It's been over a month for most of us since lockdown began. The mixture of emotions is strange and confusing, there's elements of the 'slow down' that for many of us have deep positives yet it all sits so uncomfortably within the greater suffering and worry.
For many freelancers it's been a time of less pay checks and more 'spare' time. What happens when the creative work dries up but you have time to ponder, evaluate, draw and dig deeper? New ideas are born. Like this.
We teamed up with Brighton based illustrator Melanie Smith of Smith & Wonder
to bring an idea to life that shared a positive message and hopefully is a reminder to add some joy into your day.
Print out the line drawing or colour version and fill in things the things that make you smile. We highly recommend sticking it to your fridge (or your locker!!) to remind you to put that song on that makes you dance or to take the time to dig out your long lost favourite book. These are all things we so easily forget make us feel good.
We'd like to introduce you to Melanie Smith...
I'd describe Melanie's work as a mix of observation, appreciation for poetic, beautiful things, a natural flair for colour and always a dose of play. But it's hard to capture in words why her work brings a smile, with clients like London's National Portrait gallery under her belt it seems we aren't the only ones who love it. You'll find Melanie wandering The Laines gathering clues for her map illustrations in Brighton, UK where she lives with her partner Mark and two kids Gabe and Violet.
What is Smith & Wonder in a nutshell?
In essence I want my practice to delight and inspire the people I connect with. For my work to encourage a closer look at the world, to revel in the detail, explore and discover new ways of seeing, feeling and being.
Hahaha that sounds like a very lofty ambition!
Tell us what inspires you to create and illustrate? What’s your favourite thing to draw, when are you most eager to get your pens out?
I'm always really inspired by going for walks, whether that's in a City, a Gallery or in Nature. There's always something that catches my eye and makes me want to whip out my pens. I'm really loving the Spring here in the UK at the moment, so I'm drawing lots of birds and flowers and starting some new exploring maps!
You’ve worked a lot with museums and institutions like the Royal Opera House, what is it that draws you to these beautiful historic buildings and the work within them?
I love the incongruity of these grand, beautiful yet static buildings, and when you open them up and step inside they are just teeming with ideas and people and life.
They are like magical boxes for me, so I want to draw them, and to draw people in. For us all to be curious about them, and to venture inside.
What’s the bright side and the downside of being in lockdown?
Oh, this is a tough one! I really, really miss seeing my friends. And hugging people. I love a good hug! But I'm really enjoying spending more time with my family, and having so much more time to draw. Work is pretty quiet at the moment, and my projects have been postponed until lockdown is over, so it's giving me the time and space to think about where my work is going, and just allowing me to draw and see where it takes me. I'm loving that!
Oh and in case you want to know what Mel's lockdown locker answers are...
Fave book - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Best ever movie - Lost in translation
Song to dance to - Shake it off - Taylor Swift
My happy outfit - dungarees. Always.
Drink of choice - coffee
A luxury item - Ipad pro, so I can keep drawing
App of survival - Procreate - see above
Yummiest snacks - Green and blacks chocolate and cheesy wotsits. Not always together though.