This is a guest post written by Sarah Thompson.
Remember when you were little?
Anything was possible.
Everything was so magical, the big wide world was there for discovery and adventure. Step back to those days and loose yourself in my dreamlike world of art for a while.
I have loved to draw for as long as I can remember. It has always been a time where I get lost in my own imagination, a place where time passes so nicely. From hours of copying pictures of horses from books when I was small, to studying art to degree level, there has rarely been a time when I have not been creating something.
After my degree in fine art sculpture, I decided to become a primary school teacher, and art came in useful daily. It seems all children are born artists, and they inspired me alongside me inspiring them (I hope!). After a move from London to Dorset (south England) and having two, of my three, children, I stopped work as a teacher. During all this time, I was still constantly making my own drawings and paintings in my spare time, having local exhibitions and sales of my work.
My sister in law told me of a company who was always looking for new designs for their cards, so I thought I would have a go at submitting some. Unfortunately my designs were not really what they were looking for, but I really liked them, and I thought, ‘Well, if they don’t want them, I’ll turn them into cards myself!’ . So I did! That was the beginning…
I took my first 9 designs to my local bookshop and showed the owner. To my surprise and utter delight she said some magic words, ‘I’ll take four of each design please’. All of a sudden I was in business, (very small business), but a start at least. If they like my designs, then maybe some other stores will too, I thought. I was right, and ‘Sarah Lovell Art’ was born.
Since then, my collection of cards has grown to over 50 designs, some of which are also available as A3 prints, and I have also created an expanding collection of colouring books. All my designs are hand drawn and painted by me. I love that they are done by my hands, real paint and ink on real paper. I am inspired by wildlife and the magical and fantastical. I love magic, and I try to capture a bit of the magic all around us in my drawings.
I find it so exciting every time I get an order, from a small order on my Etsy shop to a big trade order. I love the thought that people, all over the world now have a little piece of my imagination when they open one of my cards, hang one of my prints, or colour one of my illustrations.
Over the past two and a half years, I have grown my business alongside looking after my three children. I have learnt so much, and am still learning every day. I have my designs in my Etsy shop and on my website, as well as in independent stores across the UK. I have learned about the power and help that social media channels can give you, and that sometimes you can’t beat a phone call or a hand written letter and a beautifully wrapped parcel of samples to secure a new stockist!
This year, I was selected to take part in an area called ‘Spotted’, a section for new talent, in a big trade show in London called ‘Top Drawer’. It was the first trade show I had done - an amazing and exciting experience. This put me and my designs in front of a much bigger audience, and I secured a number of new stockists, who have all placed repeat orders since the show. I have just signed up for another trade show, and plans are under way to make my stand look as good as possible, and hopefully gain some more new stockists.
I am very proud of how far I have come and the small business I have created. I hope that I inspire my children to do what they love too in the future, and I hope you enjoy taking a look at my collection of designs. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story.
Got any questions about Sarah's story? Leave a comment below and let's carry on the conversation :)
I'm Sarah, an artist and illustrator based in Dorset, UK. I run my business 'Sarah Lovell Art' alongside looking after my three young children. I have a collection of hand illustrated greetings cards, prints and colouring books which are stocked in independent stores across the UK. I am inspired by wildlife, and the magical and fantastical, as well as my children. I love what I do, and I hope you enjoy having a look around my collection.