I love reading those Q&As with makers over a cuppa. To get a sneak peek into their creative worlds and understand what motivates and sparks their imagination make for a wonderful read.

It got me thinking. I wondered what questions I’d ask myself as a maker…

new joy

What did you do before you created Maps of Joy?

I’ve been illustrating all sorts of interesting projects for a wide range of well known clients for over 18 years.

I started my career before I even finished my degree in Illustration at Kingston University by writing and illustrating children’s books and I then quickly expanded into magazine and book publishing commissions. I found I was often asked to illustrate food, lifestyle and, increasingly, map-based projects.

What was your inspiration for Maps of Joy?


After illustrating many maps of interesting and exotic destinations for luxury travel magazines such as Condé Nast Traveller and Abercrombie & Kent I realised that I could do the same for anyone who wanted to capture special memories of their own holidays or places.

I asked my cousin and his fiancé if I could use their cycling holiday round Italy as inspiration for my first Map of Joy – I loved taking their unique story and mapping it out for them, and they were so pleased with the final result that I knew I was onto something.

What made you take the plunge to start your business and sell online?

I was very encouraged by the positive response I got from friends when I told them about my idea for Maps of Joy. That gave me the push to open my online shop and go for it!

What helps you work? 

A full stomach, a warm room, solitude and 8 hours sleep the night before!


What’s your studio like? desk

I have 2 desks to spread out on. One is a vintage wooden table with original flaking green paint on the legs, a drawer, where I keep all my little boy’s artwork that he brings home from school and little wheels so I can push it about easily. I found it in a tiny old furniture shop in Brighton and it has been with me ever since.

Joy Desk

On each desk I have a large collection of various paintbrushes and pens, all stuffed into ceramic pots, some of which I’ve collected, others I’ve made.

I’m also never without a little pot of Indian ink, my mechanical pencil and my A4 pad of specialist layout paper onto which I paint all my illustrations before scanning them into my computer.

indian ink and icons

Best thing about your job?

Being creative all day everyday is hard to beat.

What I love best about what I do is the fact that I am able to provide a service which genuinely makes people happy. I love that they want to share their stories with me, and that I can translate them into something tangible to keep forever.

What do you love most about illustrating?

I have always enjoyed being given a brief – an idea that needs visualizing and bringing to life through my drawing. Being creative is such a core part of my personality that I couldn’t live without it. I’m very lucky that I am able to earn a living through my creativity.

Music? If so who?


Yes, I’ll either have my music playing or listen to a bit of Radio 4 while I work, it really helps the flow of creativity when there’s noise in the background – but it has to be just the right kind of noise!

I love a bit of vintage jazz – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong if I need a nice calm mood, but if I’m working to a deadline and need energizing I’ll put on something more upbeat like Stevie Wonder or Everything But The Girl.

Your most memorable place & why?

Grenada illustrations

My solo trip around the islands of the Caribbean were a real adventure because I was creating memories out of exhilarating experiences which were so far from my everyday life – and sometimes comfort zone!

The adventurous things I did gave me a sense of what I could actually achieve when I pushed myself and just went for it. My treasured sketch book helped me capture as many of the magical moments as I could. 

Thank you for reading!

I hope this gives you a glimpse into my world.

If you have a memory you’d like to map, a place dear to your heart or some incredibly special moments in places you’ll want to relive forever…let me know, I’d love to map them for you too…