This week, we virtually sat down with Ben, from Doodles by Ben, to chat about life in lockdown. We wanted to understand how our creative clients are managing at this time from online shops, working from home and designing to manufacturing, shipping and more. Ben opened up about his personal pandemic experience and his future plans for Doodles by Ben.
I work from home in a little back bedroom/office. I am next to a main road and traffic keeps trundling past. Sat at my desk with music playing, it is hard to imagine that the world outside that room has changed so dramatically. My regular day to day is organising my monthly subscription box. I still have subscribers so there’s no change there. I’m incredibly fortunate that I still have subscribers to my subscription box and that people are enjoying my work enough to buy it.
Another thing I’m grateful for is having some existing pin designs that have slotted in perfectly to the mood (and humour) of whats been going on. The three elements are loo roll selling out, self isolation and social distancing. They were each designed years ago for other reasons but they feel like they were made for this.
I design/order the pins (from Made by Cooper) and stickers and postcards and letters, I order in the packaging and print out my franking labels. Luckily the pandemic hasn’t affected too much of this. There’s a few small changes here and there. Like, the envelopes I’ve been using for a few months are now unavailable so I’ve had to change that. I’m also allowing for shipping delays by ordering stock in a little earlier than I would normally.
I ship everything with Royal Mail, and day to day everything I post is no bigger than a large letter and I have a post box outside my house so that's brilliant. When I post my subscription box it takes up about seven postal bags but luckily again, I have a Royal Mail depot right behind my house. Easy and quick to drop off, things like this I may have taken for granted before but I now see as massive perks and I’m super grateful.
My future plans, apart from my subscription box, is I am learning how to animate and make gifs as well as trying my hand at writing. I’m working on a fantasy (about a witch and magic) comic which is very fun, but hard. I have no idea how good it is, in my head it’s incredible, on paper maybe not so much but pithing myself and figuring out a whole new skill and discipline is rewarding and keeping me busy.
I’m also using the Procreate app on iPad to learn animation. It’s slow but really satisfying to see my doodles come to life. My pin design inspiration…is kind of random. It may just seem like I just put a cute face on stuff I find lying around, ok that is partly true, but just try to make pins that I think would look nice on the lapel. This year though I’ve tried to set myself a little design challenge. When I realised that there’s a letter in PIN BADGE CLUB for every month of the year I had to run with it.
So far this year we’ve had: Pickle, Insect, Narhwal and Blast Off (rocket), so it’s been fun choosing and creating designs to fit the corresponding letter. I have a couple of friends I send drafts to for feedback. I normally get a 'squee!’ or variation of, so I know that's good. Cute is what I’m after for the club, especially as a lot of the boxes are sent to kids. It’s proper family friendly.
Thank you Ben for sharing, it is great to learn about your creative lifestyles, and knowing now more than ever that we are all in this together. We can't wait to see where your imagination and pin journey will take you. Thank you to our followers for reading and we hope you feel inspired! If you would like to feature on our next Creative Hour, please get in touch via email.