Another inspiring night at Blab, with two brilliant speakers, Jenny Theolin and Sam Gilbey.  Both very talented and creative people.

Jenny is the first female speaker at Blab events and it was great to see us ladies taking a stand. Her bubbly and energetic personality was infectious and you couldn’t not love her instantly. She explained about her travels with her family and she shared her medical troubles that left her at a cross roads of what to do next.

Jenny decided that she would ‘let her brain take the strain’ and started working on creating Soapbox and Sons.  Where she swapped her computer for meeting creatives to collaborate on projects for clients. Soapbox and Sons does a complete range of services from branding, experiential events, art and music. Jenny gets a brief then finds the most appropriate creative team for the job, making sure the outcome is a completely unique solution.

Jenny has curated a number of events however the one that really caught my eye was ‘LOLCAT THE EXHIBISHUN’. She it had started as a small exhibition and the momentum it created was amazing.  She explained there was no planned strategy for how it developed its popularity in the media, it just carried of a brilliant idea and all fell into place. BBC news had it on there homepage, millions of people shared it on twitter and had blogs around the world talking about it.

lol-catShe left us with a brilliant quote ‘Being truly creative is about a state of mind not a state of market’

She also launched two more projects that will be starting soon, #comicstrips and #bagsie both sound amazing. I will be eagerly awaiting tweets about it to get involved. When working in a commercial world of graphic design its important to do personal projects that you just love doing.

This takes me nicely to Sam’s talk who opened with a quote from Saul Bass;

‘I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares. ‘

He also told of a personal journey to where he is now, showing us childhood drawings with very humorous dialogue. Sam also shared a very embarrassing stories with us about Watercolour Challenge, that I won’t share further. Sam, your secrets safe with Blab.  Sam graduated and started work in website design however like many of us have many more skills than we do as a job. He loved to draw from a young age and his illustrations are so unique and stylised.  He said now that he is neither a digital designer or an illustrator, he see’s himself as neither. He doesn’t see them as separate but just different ways of answering a brief.

Sam made a very interesting point that from a young age he was exposed to brands and showed us images he drew designing bags and shoes using Puma branding. He said with children being exposed to brands so young is normally a bad thing however being a designer now it might have actually been a good thing.

During his career he’s worked on a number of amazing briefs including movie posters. He was commissioned to create a poster for ‘Electric Children’ I will be having a watch after your recommendation.  He said he has decided to bring his portfolio offline and go for a more direct approach of showing clients on a one to one basis things that are relevant. He spoke mostly about his love for illustration taking inspiration mainly from pop culture. He showed a short video about how he builds up his digital portrait, this was fascinating to see it start to end.


He said for him ‘creativity = Happiness’ which I think a lot of creative whatever field they may be in can resonate with.

Matt Booth does a great job organizing these events, so thanks Matt, he tweeted this morning, he’s already planning Blab18 so maybe see you there?

© All images cited as above