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Sketchbook Club at The Good Life Festival

It’s been a busy few weeks but I have finally got time to tell you all about the wonderful time I had at The Good life Experience.

I first met Charlie Gladstone (founder of Pedlars) at a trade show a few years ago. As a fellow Instagram addict, he had seen my my holiday journals & asked to see them to the show. We became firm ‘Insta-pals’ with a continuous liking of each others posts.

When Charlie asked if I would like to bring Sketchbook Club to the festival and also to give a talk about keeping sketchbooks, I was delighted!

What a fantastic opportunity to reach out to as many people as I could and to convince them that they too should and could keep sketchbooks, I was sold!

After a five hour drive, we arrived at the STUNNING Harwarden Estate. It was a flurry of activity, people setting up their tents and making their stalls and the site look beautiful, big piles of pumpkins and barrows of free apples were strewn everywhere. Wood fires were burning and the whole site had a lovely autumnal feel (and smell). Here’s a picture I took before the masses arrived…


We made our beautiful vintage army tent as much like my studio as possible, with pencils and fairy lights and hand painted signs..


When we were set up, the first thing we did was run over to the Helter Skelter and have a few goes! I’m so glad we did, as I hadn’t realised how crazy busy we were going to be.

I also didn’t realise our little wander round the site, would be our only real look at the rest of the festival; we printed lighthouses, watched a bike being made, chatted to a nice chap about his cyclist’s festival (Marcus very tempted), drooled over some stunning stationery, bought some beers and sitting on haystacks by a roaring campfire, we ate the most delicious crab burgers (ever!). It was such a lovely evening, we couldn’t wait for the next day to welcome everyone to Sketchbook Club.

We arrived the next morning to a little group of people waiting for us to open! And then, it just didn’t stop. We were fully booked (visit for the whole two days. Hourly sessions for 12 people (although often more, as people squashed up and little ones sat on knees), it was crazy intense, but huge fun and I loved every minute.

I had written a full course, with instructions and reference sheets for people to fill a whole sketchbook.

Here’s a picture of some of the spreads, I strung all 15 of them up on a clothes line in the tent so everyone could see examples of finished pages…


What was so incredibly rewarding for me, was just how committed everyone was to getting as much out of the experience as possible, one of my favourite visitors was this little girl:


She literally spent two days at Sketchbook Club, so touching, bless her.

Charlie, Caroline and their wonderful family could not have made us more welcome or been more supportive, I so enjoyed chatting to Tara whilst waiting nervously for my talk and Vicky was super helpful in the lead up, they are a brilliant team.

My talk lasted for about an hour, and although I was nervous, I really enjoyed it, it was a lovely feeling to stand up there preaching about the subject I am most passionate about. I told people to doodle, I told people to copy, to trace, to write poetry, to collage, to collect, but above all to put down their “flipping iPhones”…  Later, after it was all over and I was stocking up with goodies from their fabulous farm shop, I walked out leaving my phone behind, “don’t forget your ‘flipping iPhone'” the chap in the queue called out.

Serves me right I guess 🙂

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It was such an incredible experience. I met so many wonderful people.

For me, the most rewarding and joyous part, was the pleasure people got from creating work they could not believe they had created. Yes, it was exhausting, but my goodness me it was worth it.

Getting people drawing is fast becoming my raison d’être and that weekend, I did it. I really felt like everyone enjoyed their time at Sketchbook Club and may even continue keeping Sketchbooks. This made me very proud and very happy.

Thank you for having me The Good Life. I loved it. xxx