LISA MALTBY Illustration & Lettering


Welcome to my blog where I post about all things creative, from my latest food illustrations, design work and hand lettering doodles, to articles about freelancing and creativity. I hope you like my posts.

Finding inspiration in the mundane


I used to work in a supermarket. Admittedly it wasn’t the most glamorous of jobs. In fact, it was probably the worst job I’d ever had - the staff were ruder than the customers and the pay was crap, but I needed the money. 

I’m not sure if you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where the monotony saps you of all energy and inspiration. You find that you’re bored as soon as you enter your workplace, counting the hours until you can go home again. The trouble with this, despite the fact that working in a supermarket wasn’t my life long ambition, is that there are certain things in life that you just have to grin and bear. You know that such experiences are temporary - you will not be in them forever, but while you’re there it seems a shame not to find some good in the ordinary. In fact, there is nothing about life that really is. There is always something interesting in the most unlikely of places.

During my time in the supermarket I started to meet some really interesting people - both funny and horrible. I would have their irritating faces etched on my brain when I got home on an evening. It wasn’t pleasant. But my coping mechanism for any difficult situation is to be creative in order to counteract the incredible dullness. Drawing is like therapy for me. So, instead of drawing something completely opposite to my experiences to take me out of them, I decided to confront the characters in my head instead and draw them. 

Suddenly I started to find the fun in my day job. I started looking out for interesting characters to draw later that evening – I noticed the shape of their noses and the wrinkles on their skin. And my job became bearable for the short time I was there.

These drawings are some of the characters I met whilst working there. I even look at them with fondness as I remember the funny things they said and did. It’s also the first time that I drew things entirely from memory, rather than life drawing. Although some of the proportions may not be perfect, they are what my brain remembered about them – sometimes the way your mind exaggerate things can be a good thing in order to create great characters.

So, if you find yourself in a boring job today or you’re facing a mundane situation why not try to find the fun in it instead. If you like drawing, draw your experiences. If you like writing, write or blog about them. If you like singing, make up a song. And if all else fails, just learn to see the funny side of life and know that there is something good about the ordinary.