Charli Vince Illustration


2018 Had No Time For My Comfort Zone.

2018 was definitely the year that my comfort zones got BURNED UP AND OUT.

Scared of public speaking?
Time to deliver dozens of talks and workshops.
Not worked on comics for long? Time for a client 120 page full colour graphic novel.
Not left the country on your own before? Time to book a trip to a huge illustration convention in Italy.
Always had a part-time job? Time to quit. Go full-time freelance.

It was without a doubt the busiest, biggest, and most exciting year of my career yet. Definitely a heady mixture of ups and downs, with lots of confusing bits in between, but overall I can say that I achieved a few goals and milestones this year and I’m proud of it. So I’m going to do what I do every year and write up a quick review of the last 12 months, how they went, and what I’m planning on powering through in the next 12 months. Some of the next 12 months are planned, some of them aren’t, all of them are terrifying, but I’m excited nonetheless.

So first here’s a breakdown of the things I’ve done this year…

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This Dog is Great - New book!

I’ve always wanted to create a picture book with a dog as the main character, and This Dog is Great has DOZENS of dogs as the main characters!

With my main client contracts finished and a bit of spare time appearing in the last couple of months (what a foreign concept…) I’ve finally had the opportunity to explore the many, many personal projects I’ve had sitting in lists and sketchbooks. One of those projects is this kid’s book.

The book itself started as a quick doodle of my dog, Lola (above). Her unique features have always made her a perfect subject for endless doodles and illustrations. This soon spiralled into more doodles, thumbnails, storyboards, writing, then eventually I gave in and turned it into a book project.

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Open Day: Planning, Talking, and Inking.

Open Day has been chugging along since the project began many, many, (many many many) moons ago, but it’s only recently that we’ve been hitting some really exciting points in our journey.

In case you’re - for some mad reason - unfamiliar with the awesome project that is Open Day, I previously wrote up the basis of the project here, but in short: It’s a graphic novel, written by Shey Hargreaves and illustrated by me, with invaluable help from Prof Philip Moriarty and Prof Brigitte Nerlich (wrapping our heads around this project without help from professors? No thanks). It features two awesome main characters (Kim & Radhika) and Quantum Cat (who glows). You can find physics, intrigue, robots, and you may even learn something awesome.

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Creative Communities are Goldmines

Artists can be weird, secluded, introverted humans.

We often hovel ourselves away in our studios/offices/where ever we work. Some of us forget what time it is, some of us forget what day it is, some of us even forget to eat during the workdays *guilty*. But one very important thing that we both forget to do — and sometimes even actively avoid — is socialising.

Introvert or not, we need occasional contact with other people to remember how to socialise and to, every now and then, snap us back into reality. Creative endeavours and careers are so absorbing and all encompassing (if it’s a decent project, that is…) that we can drift away into another world temporarily. Whilst this can be beneficial to some practices, there are a multitude of reasons as to why we sometimes need to come back to reality. We might need to do our accounts, run some errands, or just generally make sure we can still communicate with other people without sounding like confused cave-people.

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Open Day Graphic Novel - An Excuse for Science!

Science? Super cool. Graphic novels? Equally cool. Both combined? Coolest commission ever. 

Some time ago I was approached by the amazing writer Shey Hargreaves about a project Nottingham University were launching. The project is, in short, a way to bring a particular government funded science project into the public eye, one of those ways was in the form of a graphic novel.

Alongside Professor Philip Moriarty, Professor Brigitte Nerlich, and the rest of the team involved in the project at the university, Shey Hargreaves wrote a brilliant script for the graphic novel. Hilarious and scientifically accurate; what more could you want?

Then it was my turn...

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My 5 Workspaces Over the Years

Studio spaces and work spaces are just about the nicest place to be... especially when it's your own. Ever since moving into my own place about 5ish years ago, I've revelled in decorating and putting together creative spaces for my work. Scraps of inspiration all over the walls, countless pots and jars of countless pens, pencils, and god knows what else. I've lived in four houses in Norwich so far, and in each one I've loved my little creative spaces, and I've loved how they've evolved over the years.

Here's five of them, from first to latest:

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The Comparison Catch 22: Why Comparing Yourself to Others is Useful and Damning

"Why can't my work be as good as hers..."
"He really knows what he's doing, why don't I?"
"Will I ever be that good?"
"Look how much they improved in just a year! I'll never achieve that..."

These will most probably sound familiar, or something like them. Thoughts like this rudely stumble into your brain the moment you lay your eyes on somebody else's work, or career highlights, or general existence. You try to appreciate the work for what it is; a demonstration of an individual's skills and imagination. But the intrusive "oh look what they can do... why can't you do that?" thought patterns just won't go away.
I know this certainly happens to me a lot, and from talking to other creatives about their ups and downs in the industry, I know this is something many other people experience too. 

But the more I thought about these comparative thoughts, the more I learned that there's two sides to the story. Comparing yourself can be a hugely disheartening thing to do, it can send you into art blocks, writing blocks, or life blocks. It can even sometimes put people off their practice forever. But it can also be utilised as a driving mechanism, a goal to reach and the realisation that yes you can get that good because other people have.

It's been something I've been thinking about a lot lately so I wanted to put it down into words to help myself better understand it and hopefully help others too. 

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Something a Bit Different.

This has been one very eventful year.

At this current moment, I have a whole mess of work to get done, both client and otherwise, which is super good. With something as unpredictable and erratic as my current stage in the freelance world a busy month is a good month, even if it does make stress levels hit new highs.

But this doesn't mean I've completely abandoned all personal and side projects. I have one particular project which has evolved and changed quite a bit since I first thought of it, and it's still definitely in the first few stages of development, but it's exciting and something a bit more personal so I thought I'd write a bit about it.

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