to do something with my creation. I took my first step into business at this point and had 50 copies printed. As a bookbinding artist I wanted to hand bind each book, this was a fairly quick process and meant the finished product still retained my handmade aesthetic. I sent a handful off to publishers, hearing nothing back I set to work sewing felt characters to accompany the stories and began selling them at selected craft fairs. My business was born.


© Sarah Glover

Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

It has most definitely been a slow burn, Its been a case of staying committed, working hard and believing that one day something will change and as I now look back on the past year, I can see how much I’ve achieved.

Do you do your business part time or full time?

When I first started off I was focussed full time on my practice, this was due to the enterprise support programme. 
Now, in a much more realistic world, I work on my creative projects part time whilst working at an independent delicatessan. I love the diversity of the two roles and find that for me personally, a day at the deli reminds me of my passions and the goals I’d like to achieve. 


© Sarah Glover

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you happy with it as it is and why? 

I would love my illustrations to provide me with paid, full time work, so I plan to allow my business to grow. It is still in its very early stages and as yet I am unsure of the solid direction of my illustrative works, and welcome all opportunities that come my way. 
I’m a big goal setter and have set aims for the year in what I wish to achieve. These range from growing my brand, to craft events I plan to attend, to personal projects that I’d like to indulge myself in. I will always be creative so I believe that it will continue to grow. 


Where do you sell your work? 

My work is currently sold via my ETSY shop, at a selection of contemporary illustration & craft fairs, through word of mouth and a few boutiques across the UK.


© Sarah Glover

Which of the selling methods that you use works best for you? Why do you think this is?

So far I feel that contemporary illustration & craft fairs have provided me with the best sales. I believe the tactile elements of my work, is best appreciated in person, so at fairs they receive a lot of comments and interests. I’m also a very chatty person who loves to talk about what I do and other craft practices, which makes for a busy stand; I love the atmosphere of a good craft event.


Who do you think your typical customer is ?

My typical customer tends to be female, quite often a grandparent, or close friend to someone with small children. My children’s book is viewed as a luxury item, making it perfect for best friends baby presents, christening gifts and art to decorate children’s nurseries. The books have been sent to America and other locations before now, its really rewarding to hear stories about where your work has travelled too. 


© Sarah Glover

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? 

I enjoy the stage when I’ve pinned down an idea and im working on the illustration, or design. I tear through layout paper like its going out of fashion and I will keep re-drawing an image untill im happy with it. My childrens book textures come from physical rubbings of objects, there was one point I wanted to get the tree bark a specific way and I must have rubbed the same piece of wood around 30 times to ensure I got the look exactly right.  I can work solidly at this stage and not be aware of time, I get utterly submersed in my project and that feeling is what makes me aware that illustration is a part of life not a just my job.

Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?

I’m not sure really, I think there are many things that I have learnt and perhaps I would have been better to take a break post university and not jump straight into a studio, but had I done it that way I’m sure I would say I wish I’d hit the ground running. I think listening to people is a great thing in business, surrounding yourselves with like minded individuals is key, be it for business or socially. I know I wouldn’t have carried on some days with out the support of some very special friends in my life. 

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I’ve touched on this lightly earlier, as its an integral part of my creative practice. I make goals as it helps me to keep on track but at the same time I have waves of creativity and maximise them when they come along. I’m happy to envelope myself for as long as I feel creative to make the most of that idea, knowing that it will pass and I’ll have time to edit later and tackle the more practical side of a business. That part of me is more led by instinct, I think a combination of the two is ideal. 


© Sarah Glover

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see that changing?

When I first started I used to have the shared studio in Leicester city centre, It was an old converted factory and whilst I loved the building and the exposed walls I didn’t feel very productive. As time went on I found I was working from home a lot more. I also found that travelling to and from the studio was taking big chunks out of my day.

I now work from home at an old school desk, that I got free from a neighbour. I am very much an early riser and a working day can begin at 6am, I love being able to pop the kettle on and work in some comfy clothes with nothing but the radio for company. I would love to return to a more rural workshop in the future, and have set it as one of my goals.

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?

I am very lucky to have formed some great friendships at university, with students and staff who have had continued input on my progress. One friend in particular is a rock for me. She keeps me motivated on the hard days and lets me know it is ok to have a day off. We share all our success and failures together learning how to move forward. She too is a creative and I feel this allows her to understand how I am feeling, and how best to tackle a situation. I was lucky to have a mentor for 6 months after university with whom I am in still in contact, that role is more related to the admin side of the business. 

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you – business or otherwise?

I wake up around 6am, pop the kettle on, If it’s a drawing day I’ll head straight to my desk and begin whilst listening to radio 2. Around 9am I'll grab some breakfast and briefly review my work so far.  I have learnt that my productive time is the morning so I capture this and make the most of it knowing in the afternoon I’ll want to tackle something less taxing. I’ll continue drawing, If at any point I feel like a break, I allow myself one but only to do the following -  upload some work to social media, check emails, or read through competition briefs. Im strict about breaks as I can be easily distracted. I’ll work until lunch and then the afternoon is more focussed on business progression, things such as budgets, promotions, events to take part in and plans for the week. 


Anything else you want to add … tips or plans or ambitions ..?

My big ambition for this year is to be a successful applicant at London’s, Renegade Craft Fair. Its highly competitive, and I may not be successful but I know if I give it my all and cross everything I have as much chance as the the other 5000 applicants. I have a very busy month ahead of me finalising designs and products and Im excited to see what the next 12 months has in store for me. 

Finally please tell us where we can buy your work! Links please ☺

You can buy copies of my children's book and characters at:https://www.etsy.com/shop/thepaperCreative

To view a selection of work and other projects please visit: http://www.thepapercreative.co.uk/

Thank you Sarah - good luck with Renegade!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The perfect good luck card for a learner diver by Moobaacluck



Do you know a learner diver who needs some encouragement ? This latest design by Moobaacluck would make the perfect good luck card for a swimmer or diver.

More coming soon...but in the meantime http://www.moobaacluck.com/ourshop/prod_3505819-Good-Luck-Swimmer-Card.html All orders from Moobaacluck.com are free from delivery charges throughout September. Why not have a look at what is available so far?

Tomorrow's Friday Finds is a young illustrator who left college in 2013. Find her interview here from 7am U.K time.




Friday, 5 September 2014

Friday Finds - Claire Henley Art




Good morning everyone! Here is today's Friday Finds: Claire Henley Art. Claire and I both worked on a series of Ladybird baby board books in the 1990s, we each did two covers and the inside pages of each other's covers - if you see what I mean! So that is how I know of her work. She is very diverse painter, as you will see.


© Claire Henley

When did you start your business and why? Did you plan how you started meticulously or was it almost accidental? 
Did things take off immediately or has it been a slow burn?

My business grew naturally, with little real planning – just a lot of hard work. After I finished my Graphic Design degree I worked in a textile studio designing those fish and animal-shaped oven gloves that everyone had in the 1980s, among many other things. I was there for four years and during that time I made a lot of contacts as I worked on projects for clients such as The National Trust, Boots and Harrods. I also learnt to be versatile, speedy and as professional as I could be! 

Four years with a boss was enough for me, and I became freelance in 1988 and have been ever since. Initially I taught one day a week in a local college, continued to work for the textile company for two days, and spent the other two days slowly building up my own work.

I began by designing greetings cards, then quickly moved into book illustration, toy design, stationery, giftware and anything else I was asked to do. I started writing books too, which seemed at the time to be a natural progression from illustrating them.

In the last three or four years I’ve started painting properly as opposed to illustrating – something I’d always wanted to do. This has meant trying to find a style of my own, and painting with scary big brushes on scary big canvases. As well as being represented by a small number of galleries, my paintings are published as prints and cards. I also produce a small range of giclée prints and cards myself, and sell them locally and at Open Studio events. This presents me with rather more admin than I’d like, but does help to keep the money coming in.

© Claire Henley

Do you do your business part time or full time? 

Full time plus. I’m sometimes stuffing cards in envelopes late at night, or getting up early to paint before the children (now just the one left at home) get up. 

Do you intend to grow your business into something much bigger or are you happy with it as it is and why? 

Things are just about manageable, but sometimes I wonder whether I should be pushing myself into other product areas and possibly employing someone for a couple of days a week to do the selling for me. I’m still thinking about this, because really I’d prefer to just paint every day without the hassle of all the other stuff.

© Claire Henley

Where do you sell your work? 

I sell my work in a variety of ways. Sometimes a neighbour might knock on the door wanting to buy some cards or a print, or I sell paintings through galleries and shops, or privately through facebook, or I have a stall at an art market, or take part in Open Studios. I have a website on which I post new work, and it enables me to point people in the direction of the gallery where the painting is hanging, though sometimes it’s in my own kitchen. Facebook has been a boon for creative types – what was a relatively solitary profession needn’t be any more if you are happy to share your work and enjoy looking at the huge variety of other work on offer. I have found other artists to be generous, helpful, supportive and often hilarious. I occasionally get asked to give a talk to an art society and have found a new customer base that way, as well as meeting some very nice people.

Which of the selling methods that you use works best for you? Why do you think this is?

I think having a combination works well. There are definitely seasonal fluctuations, so if you can cover several areas you can usually keep the money coming in.

Have you had publicity in national magazines? If so how did you approach them?

I’ve had publicity in regional magazines and have either approached them or been approached myself. If I was doing the approaching I would simply look at the name of the person writing the articles on art, then email them using the address listed at the front of the magazine.

© Claire Henley

Who do you think your typical customer is?

I’m not sure that I have a typical customer. The galleries in the West Country either sell to local people, or holidaymakers wanting something to remind them of that particular place. Living in land-locked Stratford, I’m amazed how many locals want to buy pictures of the sea. 

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? 

Visiting a beautiful place to photograph it and then trying to do it justice back in my studio. Recently I was persuaded to paint en plein air by a dastardly gallery owner, and this was pretty much out of my comfort zone. It was boiling hot and my paints kept drying up, but I persevered and the end result wasn’t too awful.

Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?

No – I can’t believe how relatively easy it was in the 1980s. I had an agent at the time, an unending list of well-paid work (incidentally the fee for a greetings card has barely gone up since then) and everything was a breeze. Two recessions later it all seems a bit harder.

© Claire Henley


Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I do set goals, but pretty short term ones that generally involve rewarding sufficient progress on a painting with a quick browse on facebook and a rummage in the biscuit tin. I like to be efficient about getting things to the post and ordering supplies etc, and I’m a great keeper of ‘to do’ lists.

Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of your business? For example, book keeper, accountant, packers? If you do how did you find people who were the right fit for you?

I do my own book keeping (that reminds me) but use an accountant to do my tax return. As I’m a limited company I want to get the Corporation Tax bit right. I occasionally persuade my daughters to help with card packing if need be.

© Claire Henley

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with others? Do you feel that they way it is now is the best fit for you? Do you see that changing?

I have a studio at the back of the house with a view down the garden. Until recently it was a bit of a mess, but now it’s been refitted and has four very exciting Velux windows that open using an electronic keypad. I listen to the radio all day – usually Radio 4 (if Test Match Special is on, I’m in heaven) - and never feel lonely as my husband works at home as well, though we don’t see that much of each other during the day. One morning a week I do a ballet class and come home starving hungry, sweaty and exhausted.

Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with? If not how do you find you best make decisions about your business?

My mentors are my small group of special facebook friends. I’ve met some of them in person, and we swap ideas, ask for advice, gee each other up if things are going badly, and generally support each other. That link with like-minded people has become very important for me and I would miss it dreadfully if it were taken away.

© Claire Henley

© Claire Henley

What is a typical day for you in your business as it is now? What would be a dream day for you – business or otherwise?

Workwise it would be porridge and banana for breakfast, dispatch daughter to school, head to my studio and deal with any admin stuff so the slate is clean, put on my painting overall and start painting. If it were a dream day the painting would go smoothly with no fight, a gallery would email to say they’d sold a painting, I’d sell a couple of prints to someone on-line, I’d find out that a card publisher would be licensing several of my designs for their next range and I’d get an order for cards from my website. All this would happen while the England cricket team won a test match on the radio. 

If it was a non-work day I’d like to be walking along a coast path and having a picnic and a swim in the sea with family and friends.


© Claire Henley

Anything else  you want to add… tips or plans or ambitions or even  special offers to my blog readers...

Special offer for blog readers! If you head for the online shop on my website and order a set of 6 cards (any design) you can have 2 extra free. Don’t forget to mention that you came via Gabriella’s blog.

Finally please tell us where we can buy your work! Links please 
Facebook : Claire Henley Art

Thank you so much Claire - this is a really interesting interview - much of which I relate to personally. It's difficult to divide your attention to many different areas but you seem to have managed it! Lovely to know more about you.