Designer Interviews

Designer Interviews

I am very happy to announce that I will be running a series of interviews with some of my favorite Artists during the month of August. My goal is to inspire other creatives but also to get to know the Artist behind the Art.

Dawn Machell, Sally Payne, Aless Baylis, Lizzie Mackay and Genine Dalehaye, have all been magnificent in sharing their thoughts on being a Freelance Designer and I am truly grateful that I can feature their work and wisdom on my blog.

So let’s start with the magnificent Dawn Machell Freelance Designer and Illustrator

Hi Dawn, I'm so honored to interview you and that you agreed to these series. Thank you so much!

Aw, thanks for asking me ☺

I really admire your work and find it so fresh and original. I love the humour behind it and cannot find a single drawing that I do not love. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Everywhere! Cards, clothes, books, nature, my kids…When I’m out and about I look in little shops and when I’m not out and about there’s always pinterest and instagram! I never stop looking and I always carry my sketch book. When I run out of ideas I just flick back through my sketchbook and inspire myself ha ha! (I need to point out that it’s not this arty sketchbook full of landscapes that totally inspire me…it’s full of scribbles and doodles which I then turn into random characters and made up flowers)


Do you mind sharing what is your working process and which mediums you use? ( I would love to share some photos of the designers working tables and/or offices)

Most of my work at the moment is done in Adobe Illustrator. And usually, for client work, I just design straight onto the computer cos it’s quick and my deadlines are always “like yesterday”.  For my personal work (the stuff I do to entertain myself that goes on my blog) I often hand draw loads of bits and scan them in …then work on Illustrator.

Sometimes I sew. I’m working on a kids book at the mo and it’s all hand sewing. That’s nice… I get to sit in the garden to work ☺

I’m afraid I can’t show you photos of my studio because I had it knocked down about a month ago! I am currently having it rebuilt – which involves a lot of tea making for builders. All my stuff is in boxes all over the house and I’m working on the breakfast bar, it’s driving me mad!

Being a Freelance Designer can be challenging in many ways, you have to be self disciplined, a multi­ tasker and sometimes feel the pressure of being financially insecure. What challenges have you faced along the way?

I love being freelance, I’ve done it for 13 years and would definitely not want to have a normal job any more.

It was hard a few years back in the recession when no-one had any freelance budget and jobs were thin on the ground. My agent went into liquidation at the same time and I lost a lot of money. I came close to packing it in and just getting a ‘proper job’… but a couple of days working in-house for a client made me realise that was NOT what I wanted to do!

The other annoying thing about being freelance is that people think you’re just sat about at home, bored, and it’s perfectly ok to phone for a long chat/call in for a coffee/ask you to do some emergency favour cos they’re working and can’t do it themselves.

Apart from that I love it!


What is your thoughts on selling outright instead of licensing? Do you look at other forms of income?

I’ve always sold outright. I never really knew any different until the last couple of years when I’ve started licensing more and more. Most of my work is commissioned anyway so I don’t get attached to it. But now I’ve started licensing I’ve realised how great it is and plan to go more and more in that direction…when I get a minute!

I also keep toying with the idea of selling my own prints. But I never have time to sort it out so it’s still just an idea….


Did you have a dream client? And if so have you managed to work with them?

My dream client used to be Mamas and Papas…but I got to work in-house for them for a year then freelanced for them for 9 years so I’ve ticked that off the list ☺

I’d love to license a range to Land of Nod and a full range in Paperchase would be lovely thanks ☺

We would also love to know a little bit more about you. What other hidden talents do you have?  Spectacular cook? Super cool mom? Best female football player in the hood?

Ha ha none really! I’m pretty good at juggling family life though! I don’t have much time for anything else! And I’m a right laugh in the pub….

Any exciting projects for the future?

I recently started working on kids books (My biggest dream ever!) with Make Believe Ideas. The first ones were published earlier this year and there are loads more to come. In fact I’m currently working on FOUR books at the same time with them.

I know! I’m sooo good at juggling ;)


Thank you Dawn for having the time and courage to share more about yourself and your art. I'll be looking out in Paperchase and Land of Nod because I'm sure you'll tick that off too ;) It has been wonderful to get to know you better. Please keep doing what you do because the world needs your Art!!

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Pop up back next Monday for another Designer Interview

Designer Interviews - Week 2

Designer Interviews - Week 2

Make it in Design Summer School-Creative Brief 1

Make it in Design Summer School-Creative Brief 1