Henlo friends, 
 Thank you so much for being here and supporting Made by Harriet. I've been blown away with your support of my new dog jumpers and dog t-shirts on Everpress. It's been a new venture for me, and I'm really enjoying seeing my dogs on clothes on people.

Christmas dog jumper, dog jumper, dog sweater,

It’s been a long time since my last update on the blog. But, is it even a *real blog* if it’s not been neglected for a couple of years?
Anywho, here we are, 2022. I wanted to tell you about a BIG AND EXCITING project I was involved in earlier this year. 

I am a Thortful creator. Thortful is a ‘creative card marketplace supporting a community of designers, illustrators and photographers who create beautiful, unique greeting cards’.  I’ve been part of the Thortful team for a few years now. Thank you so much if you've bought one of my cards.   

When Thortful called to see if I would be interested in illustrating the Christmas cards for the RSPCA this year, I said I was keen to know more.  

We had a meeting and talked through the brief. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little apprehensive, as I don’t generally work on projects or collaborations, because my brain struggle, resisting structure. I usually end up working in an unfamiliar and forced way.

It's taken me a few years to realise how I work best, and often that's meant declining projects becuase I realised I wouldn't be able to work authetically or enjoyably. This collaboration felt a bit different. There was scope to draw lots of different animals in my own way, and for a cause which is close to my heart. I was honest about how I worked from the start and we agreed to meet again after I had worked on some roughs to see how things were going, before deciding if we were all happy with the progress.

I had planned to work on paper/in sketchbooks, and make digital edits and adjustments after I had got the main character down. 

Here are some of the first drafts from my Pith sketch book. (Pith's are my FAVE and they are planet friendly).

badger and squirrel drawing, made by harriet sketchbook,

cats in a sketchbook, made by harriet sketchbook

I could feel myself wanting to slip back in to old panicked ways of working. Producing things which we're okay but weren't me. 

The team were keen to see some characters more 'festive'. I was eager to move forward, but I wanted to make sure that the animals were how I wanted them to be before adding other elements. In the interim, I panic added a festive hat in a desperate attempt to make them more Chrstimassy.

At this point I was wondering if I had made a terrible mistake. I draw dogs, so many dogs. I was so less familar with other wildlife. I was doubting myself and what I was able to to.
 I had reverted to drawing only headshots of the animals, which I now realise was becuase I was terrified of having to capture all the different bodies and animal shapes. Ironically my feelings at this stage were not dissimilar to this squirrel. 
squirrel in christmas hat

The team fedback, and showed me some of the images which they had seen of mine and enjoyed. Including this foxy fella from 2021.

fox drawing, fox sketchbook, fox, made by harriet

With this in mind, I reset, and restarted. I was going to have to draw FULL BODIES. *gulp* I was travelling a lot with the band and I was scheduled to visit family in the North of England. I had recently invested in an iPad to make minor tweaks, and dabble in Procreate, but I'd never really created an image from scratch, digitally. I used a long car journey to Lancashire to try and recreate this drawing for this project. He's what happened.
 fox in scarf, made by harriet fox drawing,
fox christmas
Learning to drawing with Procreate was tough, and a little bit overwhelming. But it felt like the right direction for this project. Working in layers allowed me to make changes and edits quickly. Working solely digitally meant that I didn't need to scan any images, or wait for paint to dry. It also I meant I could draw whilst on the road, which was the real game changer. 

I sent the fox over to the team, along with a rough pigeon, and another fox. We were all happy and excited, this was the direction we wanted to head in. 

I dove in, and drew when I could, figuring out the iPad and it's capabilites as I went. I found myself frustated at having to change brushes, and brush sizes, but the more I worked, the quicker I got. 

Here are some early drafts, done on the iPad. 

group of pigeons, made by harriet., Rspca

owl, made by harriet, rspca

I created a shared album and uploaded drafts and work in progress as I went. I knew I wanted to do a 'big group' card, so would often mock up stuff like this as a mental note for some of my ideas.
Made by harriet, Rspca, christmas card,
I took my iPad everywhere with me, to gigs with The Zoots (even to our gig in the Isle of Man), to my mums, to appointments, diving in whenever I had a spare 5 minutes. This collaboration came in quite late in the year, so the turn around time was quite short. I was busy working on my new Everpress dog jumpers, ordering new stock, new teatowels, and managing the arrival of my new dog mugs, so things felt a little hectic. The team were keen to see 'finished' cards, and I was trying my best to do this, whilst progressing the other designs too. 

Harriet Lowther, Made by Harriet
Once we were at a good stage, with lots of mock ups completed, we discussed the text for the cards. As I was working on them, I had used the standard 'Merry Christmas' as a bit of a placeholder. As things were moving so fast, I didn't have a lot of mental energy to commit to coming up with something funny to correlate and add to the drawings. 

So the text was a collective effort, with the team at the RSPCA, Thortful's copywriter and I coming up with some words which we all agreed would work.

I made some final visual tweaks to give some of the words more context, adding sprouts to 'Sprouts? Well, badgers can't be choosers' card. And drawing a tree so that 'Flocking around the Christmas tree' made more sense on the group of pigeons card. 

Test prints were complete. I'd written a little blog for Thortful about the collab. Finals were signed off. The collaboration was finished. The cards are available here. £1 being given to the RSPCA for every card sold from this range. 

Made by Harriet, Rspca, Thortful, Christmas,
Group of cats Christmas cards, rspca, Made by Harriet

Thank you so much to Thortful and the RSPCA for the opportunity to work on this project. It pushed my creative boundaries, throwing me way out of my comfort zone, on a wild ride of colours and animals. It all now seems like a bit a of a blur. But it showed me that I can complete projects and collaborate. I wonder what 2023 will have instore! 

Thank you for being here, for reading this far, I know life if hectic. 
I'd love to know what you think of the cards, and what content you'd like to see on the blog in 2023. 


  • Anne Morgan said:

    Love the cards Harriet. Buying some for friends who I know will love them

    November 19, 2022

  • Kim said:

    Love these. Have ordered a few and I’m delighted RSPCA will benefit too xxx

    November 15, 2022

  • Shenda O’Neill said:

    So love your squirrel with his Santa hat and all the other animals. The cards are fabulous. Be proud. Xx

    November 15, 2022

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