Illustrated Freelance Review

Beci Ward Illustrated Review-01

I have designed this illustrated blog post to review my first year of freelance including my personal highlights, hints and tips for the freelance lifestyle and my hopes for the future.


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The work I’ve illustrated recently with the NHS is one of my personal highlights this year as the compassion and enthusiasm to make a positive change is incredible. I feel so pleased when my work can be used to engage and inspire others. Some of the subject matter has been hard to do justice through drawing, but I hope that I have been able to bring to life strong messages that need to be heard.

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A Huge Thank you to Ruth Evans, Kath Evans, Alice Williams, Lisa Cooper and Kate Branchett

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Another personal highlight has been the large-scale wall paintings. One of my first Freelance assignments was to paint straight onto the walls of the Human Innovation Offices. Cello Health then commissioned me to decorate a wall that coincided with the launch of their Creative Studio. When Human Innovation moved location, I employed a more refined vibe- reminiscent of vintage signage to create another piece of wall art for them. I felt it was such an accomplishment, as it was the first time I had worked at that scale. I really enjoyed this project and it was great to personalise their workspaces in this way.

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Massive thank you to Lee Powney at Human Innovation & Lee Marsh and Toni Bately at Cello Health Creative Studio.

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Another wonderful highlight was to see my designs made into something physical. It was so amazing to see my illustrations printed onto leather and crafted into hand made cycling gloves. I would love to see my illustrations appear on more physical products in the future. Thank you Greta and Zulfi at Vel- Oh.

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A very important highlight is the “Being Human”conference with the Association for Qualitative Researchers. It was a perfect moment for me to demonstrate my style of illustration in front of Qual Research Agencies. My previous experience has been within the Research and Insight Sector and this is where I had my first opportunity to live illustrate. I sometimes have a problem sharing my work as it is often confidential, but this was the perfect chance for me to showcase what I do. This is a great example of being at the right place at the right time and I am very pleased with the leads that came from this event.

Massive thank you to Steven Cribbett and the team at DUB for getting me involved.

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A huge thank you to Jamie and Mike for commissioning the bespoke staircase design.

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Bespoke projects will always be a highlight, as it brings me great joy to create something totally unique and tailor-made. I especially like creating patterns where the personal details are incorporated and are not always obvious at the first glance. Thank you for all the personal briefs that have come my way!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to commission a tailor made illustration.

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Importance of FACE-10

FACE is the agency I worked for before going Freelance. It was the first company that utilised my live drawing abilities within the setting of the Co Creation workshop. I don’t just have ex colleagues there, I have friends and there will always be reasons to come to the office. One activity in particular is Sweet Potato Club.

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When I was full time at FACE we created a communal lunch club with one key ingredient. SPC as we like to call it has now gained legendary status within the office.

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Kevin, Fran, Tereza, Eilidh, and Peter have just set off on their cycle ride to Paris in Aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. This is in memory of our colleague Piers Leonard who sadly lost his battle with cancer last year. Recently SPC has really upped its game, we have been making a communal lunch nearly every week and I’m proud to say it has raised £748 to date for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It’s so great to be involved in such a great cause.


Massive thank you to the FACE Team (You know who you are) for all the support over the last year!

If you would like to donate to the Teenage Cancer Trust please follow the link below. Thank you.


Photo Credit Sharmila Subramanian

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FACE has also been a springboard to meet lots of other agencies within Cello group, especially Cello Signal. Big shout out to Anne Cecile at TMI, from the early days sitting next to you at FACE to the more recent connection that has go involved me with the Patient Experience Network and NHS. Thank you, very much appreciated!

Here are some Hints and Tips I have learnt in my first year of freelance.

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One of the biggest hints and tips I have about the freelance lifestyle is keep busy, even if the work isn’t coming in as often as you like. One of the ways I did this was to keep drawing. Engaging in this 30 Day Art Challenge really helped. I was making new work each day, this in turn was keeping the creative juices flowing, which maintained my productivity. It is very easy to loose the pace, if you are working to your own schedule. I am not saying I have totally nailed it yet, but I have a better idea of what things need to be in place to get the best out of my time.

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Another tip would be to reflect on your past work. Looking at what you have done previously can remind you what your skills are and where you want to be heading. It is also good to see how far you have come. 

It is also important to have some cool places to hang out, especially if you are spending quite a lot of time working from home. Working in the offices (Space permitting) of the companies that are commissioning the work is always good otherwise finding great coffee shops is the next best thing. I am a social creature, and find it much easier to work surrounded by people.


I really like chatting, most people know that about me, but I am not necessarily the best networker from a formal perspective. Not quite sure if I am at the right places, speaking to the right people, but I do feel like I make strong and meaningful connections when I interact with people, and I feel this is fundamentally important. I have tried to be more proactive about reaching out to other freelancers. It is great to compare notes with someone else that knows the nature of the game.

Another tip is to keep active. If you are working from home you may not be commuting/generally moving around as much as you used to. Being active especially when you are less busy helps keep you motivated and your mind in check. It can also add structure to your day.

Last tip… believe you can! Believe in yourself at the end of the day its down to you, oh and luck, a good dose of luck!

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My main hope for the future is to continue to live illustrate at lots of different conferences, workshops and events. I love to engage and inspire, creating detailed outputs and vibrant narratives whenever I can.

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A dream of mine is for my designs to appear on many more products. I am especially interested in patterns, fabric designs, wallpaper and tiles. 

I would really like another opportunity to create more murals and wall art. I’m definitely interested in collaborating on larger scale projects.

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I’d love to work on an adult colouring book. When I am not live illustrating I have quite an ornate, detailed style of drawing that I think lends itself very well to this genre.

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Thank you so much to everyone I have worked with in the last year, a big shout out to Human Innovation, Diageo, FACE, Vel – Oh, National Deaf Children’s Society, Unilever, Fresh Minds, Tangible, Cello Health, Association for Qualitative Researchers, DUB, UCL, Acacia Avenue, Join the Dots, Patient Experience Network, Qual Street, Quietroom, TMI, National Children’s Bureau, NHS, Ben’s House, and all the personal commissions that have come my way.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to collaborate with me and utilise my Illustration skills!

Thank you

NHS England, West Midlands Shared Learning Event

Transition- Preparing for Adulthood. West Midland Safari Park 23/03/2016

I thoroughly enjoyed illustrating at this NHS England event that investigated the transition that young people go through between child and adult services. The central theme of the event was around listening to the voices of young people to ensure a smooth transition between the two. It is crucial that transition becomes a priority within these organisations – for more information about this shared learning event, please click here.

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NHS England Event Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Conference

18/03/2016 Hilton Deansgate-Manchester

Being asked to illustrate at the NHS England Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Conference was another inspiring experience.

This conference combined thought-provoking theatre, testimonials and presentations to emphasise the fact that it is everyone’s responsibility to speak out about child sexual exploitation. This event championed listening along with installing the confidence to always ask the right questions when handling issues such as this.

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Custom Made Bespoke Designs

I really enjoy creating custom designs inspired by people’s interests. These lend themselves well to celebrating a birth, a wedding or other important occasions.

It means a lot to me to create a present that is totally unique. I especially like creating patterns where the personal details are incorporated but not obvious at first glance. I can sometimes get quite precise personal briefs, ie “Can I be riding a white horse galloping through a riot in a housing estate” “Yeah sure of course you can!”

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to commission a tailor made Illustration.



Bespoke Staircase Design

This illustration project has been a personal highlight for me as it was the first time one of my designs appeared on TV. I was asked to create a custom-made staircase illustration by Jamie and Mike who had found their property through the TV show, Location Location Location. (Series 21 Episode 22) They commissioned these staircase illustrations to appear on the revisited show. It was a fantastic to see my designs used in such a way.

The pattern combined their passion for basketball along with their initials and it was then printed multiple times and mounted onto foam board. Installed onto the staircases with Velcro, these panels were a great way to personalise their space with a tailor made design just for them.

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NHS Youth Forum Poster “Top Tips to Involve Young People”

I had a great time creating this poster that was revealed at the Great Ormond Street event on the 5th March 2016. Printed to a large scale, this poster was signature of my style as it is bright, vibrant and appropriate to the audience. Since completing the poster, it has been showcased at similar events and has been used in various presentations and publications.

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NHS England Event – Establishing a Youth Forum Session

05/03/2016 Great Ormond Street Hospital- London

This was another key event organised by NHS England where children and young people’s voices played a vital role. Youth Forums exist in many regions across the UK, but this event was designed to inform organisations how to create their own.

Each of the workshops were thoroughly engaging and proved to be a lot of fun to record through illustrations. The Voice of the youth forum members was crucial in informing the professionals present at the event. For more information about NHS Youth Forums click here.

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Patient Experience Network – Children and Young People Event

02/11/2015 Royal Armouries-Leeds

It was my absolute pleasure to live illustrate at the Patient Experience Network (PEN) – Children & Young Peoples Event in Leeds last November. This was my first time illustrating with the PEN in partnership with NHS England. The stories and presentations I captured were incredibly inspiring. The theme of the day was to see:-

‘What Are Children and Young People Saying About Their Experience In Care and What Are We Doing About It?’

The compassion of the delegates cemented in my mind how important the NHS is. They are really trying to listen to the voices that truly matter.

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Blast from the Past

Rediscovering art work from the past is always interesting. It makes you realise how you may of improved, but also shines a light on where your style has originated from.

I had forgotten how expressive I was with my mark making, how frequently I would combine ink and household bleach (hope there is no lasting impact to my health) and how expansive in scale my drawings seemed to be. I haven’t picked up a biro or even a pencil in close to 5 years and have swapped ink and watercolours for bold lines and sharp vectors.

The detailed element of my work has definitely remained and the smoothness of my lines have refined over time. I am not often sketchy or scratchy with my pen work, although the speed in which I draw is still pretty fast. Even though I am using programs like Illustrator more than I ever imagined, I use this mainly to colour and still employ the hand drawn feel frequently.

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Ink moleskin pages 2011 (approx) Ink and bleach couple 2006

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Illustration from 2nd Year of University 2006 Mixed Media including Bleach and Ink. Drawing of the SouthBank 2007

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Pen& Ink +felt tip and Detailed Biro combination of images 2005-2006 (Approx)

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Fineliner Pen combination of images A1 size 2005. View from the Gerkin (not that I ever went up) 2007

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“Everything I learnt in the Art Academy” 2011 Pen & Ink. Blue ink and Biro 2006

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Life Drawing (Painting, with fingers not a brush) 2006

Its great to see that some things still remain, my Love for the Southbank for a start, the enjoyment of combining images together, intricate details, architecture, people.

Reflecting on this discovery, I have a strong desire to demonstrate the range of my techniques as well as maintaining a consistent style and identity. Perhaps it could be time to get the paints out again!



Christmas Card Designs 2015

So this year the Christmas Cards fall into 3 main themes. Cats (Love Cats!) Dog’s I know (the beautiful Molly, Peanut and Poppy) and the 3 B’s- Beer, Bikes and Beards (with a slight hipster vibe) I have also created a Christmas “Icon” design as well as some Reindeers for good measure!

You can place an order by following this link

10% of all profits will go to help Paris for Piers and the Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of our colleague at Face, so although this is the latest I have created these Christmas Cards please don’t hesitate to get your orders in!

Click here if you would like to sponsor my Face colleagues on their bike ride to Paris in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust

See below for all details and designs,

Thank you



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Merry Xmas Cats CR-03

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Molly CR-03

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Christmas Icons CR-08