MEET BECKA GRIFFIN
You know it’s going to be good when there’s cheese, biscuits, dinosaurs and pirates involved – and that’s just for starters. We caught up with the incredibly imaginative illustrator and designer, Becka Griffin, to find out more about her incredible drawings and her journey to becoming a small business owner.
I was born in Liverpool in early 1980. In July 1981, as Charles and Diana tied the knot and the Toxteth riots sent shockwaves through Merseyside, my parents moved out of the city. As a result I grew up on the fringes of the Cumbrian Lake District with my three younger brothers, later joined by my little sister. My early childhood was full of mud, worms and animals. I was never destined to be a girly girl.
I went to Art College in Carlisle, and then on to John Moores University in Liverpool. I studied Graphic Arts and Illustration. I enjoyed it, but on my graduation I chose a different career path – as a pub manager – for a number of years. I moved to Oxford and then to Reading, back to Liverpool and then to Lancashire, before eventually coming back to Liverpool a fourth time!
In 2009 I had a total change of career and started a 9-5 job, working for a Housing Association. I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands. I began to draw again. Initially I’d been helping my younger sister with some homework, I then rediscovered my passion for drawing. I drew my house, followed by a friend’s house, and another friend’s house… it became a bit of an obsession. I then discovered that people were willing to pay for my pictures – and I haven’t looked back since.
I created a range of illustrated alphabets – inspired in no small part by a trip to visit my cousins in Australia where I discovered the game “Scattergories”. I loved the idea of thinking of a word beginning with a certain letter to fit within a particular theme. I currently have around twenty different themed alphabet images. This collection is constantly growing – and I often ask for help via social media.
Just after a really busy Christmas 2013 I was working on some Valentine’s card ideas. I took some images from my popular “Cheese Alphabet” and made them into a card with the strapline “This is the cheesiest Valentine’s Card I could find”. When I posted the image on Facebook I was inundated with comments and likes. I thought it was going to be popular but nothing prepared me for what happened next.
The card started to sell – and sell. By the end of January I was getting hundreds of orders a day. I had to draft in help from friends and colleagues, who were working in shifts from my spare bedroom. It was chaos, but the most incredible feeling of achievement.
On 10th February 2014 I handed in my notice at the day job, and I’m now a full time illustrator. I work from a shared studio space in a converted warehouse in Liverpool’s vibrant Baltic Triangle area.
The Cheesy Card is still my bestseller – and now comes in various different versions – birthday, anniversary, wedding and engagement to name just a few. I also have cheesy wrapping paper, notebooks, mugs and magnets to accompany the cards. My 2016 Calendar is also cheese-themed!
I really enjoy drawing about subjects that I can relate to, and that I can research and find out more about. I get pretty absorbed and involved in the topics as I’m drawing, and can spend days immersed in Pirates or Dinosaurs. Inspiration can come from so many different places – books, food, television – and most of all the people I work alongside, both in my studio and online. Working alongside other creative people really helps me to come up with new concepts and ideas.