Annual Goals Review

I am surprisingly buzzing as I write this. For context, I have known for a few weeks I should look at my goals. Earlier this year I announced over a whopping 3 blog posts my goals for this year. I had big ideas, big dreams. 2020 was going to be brilliant. I don’t want to ruin the ending if you haven’t seen the movie but 2020 didn’t quite work out that way. 

So I approached this review wholeheartedly expecting to be crossing off my goals, but not in a good way. Looking at what could be salvaged. Trying to work out when the world might be active again. When can business resume? Can I just write the whole year off? Better not to put it off any longer. Let’s face the damage head on. 

And do you know what? I am smashing it! Not at ALL in the way I imagined when I wrote these goals, but I am! Just for a reap, here are the goals I set myself for the year. 

-Shakeup My Stockists

-Secure more painting commissions in 2020

-Be spookier

-Make more, increase handmade offerings

-Work Less, Live More


-Improve branding

-Learn more digital skills

Where I have viewed lockdown as a barrier to activity, it has also in new ways allowed for more. When I wrote these goals I was desperate for time. I had to schedule goal to force myself to make time for things left behind. In the wake of market days, mural painting, events. Balancing two jobs and a social life. Sculpting and learning new skills just weren’t getting a look in andI made goals specifically for them. 

Flip the world on it’s head and you have now. I have a whole shelf of drying sculpts and three quarters of a bag of clay remaining. Whilst I envisioned perhaps spending times learning vector art, I have been working with a client to produce some animations. I have learnt a lot about animating and am excited to learn more too. Whilst you could argue that ‘work less live more’ should have more dates with friends in it, I am relaxing. I am reading. Taking time off. I am reset regenerated and refuelled. 

That’s FOUR goals reached already!

I have had time to look at my branding and revamped my etsy shop as well as working on a more consistent social media feed. That consistency, that branding, it IS spookier!

My sales and followers are increasing well. I have shaken up my stockists and will resume business when lockdown is done. I have a new stockists already signed up for a stock drop off. Excitingly I have another interested in meeting up when we can. I am happy with where this is too. I even have a wholesale order to post.

What about commission opportunities though?

I thought these would be hardest hit, and they are. However, I have secured some absolutely cracking opportunities whilst in lockdown. A large sculpture painting commission, a new repeat client and a really exciting couple of collaborations are on my horizon. Even more brilliantly, these collaborations will be benefiting charities and supporting other artists too.

That’s it! That’s all the goals. Honestly I am in disbelief. It is not how I pictured it happening when I wrote these goals. Nothing is how anyone planned anything this year. The end result is there though. Things might still be tough but they could be a whole lot tougher. I have some great support around me from customers and clients. I might be self employed, but I can’t do it all by myself. When this is done I’ll make new goals and we can see where the new normal takes us. 

Goals For 2020 Part 2

I am splitting this blog post up into 3 posts in order to allow me to discuss each goal in a little bit more detail, and hopefully shed some light on why it is a focus of mine for next year.

Be Spookier

This goal brings out the spooky little kid in me. I have always tried to strike a balance between creating work that lots of people can enjoy, and creating weird spooky silly little art for a very niche market of folk like me. This year I want to be brave and create more of the art that makes me so happy to create. It’s less about being more spooky I suppose, and more about having less inhibitions. I want to feel freer to create outside of what I perceive to be societal norm. Where is the fun in art that follows the rules?

Make More, Increase Handmade Offerings

I want to improve my craftsmanship, learn new skills and experiment a bit more. This means setting time aside specifically for making. In the last year I have spent dramatically less time practicing ceramics. I want to bring it back into focus and learn more wheel skills. I have product ideas for ceramics that I would like to explore too, aswell as some more ambitious plans for sculptures.

I’d also like to practice some more traditional printing techniques. Last year I dipped my toe into Lino printing and I’d like to explore this more. I’m keen to experiment with new techniques too, such as screen printing onto ceramic slabs for building.

Work Less, Live More

Striking up a better work/life balance is a priority for me this year. I genuinely believe that it will be good for my business as well as me. By making sure I have clearer boundaries it is easier to stay focused, and keep my ideas fresher, my enthusiasm high and give myself the distance you need from your work at times to be able to make the right decisions. I aim to read more books, cook more meals and spend more time with friends, because it’s all a bit sad I haven’t been making more time for it recently, and I want to do something about it!

Goals for 2020: Part 1

I am splitting this blog post up into 3 posts in order to allow me to discuss each goal in a little bit more detail, and hopefully shed some light on why it is a focus of mine for next year.

-Shakeup My Stockists

-Secure more painting commissions in 2020

-Be spookier

-Make more, increase handmade offerings

-Work Less, Live More


-Improve branding

-Learn more digital skills

My goals are a lot different to last year’s. Last years goals felt like milestones I wanted to reach, full of facts and figures in an attempt to quantify success. For 2020 my approach is as reflective as it is about trying something new. This last year has been so brilliant, and I want to keep learning, improving and building on what I have achieved so far.

Shakeup my Stockists

This was a tough one as last year a goal of mine was to be stocked in 2 shops, and after getting a brilliant 7 stockists I am now looking to reduce them. This is because I have been able to try a range of different models, working with a range of hops in a range of cities. I am learning what does and doesn’t work for me and the capabilities and priorities that I have for my illustration work. I am planning to remove my work from some of my existing stockists and focus more on working with shops on a Sale or Return or wholesale basis. Excitingly I have already begun this transformation of my business and aim to find new partners to work with throughout 2020.

Secure More Painting Commissions in 2020

It might not be clear in the title of this one, but I’m not necessarily looking to do more painting commissions than I did in 2019, I just want to keep doing them! Over this last year I have learnt so much and had such incredible opportunities to work on murals and sculpture paintings across the UK. My goal for 2020 is to find more and grow my experience and portfolio in this area even further. I am happily already in talks about some sculptures and murals for this next year, so I just need to keep everything crossed that they come good.

2019, A Year in Review

2019 has been a pretty awesome year for my business. It all really ramped up for me and revisiting some of my highlights in the last few blogs is really just a handful of the year’s achievements. I really got to step up my experience too, from huge murals to book covers. It is safe to say I surpassed my expectations for the year as i outlined in February 2019.

I even went as far as to set some new goals midway through the year. 

My First Set of Goals

-Get 1200 followers on instagram

-Have products stocked in 2 stockists

-Increase to 100 sales on Etsy

-Have a stall at a niche market

-Get 20 reviews on etsy

-Increase etsy product number to 50

-Invest in a new type of product

-Secure a large paid commission

I reviewed those goals before writing more, but happily and surprisingly I absolutely smashed them. Well, with the exception that I listed 49 products on Etsy, but I think that’s ok. I have doubled my etsy review goal, tripled my stockists target and had six times the number of large commissions that I had hoped for. The success of 2019is going to be a tough one to replicate in 2020. 

My Revised Goals

-Secure a mural commission using my characters and style

-be approached for a large scale commission without applying

-trial a pop up shop

-run an arts event (market, workshop, drawing class)

-get agency representation

This new revision of goals wasn’t quite as successful. However, a lot for his was down to willing. I chose not to go in the direction of running my own events. After all, I do more than enough of that in my alternate employment. It’s always going to be something I am able to do if I turn my mind to it. I have no doubt about that. Similarly I did not put very much time into researching and preaching agency representation. I also didn’t trial any pop up shops as I didn’t find any with terms I liked. 

Unfortunately for me I wasn’t approached for a larger scale commission without applying. That’s ok. I successfully got many and have started to be approached about smaller commissions. This was always a big goal and will come with time. I was invited to apply for a large commission too, so it is all going in the right direction as far as I am concerned.

What I did achieve was securing a mural commission in my style. I was voted for by residents of Armley to create a 14 foot mural of my ‘Nice to Be Nice’ characters as part of a local regeneration project. It was a brilliant opportunity and a huge portfolio boost, as well as genuinely fun to take part in.

That’s a Wrap

I am really pleased with what I achieved in 2019. What is exciting about it is that I have so many ideas and such a big drive for taking it forward into 2020, but in a way that allows me to have time to relax, spend time socially and enjoy walks with the pupper on my days working at home. It is going to be hard to grow more than I have done in this last year, because it has been so incredible, but for me 2020 is more about refining my work and focusing on the quality and streamlined approach to how I run my illustration business. It’s about keeping hold of the things I have loved doing in 2019, doing more of them and doing them better.

Thankyou to everyone who has supported me through my journey so far and I hope that you can enjoy sticking it me in the year to come. 

Half Year Goals Review

I know it was only April when I reviewed these goals but I always wanted to review them often. Reviewing them means changing them too. I need to take frequent stock to work out if they are the right goals for me at the right time.

On that note, I think I will have to change them too, but for good reason. I have nearly, acheieved them all! It’s not so much amending them, as setting new ones. Not only have I reached my annual goals in only half a year but my business is totally different too.

Different how?

Well my aims are still the same but I’m doing a lot better than I ever imagined, for a while people have been telling me that my illustration seems to have ‘taken off’. That’s always the phrase they used and I always thought I was just doing a good job of marketing. It’s only recently when Iv e had back to back commissions and smashed my goals list that I’ve started to agree.

Ok, so back to these goals I keep hearing about

Get 1200 followers on instagram
Have products stocked in 2 stockists
Increase to 100 sales on Etsy
Have a stall at a niche market
Get 20 reviews on etsy
Increase etsy product number to 50
Secure a large commission
Invest in a new type of product


The only ones I haven’t achieved yet are the 1200 followers on Instagram and the 100 sales on Etsy. I have 1100 followers and have about 20 sales to go. I am well on my way to achieving both. The number of stockists interested in my work has doubled. I have reached the large commission goal a whopping six times over. My product range is still growing but I don’t think it should be rushed. That goal needs a rethink.


Gulp. I’m going to have to set new goals


It’s nerve wrecking but necessary. That’s freelance life in a nutshell. Visit my next weeks blog to find out what my new goals are going to be!

My Goals for 2019, Progress So Far

It feels like a good time to revisit my goals for 2019. After all, what’s the point in setting goals if you just ignore them all year? It feels good to take stock, pats on the back for achievements and brain storming for achieving the not yet achieved.

My goals for 2019: a recap

  • Get 1200 followers on instagram
  • Have products stocked in 2 stockists
  • Increase to 100 sales on Etsy
  • Have a stall at a niche market
  • Get 20 reviews on etsy
  • Increase etsy product number to 50
  • Secure a large commission
  • Invest in a new type of product

How you doin?

Firstly, I don’t think that the Instagram followers should have been the first thing I out here. I don’t think that this should be a priority, although I do of course want to grow them. I have grown my Instagram audience by 200 followers in two and a half months.  If this rate keeps up then I will be on track to achieve this goal by the end of the year. My main learning so far though is that there are other things for me to focus on beyond followers.


One of those focuses is the stockists. I am super pleased to have achieved my goal of being stocked with two stockists already. One stall leases me a space in exchange for a monthly fee and a commission fee and the second bought some stock in a wholesale basis. This was definitely a focus for me these first few months and I approached these stockists myself and created order processes, SOR and wholesale price points, order forms and a brand new look Book. I have definitely been working hard on this and now aim to get even more stockists throughout this year.


I am halfway to achieving 100 sales on Etsy and am confident that I am in the right track to achieve these sales figures and reviews too. The chances of this can only be improved by adding more listings to my store. I still have a bit of a way to go before I hit 50 products but I have introduced three new items to my shop so far. This has not yet been a focus for me too much this year, so is perhaps somewhere I need to point my attention towards after I have successfully secured some more stockists. The new listings I have produced have included new types of products though as badges, greetings cards and stickers have been added to my line.


Although I have looked fleetingly at having a stall at a niche market this is something I haven’t yet pursued. In my shirt research so far these stalls seem to be expensive. Either that or they clash with a Fair I have already secured a stall at. I have booked I for new fairs though and will be appearing at the Millenium Galleries Spring Craft Fair and the Manchester Print Fair also.


Perhaps my top achievement so far is securing 3 large commissions through Wild in Art. This has definitely fuelled me up to try and achieve more throughout the year. When my goals have been achieved I am certainly not going to wait until 2020 to set new ones.

My Dreams As An Artist

So, we’ve talked about my goals as an artist for 2019 but what’s the point in having short term goals if you don’t have great big ole dreams too? Specifically, I’m talking my dream jobs as an artist and I’d like to share some with you.

Event Posters

It can still be a dream job if you already get to do it! I’ve done quite a few event posters, but do you know what? I love ‘em! Posters have to convey things quickly and capture people’s attention. It gives me reign to be bold and bright and all the things I love to be! Plus, seeing your work up all around town is a very awesome feeling!  


Again, let’s carry on with things I have done and love to do. Murals are the best way to indulge that naughty little kid that I’m sure a load of us artists were; the one who likes drawing on everything! There are few things as exciting as a paintbrush, paints and a huge blank canvas, especially when drawing on walls is exactly the kinda thing that was going to get you into a lot of trouble 20 years ago. Well look at me now mum and dad, these folks appreciate it, they even pay me for it!

Gig Posters and Album Artwork

Having managed a charity music festival a few years back I have had the opportunity to do some cool posters and graphics for music events too. Artists across artforms seem to vibe well together, and it feels like an extra nudge towards being truly creative when you are creating a poster for other artists. Find bands and gigs whose vibe match yours as an illustrator and there’s some beautiful synergy to be had.

Movie Posters

Film posters bring me genuine joy. I’m a huge fan of Mondo posters, the type that favour art and illustration over design. I am a sucker for cinema as it is and there are many great movies featuring great art. As a kid I event dreamed of being a matte painter after watching “The Addams Family” a billion times over. I love illustrated posters that take a film’s narrative and represents it to potential viewers through a single, inspiring frame. To create a poster like this for a client would be an absolute dream come true!


Similarly to seeing your posters around town, seeing your artwork on human folks is intensely satisfying. I currently produce badges and patches and when I see them on someone’s jacket it makes me giddy. I’ve even been known to create one of knitted pieces too. The dream for me would be to team up with a talented seamstress and create pieces using fabric printed with my illustrated patterns. There are  some incredible illustrators who do this already and I yearn to be one of them!