Welcome to the first ever blog post for Make Like A Bandit! I'm going to tell you lovely bunch a little more about me, my work as an illustrator and how I started MLAB.
So a little about me…
My name is Madeleine and I am originally from Worthing just outside of Brighton. I moved to Preston in 2012 to study a Fashion Promotion degree at The University of Central Lancashire. After graduation I decided to stay in Lancashire and now live with my partner and our two cats Bandit and Baron. If you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you’ve seen the two rascals! We also have five (yes five) adopted stray cats that live at the top of our road.
So, why did I start Make Like A Bandit Design Studio?
Since I was a child I had a very strong feeling that being self-employed or freelance was not my path in life. I thought only brave and courageous people would do such a thing and that I was destined for a 9-5 office job.
Just before I started MLAB, I was employed within marketing and the 9-5 quickly became my norm. It was during this period in my life that I started to battle with my mental health, and this mixed with a difficult work environment, no confidence and no motivation I started falling into a deep depression.
Things started to change when I made a random decision to buy a Wacom drawing tablet to see if drawing and illustration still had a calming effect. The drawing tablet is still one of the best things I ever bought and completely changed the way I viewed my own drawing abilities. It was soon after this I made the decision to leave my job and to take time out for myself. The decision to start my own business and to work for myself happened over the course of the first Saturday that I was unemployed and by that Sunday night I had a small range of prints, predicted forecasts and packaging ordered.
Now looking back I was crazy to leave my job with no plan and no savings. But at the time it felt like the only way I could escape and find the peaceful state of mind that I felt like I had lost. The choice to leave is by far the best gift I ever could have given myself as it changed my mental state, my out look on life and my plan for the future.
Right now I'm currently balancing MLAB with my full-time job. I'm drawing portraits, new prints and planning new products every evening and at the weekends. I also have a number of freelance projects that I'm working on, including product design, wedding stationery and social media management. To say I don't get out much would be an understatement!
What a odd name…why did you choose it
I have two cats - Baron and Bandit; I played around with various other names mixing both of these together. But Make Like A Bandit just stuck, I’m not sure where the inspiration came from.
My biggest inspirations
During my final year of University, my final campaign focused on a hypothetical collaboration between Obey and Greenpeace. Creating a clothing range focused on raising awareness of the endangered animals around the world. Both of these companies (as well as many other charities) are my biggest inspiration. I want to help raise awareness for animals around the world, whether that’s for critically endangered animals or the common house cat.
Another massive inspiration is a artist called Ben Tallon. During my last year uni Ben came in to talk to the class about his illustration style and the freelance lifestyle. During his talk all I kept thinking was ‘freelance is not for me, I could never work for myself, what would I create, no-one would be interested in something I've drawn.’ Little did I know that this talk would later give me so inspiration and push I needed to think about a freelance and self employed career. Ben has a series of podcasts called Arrest All Mimics on Soundcloud. These are so inspirational and just what you need when you need a self confidence boost. Check them out!
Why do I donate 20% of profits to a different charity each month?
I've always had a soft spot for animals, and I've always wanted to help endangered or suffering animals. This might explain why I have adopted five stray cats. Now I am in a position where I can help and donate to charities that help animals around the world I feel like it's something I just have to do. It makes sense to me and in the future I want to be more involved in charity work and to help raise awareness of the endangered species around the world.
What are your biggest goals for Make Like A Bandit?
I would love to work with WWF, Greenpeace, Obey...But right now I am so so happy to be able to work with smaller animal charities. Being able to donate 20% of my profits to charityis such an amazing feeling. My overall goal hasn't changed from my finally year uni project, I want to help raise awareness of animals around the world.
My main goal for 2018 is to develop a range of products, a mix of prints, stationery, children books and home accessories. By the end of the year I want to have participated in my first wholesale event. I also want to be involved in more freelance projects, and to (eventually) be self employed full time!
So I hope this has given you an insight into my life and where I get my inspiration from! I’m hoping to make blog posts a regular thing and to share things that interest me, whether it’s a new artist I’ve discovered or a particular project I’m working on. I will also blog on the charity that I am supporting each month so you can see how your purchases are helping animals around the world.
- Madeleine x