I solemnly swear I am up to no good!

This weekend has been a busy one mainly full of my not-so-favourite job… portfolio updates! And because I’ve been adding a few bits of 3D greetings card design, it involved a lot of photo editing and was quite slow going! I don’t mind updating my website so much, but my printed portfolio and I are just not on friendly terms for some reason! My main issue with it looking back over past work I’ve done – it fuels that anxiety that I think many designers have that they’re not good enough and leads to a lot of questioning and self doubt. Do you feel that way about work you’ve done?!

Anyway… I digress! As I found yesterday’s hours of reviewing my previous work quite painful (and consequently very sweary – sorry if you’re reading this, Mum but it was only me and the computer screen so no-one was offended!), I thought I’d treat myself to some nice, relaxing Harry Potter film time today! As well as a bit of doodling with a new set of coloured pencils that I was given for Christmas!

As I have spent a lot of time illustrating (and designing) on-screen the last few years, I’ve decided to spend a bit more time going back to my design roots and cracking out the traditional media again! I mean, I always, ALWAYS sketch things out in pencil before I head on over to the mac but these are usually barely legible scribbles which only make sense to me – definitely not for the wider world to see!

I think that’s one reason I decided to go freelance… so I could experiment more in my own little creative space and not feel so self conscious or precious about what I’m doing or so conscious of the huge mess I’m making in the process! On that note, here is today’s little scribble! It’s not perfect – far from it in fact. I’ll openly admit I’m not naturally gifted at drawing people – or hands – or shoes (as you can see!) but in the interest of full disclosure – it’s part of the process of learning and pushing myself to get better at what I do – but also because it’s Harry Potter and because I frickin’ LOVE drawing!!!!

N.B. Full, FULL disclosure, I lengthened one of his arms (badly because I didn’t want to spend ages on it) in Photoshop because it was ridiculous! But that’s all – I promise!

Goodbye 2018

Happy New Year! I guess this time of year is one for reflection and 2018 was something of a mixed year for myself and my family with some real highs and real, real lows… but it IS the year I made the decision to leave my current job as a greetings card designer and go forth and… FREELANCE!

I’m looking forward to this brand new, shiny year and hoping it will bring all the good stuff! I don’t usually make resolutions but I feel like this year might be the time to at least set myself some goals so..

  1. I will be putting more work out there – By ‘Out There’ I mean on the ‘Gram, Twitter, the website and this shiny new blog here! I’ve always been a little too afraid of negative feedback, and also, previously due to working full time, far away and having other family responsibilities has meant I haven’t had much time to work on personal projects (i.e. the ‘postable’ stuff!) so hopefully with the big change of going freelance I will be able to show you more of what I do!
  2. Meeting new people in the industry – Again, this isn’t something I’ve had a lot of free time for with my current lifestyle, unfortunately! I’m excited about seeing some new faces and making some new friends and connections in the business! One BIG thing I will miss about working in a studio is the collaboration, feedback and the social aspect, really so I’m planning to look into a few networking events!
  3. This year I intend to open an Etsy store selling printed goods from cards to prints, possibly laser cut jewellery and anything else that I think folk might like! From this I may do a few craft fairs and whatnot too later in the year!
  4. I’m slowly getting my website to the stage of how I would LIKE it to look! It’s not too far off so the early part of this year will be spent tinkering with one or two minor things which I hope will increase it’s usability and showcase my work both effectively and creatively.
  5. Finally, I would like to inject more variety into my portfolio this year. For nearly 5 years I’ve been designing greetings cards so my portfolio is currently almost all… greetings cards (!!) of an illustrative or hand lettered nature. This year, I’d like to delve further into the world of graphic design…. packaging, branding, brochures, leaflets, book covers… anything and everything really! I can do it, and I can do it well – I’d just like to be able to show that I can so that people give me more of it to do! 🙂

So, if you would like to join me on this exciting journey of mine (yes, I actually used the word ‘journey’ – it’s going to be quite a departure from my previous way of living!) and have a creative challenge for me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch… you’ll be in safe hands 🙂 x

Claire@clairenicholson.co.uk


A Belated Merry Christmas!

Here we are on the back of Christmas 2018…. Where has the year gone??? Did you have a good one? Did you get lots of nice presents?! Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas, did you at least have a peaceful day off?

My best Christmas moment was when Diz the Cat who belongs to my mum…. (or rather my mum belongs to her!) decided to liven things up by climbing the Christmas Tree and flattened it! Baubles everywhere!

So naturally, her antics made this year’s family Christmas card! I’ve spent the last few days learning to use some new design software called Affinity. It’s similar to Photoshop, but also quite different so it’s proving to be a bit of a learning curve! In fact, I created the illustration above using it!

But… the main reason for this post (a long time coming I know) I have a little bit of news to share! As of March 2019 I will be a FREELANCE Graphic Designer and Illustrator.

Having worked full time at the same spot in Dewsbury for nearly 5 years, it seemed a good time to say sayonara to my awfully long daily commute and very hazardous journey to work on the M1 motorway! I have learnt such a lot working there and met so many lovely people, but the time has come for a change and a new challenge!

I’m incredibly excited and also pretty nervous about it but I think that’s to be expected, really! So if you would like me to design for you, please get in touch!

claire@clairenicholson.co.uk