How to boost your creativity in 2019

New year, new skills 

Well, hello 2019! Being a Scottish lassie, Hogmanay (that’s New Year’s Eve to the rest of you) and New Year’s Day, have always been important dates for me. Having been away from work for a bit, I find it’s a great time to reflect on the past year, for auld lang syne, and a chance to start afresh. I like to look for ways to improve my creative skills, develop my side projects and make fun plans for the year ahead. This year is especially exciting for me, because I’m now working full-time as a freelance graphic designer in Bristol and I’m looking forward to the opportunities that brings.

My up-cycled giraffe illustration from creative printmaking at the Folk House.

My up-cycled giraffe illustration from creative printmaking at the Folk House.

How can you improve your design, illustration, or creative skills?

Last year I tried several new art courses and worked on quite a few self-initiated side projects. My favourite class was Creative Printmaking, where I created the giraffe print that’s pictured with this post. Using this newly learned print style, I was able to give a new lease of life to a giraffe illustration I had created a couple of years ago for this Animal Alphabet project. My favourite side project was my North India Lookbook, where I used my travel photos and some old prints, such as this Taj Mahal screenprint that I’d created the year before during my Intermediate Screenprinting course at Spike Island in Bristol. These are just a couple of ways I’ve re-used old designs in new projects. And if it turns out that a class or style isn’t for me, meeting new people or being in a new workspace is always inspiring. 

Creative opportunities in Bristol and beyond

I love the fact that lots of courses and ideas for hobbies come to light at this time of year, so I thought I’d share some of the creative classes in Bristol that I’ve enjoyed, as well as some new offerings that have caught my eye. So, here are five suggestions to help you find your creative groove in 2019:

1. Creative Printmaking

Sophie Rae, the Bristol-based artist who led the Creative Printmaking course where I made the giraffe print, is partnering up with mixed media artist Kerry Day to offer this Collaborative Printmaking Weekend where you can learn how to print with stencils and lino. It looks like fun, and you don’t need to have any previous experience to sign up. 

2. Dog life drawing

Drawing dogs is much more fun than drawing naked people! And 2018 is the year of the dog in the Chinese zodiac, after all, right up until February 16. This class will challenge you to draw more quickly and simplify your illustrative style. The classes take place on the last Monday of the month at Centrespace in Bristol. You can sign up to their mailing list to find out more about the class, and the dogs, here:

3. Get crafty

The Folkhouse, tucked away on Park Street in Bristol, offers loads of different courses and workshops throughout the year, from illustration and painting to creative writing and crochet. They have a lovely café there too.

4. Meet new people

Networking is a word that makes most designers cringe, but, once you get over the initial awkwardness, it’s really inspiring to meet people from the various creative industries. I’ll be keeping an eye out for interesting events happening at the new bar and gallery Alchemy 198 on Gloucester Road in Bristol this year.

5. Online design and illustration courses

If you prefer to do things in your own time and space, there are loads of good resources online.  is a great source and online community with a range of design, illustration and writing classes, amongst others.

Exploring illustration in Bath

The main commitment I have made to myself for 2019 is to continue to develop my illustration skills (and to start blogging, tick!), so I have enrolled in a 10 week Professional Illustration course at Bath College. I’m looking forward to exploring different techniques and meeting new people. And all in the beautiful City of Bath. I can’t wait to start.

Happy new year, everyone!

One of my sketches from dog life drawing at Centrespace.

One of my sketches from dog life drawing at Centrespace.