Friday Finds - Illustrator Diana Mayo

Good morning; today's Friday Finds is a fab illustrator Diana Mayo with whom I went to art college, she was brilliant then and still is - she had already developed her strong style before she graduated.

 © Diana Mayo

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

I knew from a young age that I wanted to draw, paint or make things for a living when I grew older. Following a happy time studying Graphic Design and Illustration at Kingston (when it was still a ‘poly’!), I graduated feeling confident and ready enough to take my new portfolio of illustration work to publishers, magazine and design houses.  With perseverance and constant client-pestering, work slowly increased over the next five years until I was making a living full time as an illustrator.

© Diana Mayo

I have worked as an illustrator since then, although I have sometimes subsidised both my income and creative input with teaching work, including on Foundation, and Degree courses, and presently at a primary school.

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

I intend to continue working as a sole trader, enjoying making images on my own, without the need for a team. However, having more illustration work coming in is always good, and too much is even better!

© Diana Mayo

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

At the moment, I earn a very similar amount for work that twenty years ago made the same amount of money. There is definitely less money being spent on paying for illustration commissions nowadays.

Where do you sell your work?

I have an agent to help bring in commissions (Artist Partners), as well as selling prints of my work online through this website.
I also sell prints privately advertised in my local museum and bookshop in Chelmsford.

Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most? Is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting your business today?

I enjoy the variety of working, from sketching out ideas, painting and collaging, as well as discussing and writing new projects. I would get tired of doing any one thing all the time – variety works for me. I think I would probably start my business the same way today, although I think it would be a lot harder. There are so many illustrators out there trying to get work, and yet less available commissions.

© Diana Mayo

Are you someone who sets goals regularly or more instinctive?

I seem to have one long term goal which is to continue getting good, interesting illustration commissions, and to publish my own ideas. Meanwhile I’m daily setting goals which I seem to achieve about 50% of the time, usually through running out of time!
Have you ever or do you employ people part time to help with any aspect of
your business?

I have always worked on my own, including managing my own accounts. It’s quite a straight forward sum of out and in for me!

© Diana Mayo

Could you describe where you work? Are you alone most of the day or with
others? Do you have a mentor or people who you are able to discuss your business with?

For a long time I worked in studios in London alongside other illustrators and designers, all helping each other throughout the day with thoughts and opinions, which I really enjoyed. Now I have a young family, this isn’t possible, so I help convene my local illustrator’s group here in Chelmsford at Just Imagine Story Centre, where we share ideas and critique our work on a regular basis.

 © Diana Mayo

What is a typical day for you and what would a dream day look like?

A typical day begins with getting my children ready for school, part time work at a primary school, followed by squeezing in as much making of work as I can before my two kids arrive home again! A dream day would have the “making of work” part stretched in length by at least three times. There are never enough hours to be creative!

 © Diana Mayo

Thank you very much Diana - it's lovely to see more of your work here and congratulations on signing with Artists Partners!

Find Diana's work at the following links:

Her website :
Her lovely illustration agent is Christine at
Please contact Diana directly by emailing should you be interested in buying high quality Giclee prints, or otherwise through  

Thank you for reading! - Diana


  1. Wow! I might have fallen in love with Diana's artwork. The way she paints her characters is just so beautiful and unique. The Hen and the Pigeon illustration would have to be my favorite. It really piqued my interest. Her website is a-must-visit. Thanks for sharing the interview with us, Gabriella! Happy holidays! :)

    Julius Horton @ Polkadot PR


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