Emma Block Illustration


The creative life of an illustrator living in London

My 2018 in Review

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So 2018 was a bit of a crazy year. I feel like I say that every year, but I think your late 20s are the pivotal years when big things happen and you start making strides in the world rather than just bumbling along cluelessly (or maybe that’s just me). The two biggest things that happened this year where that my first book, The Joy of Watercolour came out, and my husband and I bought our first home in London. It was so exciting to have my first book published, and the reaction has been incredible. It has sold so well that it went to reprint within a month. The best thing for me has been the reaction on social media. I absolutely love seeing people painting the projects in the book and getting in touch asking for advice or just telling me how much they enjoy it. I absolutely loved the process of creating a book from start to finish and I’m excited to be writing another book next year.

At the beginning of 2018 I wrote down my goals, one of which was to buy a house, which honestly I feel ridiculous just writing down, but somehow it’s happened. It’s funny how things work out; what started as a very stressful situation, being forced out of the flat my husband and I had rented for five years with no warning, led to us buying a beautiful flat that we love. It’s a Victorian conversion with lots of original features and I’ve had the time of my life with decorating and sourcing furniture. I wrote about the living room here and I’m planning more interiors posts in the new year.

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This year also included a once-in-a-lifetime trip to San Francisco, which I still need to blog about. On this trip I had the chance to meet my literary agent Leslie face-to-face for the first time after years of working together. The trip was absolutely incredible and we both loved California. Visiting Yosemite was a particularly memorable part of the trip. I had time to take a couple of meetings while I was in San Fransisco which have led to some exciting things for 2019.


This year I had make peace with the fact that the repetitive strain injury in my wrist is likely to be permanent, and I will always have a lack of strength and range of movement in my right hand. This means my live illustration career is over, but I’m not too upset about that, I think it’s important for your career to always be evolving and changing to meet your needs. I really feel my passion lies in writing and illustrating books and encouraging others to be creative.

I worked with some lovely brands this year. At the beginning of the year Kikki K spent a day with me and made this beautiful video. If you want to learn a little bit more about me and my background I definitely recommend watching it. I also had Papier visit me in my studio and create this stunning video of me painting one of their wedding stationery designs. I’m working on some new wedding stationery designs for Papier at the moment which will be launching in the New Year. I also had the opportunity to design an Emma Block illustration Easter egg with Godiva, which was a rather bizarre but absolutely lovely job. 

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This year I did a lot of editorial work with clients including, Vogue Brides, Next, Magnolia Journal, In The Moment Magazine, Prima, Sister Mag, The English Garden, The House The Lars Built and Eve Mattresses. I do think my style evolved a bit this year, embracing the dry texture of gouache more than ever.

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In terms of personal goals this year I read more books, the majority of which were by female authors, got back into the habit of working in my sketchbook, and developed a gym routine, which I’ve now completely abandoned since moving house. In the new year I’m hoping to find a new gym, and get back into reading and working in my sketchbook, make the most of living in London and visit lots of exhibitions with friends and family. I’m really excited about what 2019 will bring, and I can’t wait to start writing my second book.