120 and counting

Why personal projects matter… 

I’m a big fan of making my own work as well as work for clients. Why? Well, think of it as an R&D playground.

At the start of the London lockdown, working from home, I decided to report from my garden in place of my daily commute drawings, documenting plants as they germinated, flowered, fruited and set seed. On the face of it, that’s just created a pile of drawings – 120 and counting – around and between work for clients. And I’ve just scanned them for the next stage of my project.

But here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

Spending time with plants through drawing, I’ve noticed stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise see, stories that have emerged as I was following up the story I thought I was telling. That’s good for honing the investigative and communication skills that go into my design and reportage sketching work. And it’s found its way into workshops on looking through drawing, opening up chat and taking away the fear of having a go.

Gardening is, literally, a great leveller – and out in my small patch of urban green space, I’ve discovered that you can forage for materials too. That’s important in scary economic times. It makes creativity more accessible. It’s great for a screen break. It’s also a whole new way to engage with nature.

So you might find a bit of that adventure popping up in the design work. And if you’d like to design a workshop that uses art sideways, get in touch!