Lizzy Stewart

Lizzy stewart is a London based illustrator that I discovered by chance on pinterest. Her illustrations are very lively and expressive and contain a certain amount of charm that keeps you captivated. I did some research into the types of works that this kind of illustration can lead to. Via her website I discovered that a few of the clients she has worked for include The Times, Analogue books, Random House and Red cap cards. Her illustrations can work as various formats. From posters to greeting cards and book jackets. I then tracked down an interview with Lizzy Stewart. One of the questions asked her how she goes about the process of designing, she said ‘I try not to build up to doing a drawing too much. It seems when I plan to work I find it almost impossible to get going but when I start a little doodle absent-mindedly it tends to grow and I get sucked into drawing for hours’. I found this very interesting, and not dis-similar to the way that I work. She goes on to talk about influences and ‘Carson Ellis’. This information leads me to Ellis’ website and I can really see a lot of similarities between their work. It’s so clear that her work has been a huge inspiration.



Is there strength in numbers?

The spring issue of wrap is here and as usual it’s completely inspiring. There is a really interesting article all about how joining a ‘collective’ of illustrators can help your career as an independent illustrator. Is there strength in numbers? 

It’s an arguable subject where some illustrators say it’s better to make a name for yourself independently before tagging along with someone else and maybe getting lost in the croud? Since discovering Lesley Barnes and the Handsome Frank collaboration I can really see the benefits in being a part of something bigger than just you. Surely it broadens your audience? For example, I had only heard of Lesley Barnes but on finding out she is part of a collaboration there are now 29 other illustrators work for me so discover. This can’t be a bad thing.. can it? 

Interestingly, the article begins by an interview with Tom Robinson, the co-founder of Handsome Frank. He says the illustrators who work best in a collective are the ones who have narrowed their work down to a certain recognisable style, consistent look or technique which allows them to be recognised. This is really interesting because for me as an illustrator I quite often flit around various different styles of drawing and never really settle on one until quite recently during the publication project where I found a style that was really working and stuck with it for the duration of the project. Tom Robinson says that clients that Handsome Frank work for are quite often looking for this type of designer who has really narrowed themselves down to what they are best at and stuck with it. He goes on to say that joining a collective and having people around to ask their creative opinion can really help you to develop a style. 

‘Industry recognition for an individual is based purely on the quality of work, but collectives can be an effective way of producing work that might be difficult to achieve alone’. He concludes by saying that by having a network of skilled friends you can relate to and call upon when required is the first step in success.

It was a really enjoyable and insightful article and has definitely got me thinking about branding myself in a very particular way and producing more work which is very obviously in my ‘style’. 

My Web Presence

Recently, I’ve been working on my own web presence and have come up with several strategies. I have made a facebook page:

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and a website:

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I also have a slightly more personal blog:

as well as twitter and a private Facebook.

So far it seems like the facebook page has been the most successful because I think it’s viewed by the most people. At the top of the page it show you the admin panel which tells you how many people have seen all your posts. This is really useful for tracking posts and popularity. It was definitely a good thing to create.

My website needs a lot more work to get it looking how I want it to but it’s a good start in the right direction. I have also brought the domain name ‘’ which will help it come across as more professional than my original personal blog.

Pick me up Exhibition 2013

I recently went up to London to see the Pick me up exhibition at Somerset house. I went last year and was so inspired that I decided to return this year. It’s mainly made up of independent graphic designers and mainly illustrations and print work. It was at last years exhibition that I discovered Yeji Yun and the publication ‘A Graphic Cosmogony’. I was hoping that this year there would be even more publications and inspiration for the book i’m currently designing. Unfortunately there wasn’t as many books as I was hoping, but there was still a lot of nice prints and once again it helped in discovering some illustrators to research. I brought a print by Lesley Barnes entitled ‘Thorns’.


Since the Pick me up Exhibition i’ve done some research and discovered that Lesley Barnes is part of a collective of artists that call themselves ‘Handsome Frank’. They are an Illustration agency made up of commercial UK illustrators working on commissions for advertising, editorial, publishing, retail and music industries. Handsome Frank has produced work for companies such as the BBC, Cath Kidston, Readers Digest, Vodafone and Toyota. The website displays of over 30 independent illustrators and was a bit of a gold mine to stumble across.

I then went and found Lesley Barnes’ personal website and found out that she’s worked on a lost of artwork for festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival. She’s also done commissions for the Time, Wrap magazine, London fashion week, the V&A and many more. I have tracked her down on twitter and tumblr and am so glad I went to Pick me up and discovered Handsome Frank and Lesley Barnes!

Industry Insights

I recently attended a lecture on Industry Insights. 4 speakers from different companies and industries came to give advice and talk from experience.

Tim Jones – Ignition Strategic Design

I found this speaker the least beneficial, probably because he was speaking less about design and more about creating a business which doesn’t necessarily interest me but none the less was interesting to listen to. He was speaking about account management and the importance of good relationships with clients. His top tips were:

Think Commercially. 

Engage with words.

Be bothered. Be passionate. Go the extra mile.

Rich Milton – Brand in a box.

Brand in a box is a company specialising in branded packaged goods and marketing. He explained that the sandwich market in England alone for 2012 was 3.5 billion. The company uses design to help promote products to larger organisations and companies. He explained how important the appearance of a product is and how the design of something can make all the difference to it’s sales. There is so much high street competition so it’s important to be really passionate about what you’re designing and co-operate clearly with clients.

Sam Dyer – The House 

The house is a brand agency that builds businesses and helps create a brand identity. The company has worked on several well known designs such as the Mission Burrito logo and branding for Magpie and Bear. His top tips were:

It’s all about you and your work.

Call people, be personal and communicative.

Keep your portfolio short and sweet. Start and finish with your favourite projects.

Cover different disciplines.

Have a plan. Always have a plan.

Bob Abbott – Future

Future is a specialist magazine company based in Bath, London and San Francisco. There are 50 million readers, 45 magazines sold every minute, 228 videos watched every minute and 3 million apps downloaded in 2012. Safe to say this is so far a very successful design company. He explained that design is all about creative thinking and development. Design is like a garden shed. You can’t just put it up any old place without instructions or a plan. It takes time, motivation and planning. All good things take time. His top tips were:

Be self critical, there are 20 solutions to every problem and nothing has right or wrongs.

Know when you’re creative and use it to your advantage.

Design is important. Without it the world is boring.

Successful design is fit for purpose.

Afterwards there was a chance for some Q&A with the designers. These are a few more tips that came into conversation:

Get yourself out there. Be keen. Be enthusiastic. 

Pitch yourself the way you would want to see yourself.

Use design as a a career and not a hobbie.

Network all the time. Get to know people, let them get to know you.

Be direct, ask people to recommend you. 

Be confident in yourself. 

This was a useful experience and I think I learnt a lot from this about design as a career and how to go about getting there.

Artist Research – Yeji Yun

Yeji Yun

Yeji Yun is an illustrator that I discovered whilst reading ‘A Graphic Cosmogony’ – a graphic novel published by Nobrow Press that I brought at the Pick me up exhibition. Her work is very unique and I decided to have a look and she what else she has produced. She has several publications, but most interestingly has been involved in a lot of commersial work. Projects include;

Publicity posters for the Jarasum International Jazz festival, Various festival posters, Venus kitchen logo, ‘The River is always right’ book design, publicity poster for Pastel Music label.

It was really interesting seeing how many projects she’s involved in and all the different styles of work that she produces.



After discovering Yeji Yun through Nobrow press, I went to Bristol to Here Gallery to look for some other Nobrow publications. I found ‘The Rise and Fall’ by Micah Lidberg. It’s a really creative concertina book containing only images. I then discovered that Micah Lidberg has previously worked for the New York Times, Nike, United magazine and Computer arts. He describes his main influences as nature – every bit of it.

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Keith Hancocks and Mytton Williams


Mytton Williams is a design company situated in Bath. Keith Hancocks graduated 5 years ago and since has been designing and creating for the company. Some of their projects include National Trust, Waitrose, Clarks and the Thermae Bath Spa. They have also worked with Bath Spa university on the newspaper prospectus.

5 useful things all designers should know;

1) Listen to Antony Burrel. ‘Work hard and be nice to people’

2) Do a work placement. 

3) Get involved and collaborate

4) Build good relationships. Be friendly and flexible and remember that flattery will get you everywhere.

5) There’s always more than one solution, turn of the computer, go for a walk and be inspired.

It was really interesting listening to advice from someone who’s been in a similar position to what we’re going to be in next year. His last point I found particularly inspiring, as a designer everyone gets to a point where they think they’ve reached a conclusion to their design, but there’s always other solutions. I think this is really important to remember. 

Be influenced by art, films, books, architecture and nature. There’s so much to be explored – take a sketchbook and a camera with you everywhere you go and do more.




Logo design

I have designed a logo to include on all of my online sites, business cards and also on the back of works. I have decided to keep it quite simple and have just used my initials. They are written in a font that I created using my handwriting. I then scanned in a piece of canvas to show the handmade element towards my work and then hand drew a frame to accompany this. Later I added the watercolour bee. I know it’s a bit cliche, but it has always been my identity and I think it fits in quite nicely. 


The Big Question – To tweet or not to tweet?

I found this article in Issue 6 of wrap magazine. Wrap asked a selection of illustrators and company founders to give their opinions on how you put a value on the time spent on social media and how you make sure it’s good for business and not just distraction. It’s an interesting insight into how individuals feels the media is beneficial.





Publicising through social media.

Wrap Magazine 

Social networking connections:

Twitter, Facebook, Website, Pinterest, Tumblr

Links to all their social media through the website;


Twitter – 4065 followers

Facebook – 3749 likes

Pinterest – 230 followers

From this, I can see that wrap magazines most beneficial networking site is twitter.

Wrap Magazine is an illustration magazine founded in 2010 by 2 independent designers. We can tell how successful their use of social media has been by the vast amount of attention in less than 3 years.

Nobrow Press

Social Networking connections:

Facebook, Twitter

Links to all their social media through the website;


Twitter – 14,305 followers

Facebook – 11,329 likes

Again, Twitter comes out top in successful social media.

Nobrow Press is a publishing company which works with illustrators from around the world to create books and prints. Being international has probably helped considerably to how many likes and connections it has through social media. Their website is also very clearly laid out with direct links to Twitter and Facebook.

Yeji Yun 

Social Networking connections:


Link to twitter through;


Twitter – 818 followers

Yeji Yun is a small independent illustrator. Clearly, she is not as successful as the bigger companies with a lot more connections. However, she would benefit from having a Facebook page to attract more attention. She could advertise her twitter account through this and generate more followers.

Creative Review

Social Networking connections:

Twitter, Facebook, Website


Twitter – 725,072 followers

Facebook – 19,225 likes

Link to social media sites via;

Again, Twitter has come out on top for being the most successful means of social networking.

Creative Review is a magazine specialising in graphics, design, photography, illustration, type, and the media. It has over 20,000 readers which is a big reason why they’ve generated the most success over social networking sites over the other companies and designers I have looked at.


All in all, It’s important as a designer to have connections all over the internet so that when someone types in your name, you can be easily found. Your name is your brand, so it’s important how you portray yourself. Being on Facebook and twitter is a very popular way for people to see what you’re doing in the creative world, it also allows you to generate support through likes and followers. It’s also important, if you have a website, that all the other social networking sources are connected up otherwise people might never find you. Put yourself out there!