The making of the 2023 'A year in the Great British countryside' calendar

Lucy Gray Back British Farming Small business behind the scenes

Can you believe it we are nearly at the end of 2022? I know we all say it every year but where did that year go? 

As we come to the end of the year it's time to look forward to 2023, and with a new year comes a new Doodling Lucy calendar. 

This years calendar front cover

This year the theme is 'A year in the Great British countryside' celebrating all the different seasons and events that the countryside brings throughout the year. One pound from each sale will be heading straight to RABI charity a charity that provides support to the farming community. This calendar really is a labor of love, find out how it came to be below... 

Research 

The starting point for the calendar was deciding what to include for each month. So much goes on throughout the year it was difficult to choose! I took inspiration from my own experiences - July is my friends and me this summer when we went wild swimming in a nearby river, October is based on a beautiful avenue of trees not too far from my house, whilst September is the family cider farm. 

Doodling Lucy wild swimming cotswolds

July was inspired by a swim in the river near me

Halstow Farm Gray's Cider

September is based on the family farm in Devon which create Gray's cider 

I then looked into the farming year, and what happens within each month, so March is of course lambing time, and August is bringing in the harvest. This is one part of my job that I really love - learning about things I wouldn't necessarily be involved in. For each month there is 'Now in season' explaining what fruit and veg are in season and a little paragraph explaining what is going on in the countryside/farming. 

I think it's so important to continue educating yourself throughout your life so the research part of my collections and projects is always so enjoyable. 

 Creating the paintings 

Next comes the relaxing bit, painting each scene. First I make a very rough sketch on a scrap piece of paper just to get the idea out of my head and onto paper. Then comes the actual drawing and painting. Watercolours are such a lovely medium, if you make a mistake you can move the paint around even after it's dried. The final step, which is always the magical bit is adding in the ink outlines. This is where all the detail comes in, the illustration is never properly finished until the pen stage has been completed. 

 Doodling Lucy watercolour painting of New Holland tractor and combine harvester at sunset

Editing 

Once all the details have been editing I scan them into my computer, from there you have the freedom to change a few things around on photoshop. It also means if I ever have a wobbly hand and smudge anything I can clean it up! It's here where I create all the date pages too. This is probably the most 'boring' bit, you have to be meticulous with every date and day to make sure none of them are repeated or missed. 

Printing 

It's then off to the printers! Whenever I send any product off to the printers I have a mixture of excitement and dread. Excitement to see the product finally come to life, but also dread at whether I may have made a mistake with the bleed and trim lines. The first time I send the calendars to print I only do a very small print run. These are drafts as such, to make sure there are no mistakes when the final bulk are ordered!  

Packing 

The final journey of the calendar is for them to be packaged up and sent to you! Each calendar is hand wrapped in the Doodling Lucy signature tissue paper with an added thank you note, before making it's way to where ever you are! 

I really am so proud of this years calendar, so many hours, hard work and thought have gone into it. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it. 

Haven't already got yours? Find it here!

Lucy x 



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