At the start of 2022 I decided that it would be the year of learning and stepping out of my comfort zone. 

Back in January I started with Redrawing Black History, a four week course with art agent Lilla Rogers’ company Make Art That Sells. I had nothing like this in my portfolio and it gave me the opportunity to learn more about black history and the fabulous and fierce women we were briefed to draw. If I’m honest (and a lot of us said this), I was scared to draw people of colour. I didn’t want to offend anyone by ‘doing it wrong’ and for the first week, I played it a little safe. After a fantastic feedback session from Tamisha Anthony, I felt able to cut loose a little and once I did, I enjoyed it much more. We researched these inspirational women, read their poetry, listened to their music, studied their art. A couple of songs I was introduced to even made it to my Spotify playlist.

Alongside the MATS course, I did 6 weeks of Winter School with Make It In Design. I took the beginner, intermediate and advanced tracks. With 2 trend briefs and 2 creative briefs per track, I had plenty to keep me busy. Especially with the course crossover as I was still doing the MATS course mentioned above. The trick with the trends is to answer the brief but still have it look like your work which is no mean feat.

In March I also completed a type challenge on Instagram called 36 Days of Type. I wanted to improve my lettering skills and challenge myself to come up with a completely new idea every day.

As I was finishing Winter School, I was honoured to be asked by my friends at Design Cuts to test out a Flower and Botanical Watercolour Masterclass for super talented American artist Kris Lauren. I’d never drawn florals or used digital watercolour so it was pretty daunting as I didn’t want to let anyone down. I needn’t have worried. Once I got started I was hooked and absolutely loved it. To the point where I’m now obsessed with botanicals.

While I was doing the Florals for Kris I was also enrolled in The Master Series with Make It In Design. If I wanted to be completely shoved out of my comfort zone in a sumo wrestler kind of move, then this was it. Every brief was completely different from the last and I relished the variety. From making animated gifs to traditional pencil drawings, creating fabric collections to finding your ideal customer and everything in between. This course had it all and I know it’s one I will revisit time and time again.

I had a brilliant coaching session with Rachael Taylor, co founder of Make It In Design, just before starting 6 weeks of Summer School. Again I took all three tracks and worked my way through the trend briefs to create pattern collections. Thinking back to my first Winter School in 2020, I’m getting much better at turning a design into not only a pattern but a whole collection.

When all the live classes were finished, I spent a lot of time working my way through the content for the Make It In Design courses, Florals & Nature Design Masterclass, The Ultimate Portfolio Builder and Monetising Your Designs (which is definitely what I need to be concentrating on in 2023). I’ll be working my way through the many briefs in 2023 and can’t wait to build up a whole new portfolio of work.

I’ve also taken too many Skillshare classes to count, learned from YouTube, Design Cuts and 21Draw. And I’ve loved every minute. Putting it all into practice is the exciting part though.

It’s been a hectic year as with many of the courses there was a crossover and I’ll definitely continue to learn in 2023. Maybe just not under so much pressure. I’ve enrolled in Winter School which starts at the end of January as it’s a great start to the creative year but I’ll also be putting myself out there more as I continue to explore my creative dreams for the future.

Bring it on 2023. I’m so ready for you