With a sense of great thankfulness I am looking back on some of the highlights of the past 12 months. I’ve met some inspiring new people, carried on fruitful relationships with others, and together we created meaningful things of which we were all proud.
It's also been satisfyingly varied. In 2019 I've been involved in:
- Writing A Book
- Book Cover Design & Layout
- Brand-Focused Photography
- Music Production
- Album Artwork Design
- Creativity Talks & Workshops
- Small Business Branding
- Media Interviews
Here are some of my highlights.
Books & Writing
This year I launched my first book, The Creative Wound: Heal Your Broken Art. Combining heartfelt personal stories with inspirational and practical insights, this book demonstrates how to overcome artistic anxiety, find renewed creative courage, and produce meaningful work that matters. It is my empathetic guide to recovering your creative soul.
As well as writing it, I did the cover design, print layout and eBook formatting, too. And I'll not lie, the positive comments on the typography from fellow designers have given me a lot of personal satisfaction!
The positive reception to the book has made the struggle so worthwhile, including receiving photos of my book from all around the world.
Here is a review from Amazon that shocked me. Even I haven't read my book from cover to cover in one sitting... But twice on consecutive days?!
When you release a piece of work, there's no way of knowing if it's truly any good or will do what you long for it to do. But when you hear of it connecting with the life of someone you've never met and making their world a little bit better, it's both humbling and exhilarating.
So, I urge you: Make something. Say something. Do something. Share what you have and who you are with others because there are precious people who need the very thing you're holding back.
During the summer, San Fransisco-based Lauren Sapala asked if I would consider writing a blurb for the cover of her fifth book, The INFJ Revolution, for all Highly Sensitive Intuitive Introverts (and INFJ/P Myers-Briggs types in particular). To go from first time-author to writing a blurb for an established author I have huge respect for was quite a progression.
It's an honour for me, but—more than that—proves my heartiest belief in the value of this book. Lauren writes with remarkable clarity and disarming honesty. So, if want to understand more of what it means to be introverted, highly sensitive, and empathic then do yourself a massive favour and get a copy.
The wonderfully inspiring adventurer, storylistener & writer Kate Roberts.
One of a series for Buckinghamshire-based coach, mentor, and author Sylvia Baldock.
A big full-day photoshoot with multiple costume and location changes is a challenge, but the way theatre company A Play Fitted approached it at the weekend was inspirational – high energy and low ego with plenty of intelligent thought, attentiveness, and interpersonal gratitude.
I didn't need to be asked twice to come take some shots of the food at Sheldon's Wine Bar & Bistro in Colwyn Bay. They were named Food & Drink Business of the Year at the Conwy Business Awards so I knew it would be good and I'd be in with a chance of some free samples!
Everything Chef Melinda created looked amazing and was a joy to take pictures of, and the chips she cooked for me were the best I've tasted in a long time. I'm genuinely impressed.
In 2019, Holistic Therapist Elaine Jenkins opened her new salon HUSH this year in Craig-y-Don, Llandudno, and asked me to take some brand shots of her new space.
Along with fellow therapist, Victoria, they have a real passion for helping others and love to create a healthy balance in their clients’ lives by relieving any pain, stress, or to simply obtain a relaxation massage.
Album Artwork Photography & Design
This was a fun and satisfying project, combining photography and design for blues artist Dave Tattum & The Rattlesnake Bones, and his Belgian label Studio Fandango - Fandango Music.
The biggest challenge proved to be finding a strong rattlesnake skeleton photo. We searched all the image libraries and didn't find anything that fit our vision. So, I spread the net further and found the amazing Art with Animal Skeletons by Galileo Ramos. It turns out Galileo is a big fan of the blues, too, so was more than happy to negotiate a deal to use his image on the album cover. I recommend checking out his work, too – it is really impressive.
A little time in Photoshop later and the skeleton of the snake was the focal part of a desert scene.
Next, I shot the portrait of Dave for the back cover in the studio before designing the packaging, booklet and CD body art.
Speaking & Workshops
I had such a fun time running a workshop where we had Barista-made coffee, home-made cake, and me – sharing some of my best ideas on how to be creative.
Despite what the photo might have you believe, the place was packed with really engaged people (the majority I'd never met before) making it a real delight to be there. I'm looking forward to doing more similar events across the UK throughout 2020.
I was also invited by North Wales Marketing Club to teach on the psychology of colour and how to combine that with typography & photography to get your message across with more clarity and style.
This year I was honoured to have my voice included as one of 23 Gentle Rebels looking at how to find self-acceptance and true belonging when things around you feel like they’re falling apart. In this podcast & YouTube series, we looked at six different questions that will help us nurture our deep serenity in the trenches of life.
This is a colossal piece of work by my friend Andy Mort, and the fact so many influential people have made considered, meaningful contributions shows how well respected he is in this space, and just how important we believe this message is.
The contributors come from a whole range of backgrounds and experiences and show that whoever you are, whatever you care about, it’s possible to take the reins and live a life of meaning and creativity as an introvert and/or highly sensitive person. Even when the world feels like it’s falling apart around you!
This is a reassuring and encouraging listen – especially if you’re an introvert and highly sensitive creative type.
My interview with San Fransisco Bay Area-based author & blogger Ritu Kaushal.
We discuss aspects of creativity, including perfectionism, the role of introverted intuition, thoughts on divine intervention, and why you probably should be taking longer showers!
She just keeps writing songs! This year I took the fifth album by Maggie Adams (and arguably her best) from concept to completion, doing the instrumentation, production & artwork.
Here is something in the classic Rolling Stones / Dr Hook vein, Reap What You Sow, with guest vocalist Dave Tattum:
This was fun to produce (and play acoustic & electric guitars on). North Wales singer-songwriter James Rees has just released his single LOVESICK, an infuriatingly catchy slice of pop-rock in the tradition of McFly & Busted.
Give it a listen – I guarantee you'll be singing it all day!
It's been such a joy to continue working with Owain Paul on his debut album. He has a wonderful turn of phrase and sense of melody. On this song, Drop Everything, I did the arrangement based on Owain's chords, played all the instruments, sung some additional BVs and did the final mix.
Suffolk-based worship singer-songwriter Thomas Mundell asked me to arrange and produce his 6-and-a-half minute epic single, Perspective, collaborating remotely with me in North Wales before making the trip up from Bury St Edmunds to track his vocals in the Revelator studio.
Thomas is a real gentleman, a delight to work with, and showed admirable willingness to put miles on the clock and invest days of his life to work with the right studio for his music. To hear it, search ‘Perspective, Thomas Mundell’ on Apple, Spotify, Amazon or wherever you get your music. Here's the Spotify link: https://spoti.fi/36byI0v
From Suffolk to Norfolk. It was lovely to get a card for an EP I mixed for Norwich-based The Family Table. If you like Foy Vance style folk-biased singer-songwriters you'll like this. They're super lovely people with proper songs and proper music.
Small Business Branding & Design
I thoroughly enjoyed helping with the brand design and photography for Almi’s Beauty Room. She's based in Llandudno Junction and is a wonderful person to know. If you live close by, now is the perfect time to treat yourself.
Wishing you every success in 2020