A Very Stokey Christmas

Illustrating the high street

An illustration to get people to buy local and independent at a Christmas shopping event in Stoke Newington, East London – on the face of it, a straightforward seasonal commission. But A Very Stokey Christmas, funded by London Borough of Hackney, has also been a masterclass in how small businesses can work together to offer customers an experience.

That’s also a challenge…

In an initial chat about the event to gather information on what the illustration was for and what the event would be like, I suggested an illustrated map.

It became a fast-growing thing as businesses got involved – and that’s where doing this illustration digitally gave me crucial adaptability in a tight timeframe and enabled the illustration to grow in a cohesive way for print and online communications.

As ever, turning up has made all the difference. Pounding the streets with camera and sketchbook, I’ve been able to look at the buildings and their details, learn new things (including a bit of Edgar Allen Poe history) and people-watch over cups of tea. So the map is populated with Stokey people, their dogs and their bikes.

The work has gone over to local homeware retailer Know & Love for design, and PR is being coordinated by hair salon Beaucatcher and card and gift retailer Earlybird.