Graphic designer Nick Holdsworth is adapting his work to make it easier to produce during lockdown. Credit: Marcus Holdsworth

In the second of two features, CBJ writers talk to creative folk about keeping the imagination fired up under lockdown

Nick Holdsworth, graphic artist

Nick Holdsworth, a graphic artist and designer based in Nottingham, thinks that while lockdown is certainly a struggle, it’s not all bad.

“I actually feel more creative as I’m having to look for alternative ways to produce my work,” he says.

Holdsworth’s creations would usually be large in scale but difficulties finding the correct frames in the current climate has forced him to adapt.

“I’m looking at different subject matter specifically for private commissions, including children and pets which would be smaller in size so I can buy smaller panels that fit in my car and cut them down myself in order to make frames.”

As a mixed media artist, Holdsworth, 46, usually works digitally before getting his worked printed so he can paint with ink and an airbrush. But, with non-essential businesses being forced to close, he is struggling to get his work printed.

“I’ll definitely be purchasing or leasing my own printer and handling my printing in house. I’m also taking time to re-teach myself how to paint with a brush and acrylic paint, so I don’t have to rely solely on print to produce my work.”

Raphael Achache, musician

Raphael Achache, 30, is a man of many talents – an illustrator for creative agency Hawk and Mouse, a video editor for Nottingham-based magazine LeftLion and a skilled guitarist, pianist and singer who recently live-streamed a gig as part of an online ‘Sofa Sessions’ series.

He has created a survival guide on Instagram for those stuck in isolation, using illustrations to promote important – and often amusing – messages, such as avoiding reading too much “rubbish” online. “I was inspired to create a quick guide for the first few days. That went down well – my posts got over 200 likes in total.”

Despite this success, he has no plans to monetise his account and become an influencer.

Rather than seeing the lockdown as a negative experience, Achache has used it as a chance to improve his skills further. He sets himself daily challenges, like writing music for his new virtual band project with friends and family, to keep the creative juices flowing.

“Real life has never got in the way of my work, but the lockdown means I no longer have any excuses to not get stuff done. It’s quite motivational,” he says.

This positive outlook is something he encourages other quarantined creatives to pursue. “Try not to get disheartened. You have been given the gift of time. Hone your craft, stay connected, wash your hands and remain indoors.”

In the future, Achache is looking forward to sharing his work with people face-to-face again, promising that as soon as the regulations are lifted he’ll be booking himself on to as many gigs as possible.

Contributors: Nathan Warby, George White

Read more here on how writers, actors and comedians in Nottingham and the East Midlands are keeping their creativity alive under lockdown.