In the past six months, while being wrapped up in freelance event work, I have been giving a lot of thought to the direction I want to go in with And So We Begin. In 2012, I started out wanting to tell stories and although writing will always be my first love, drawing and illustration have sneaked up on me, like an unexpected gift.
When I started drawing in 2014, I decided to share pretty much everything I created on social media. I didn't quite understand this decision at the time and I thought it was to do with wanting to take away the fear of being judged. I've since realised it's much more about wanting to share something that I love so much. Drawing to me is light and fun, challenging and absorbing, meditative and so, SO enjoyable. When I am lost in a drawing I feel cosy and warm. I wanted to somehow share this feeling with other people.
As part of my thought process, I visited PaperFest at Top Drawer London last week. I saw several talks, two of which made a real impression on me. The first was by Audrey Woollen from Urbanic who spoke about her passion for her company even after ten years of trading. She explained how she loves to bring a little joy to the every day and how she really enjoys the one to one interactions with her customers. Her genuine love for what she does really moved me.
Secondly, was The Brand Stylist, Fiona Humberstone who spoke about creating your brand. What seemed like practical advice was again underpinned with genuine passion and care. Fiona advises that you write down ten words that describe your vision of your brand and then narrow this list down to three words. I did this exercise and found it really hard to keep the initial list to ten. Then narrowing these down was even harder. Eventually I settled for warm, calm and kind.
Another idea I've been reading a lot about lately is the Danish concept of hygge. Hygge is not simply feeling cosy, it's simplicity, being with loved ones, warmth, indulgence and kindness. I really want And So We Begin to feel all of these things.
There's one illustration from my childhood that has stayed with me. It's this image from The Story Of Father Christmas by Ann & Dennis Mallett. This book, and this picture in particular, made me feel like everything was ok. To me, it embodies hygge, with it's candles, camaraderie and cosiness.
I would love every card, print and gift from And So We Begin to give you the same feeling of warmth, calm and kindness. Who doesn't love a lovely piece of snail mail appearing in their letterbox in amongst the bills and sales pitches? Something that says someone has thought of you in the middle of their busy day and puts a smile on your face.
I really hope you enjoy my new ideas. Please get in touch via my contact form if you have any comments or suggestions. I'd love to hear from you.