Society of Lost Souls

I’d like to help people and wasn’t sure how, but I knew that when I was very ill with depression my condition was improved with emotional support from friends and loved ones. So the other day I started a club. I suppose you could describe this club as an emotional support network for those in need of someone to talk to, or to share ideas, advice, and experiences with. The main thing is that people don’t feel alone, and get to drink tea together (and scoff cake!) It also connects friends with friends of friends and so the friendship circles grow. Here’s the banner I made for the club:

lost souls club small

I’m hoping to bring some art and journalling into the club for expression and motivation. Maybe run a workshop. Help the lost become found together.

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Sitting on Depression

An illustration about depression, the disease that you can sit on. For a while.

sitting on depression small

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Watercolour in sketchbook

After such a long time spent without feeling creative, I’m slowly getting back into drawing and painting by making mini sketches in my sketchbook. Also I have a new set of watercolour paints so am playing with them. Here’s a tiny sketch – need a smaller brush!

watercolour in sketchbook

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Colour Collective: Opera Pink // sloth illustration

Happy new-ish year!

Thank you for continuing to read and follow my shenanigans into 2015!

Somehow a miracle happened and I got my creative mojo back after over 4 miserable years of creative block. I needed a challenge, and after participating with a Twitter challenge in December (#illo_advent), the same superstar that organised it (Penny Neville-Lee) decided to start an ongoing challenge, #Colour_Collective. Anyone can join in, all levels from stick man artists to Renoir proficiency. Each weekend a new colour is announced (currently working on Ultramarine) and we all post on the Friday at 7.30pm (GMT). Then there is lots of sharing and caring.

This week our challenge was to create an image using the colour Opera Pink. The first thing I thought of was of course sloth related – feeding a mother and baby sloth bright pink hibiscus flowers when I was in Costa Rica last year. Apparently hibiscus flowers are like chocolate to sloths. Here’s what I came up with:

Hibiscus - sloth chocolate

I used Winsor and Newton watercolour paints, HB pencil, and some rare Karismacolor pencils that Gavin Berriman gave me. Hope you like it!

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Draw YoursELF!

Draw your sELFie with this very simple guide. Start with a teardrop shape and add a few features – job’s a good’un!

Elves are so quick and easy to draw that I’ve made little hand-doodled elf stickers for the gifts I’m giving this year.

I would love to see your elf attempts, should you wish to share :)

Draw yoursELF

Simple gift label doodles:

gift labels

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Creative Gift Ideas

creative gift ideas

I always try to give personal and thoughtful gifts to friends and family though aspects such as time, budget, and distance mean it’s not always easy. Here are some gift ideas, the majority of which I’ve used personally to try and make someone feel special for their birthday or other occasion. I hope these are useful to you too.


  • Mix CD or Spotify playlist: preferably of songs that mean something to both of you, or some tunes you think they would love.
  • Baked goods: cakes, chocolate truffles, cookies or some other delicious treat – if you have time but not much money, this is a good’un.
  • Handmade card: even if you think you can’t draw – it really is the thought that counts. The more imaginative the better, think of something personal and funny if you can, or use an online pop-up card tutorial.
  • Photograph: have a photo printed and framed. Favourite photo of you together, a photo from 20 years ago, their cute dog doing something silly, etc.
  • Family home video: The mother of all gifts I have given was a DVD that took me two months of evenings to create, using footage from about 40 mini DV tapes that I had filmed over 15 years. My sister and I in our late teens, my nephew as a toddler, my parents hairstyles, banter in the kitchen, all the things you forget with time. I had to learn to edit very quickly!
  • Homemade: search online for ideas of gifts to make depending on your skills, e.g. jewellery, candles, paper dolls, mosaic mirror, shelving unit, framed certificates of awesomeness. My two homemade go-to gifts are altering journals and painting on ceramics. I think everyone I know owns several of each now so I’m having to branch out a bit this year!
  • Chore tokens: not just for kids to make! Here are some I made a few years ago. They can involve anything from making a romantic dinner for two, to darning socks – however fun or laborious you want to make it ;)

chore tokens1

chore tokens2


For those times when you’re in the middle of nowhere and need a meaningful gift to be delivered to your loved one, in another country, and fast. Shop local (to them!)

  • Thorntons photo box: I ordered chocolates with a personalised box from Thorntons for Father’s Day this year. I took a selfie with a paper “Happy Father’s Day” sign inside a hostel dorm room in Costa Rica while nobody was looking. Thorntons printed this onto the box and delivered it locally. My Dad loved it.
  • Charity: donate to a charity of their choice. E.g. for Mother’s Day, my friend donated to a charity to help mothers and babies in poverty, on behalf of her Mum.
  • Get photos printed onto all manner of things. I’ve had photo books printed with pictures of my family and they were a hit.
  • Stickers: from a hostel room in Panama I drew this image without my boyfriend seeing (despite being in the same room – what a sneak-attack pro!), photographed it with my phone and emailed the photo to be printed by StickerYou who then delivered it locally to where he would soon end up. The sticker was for his motorbike panniers so people who took an interest in his bike/travels could contact him.



  • I have painted portraits of my parents, and one of a church where my mother grew up. If you aren’t at one with a paintbrush you can commission an artist to draw/paint a portrait as a gift. It could be of your friend/loved one’s pet or child. Here are a few artists I’ve picked based on my personal taste:

CMQstudio, Bethany Salisbury, CoconutTowers, MargaretScanlanArt, Kathryn Selbert.

  • Book tickets to a local theatre performance. My family enjoyed a surprise visit to see Hansel and Gretel a few years ago. A quick purchase followed by a whole entire evening with my family. No, it was fun really!
  • Treasure hunt: I will never tire of treasure hunts. Draw a map, hide a gift, make them work for it! Ha. Just don’t do what I did as a kid and hide foil-wrapped mini chocolate eggs in the washing machine.
  • Learn their favourite song and perform it for them (sing, play instrument, etc). My nephew’s recital of ‘Happy Birthday’ on a stylophone was particularly memorable.
  • Sign your recipient up for a short course in something they’ve always wanted to learn. Always fancied calligraphy myself. Hint hint Father Christmas…
  • Magazine subscription: it means you also get to read New Scientist every month, how convenient!
  • I don’t think they sell these anymore, but I loved the Penguin Classics blank cover books. Twice I have illustrated the cover and given the books as a gift, for example, the book below.

blank cover

If all else fails, buy them a lottery ticket, and pray.

Do you have any creative gift ideas to share?

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New illustration – “Snow and Stories”

This illustration was inspired by a recent trip to Canada where I first tasted eggnog (with rum & cinnamon, yum), and sat in the back garden (sorry, “yard”) surrounded by snow, with a bonfire to keep warm. I created this image for a purpose – Christmas cards for myself & family to send out to friends/family, some of which live in Finland – not a dissimilar scene from the one depicted.

I have made this design available in my Society6 shop incase others would like to share with their friends too.

xmas card final small marshmallow

I also have a version with a sausage instead of a marshmallow that is available upon request – my mother said Finnish people don’t eat marshmallows WHICH I FIND HARD TO BELIEVE!

snow cards

This image is available on a variety of formats from tote bags, to cushions, to clocks, to baby clothing.

snow & stories tote

snow cushion

There are a couple of things missing from the picture that were present at the original scene. A sweet Mexican dog called Rita chasing a moustache-ball, and two beardy dudes listening to The Darkness. Have I missed out the best bits?

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Nordic Inspired Christmas Gift Guide >> Curated Collection

I’ve curated a collection of six Christmas gift ideas for those Nordic/Scandi design appreciators of the world (like me!)
nordic inspired xmas gift guide

Fjorn tote bag > Cally Creates, Wooden wine rack > John Lewis, Moomin 2015 calendar > The Moomin Shop, Nordic Reindeer clock > KateWu, Gold Tree Rings framed print > Cat Coquillette, Cloud bread board > Snug Studio.

Always curious to know of other products that fit this theme, still haven’t finished my Christmas shopping, so ideas are welcomed in the comments section for my own selfish reasons. Thanks!

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Mischievous Elves collection

The elves have taken over!

If I’m not mistaken, Christmas is about mooning elves, sELFies, disco boogie, & ice skating within millimeters of a glacier edge. I mean, I could be mistaken, but… look at the evidence below.

mischievous elves

holiday baubles blog

This repeat design, inspired by Finnish ‘tonttu’ (elf) is now available in the following formats on my Society6 page:

Art prints, framed art prints, t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, baby clothes, iphone, ipod, laptop & ipad skins, ipad cases, cushions, clocks, cards, and tote bags. Lots to choose from! Phew!

Here’s a sELFie I made earlier:


I hope you like it! Feel free to share this post to spread the mischief…

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Slothify Yourself!

Draw yourself as a sloth with this simple sloth-drawing guide that I made!

As all my friends know, I’m very fond of sloths indeed. I recently met some wonderful sloths in Costa Rica and Panama (shout-outs to little Sammie and Dahabie at Casa Mariposa in El Valle!)… I even held a friendly sloth- Sammie, was licked by Millie, high-threed Buttercup, witnessed an unrequited sloth bromance in Cahuita National Park, and saw Sammie poo while hugging a tree (rare and beautiful occasion). Fascinating creatures! Upon my return I’ve been filling my sketchbooks with all things bradypus so if you dislike the creatures you may wish to unfollow me now!

 sloths by heidi burton

If you draw yourself slothy using my guide, I’d love to see the results so please post pics or link to pics in the comments section.

Casa Mariposa

Above is me having a hug with a rescue sloth Sammie from the lovely Casa Mariposa hotel in Panama.

Below is a photo from the day I visited the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, when I met the famous bradypus (3-toed) Buttercup!


Here is the first time I ever touched a sloth, can you tell from the excitement written all over my face? This is Millie, a choloepus (2-toed) sloth. She was the little bugger that licked my hand!


I could go on all day, so I’ll save some pictures for another post!

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