A New Kind of Normal

Welcome to life on the inside.

Here at Happydesigner we are generally an upbeat bunch, with a cheerful outlook on life. We are also aware that we can be a place to escape the everyday, and to avoid the noise of everyday life. But it would be seriously remiss of us if we didn’t address the current situation. Our thoughts go out to everyone who is affected by the global crisis, and we want everyone to stay safe. We are also aware that there are lots and lots of children who are now working from home with their parents. Whilst all this is going on, we are also being told to stay inside as much as possible, which is going to be a really tough ask. We get this, and we are also inside, staying as safe as possible. With this in mind, we thought we’d come up with some silly (and more sensible!) ways to keep active and occupied inside. Stay safe, stay well, stay happy. Big love guys: we can do this.

childrens book illustrator

Learn a new skill

Whilst children and teens will be given some work by schools to do, there will inevitably be times when they find it hard, as well as boring. You are not their teacher (even if you are a teacher!) and you don’t have the training to deal with being a teacher. Your child may also be scared, and pick up on the general feeling of stress, especially as they will be spending more time around adults in the home. If you are concerned that your child is not able, or willing, to do some of their set schoolwork, please don’t worry. All children will be struggling in various ways, and you are going to be feeling wrung out too.

childrens book illustrator

So, at these times, put everything on hold for a minute and look at exploring something fun together. If you feel like your child should be doing something educational even in their break, why not look up how you can learn a new skill? Whether it be from a book, a YouTube tutorial or even learning how to do something yourself, there are plenty of ways to get started. Maybe try calligraphy, or knitting. Why not learn to draw? Find out how to make a crossword, or do some back garden science; Chris Packham has been doing some really great videos all about what plants and wildlife you can find in your back garden!

childrens book illustrator

Make a treasure map!

It may be that the only place your child can get away to is another room in your house or flat. With the government advising we stay inside as much as possible at the moment, it’s super tough for the people who don’t have a back garden or a local park they can walk around (at a safe distance from other people). If you have got outdoor space you can use, then by all means make a treasure map and for out there as well, but this is an idea for people who haven’t got that option.

childrens book illustrator

If you have older children in the family then get them to hide things around the house (make sure it’s not in a room you are working in!). If not then you may have to quickly do this – just make sure you keep on top of where you have put everything! The “treasure” can be toys from around the house, fruit and healthy snacks, or just random items – a slipper, a dog ball, or the pepper! If you have the time, you could draw a clue as to what the item is – maybe a person using a pepper mill, or a dog’s head. Draw a detailed outline (doesn’t need to be a beautiful piece of art!) of the room (or rooms) the “treasure” is hidden in and give the children a pen to mark where they find the treasure. If you don’t want to draw the clues on, you can just list the items on the side of the map. The first to find all of the treasure gets a prize! We know you’re stuck inside, so don’t feel bad if the prize is for the kids to watch their favourite film, read their favourite book or put their favourite music on.

childrens book illustrator

Stay active!

We wrote a blog at the end of last year telling you how you could stay active with a Happydesigner character, Charlie. You can read the blog here. But if you want to have a specific, stay-at-home workout then read on!

Staying active is going to be so important for your physical and mental wellbeing over the coming months, and is a great habit to build that can be continued once this current crisis has passed. Giving your children a great exercise and wellbeing ethos from a young age will keep them fitter and healthier throughout their lifetimes. However, not everyone will have access to lots of space in gardens and parks, and not everyone will have equipment lying around that they can use. Whilst there are some fab online resources available, there are also some great ideas that can be a game too! Such as this…

childrens book illustrator

Stay connected

Your kids (and you!) will be desperate to get out and see their friends. It’s really tough to ask people to stay inside and not see their friends. Humans are social creatures, and we love interacting with other people. Children especially thrive on social interaction and on seeing their friends, and denying them that seems so cruel. But, for the time being, it is really the safest thing. Lots of kids and teens keep in touch with their friends through gaming or their phones, so whilst it’s best still to keep screen time closely monitored, it will be inevitable that these rules will have to be a little more relaxed in order to allow them time to talk to their friends. You will no doubt be keeping in touch with friends through WhatsApp or Facebook, and it’s only fair your children are allowed the chance to chat to friends. If not, they will want to go and see them and meet up with them. It’s safer for now to allow them a little more time with devices to chat to friends. However, it can still be monitored and controlled. For example, encourage a video call rather than constant messaging, and phone calls rather than chats over PS4 headsets. Even emails could be a fun, and safe way to remain pen-pals. You could encourage a group video yoga session, or try a party app to let kids all interact together! It’s probably best to avoid writing letters or notes, no matter how fun it may seem. Encourage interaction, but be mindful of how often it’s happening and how long children are using screens.

Hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas, although if you check back over our blogs you’ll find all kinds of activities, including how to have fun indoors when the weather isn’t great, and our top ten tips for starting your children’s book. Whatever you are doing during this unusual time, please do keep safe, stay inside as much as possible and wash those hands!

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis