Creativity

What I’ve Learnt Being Creative Every Day For A Year

In 2016 I created more art than ever in a year – so much that it is taking over my storage space, and my shop is overflowing with originals! I found that developing a habit of creating daily is extremely beneficial in many ways and I want to keep producing art as much as I can.

I wrote a post on what I’ve learnt being creative every day for 6 months, but now it is the new year, I want to impart the most important lessons I’ve learnt after a whole year of creating daily.

The more you create, the better your work gets

With every single piece you create, you learn and improve and better understand your skills and what you are capable of. You become braver and more confident in experimenting, and less afraid of failures. Thus your work gets better and better as you create more and push your own boundaries a little bit more with each piece.

It gets easier to get started

For many, including myself, getting started is the hardest part of creative process.

I would love to be able to wake up and feel super motivated every single day forever but it is not always like that – I have some good spells, and some bad spells. But when you are committed, you have to go and make – even if you don’t feel like it. Staying in the habit and being disciplined gets easier over time.

As Mark Twain put it –

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

But remember to take a break!

There will be times when you feel stagnant and run out of inspiration, and you risk burning out if you push yourself too hard. Taking a day off, working on something different, or going out for a long walk gives you a chance to reflect, feel inspired again, and give your work a fresh pair of eyes.

At other times, you might be overwhelmed by inspiration and impatient to get all your ideas down on paper! I often want to just sprint to the finish line. I sometimes found myself working days and nights in 2016, so much that I wore myself out physically – affecting my creativity in the long run, because it takes time to recover. Learn when to stop and be patient with yourself. Keep all of your ideas written down and prioritise them.


To those who followed my daily art journey last year, I think it is clear that being creative daily had a big impact on my creativity, skills, and mental health. I am lucky to be a full time artist with some of time in between commissions to focus on my own projects but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Ultimately, what makes you a better artist is not necessarily being creative every single day, but finding the courage to explore, overcome fears, and make art when you can.

How To Support Small Businesses Over Christmas (And All Year Round)

how-to-support-small-businesses-over-christmas

Christmas time is coming! Every year I try to shop with small businesses for presents for my family and friends. Christmas is always a critical time of year for small businesses, so here are my tips on how to support them over Christmas, and all year round, of course!

Buy from them

The simplest and most direct way to support small businesses is to buy from them rather than from big businesses that mass produce their goods. When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.

Store their business cards

When you get their business cards via an order or stalls, remember to keep their business cards safe so you can look them up whenever you need to buy gifts. I keep and organise all of the business cards I’ve picked up all these years and go through them every time I needed a gift. It certainly helps me to shop small rather than relying on the high street shops you see every day.

Celebrate them

Retweet their tweets, share their Facebook page, regram their Instagram pictures and bring them up in your blog or better yet, when you see your friends. Keep them in the know that you are supporting them by tagging them and using their dedicated hashtag if there is any.

Share your purchases

Take pictures of your purchases from small businesses and share on them on social media. Word of mouth exposure on social media helps small businesses a lot, helping to build their brand and creating sales. Don’t forget to tag appropriately!

Let them know

A person (or a team) behind a small business sometimes needs encouragment and a boost of confidence, so show them that they are being acknowledged and loved. It doesn’t take long to pop them a short email expressing your love for their creations. You can even send them a quick tweet too! Don’t be shy – they will truly appreciate it.

Engage with them

Especially on Instagram, where engagement matters. If you can, comment and engage. Tag your friends you think will like the certain products. It is easy to forget that (I am guilty of this!) but try to quote retweet instead of just retweet, or do both! Facebook makes it difficult for small businesses to reach their audience so make efforts to visit their page and comment on their posts.

Do you have more tips? Share in the comments! I’d like to know your favourite small businesses too :)

What I’ve Learnt Being Creative Every Day For 6 Months

Last year, if you asked me if I could be creative every day, I’d laugh and tell you that I usually create something once weekly or sometimes fortnightly and that I couldn’t possibly find time to being creative every day.

Now I realise I would have been lying.

I can be creative every day. I’ve done it. I have a huge pile of paintings to prove and I look at it with amazement, I wonder why it is so often that I beat myself up for being a rubbish artist – I get up and paint for me every day, even if I have paid work to do on that day. I do realise now that I need to believe in myself and remind myself that constantly.

Why am I doing this? Discovering Crystal Moody and her inspiring lifetime project last year, I was always thinking how amazing it is to be able to paint every day and that I couldn’t possibly do that – I have a business to run…I have commissions to do…I have lots of things to do.

Toward the end of the year, I was beginning to realise that it is possible to be creative every day like Crystal, if I simply find time. Just an hour of my time. I could wake up an hour earlier. I could find an hour to paint instead of watching TV in the evenings. I could organise my day better or work smarter so I have an hour to spare.

That is it. It is already 6 months. And I am not finished. I am making this my lifetime project too. I am not finishing the year putting my paintbrush down. No way. It is a great habit to have.

Of course, it is not all perfect. I struggled. I bunked off a few days. I doubted myself. And this is okay. We are human beings. We need to cut ourselves some slack. The main thing is that I keep learning and grow as an artist.

These are what I’ve learnt in the last 6 months:

  • You get more comfortable with your own creative skills – the more you create, the better your work gets. If it doesn’t, keep going and reflecting.
  • Your mood and stress improves over time while you keep creating.
  • You understand yourself more, and what you love. You notice the recurring theme in your work and better appreciate whatever it is.
  • You connect with and inspire people when you share your daily creations, even if you are unhappy with what you made. Your work couldn’t be more natural and authentic.
  • You realise you are not perfect but it is okay. Embrace your imperfections!
  • You get braver with getting started and using new materials.
  • You get fewer and fewer burnouts. You really get into a creative habit – it is no longer a chore.
  • You feel guilty for skipping few days. You look back what you’ve done so far and stop punishing yourself. Then when you skip a day again, you smile and carry on.

My mental health isn’t the greatest this year, but without creating I could be worse off. Creativity is keeping me sane and I don’t think I’ve really realised how it is good for my mental and emotional health until recently.

I’ve had people telling me – “You are so talented, I wish I could paint like you and I can’t paint.” Thank you but you can. Just go and start. You don’t need to be talented to be an artist.

Learn more about me and my daily art here.

Ways To Improve Your Next Market Stall

Ways To Improve Your Next Market Stall

Since I started selling in art markets and had 4 more market events booked for this year (yay!), I have been thinking about what I’ve learnt from my previous events and how to improve my next market stall so I am sharing these thoughts below and I hope you find at least one of them useful for your future market events.

Present your products as clear as possible

I’ve got cards and prints both in A5 size and in some of my market events, without realising that it was a potential problem, I positioned them near to each other so some of the visitors got confused whether the cards were prints or prints were cards, having to check for themselves. Put the similar sized yet different products apart from each other or at least group them separately and make clear what they are. I have also made my latest card collection in A6 size rather than A5.

Get a card machine

I’ve had visitors that were let down because I didn’t have a machine for their cards. Personally, it is too pricey but I know they are very useful if you are able to use them in the market events and create more sales. I think this one needs a pros & cons list!

Make your business cards accessible

I don’t know why I was lacking common sense when I placed the business cards kind of inaccessible in my first stall. Well, they were accessible but it needed a lot of energy to reach over and pick them up as the pile was nearly right in the back. In my last two market events, I placed it in the front and it was so much better. But just be aware that some of them might be accidentally swept off the table by someone else’s bag etc. I might provide a box for them next time to prevent that happening again.

Get an interpreter

As my long time readers will know already, I am profoundly deaf and couldn’t speak well, even with these millions of speech therapy lessons I attended all my life. My main language is British Sign Language and obviously 99% of the visitors don’t know the sign language so when I wanted to tell something to or reply my visitors, I couldn’t ‘give it my all’ and not every conversation ended well. I’ve had some terribly rude ones who just made faces and ran off as soon as they realised I am deaf.

I’ve brought Aneurin (who is deaf too and can speak very well, almost like a hearing person) to my every market event so far, which was very helpful but he sometimes has a difficulty understanding people because he doesn’t know them personally. So having an interpreter (the one that doesn’t have a problem understanding me and signs like a pro) will be great but I worry that it will interfere a personal interaction – however difficult it is – between visitors and I. And of course, they are not free. Pros and cons list for that one too!

Do not overwhelm your stall with too many products

I have too many products (about 50 different ones apart from originals) and I have brought every single one to my every market event so far. I didn’t think so until recently in Old Spitalfields market when I looked at my stall very carefully, positioned myself as a visitor and realised – Too Much Products.

It can be a good thing, depending on what visitors are like. Maybe a super arty person will get really excited with plenty of choices. But a person with enough interest in cute illustrated cards could get overwhelmed and couldn’t be bothered to look through everything. I think I will streamline my next market stall (25th October with Fairy Tale Fair!) by bringing a selection of products that are most relevant, i.e. autumnal designs etc.

Be flexible with how you present your products

Throughout the day, you will get to learn what works or what doesn’t work. Move them around, making best products more accessible and visible. Check your stall from a visitor’s point of view quite regularly, making sure that nothing is out of the place or running out. In one of mines, even though I thought I checked my stall enough, one of my bestsellers actually ran out and I didn’t notice for god knows how long! I was so kicking myself for that.

What have you learnt from your previous market event/s and how would you improve in the future?

Drawing In Public

End Of The Road Festival Sketchbook 1

End Of The Road Festival Sketchbook 2

Drawing in the front of people, personally, is a very hard thing to do. I get self conscious and shy but in the festival I’ve just got back from was a great atmosphere to draw in public. People in general was laid back and cool that I didn’t feel judged. I drew these with Paper Mate Flair, which I have enjoyed drawing with recently. I drew my desk tidy and cactus with this pen too!

Despite being unable to sleep well in the freezing tent and developing a head cold, my time in End Of The Road festival was brilliant. I got to really relax and switch off. There were no mobile signal or access to internet so not worrying about updating my social media sites was liberating! I did feel a bit anxious at the start but I got used to it in no time. Listening to good music, eating good food and spending with good people for 5 days have done me a world of good.

Will be sharing festival snaps later this week after catching up with you all.