Artist's Profile

Helen Smith
Helen Smith

I graduated from Brighton in 1991 and worked as a freelance illustrator for several years, mainly on children's educational books and products. I also started designing cards and selling them to craft shops, which I really enjoyed, but it was not very financially rewarding.

Then a friend showed me the Flamingo (formerly Phoenix) catalogue and I was delighted when they published some of my card designs. After years of being told what to draw by book publishers, I now have the freedom to use my own ideas, which is more rewarding.

I also really enjoy the flexible nature of the work. I can work when I like - some weeks are more productive than others! - it fits around my family and I get to work with a really friendly helpful team.

More and more designs have followed and now I feel restless unless I have the next batch of ideas on the go!

People always ask me how I think up the 'Dictionary' ideas. A word or phrase will usually give me an initial idea, then I keep myself awake at night trying to think of others to go with it. When I have enough for a whole card I do lots of sketches and scribbles to see what works and what doesn't.

Recently some of my designs have been transferred on to other products such as Dunoon mugs and Bothy Threads cross-stitch kits. I don't really have a 'business plan' as such, I never really know what I am going to come up with next, that's what makes it exciting!

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