Monday, 24 January 2011

Pop-i-cok interview.

I LOVE hearing how fellow designers make their way and was thrilled when Dawn Machell over at 'Pop-i-cok' agreed to a mini interview about her background and advice to fledgling freelancers.
Dawns fantastic eye for colour combined with her ability to find endless ways to illustrate characters produces effortlessly charming design.
Every double page of Dawns recently illustrated sketchbook the 2011 Sketchbook Project 'It's raining cats and dogs' theme has been co-ordinated beautifully and is brimming with adorable and playful illustration, it was hard but I managed to choose my faves above, check them out...if you haven't already.

Enjoy the interview. :)

1. Please tell us a bit about your design background?

I left college with the idea that I didn’t really want to work for someone else and set up my own company – pop-i-cok - making “designer” childrenswear ...I soon found out that it wasn’t that easy and people only wanted to pay designer prices when they’d actually heard of the designer!

After 3 years slogging it out it just so happened that the company my sister worked for needed a childrenswear designer ... I fitted the bill and off I went. I stayed there for 9 years and learnt how to do it properly. I left when my daughter was a year old and the frequent foreign travel got in the way of a harmonious family life.

I went to work for Mamas and Papas, designing the graphics for their clothing and nursery interior ranges. After a year I took the plunge and went freelance (...and I still freelance for both companies now :-))

(My blog is pop-i-cok ‘cos I already had the name and thought I might as well carry it on)

2. How long have you been freelance and why does it work for you?

9 years. It gives me the freedom to work when I want around the kids (usually till midnight!)

I get to do the school run and go to assembly and all the school plays and I don’t feel quite as guilty as I would if I had to work for someone else full time.

3. Can you describe a typical 'pop-i-cok' day.

Haul myself out of bed, sort the kids out, sort the hair out, get the kids to school, come home, clear up the mess, check emails, blogs and facebook... do whatever work I have on that day... pick the kids up, feed them, referee the arguments, get them to bed, work for a couple more hours, do my blog, go to bed...

On Wednesday it’s girls night and on Friday I don’t feel guilty for not working.

4. What advice would you give to new freelancers to advance their career and sell work?

Get a job first to get an idea of how things work... and meet lots of lovely people who will like you enough to commission work once you’re freelance!

Once you get the work you need to be a joy to work with and you need to bend over backwards to get the work done...that way you’ll always be busy :-)

Oh and you’ve got to have the guts to do it in the first place...but believe in yourself, you can do it!

5. Where does inspiration come from for you?

All over... kids books, toys, clothes, websites, blogs, cards, my kids...

6. What are your aspirations for the future?

One day I will have a book... I can’t decide if this will be children’s fiction or if I should produce a trend/graphics type book for the childrenswear market... but I’ve been saying this for years now so don’t hold your breath!
A Big thank you to Dawn for taking the time to answer my questions.


  1. Great interview! Go forth and design your book, it will be fantastic :-)

  2. Dawn comes across all organised and professional, strange what an interview can do!!!! Only joking!!! She is one of my lovliest pals and her work is to die for - but you knew that already!

  3. Great interview!!
    Thanks so much for popping by my blog and leaving a lovely comment... you've got a lovely blog, very happy to find it! Huge congrats on your little girl too - she's such a cutie! :)

  4. Thanks for stopping by on my blog and your comment - so glad you did as now I have found your lovely blog too! Look forward to reading your posts. Lou x

  5. her work and her blog :-)


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