Blue Monday 2020 was a really great day I had as an artist

I am going to share with you guys a day I had recently as an artist that was a really great day. There are lots of stressful days as an artist, lots of days where it feels like you are getting nowhere or having got enough done. Being an artist is HARD. So I am sharing an account of a really good day I had, because they aren’t all that easy to find sometimes.

Monday January 20th 2020

Allegedly the saddest day of the year (I don’t know who decides and I hope its not a legal requirement!). Blue Monday. For me though, it was great!

Cows About Cambridge

I started the day by hugging my pooch, kissing my fella goodbye and hopping on a train to Cambridge. With a suitcase full of paints and a flask full of tea kindly made for me by my other half as I set off. It was my third trip to Cambridge since November, where I had painted a large Cow sculpture for the 2020 Cows About Cambridge trail. This time I was returning to work on a mini moo sculpture in partnership with my large sculpture sponsored Thames link and the charity Mind. Thames link had launched a competition for a service user from Mind to design a cow which I would realise and would form part of the mini moo family on the trail.

I even found time on the train to work on a design submission for an upcoming Wild in Art trail, so fingers crossed for that one!

Good News from Far Away

It’s always a win when you get an etsy sale, so that was the first good news of the day, along with sales reports from my stockists. I was delighted to find in my inbox a message from the fabulous Elizabeth of The Fox Fairy store in Affecks Palace asking if I’d like to join their stocked artists. A while ago I had mentioned this to Elizabeth a while ago and teenage Sian would be elated to have her work sold in her numbe one too cool for school shopping location. I accepted at once to move in in Feb.

While checking my social media I found that I had had a smal flurry of new followers and that my new stockist October 31st had posted abut me joining the store, which I was really excited about too! I even saw that an artist I followed was talking about arranging artist meet ups in my town. I have wanted to do this for ages without any real plan of how to go about it, and I hadn’t even realised that this wonderful artist was from my town! Immediately I announced my excitement and intention to get involved however I can.

In the Grafton Centre

Back in the real world I got cracking on my mini moo and got to meet the lovely Annie from Wild in Art. It was great to meet her finally and she had lots of helpful advice and offered so much support for me on my Wild in Art journey, thanks Annie!

Painting the sculpture was a new experience for me to translate someone else design onto a sculpture. It was an experience practice a different way of working. I usually work much more intuitively and make lots of decisions throughout the process. This took a much more planned and strategic approach to translate someone else vision onto the canvas (or cow!). 

While the primer layer dried I headed for a mooch around some local charity shops in the hunt for books, and scored an amazing full set of Rocky Horror figures for the princely some of £4! (This figures would then proceed to go viral believe it or not!)

At the end of the day

After a long and tiring but productive day of painting I crawled into my comfy B&B bed with some KFC and Magic Mike on the telly. What made this day perfect wasn’t living a life of luxury with all of these opportunities throwing themselves at my feet, but a delightful day where the hard work I had put in and seeds I had sown were paying off. It’s the best kind of day any artists can hope for if you ask me! Mostly it reminds me that the hard work pays off, not everything is a rejection and all you need to do is just keep swimming.

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.