National Trust Calendar Commission
If you visit a National Trust shop any time soon, and go to the calendar section, you will see the 2019 Family Organiser calendar. If you turn it over, you'll see my photo, as I illustrated it!
I am so excited that I was asked to illustrate this calendar, I thought I'd tell you a bit about how it all came about....
I was exhibiting at Pulse trade show in May 2017, which I think is my favourite show, when the buyer from the National Trust came along to my stand. She took a while looking at my cards, and particularly liked my collection of cards called 'Three Friends Under the Stars' which is definitely my most successful card collection to date, I'm so pleased I painted those pictures! We chatted for a while, and she told me that they were interested in asking me to illustrate a calendar for them. We swapped contact details and left it at that.
When I got home from Pulse, I followed up each of the contacts I had collected , including getting back in touch with the National Trust, feeling very excited that the possibility was there that they may ask me to definitely illustrate the calendar for them . At the time, the roles of the staff were being changed around, so it was a while before I heard back.
I did hear back, and they were still keen on working together for the calendar project. This was the first time they had decided to feature animals in place of people as the focus in the calendar. I submitted a few ideas and designs and was then invited to the National Trust head quarters in Swindon to narrow down the brief and have a face to face meeting to discuss the illustrations they wanted me to do in detail. I can tell you, I was so excited that this was happening as I drove up to Swindon! I waited in the reception area of the beautiful National Trust building and was finally called for my meeting. I was given a series of National Trust sites to paint, and asked to add animals into each picture.
I initially submitted pencil sketches of the paintings I proposed, and was thrilled to hear back they were happy with my designs and to go ahead with the paintings. The calendar was to be A3 in size, which is my favourite size to paint at. I set to work with my trusty watercolours and fine liner pens on each site I had been asked to paint, adding in the animals we had agreed on.
After many hours and quite a few very late nights, the painting were ready to go. I initially sent off photos of the paintings. I heard back that they were very happy with them, and they could go to the printers to be made into the calendars. Once I had sent that, very well wrapped, parcel off, my job was done, and all i had to do was wait.....
The next time I saw the artwork was by email where I was asked to check everything looked as it should. It was so exciting to see it on my laptop made up as a calendar, and it really started to seem real! Once it was all ok'd by all involved, I waited to see a copy in 'real life'.
That day finally came , back at Pulse 2018. when a copy of the calendar was personally delivered to my stand by the National Trust. It seemed very apt that it had gone full circle, starting and ending at Pulse! I can not tell you how amazing it was to see it as a calendar, with my artwork throughout and my photo on the back! Really a dream come true. And now it is available in all of the National Trust shops, yep , all 180 of them!
If you spot it, and if you decide to buy a copy, I really hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed painting them.
If you'd like to get in touch about a commission, you can do so via this site, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'd love to hear from you.