Advent Adventure

On the 21st of November 2013, I was contacted out of the blue by one of my Twitter chums, the very lovely Alison Chisnell, with something of a challenge that I was honoured to take up. Alison was inviting me to collaborate with her on her annual curation of Advent blogposts – providing illustrations to accompany each of the 24 guest posts submitted voluntarily from friends across the Twittersphere and published every day in the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

What follows is a gallery of the those illustrations, with links to the original post and the author’s Twitter profile, along with a brief sentence or two on what sparked the image I created. All of the images were created digitally using a Bamboo stylus from Wacom, an iPad Air and’s brilliant app, Paper.

Trail 1
This image was used by Alison to trail the series. When I first sent it to her, she didn’t think it quite captured the spirit of the project but very generously ended up using it anyway.

Trail 2
This was the second attempt that Alison was much happier with.

The first post in the series was by me. I felt like throwing down a gauntlet. The illustration is a pretty literal depiction.

Peter Cook provided post number two. After a bit of a difficult time, Peter is looking forward to brighter times ahead. The rising sun over the horizon aims to mirror that sentiment. I had the privilege of working with Peter as part of his international Human Dynamics team in 2013 and sincerely hope we’ll be doing more together this year.

Post number three came from the generous, kind and big-hearted Bina Briggs and there was one overriding image that came to mind when I thought of the author and read and re-read the post.

Andrew Jacobs was up next with a run through an eclectic CV on the way to pointing out that it’s people, not lists, that are important at Christmas. I loved the title of this one and I couldn’t get the literal interpretation out of my head. Sometime you can overthink these things when a simple truth will do just fine.

Day 5 saw an excellent post from running man Broc Edwards. A happy runner, striding out – on a personal journey and with deep satisfaction.

Annette Hill provided the sixth post in the series with a humorous take on the song The Twelve Days of Christmas from a SoMe perspective. I’ve sketched the twelve little icons I thought best captured the dozen stops on Annette’s festive singalong.

Khurshed Dehnugara is a remarkable thinker and writer on Challenger Organisations and I was fortunate to work with some of his colleagues last year. His post, number seven, made me think more of the man than of the subject matter and I thought I saw an insight borne of love for the powerful qualities that can transform us at work.

Kandy Woodfield came untethered for post number eight with some sound advice about not limiting your ambition.

Award-winning Charlotte Walker was up next on day 9, with characteristic honesty and openness reviewing the amazing journey she’s been on in 2013. I couldn’t help but visualize those hard-driven stakes in the sand.

Neil Usher, in at number 10 here, is one of the people most responsible for me starting to write this blog and it has led to great things so I’m eternally in his debt. This post forms part of his own “Barefoot” series which looks into the dark abyss at the heart of working life. That it is not as bleak as that description might make it sound is testament to Neil’s skills as a writer and the wit with which he executes. I imagined a desperate Santa, scanning the situations vacant section of the Lapland Times.

Post number eleven came from Megan Peppin, whose refreshingly articulated intolerance for BS makes her such a delight to be connected with. Megan writes here on how the stories we tell and are writing together are us.

Repeat offender, the man on a mission to proceed until apprehended, Doug Shaw provided post number 12. Doug is an instinctive gift-giver and, although the post covers the difficult recovery from bereavement, I could only see Doug at home with a big grin plastered on his face as he parcelled up those thoughtfully created items.

A tale of a literal and metaphorical journey forms the subject for post number thirteen by Zoe Mounsey. I wanted a traditional travelogue-style image to go with this one.

David D’Souza is a friend and a giant whose shoulders I’ve been delighted to stand on in 2013. The view has been magnificent. David is far too modest to give himself any plaudits for the amazing stuff he’s done and this post, number 14, is no exception.

Post fifteen, from Gemma Reucroft, is an uplifting and moving tale. I’m delighted to imagine that umbrella remaining tightly furled as the sun rains down for many more years to come.

Sukh Pabial was next up for day sixteen with a delicate, gentle, poetic offering that made me think of Japanese illustrations of blossom. I tried one of my own.

Post number seventeen is a double hander from Jemma O’Reilly and Simon Stephen with Jemma celebrating her first year on Twitter and Simon celebrating a return to the land of the living. A little vampire at a birthday party seemed appropriate.

One of the world’s biggest, smartest brains looking at the world of work today, Dr Anne Marie McEwan, provided post number eighteen and I went for an image of an actual long and winding road with a sunny horizon ahead.

Anthony Allinson provided post number nineteen and looks at control and accountability in an age when we freely offer up our personal data and lives for public consumption and private vested interests. A shackled smartphone sprang to mind.

Kate Griffiths-Lambeth wrote the most personal and generous of tributes as a modern-day fairytale for her contribution on the 20th December. Anyone who featured will have been moved and humbled by their inclusion. A real gem that deserved something a little more expansive. I tried to capture the whole tale as a miniature storyboard.


I managed to dig up a photo of David Goddin’s childhood home to base a sketch on for his post on Day 21. In it, David reflects of the need to use where we’ve come from as an impetus to drive what’s important in the present and for our future.

Tracey Pallett provided post number twenty two and with it a frankly told story of incredible bravery and resilience.

Many people I’m connected with on Twitter have recently taken leaps of faith and Sarah Mason is no exception. Her post on Day 23 made me think of the row of cherries that signifies a win on a fruit machine.

The series ended on Christmas Eve with something of a departure stylistically as Jon Bartlett used a photo montage to reflect on the year just gone. Knowing what Jon’s been through to get to where he is now, one word sprang to mind – respect. So that is how the beginning concluded…


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Halls are made for Madness and commented:
    In 2014 Alison Chisnell curated a series of advent blogs, and Simon Heath illustrated them. I was lucky enough to be a blogger that participated. Simon has blogged a gallery of the illustrations with links to the blogs. If you haven’t already read them, dip in.

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