12 years ago I returned from living abroad.

I was flat broke.

Finding the “right” job back in media was proving tricky.

With next to nothing left money wise, I knew I had to change my approach.

At the time a friend of mine was doing a lot of work with silkscreens. Her energy and passion for it was contagious.

As a graphic designer I had only ever made things digitally. This, though was different, this was making things with my hands.

I liked the idea and decided to take a gamble.

I scraped and borrowed just enough together to take an introduction course.

I figured being on the course may lead to something.

It did.

I met a ton of wonderfully talented people and came away with a folio of work.

Most importantly I also had a short-term plan.



The plan was simple:

➡️ get a pitch at a market stall

➡️ sell prints

➡️ make some money

➡️ eat

➡️ repeat


It worked. It wasn’t easy, but it bloody worked.

Enough people bought my prints to keep me afloat for the next 6 months. I was never going to make a huge name for myself as an artist but that was never the intention.

The intention was to create some momentum. Momentum that could carry me into new rooms. Momentum that in turn could create a new opportunity.

And so it proved.

A path back into the world of brand and design presented itself while chatting with one customer who was on the hunt for someone in that area within their publishing house.

I do wonder if I hadn’t been so desperate, would I have turned my hand to such a different approach. Probably not.

And I use that as a sense check. I try to keep as broad a mind as possible when in the creative space these days. If inspiration isn’t easy to come by I often ask myself:
“What would I do if I were flat broke?”

P.S for amusement I dug up one of runs I did 👇 – a depiction of Alice in Wonderland – it’s no masterpiece by any means, but whenever I look at it I remember this lesson…


By Dan Cushing

Starting a new project?