Tuesday, 13 February 2018


Hi everyone!

I have a new website and I'm moving everything - including this blog - to Squarespace! This blog will remain open for you to see my old designs including my very first drawings (They're a little embarrassing, but hey! we all have to start somewhere). My website address will remain the same cocogigidesign.com and you can read my blog here!

Friday, 12 January 2018

My art plans for 2018 - video

I'm a free spirit and not usually someone who sets goals every year but I though it would be to nice to layout a general plan that would guide me through the ups and downs of the year. This year I intend to take my business more seriously and my first priority is to be more organised with my time so I can do all the things I want to do and reduce the stress (hopefully!) . So here's my first video of the year:

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

2017 in review

Now that I'm back to work with plans and goals for 2018 I'd like to take a look at the things I accomplished in 2017. At the end of last year I was overwhelmed with work and didn't have a moment to reflect on the exciting things that happened and all the things I learned. Here's a monthly overview of 2017.


I came back from my Christmas holidays to no projects or commissions on the horizon. I was feeling very anxious about it, but halfway through the month I got a commission and started working on a pop-up book series with jungle animals for a Brazilian Publisher. Sadly the project got cancelled in May but I learnt new things about colour composition and I was happy with the images I created.


This is the month where I decided to start painting with watercolours. I created a few designs for my portfolio and loved the process of creating something with my very own hands. I licensed two designs to American Greetings and worked on a series of baby books for one of my lovely Australian clients, Lake Press. I booked my tickets to go to Bologna Children's Book Fair in April. I also took over my Agency social media accounts for 10 days sharing pictures of my life in Hong Kong and my art. I felt very inspired to create images for social media and started to think about ideas to include these kind of images into my own accounts.



Work-wise things started to pick up and I received a commission to illustrate two board books for Igloo Books; I worked on this project until late April and I also illustrated some spot illustrations for an educational publisher. I started working on my portfolio and promotional material for the Bologna Book Fair. I decided to print small mini portfolios to give away to potential clients as well as postcards and business cards. 
We ran 3k to raise money for a local charity.


As well as my newly found interest in creating images for social media I also decided to start Vloging and shared my first "week in the life" video on my Youtube channel. Before travelling to Bologna I created some spot illustrations for Ladybug magazine for their September Issue. 

Bologna book fair was a very interesting experience. It was my first time visiting so I didn't know what to expect and I was very anxious about the quality of my work, my social abilities, etc. Luckily I got in touch with some illustrators on twitter and we made arrangements to meet.  I also got to chat with a few of my clients and to see my work in real life and got a few samples to  take home.

From left to right: Tim Budgen, Tim's wife, yours truly, Clare Elsom and Steve Brown


I was super excited to license some designs that I had done earlier in the year for greeting cards. I was especially delighted to see my happy purrday design turned into wrapping paper! I also travelled to Singapore and found some copies of my books in a local book shop.


In June I received a very exciting offer to collaborate with Singapore-based art supply shop Overjoyed. They kindly send me some art materials and I create illustrations and a video to post on social media. I was over the moon with their offer because I've always wanted to collaborate with companies and as I said before I absolutely love creating content for social media. 


This is always a month of travelling for us because it's the longest holiday of the year - for teachers that is -. We decided to go to Mexico, London and Paris. In Mexico we visited old and new places with the company of a friend. We ate all the things we were craving, especially tacos al pastor, and were outdoors most of the time and saw lots of cute animals. We also spent a week with my mum who flew from Colombia to Cozumel.  Click here if you wish to see more pictures of our travels!


I had a lot of creative energy after a wonderful holiday and decided to start filming time-lapse videos to post on Instagram. I also started to experiment with motifs and limited colour palettes and received my first commission to paint dragonflies with watercolours for American Greetings. 


This was a very busy month because I received a commission to illustrate 4 board books and a novelty book ( I can't show any images from these projects because the books haven't been published yet). Somehow I also found time to create a new watercolour painting almost everyday! I licensed some designs to a company in New Zealand including a watercolour painting that I had painted back in February.


After a lot of consideration and thought I decided to open an Etsy shop. Over the years I've received quite a few inquiries about where to buy my prints so I decided to put on sale a limited selection of my most popular illustrations. I also licensed some designs to a wall paper company.
On a personal level I decided to join a local charity and started to host a monthly event to make sock toys for children in need. 


I licensed my first halloween design for greeting cards and created a couple of designs for easter ( I haven't licensed those yet!). I spent most of my time working on the final book of the series I started in September and I also got a commission for a halloween book from a sample that I had done back in April! 


This month flew away in a blur because I was busy working on the halloween project and also creating my traditional Christmas Advent. This year my design was inspired by Chinese paper cutting. I decided to accompany my images with a random act of kindness and I also challenged myself to use a very limited colour palette. 

Right before I went away for the holidays I licensed some Christmas designs I had done the previous year as part of my Christmas advent (Coincidentally those were the same designs I had printed to send to my friends and family!). We ran 3k dressed up as Santa to raise money for a local school. To be honest I hate running but everything is fun if you get to wear a costume!

These were the highlights of my 2017. There was a lot of travelling and exciting projects throughout. I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone more than in previous years and even though it was difficult it paid off (most of the time). 

Meeting and chatting with other illustrators in real life has been a big eye-opener and it has helped me to see that there are other people in the world who share similar experiences and that I'm not as lost as I thought I was; and even though I still struggle with anxiety and self doubt I finished the year feeling more confident and determined for the things I wish to accomplish in 2018.

I have big goals for 2018, especially regarding my approach to my business and I can't wait to share them with you (I need to write them down first). Thank you so much for all your support and kind comments, it means a lot to me :)

PS. If you're starting out or are an anxious illustrator I wanted to remind you that these are only the highlights and best bits of my year and don't include doctor visits, chronic illness, self doubt, details of my anxiety problems etc. I have good and bad days but I try to have a positive mindset and hope for the best!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Kindness advent week 1 roundup

This week I'm very happy because mi Kindness Christmas advent has been featured on Print and Pattern (click on the image to go to the blog). This is without a doubt my favourite illustration challenge of the year and even though I'm quite busy at the moment with work, I'm sharing an image and a suggested act of kindness every day on my instagram. Follow along and don't forget to share the kindness with everyone :)

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas Advent - Acts of kindness

It's December again! Can you believe how fast this year has passed? I hope you've had a wonderful year so far. Starting on the 1st of December I will be sharing with you my Illustrated Christmas Advent on all my social media channels Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. This is going to be my fifth year designing it and this year, besides creating an illustration I want to invite you to do a small random act of kindness every day. 

A few months back I started volunteering with a charity called Cause Corps hosting a workshop to make sock toys for children. They organise many activities such as making beanies for premature babies and writing postcards for sick children and the aim of the charity is to encourage people to do good daily. Inspired by this, I want to encourage you to do some small act of kindness wherever you are everyday. For me Christmas is all about giving and I think that being kind is a wonderful gift because we spread love and happiness to the world and this year especially we need more of that.

Feel free to share this advent with everybody!

December 1

December 2

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Artist and Illustrator gift guide 2017

Hey guys! This year I've decided to put together a gift guide for the artists in your life. With so many choices out there it's difficult to know what artists would really, REALLY, love and appreciate to receive and so to select the items on this list I asked all my artist friends both on social media and private groups for what they'd really LOVE to get.

I've tried to include something for every kind of artist (watercolour, mix media, gouache, professional, enthusiast, etc) and budget and some fun pieces that would be useful for the desk. 

The links below will take you to online shops but I encourage you to support your local crafts and art supplies shop. 

Please feel free to share this list to anyone who's shopping for you this Christmas!

1. A4 Sketchbook £12 - Giving sketchbooks is always a good idea, whether regular A4 size
2. A6 Notebooks set (Pack of 5) £5.99 or small portable ones!
3. Windor & Newton compact watercolour and water brush pen set £20 This small watercolour set is perfect for travelling or sketching outdoors.
4. UPPERCASE magazine gift subscription £47.22 aprox. Surface pattern designers love this magazine because it's full of inspiration, resources and more.
5. Daler Rowney Sable round brushes from £6.5 each I use these brushes a lot to paint floral motifs with watercolours.
6. Holbein gouache set x 12 £43.79 These Japanese paints are great for brush lettering, making greeting cards and illustrations.
8. Copic ciao markers x 6 £19 These markers are great for lettering, journaling and sketching.
9. Metallic watercolours set £8.98 I love these watercolours, especially for adding shiny details to handmade cards or for calligraphy.
10. Strathmore watercolour art journal 8.5 x 11 £18.40 A great journal to practice watercolour techniques.
11. Show your work!: 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered (Paperback) £7.5 This book has spot-on tips to create a strategy to share your art with the world.
12. Gold glitter pencil case £7.5 A stylish case to carry and organise pens, pencils, brushes, etc
13. Golden embossed writing set £8 If you'd like to give a more personal gift, why note write a letter to your loved ones?
14. Kaweco fountain pen £20 You could use this lightweight pen to write a message on your writing set. 
15. Art and pen pot £16.00 To keep the desk organised
16. Calligraphy set £13.95 Calligraphy enthusiasts will love this set.
17. Porcelain heart plate £6.00 To organise the small trinkets on the desk.
18. Winsor & Newton White Drawing Ink 14 ml £3.50 I use this ink to add details to my watercolour paintings (like this)
19. Golden scissors £8.00 It's always useful to have extra scissors, especially if they are this pretty!
20. Pigma micron pen 005 £2.95 By far the most useful pen for adding tiny details.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Vlog: Animals in Japan

Last week we travelled around Japan visiting animals. That's something I wanted to do for a long time and we finally had the chance. Here's the vlog about our adventure!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Giving watercolours a chance

Ever since I decided to become an illustrator I wanted to be able to paint with my very own hands using real materials. I'm not saying that colouring digitally is easy, in fact it can be a lot of work but it has some advantages over painting manually such as unlimited colour palettes, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, etc. 

After a few years working mostly on digital illustrations I decided that it was time to let go of my fears and inhibitions about painting and that I should try again ( I tried before but I never did more than a couple of paintings and then gave up, so I never improved). My chance came when I received an open brief from my agents requesting greeting cards for a variety of occasions. I decided that I was going to paint and more importantly, that I was going to stick to it until I felt proud of my paintings. 

It was a physical and mental challenge and most of the paintings were not commercially viable, but I did manage to produce a few nice paintings and the most exciting part was that I got to license some of them! That was a big boost to my confidence and I'm happy to report that I'm still painting, both for myself and for clients!

I also decided to have a sketchbook that I use only for paintings and I have been using it to create random illustrations and experimenting. On top of that I became quite addicted to creating time-lapse videos that you can watch on my Instagram

That's it for now. I hope you feel inspired to do whatever it is that you always wanted to do but were too scared of doing!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Vlog: working on personal illustrations

I put together a new vlog showing you how I work on personal illustrations. I don't think it gets any easier to talk in front of the camera but I do my best because I enjoy talking about my work and sharing my experiences trying out new media and growing as an illustrator overall. Just click below to watch the video and let me know what you think :)

The materials I used for my watercolour painting are:
Kuretake watercolour set X 24
Hot pressed watercolour sketchbook
Daler Rowney brushes

Also, here's my finished painting

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Korean stationery haul video

Hey guys, it's been a while since I last wrote here. Last weekend I was in Seoul and got to buy lots of cute stationery items from my favourite shop there - Artbox - . As a stationery lover I'm very pleased with all the cute stuff I found that I haven't seen anywhere else. I hope you like the video and as always if you have suggestions for other videos, let me know in the comments :)

Here's a sketch I did while visiting Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁) and if you're interested in seeing more pictures and reading about my favourite things to do in Seoul you can read it HERE in my travel blog :)