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Custom Postcards

Custom postcards for Tin Can Camping

Earlier this year I designed some custom postcards in one of my favourite projects so far. I drew custom illustrations to be used on the postcards for an amazing glamping site called Tin Can Camping. They have four Airstream and vintage caravans to stay in in a remote area in South Norfolk and it’s really worth checking out. We’ve now stayed there twice so I was incredibly excited when they asked me to do custom illustrations for a series of postcards featuring their gorgeous trailers.

It turned out that the owners really liked a thank you card I’d made for them the first time we stayed, so decided to ask me to work on the postcard designs for them. Here’s a screenshot of when they posted it on their Instagram account

The four caravans on the custom postcards

These are the four postcard designs I created together with photos of the original caravans.

This little one is the Bubble and is the first Airstream we stayed in – the same one pictured in the thank you card. It couldn’t be any cuter, could it?! That visit it rained a LOT (like torrentially) but we still had a great time snuggled up inside this cosy little trailer.

The next time we stayed we chose the Caravanner. The weather was kinder to us this time so we got to take advantage of the BBQ and fire pit more often. It was also fabulous!

This is the largest Airstream on the site, the Sovereign. I can’t even imagine towing something this size around, but I suppose roads are a bit roomier in the US!

And this is the Jewel, an aptly named vintage caravan that really stands out amongst the silver Airstreams.

Which one is your favourite? I honestly can’t decide…

It was such a fun project to work on. I love drawing, I love camping and I love these Airstreams. So I felt really lucky to have the opportunity to bring them all together to create these postcards.

If you have a custom illustration project you’d like me to work on, please get in touch 😃

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Shih Tzu Card and Labrador Card

Shih Tzu Card

These dog themed cards, a Shih Tzu card and a Labrador card are two brand new birthday designs just added to my shop. I’m going to be working on a range of pet themed cards and these are the first . What do you think?

As with most of my designs, I drew them using Procreate on my iPad. Here’s a little replay video of each one to show you the process. I use layers a lot so when things disappear and reappear that’s me hiding and showing different layers 🙂

This is the Shih Tzu drawing…

And here’s the Lab illustration.

You can see that it often takes me several attempts to get something right 😆. For example I kept adjusted the Labrador’s head as it just didn’t quite look right. I feel like it’s important to show the real process though, rather than an edited one that looks perfect but isn’t real! It’s a good job I’m an illustrator and not a sculptor using marble or some expensive medium as there would be a lot of waste 🤣

I hope you like these card designs. You can buy both the Shih Tzu card and Labrador card in my online shop. They’re available in two sizes – A6 or A5. And keep your eyes open for more designs soon…

Since Brexit, international shipping has become way too complicated for my small online shop, but International customers can buy the same designs in my Etsy shop too.

Don’t forget that if you sign up as a VIP subscriber you’ll get a great discount too!

become a vip now

What other breeds would you like to see in this range? Drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook to give me your suggestions or send me an email – I’d really love to hear from you and I always reply!

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The Creative Process

The Creative Process

I often get people saying how lucky I am that I’m creative, but I honestly believe everyone is creative at heart. It just shows up differently for different people. And I think we should all be cultivating our creativity in one form or another, in our lives and in our businesses/careers. So this week’s blog is a guest post from the lovely Laura Oldfield of The Key To It All and it’s all about the Creative Process. I hope you enjoy it!

Five reasons why cultivating creativity should be a top priority in your small business and life

the image reads:
All the ideas
MIND BLOWN
This is brilliant
Is this brilliant?
This isn’t brilliant
This is AWFUL
This might be ok...
Is it going to be ok?
This is brilliant!
ALL THE IDEAS…

Perhaps you’ve seen this (or a version of it) before. Certainly if you’ve ever embarked upon any kind of creative project or work you’ve almost certainly experienced this process.

Or perhaps you’re considering clicking away from here, as you’re thinking “creative?! That’s not me, and anyway why is it relevant to my business and life?” As the fantastic Edward de Bono says:

“the brain is a wonderful device for allowing incoming information to organise itself into patterns. Once these patterns are formed…we use those patterns in the process known as perception. The patterns are not symmetric. The lack of symmetry gives rise both to humour and to creativity. This then is the logical need for creativity. It is the logic of self-organising patterning systems.”

Essentially, creativity is not just a wonderfully joyful experience, but rather a way of allowing our brains to organise information, in a way that leads to powerful and transformative decisions. Here’s five reasons you should cultivate it (and some ideas as to how to do so):

1. Creativity stops us pre-judging

By all means, look at the data. There is so much available to us and you would be foolish to ignore it (I recommend Google Analytics for your website as a top prioirity. Instagram Business Accounts have fantastic data you can use (but you could just as easily explore Facebook or Tiktok – we also love our Pinterest account for helping us learn more customers) www.pinterest.co.uk/thekey_toitall, and don’t forget your all important email newsletter sign-ups! Of course this data can teach you so much about the people who you serve. But it shouldn’t ever be the sole place from which you make decisions. The extraordinary thing about your business and work is you and your ideas. The data might sometimes suggest that a new idea of yours is not going to work, but let’s not forget that creativity encourages logical thought ultimately. Creativity allows us to take informed risks, that data alone would not.

2. Creativity allows us to create new ideas from old experiences

We do this by a) revisiting old systems and disrupting them; b) revisiting old ideas and adapting them and c; revisiting old beliefs and examining them. An example of this might be imagining how you might have handled a situation differently, or how another person might handle the same situation. It might be brainstorming how you want your customer to feel when your product lands in their lap, and writing a description of the process from them finding you, to making an order to receiving their purchase. These kind of imaginings can ultimately lead to some very strategic and ordered planning and processes.

3. From Creativity comes the “Creative Challenge”

The creative challenge is one of the most exciting parts of creative thinking, in both work and at home: it encourage us to ask why do we do it this way?

That question can be so powerful: why am I selling this way? Why am I on this social media? Why do I launch at particular times. It can also be used in the home. Why am I buying this? Why do I have this reaction as a parent? Why do I keep going to bed late? Thinking laterally in this way is often prompted by some responses:
Because we always have
Because it’s what other people do and it works
Because it worked for us before
Because other people like it

The creative challenge doesn’t seek to dismiss everything we have done thus far; rather it is an opportunity for lateral thinking, reflection and growth.

4. From the Creative Pause comes mindfulness

You write your to-list. You start frantically firing off emails. You end up in a Facebook thread replying about the best kinds of email marketing hosts. The Creative Pause forces us to stop and ask two things: 1) why am I doing this and; 2) are there other possibilities right now that would make this easier/ more efficient/ more joyful. Some practical methods for achieving the Creative Pause come from a) using affirmation cards; b) using a timer (google the Pomodoro Technique for more on this); stopping and naming 5 things that are a particular colour, 4 things yu can hear, 3 things you can smell etc.

It’s worth noting that the creative pause can be a massively extended moment of frustration – a feeling of stasis in your work, until one day it all “clicks”, and you realise your brain has been working hard to find creative solutions all along.

5. Creativity reminds you that you are a human who needs and deserves to be being, not just doing (and reacting).

Creativity can be found in so many ways – when you go for your morning walk and the nature inspires an idea in you; when you’re running through a process and you come up with a third step that will make all the difference; when you’re having to be resourceful and in doing so come up with an inventive and materials/ money-free solution. Switching off from “work” to carry out more traditionally “creative” activities (colouring, music, making things with your hands etc) can also be when you get the “aha” moment!

Finally, here’s 10 quick-fire ways to encourage creativity (and one myth buster).

MYTH BUSTED: Creativity isn’t just for the “talented” …or the “rebels”… or the “left/right” side of the brain. Creativity and art aren’t the same. You don’t need to “release” to be creative. It’s not all about “intuition”…or being “quirky” …or taking a scatter-gun approach.

The Key Cards
  1. Get rid of the drainers and attract the radiators (this can be applied to habits – your phone and doom-scrolling versus reading some amazing blogs or listening to a TED talk and to the people with whom you spend time).
  2. Hide your phone. No, seriously. Hide it.
  3. Free writing – google Morning Pages and thank us later.
  4. Buy The Key Cards and Affirmations for Creatives (the latter on pre-order soon). The former is 90 energy-enhancing, inspirational prompts, tasks and affirmations so you never have to have that “where do I start” feeling again. Enjoy having your very own coach, mentor and cheerleader in your pocket. There are 20 cards in there specifically and solely designed to boost creativity (though having used all 90 they definitely all do that!)
  5. Do something different and write a haiku (5,7,5 syllables).
  6. Work with your energy not against it (The Key Cards massively support this) – if you’re feeling stuck and like it’s just not working then that’s ok – break up the routine and do something entirely different (and ideally not related to work – rest often triggers amazing subsequent levels of productivity).
  7. Chuck in some scary deadlines – and see how your brain reacts – I bet you get inventive!
  8. Collaborate collaborate collaborate – we are obsessive about this at The Key to it All – bouncing ideas around is simply the best way to develop (and it proves that nearly always community wins over competition).
  9. Allow yourself to fail – yes in trying new things you’ll create a lot of stuff and nonsense. You’ll also create gems, even if they don’t appear to be at first.
  10. Keep going. Yes we value rest at Team Key. But we also value you valuing yourself and showing up. Keep going – we’re rooting for you!

At The Key to it All we help incredible small business owners, creatives and freelancers plan and run their work and life in a more productive, easy and confident way, using our beautiful products for work and the home, E-Courses, community, events and workshops It is founded and run by proud multi-hyphenate and Mum of two, Laura Oldfield.

Laura Oldfield

You can find The Key to it All here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/thekeytoitall
https://www.instagram.com/the_key_toitall/
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/thekey_toitall/
https://www.thekeytoitall.co.uk

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Mojito Drawing & Card Design

Mojito Recipe Card

It’s been a while since I showed my illustration process here on my blog, so I decided to share a mojito drawing I did back in April. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as an ice cold mojito, so it seems especially appropriate to show this now while we’re in the middle of a mini heat wave here in the UK 😁

I initially created the illustration as one of two designs for a competition. It was run by Ohh Deer in conjunction with Sainsbury’s and the brief was to create Valentine’s card designs. I might share the other design with you at another time. Spoiler alert… it’s also a cocktail recipe design!

My mojito drawing process

The mojito drawing was hand drawn on my iPad with an Apple Pencil using Procreate (an amazing drawing app). I’ve exported a time lapse of the drawing process so you can see the drawing process. There was quite a bit of faffing around, especially at the end when I realised the limes were all wrong 😆. I thought it turned out pretty well in the end though!

I then created a square card template in GIMP (open source software similar to Photoshop, but free!) This was the format required for the competition and is quite different from my usual A6 card designs. I wanted to include the recipe to make the card more useful and fun. I tried a few different layouts before settling on the one I liked.

Here’s how the final card design looked with both illustration and text…

Mojito drawing with recipe

And here is the design as a square greeting card…

Mojito Recipe Card on teal background

I hope you found this peek behind the scenes interesting. Would you like to see more of these types of blog posts? Let me know by sending me a message on Instagram or Facebook 🙂

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Homemade Gift Voucher Ideas

homemade gift voucher

Creating a homemade gift voucher or DIY coupon booklet can be a great gift solution. They’re original, can be low cost and you don’t need to wait for delivery. Need some inspiration? Read on, I’ve got  you covered…

homemade gift voucher

Reasons to give a DIY gift voucher

Giving a homemade gift voucher or coupons solves a lot of different problems. Whether you:

  • can’t get to the shops;
  • left it too late to get a gift delivered;
  • are a bit strapped for cash;
  • can’t think of anything the recipient needs;
  • want to give a gift (like an experience) that can’t be wrapped;
  • want to offer flexibility to the recipient; or
  • want to give a gift that is a bit different and much more personal

making your own gift vouchers ticks all the boxes!

Ideas for homemade gift vouchers

You can either give a voucher for something that will cost money later on, or offer coupons for a gift that makes use of your time, effort and/or talents!
Here are some ideas:

  • Breakfast in bed
  • Trip to theatre or cinema to see the show of their choice
  • A romantic dinner for two
  • A back rub or massage
  • Wash the dishes for a week
  • Car wash and valet
  • A tank full of petrol
  • A night of babysitting
  • A new outfit
  • Sexy treats (for your other half only!)
  • A ‘taxi service’ to and from a destination of their choice (great for teenagers)
  • Mow their lawn
  • A home cooked meal delivered to their door
  • Daily dog walking for a week or a month
  • A bubble bath with candles, champagne/hot chocolate and no interruptions!

Hopefully these will inspire you to come up with some of your own ideas too. You can come up with homemade gift voucher ideas for pretty much anybody, from children to grandparents and everyone in between. As long as it’s something they actually want, you can’t really go wrong!

Presentation

There are several different ways to present your voucher or coupons. You could use a greeting card with the gift written inside, print out a gift voucher or certificate or create a booklet of coupons. If you’re not very crafty or don’t much like making or designing things there are plenty of gift voucher templates online you can use. You could also just buy a small notebook and write a variety of different coupon ideas on each page inside. With homemade gift vouchers it’s very much the thought that counts, so don’t worry too much if your presentation is a bit lacking 😁
If you come up with any great ideas and post them on Instagram or Facebook, tag me (@loulongworth) so I can be inspired too!