New year, new direction: Illustrators share their goals for 2015

Illustration by Claire Shorrock
With January almost over, we caught up with some of our illustrators who've made challenging new year's resolutions to make 2015 a stand out year for their design practice.

Sarah Dennis, who crafts enchanting illustrations from layers of carefully hand-cut paper, has decided to brush up on her hand-lettering skills this year by cleverly weaving it into her sketching process.

'2015 is the year that I'm going to improve my handwritten type. To help me along, every time I draw something, I'm going to handwrite what it is to make sure I practise, and hopefully get better!'
Photos by Sarah Dennis
Well, practise makes perfect, and Sarah clearly has the skills to pull it off!  Take a look for yourself, here.

Long-time Drawn in Bristol illustrator Laurie Stansfield has professed to having a rather ambitious resolution for the new year, pledging to illustrate eleven picture books over the next eleven months.

'My partner Ben Goodman, a printmaker and illustrator, has helped me make a plan to illustrate eleven children's picture books for 2015!  I'm going to dedicate two days a week to creating my own picture books.  Staring in February, I'll produce a book mock-up each month, to a standard at which they could shown to potential publishers.'

City Rhythm by Laurie Stansfield
'When I go running, I have so many ideas for stories.  I love weaving a metaphor into a story, cramming it full of characters and strange scenarios that make you think. Real or unreal, stories make you think.  But it's really hard to dedicate the time and effort to it, without having the structure of a degree course, and with so little income.  I'm really excited to know that I'll be churning work out this year.  Some of it will be utter rubbish, I'm sure, but by the eleventh story, I'll at least have improved!'

Blimey!  We can't wait to see what Laurie come up with.  Laurie's story, 'Red and the Boy' was awarded 'Highly Commended' for The Macmillan Prize in 2010.  You can view more of her work, here.

Prolific illustrator and Drawn in Bristol studio regular, Claire Shorrock, had a whole bunch of new year's resolutions to share, but one thing which struck a chord with us was her desire to keep up a regular sketchbook.

'I want to make sure my sketchbook is always to hand, so that when an idea strikes, I can always get it down on paper.'

Photo by Claire Shorrock
'In a similar vein, I also want to keep things that inspire me, from magazine or newspaper cuttings to flyers or exhibition pamphlets.  I used to keep a journal full of inspiration but lost the motivation for it, subconsciously I think when it became easier to save images I liked on the computer.'

You can have a read of Claire's other resolutions over on her blog.

...That's me!  A good friend recently told me that a good way to get yourself inspired, is to take yourself on more 'dates', simply by taking some time out of your day to go to that gallery you've had your eye on, or leaf through some books at your favourite bookshop, watch a short film and generally indulge yourself with some sort of visual treat.  Or, take yourself off to a nice coffee shop every now and again and do some sketching in an inviting environment, to give yourself a break from your desk.

Julia Cameron, author of 'The Artist's Way', talks a bit about the concept here.

Photo by Dawn Cooper
Got any design related resolutions you'd like to share with us?  Are you managing to stick to them?  Let us know on Twitter.

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