To draw my way around the globe and bring my adventures back home!
But not just mine – yours as well! Yes, let’s celebrate our adventures and grab a memento to remind us of the awesome trips we’ve had!
Hi, I’m Mel. I create fresh and upbeat illustrations inspired by my travels both near and far. Translated onto a variety of home-wares and accessories, these prints can help you to never forget that much loved getaway. With their playful twist my modern-retro designs are here to brighten up a room and put a smile on your face. It’s as simple as that.
But it wasn’t always about travel . . . I specialised in Interior Textiles at university and took a particular liking to surface pattern design. I started off working with a greetings card company – a great experience but my heart was still in interiors so I also freelanced for a few years producing designs for homewares before deciding I wanted to go it alone. In 2012 I completed the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design e-course and Mel Smith Designs was born . . .
I saw my designs in high street stores such as Marks and Spencers, John Lewis and Primark, but something was missing. I realised just how much I adored travel and everything related to it and the light bulb switched on . . . combine the two! How had I not thought of this earlier! Design + Travel = super happy Mel. What an excellent way to put that travel bug to good use . . ..
MY BUCKET LIST OF DREAM PROJECTS:
Just a handful of projects I would be THRILLED to work on. If you’re involved in any of them and would like to work together then get in touch! I would love to:
- Illustrate for travel magazines & travel websites
- Create posters for airlines, train lines, coach companies…any kind of transport that goes places!
- Produce illustrated maps and tour guides for in-flight mags
- Illustrate a children’s travel storybook or atlas
- Work with national parks and heritage sites to create local guides of walking trails and biking routes
- Work with local communities to showcase the best of the local area
- Contribute to other travel bloggers on guest posts, both written and illustrative
WHEN DID IT ALL START?
1998. My first trip abroad as part of a school trip. Destination : Greece. I was lucky enough to have a school that organised trips to Venice, Paris, New York and I even got to go on a Mediterranean cruise! This definitely got the travel itch going for me but it wasn’t until 2005 when I took my first BIG trip . . .
6 weeks away with my best buddy (hey Al!) to New Zealand with a couple of stops in NYC and California either side. That REALLY gave me the travel bug and I started to realise along the way how much I loved to log my adventures through doodles and collect little mementos of where I’d been. I also took a ridiculous amount of joy in planning the route and found my love of maps. Over time it just felt natural to start combining all the elements – draw my adventures, create my own maps for my own routes and adventures. And I started to realise other people wanted this too…they want to have something unique to remember their holidays by, to have a special memento other than the tourist tack you can pick up on the way . . . how awesome!
I love exploring other cultures, seeing their ways of life, taking in the different styles of architecture. And I love to then come home and relive it all again by drawing it and creating my interpretations of that area, whether it be by illustrating the buildings, the wildlife, the textiles . . . and of course creating my own illustrated map from it all! I also love keeping a little journal whilst away, jotting down all the random things that happen. They make for the best stories and so I started my travel blog, a place where I can combine my travel illustrations and stories as one.
Here are just a few totally random things that I like right now:
- Dogs (preferably this massive slobbery ones, like Hooch, remember him? naaaw)
- That first magnum of the summer. And then every one after
- Or if it’s winter, getting all cosy under a snuggly blanket, especially on a rainy day when you don;t feel guilty about binging on an awesome tv series
- Getting organised. Oh yes, things can never be too organised for me
- Relaxing with a random book from a charity shop hunt
- Crazy golf and 2p machines at the seaside, and yes, that is what I did for my birthday recently, big child that I am
And what don’t I like…?
- Clutter. Just no.
- Wind and rain combined. (Although this does make for the perfect horror movie watching weather…)
- People telling me what happens in my favourite TV shows before I’ve watched it (I mean seriously, why do that?)
- Mint chocolate. Why ruin such a good thing? Now give me orange chocolate and it’s a whole other story
- Aubergine. It’s just nasty