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Little Owl Card
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Barn Owl Card
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Ideas - where do they come from?

I often get asked: "Where do you get all your ideas from?" So I've given this some thought recently. 
To be honest, most of my ideas nowadays come from my customers and people I chat to at the various shows I'm at. They make requests (some of which may transform into a new design, but some, I'm afraid, get put into a notebook where they stay). Working on these designs very often leads on to other ideas.... But I find walking with the dogs a very creative time; it's a time that I spend on my own when I can switch off from the humdrum of running a business and the daily household chores. As soon as the mind is cleared of all that detritus, then there's room for the ideas to start coming in. The hardest thing of all is to keep that mental space when back in the studio so that the ideas can be committed to paper or computer. 
Sketch books from various decades
The challenge I set for myself is to make space in my weekly routine (ha ha - routine!!) for a creative few hours. Apart from the benefit to the business, it's so important for me, to recharge the batteries. And guess what? Once you start playing around with ideas, more just keep on coming! So, I get some ideas; then what happens? Quite a bit of research, usually with Google these days, but I do love to browse through books or my photographic collection looking for poses or colours or leaf formation. Then it's time for the sketch book with ink and watercolour or pencils. This can sometimes be a very frustrating time, as I just can't seem to get quite what I have in my head - if I could spend more time sketching it would become easier.... And finally the work is scanned into the computer and maybe tweaked a bit before being committed to a card or picture design. It's amazing how you can change the expression of a little dog with just a little tweak of the Photoshop erasor tool. Once the designs are on the computer, it's just a matter of placing them onto card or picture layouts. The card layouts are then sent to our wonderful printers who do a fantastic job for us; they proof the designs, we approve them and then we're in production. The pictures are printed here in our studios, so those designs just get pulled up as and when we need. And that's all there is to it!