Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

Ponderings: Some more fairies…

Posted on: February 27th, 2017 by samdrawsthings No Comments

ponderings banner by Sam Goodlet -

After my last post, I thought I would upload the rest of the fairies I’ve been sharing on social media so that they have a more permanent home over here.

They’re all qualities and things I have been thinking about bringing into my life the beginning of 2017, when things in the wider world have been feeling a bit less than magical…

The Adventure Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Adventure Fairy⭐️

Pack your bag. Just a small one. Travelling light is the best way to go. Follow your heart and open your eyes to all the magical sights the world has to show you. This fairy calls you to take a new path, both close to home by being a tourist in your familiar haunts and by wondering far and wide. Get a little dusty. Try something new. Engage your senses and reinvigorate yourself….

Solace in Grief Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Solace in Grief Fairy⭐️

When you are heartbroken, numb, grieving. When you are in shock. This small and gentle fairy brings comfort through moments of sleep, the kindness of others, the beauty of nature. She cannot interfere with the process of grief, but she can soften and ease, inspire you to ask for help and bring people to your door unbidden. Her heart hurts with yours. You are never alone. She holds the knowledge that you can survive with your scars, even when you forget. She holds the magic of the life-death-life cycle and asks you to remember that there nothing ends; but everything changes…

Hard work fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Hard Work Fairy⭐️

Sometimes you need a bit of grrrrr. Sometimes you just need to graft. Get stuff done. This amiable fairy thrives on sleeves-rolled-up vibes. He’s at your side whenever you slog or sweat, doing it cheerfully with a glint in his eye for he loves to earn his rest. He loves to get muddy so he can get clean. Sweaty so he can sip a cold cider that’s all the sweeter. He brings strength and resolve when you have to dig deep…

Sleep fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Sleep Fairy⭐️

Oh how I miss this fairy. She can be elusive, especially for parents of young people. She can also fly away in times of stress or upheaval. But. She *can* be tempted back. She loves ritual, hates caffeine. She likes meditation and mindfulness, and of course exercise. She asks if you have checked your sleep hygiene before you wonder where she has gone… She wants your brain and heart to be quiet so that she can make her home there. And if you are a parent… she hopes to see you again soon, in the moments you can steal to let her in…and on that note, I must go to bed…

Warm water fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Warm Water Fairy⭐️

Hot water is magic, you know that right? This mini mermaid haunts natural sources like hot springs but she can be found anywhere there’s a hot tap. She has lazed in Roman baths and Icelandic lagoons. She is drawn to the power of warm water to cleanse, restore, heal and invigorate. Those of us lucky enough to have boilers, showers, sinks and bathtubs experience her magic regularly. She also loves human ingenuity-solar showers, old fashioned fire and steam, any creative solution to summon her magic. Guardian of copper pipes and thermostats. Make sure your plumber treats her with respect…

Small celebration fairies by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️Small Celebration Fairies⭐️

Sometimes you need a fanfare to accompany something that may seem little to others but is in fact a huge thing. It could be getting out of bed today, having a shower, achieving something despite a phobia or anxiety making your heart race. Sometimes the seemingly easy, everyday things are hard, hard work. These small but powerful fairies get it. They see your awesomeness. They squeak with joy, throw confetti, shake pom-poms and blow trumpets. They give tiny high fives. Go you. You rock.

Naive optimism fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Naive Optimism Fairy⭐️

This little guy has been hovering around my sketchbook for a few days before I realised who he was. He’s actually been pretty much a lifelong companion of mine… the voice that says: try it, it will be ok, why not do something new? And I’ve had all sorts of adventures with him at my side and his voice in my ear. Life would be tidier, less chaotic, and a whole lot more boring without this little fairy. I promise to keep listening.

Witness fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Witness Fairy⭐️

This super cool character has a number of names from different spiritual and psychological practises that aim to entice him in. He is very helpful to call on when The Mirror Fairy is playing tricks on you. He helps you to take that all important step back, to see and notice your thoughts and feeling as they arrive and ideally before you act on them. Friendly and helpful, he can be evasive, but so worth courting and looking for again. He calls on you to put on your own fairy wings and be your own witness fairy.

Impermanence fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Impermanence Fairy⭐️

Oh this fairy can seem cruel sometimes. And then kind at others. Really tho, she is neither…she just *is*. 🌸Queen of ‘this too shall pass.’ Cherry blossom goddess. She is the beauty in both birth and decay. The wondrous newness of spring and the rich beautiful mutability of autumn. If we can bear to listen, her message is that everything changes, but nothing ends. It’s just change. Don’t hold on too tightly, but love the things in your world while you have them.

Get up and do it fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Get Up & Do It Fairy⭐️

Sometimes you just need someone to poke you with a stick and tell you to pull your socks up. And he has spectacular long luxurious socks. Lover of To Do Lists and Important Jobs. He knows when you are procrastinating. Strangely enough, he is good friends with the Sleep Fairy, for although he is often the one to rouse you to get to work in the morning, he can also help you do The One Important Thing that is playing on your mind so that, afterwards, you can sleep. He may seem a little cruel at times, but this spiky fairy has your best interests at heart…

Sleep deprivation fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Sleep Deprivation Fairy⭐️

Unlike the other fairies, this sketchy being isn’t one you really invite into your life (although sometimes she turns up as part of the fun after an amazing party or night of dancing)…she more just kind of…appears. Bleary eyed she blinks from her owl mug. And she doesn’t really do much, other than keep you company when the sleep fairy has abandoned you. She might be at your side on a long dark night of soul searching, or sit with you in a too early morning and recommend more tea/coffee. She is definitely responsible for that slightly spaced out feeling during daylight hours when you haven’t slept… She and I are firm friends right now due to a teething little boy, and every so often she pats me on the shoulder and tells me it’ll be ok…

Go slow fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Go Slow Fairy⭐️

Sometimes you need to move fast, and sometimes you really don’t, or can’t, and that’s ok. This fairy and her companion remind us that Slow and Steady can win the race, but often there is no race and we can just calm down and do things at our own pace. Patron of the Slow Food movement. Savourer of tastes and experiences. Owner of her own destiny. You can’t rush this one…

Magical snapshot fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Magical Snapshot Fairy⭐️

I was sitting in the car in the drive waiting for the baby to wake up when I spotted this really lovely branch with illuminated leaves catching the setting sun behind them. I grabbed my sketchbook but couldn’t do them justice. But later I realised this fairy was dancing around them, and he dances around all sorts of small beautiful moments during our days, catching our attention and encouraging us to notice. Sometimes this can be at the strangest of moments, when we are busy or bored, or even when we are unbelievably sad or stressed or struggling. He sparkles in the corner of our vision and helps us capture a snapshot of loveliness.

Resist fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The Resist Fairy⭐️

2017 on the micro scale has been overtaken by that pesky sleep deprivation fairy. She makes it hard to focus on other fairies, the bigger picture or anything other than getting through the day. On the macro scale tho, 2017 seems to need a lot of this. Resistance. Protest. Challenge. So I’m pondering what I can do to help #bethechange. And I might need to focus on the micro right now, but I’m sure there are things I can do to make a difference.







Ponderings: Fairies and why Neil Gaiman is my favourite nature writer

Posted on: February 20th, 2017 by samdrawsthings 1 Comment

ponderings banner by Sam Goodlet -

After I left my job in the conservation sector to go freelance as an illustrator, I experienced a magical reawakening in how I thought about the natural world.

I was often a bit of a square peg in a round hole in my old job, but I very much saw that as my super power.  With a background in arts and communication, I was able to bring a creative twist to my work, to meetings, to project ideas and publications, which lead to some wonderful cross-pollination between science and art.  Even so, there was still a necessity to think scientifically.  To do my best to communicate in a technical, formal way and operate within the framework of the rational.  And I didn’t realise quite how much I’d been doing that until I went back to my arty roots.

Not long after leaving, I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  I loved Stardust and Neverwhere and Good Omens, so was already a fan.  But reading his weaving of the English landscape in this book, I fell in love with his writing all over again and realised something I’d been missing for a while…

“Hazels lined the side of the meadow.  I picked a handful of the green nuts, put them in my pocket.

The pond is next, I thought.  I just have to go around this shed, and I’ll see it.

… The pond was smaller than I remembered.  There was a little wooden shed on the far side, and by the path, an ancient, heavy wood-and-metal bench. The peeling wooden slats had been painted green a few years ago.  I sat on the bench and stared at the reflection of the sky in the water, at the scum of duckweed at the edges, and the half-dozen lily pads.  Every now and again I tossed a hazelnut into the middle of the pond, the pond that Lettie Hempstock had called…

It wasn’t the sea, was it?”

I have quite a collection of nature books of different kinds (especially from second hand bookshops, I’ve had to stop going in them until we get more bookshelves) and I’m a nature junky, needing a regular fix of the outdoors, of flowers, moss, mud and animals, which obviously I’d been getting from conservation.  I get it vicariously too from reading about people meeting seals, badgers, hedgehogs etc and exploring wild and wonderful places.

But part of my love comes from the way our wild places resonate with the echoes of our fairy tales and myths, something that’s generally missing from the more scientific observation style of writing and the conservationist way of looking at nature.  And it wasn’t until reading this book that I saw the connection between the nature books on my shelves and the fantasy ones.

“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than than that. They just were.
Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn’t adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?”

Here was Gaiman, leading me down lanes fringed with foxgloves to meet witches and and dive into magical ponds, and suddenly my heart was singing.  This. THIS. THIS!  He sees it too!  That overlaying of the mystical on top of the physical.  One of the intangible parts of our natural heritage that lives in stories and songs.  His writing conjures with the magic of the English countryside so beautifully; it’s more than just a backdrop.  The wild woods where you have to beware of talking wolves who might lead you astray. Mermaids singing off the Cornish coast and selkies swimming around Scottish islands…I know now that I am passionate about conservation because I want to save wild places for the creatures that call them home.  Including the fairies. And although I’ve suggested some pretty out-there stuff in meetings, that’s not something I’ve really confessed before.

Our wildlife is seriously magical.

And I don’t really see that as being separate from the science… science is just… kind of another word for magic in my head.  It’s a way of trying to explain and categorise the beautiful and mind-blowing things that are around us, which we can never quite fully capture or exactly understand how they work.  And that’s awesome; our trying doesn’t make them less magical and the mysteries that still elude us just engage my heart even more.

Every year, thousands of toads retread their migration paths back to their breeding ponds, and no one really knows how they do it.  The life cycles of newts, frogs and toads are incredible mini fairy stories in themselves.  Slow-worms look like Egyptian snake bracelets that have crawled away in search of a better, more private life.  Dragonflies are spectacularly odd and we even have something called a fairy shrimp…

But talking about nature and magic feels a bit… embarrassing.  If the conservation sector has been cautious to use the word Love (which it has been) magic is even more taboo.  Childish.  Irrational.  But there is a really lovely historical link between nature and magic – like The Flower Fairies with those gorgeous, accurate botanical illustrations and the way that Brian Froud’s fairy books echo a natural history guide to cheeky, impish creatures.  I think it can be another way to engage people’s hearts in conserving our wild places and animals.   And I have been following the Fairy Land Trust for a while for precisely that reason.  Because actually… as children, we so often have it right…

“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.”

And the conservation sector knows this too, hence the big move to get more people enjoying a Natural Childhood.  It was when I was little that my love affair with nature began.  It’s never left me, its just changed shape a couple of times and grown up a bit.

Our fairytale places need us to fight for them.  Our weird and wonderful wildlife needs us to protect and champion to save their lives and their homes.  And by saving them, we give more space to magic.

So, it’s a couple of years since leaving rediscovering the mystical, and I’ve finally been drawing some fairies and allowing myself to connect with it again.  I shared a load of fairies over on my Instagram and Facebook and created a Snow Fairy Christmas Card…

Snow Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

The Snow Fairy

The Self Love Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️The self love fairy ⭐️ it’s not about being more this or less that, about giving anything in particular up or starting something else. She reminds us to ask in each moment “what would I do now if I loved myself?” And it’s not about being selfish, for no one benefits if we hurt others or take just for ourselves without thinking of tomorrow. The self love fairy gives you permission to be gentle with yourself, to worship your own body, to go at your own pace, to ask for what you need.

The Kindness Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️the kindness fairy ⭐️ this benevolent pixie may be little, but he is surprisingly powerful. He presides over both simple acts and grand gestures. He can be a bit tricksy – but never cruel. He might call on you to be firm one day to help another, to look further down the road than one action, to ask rather than assume what someone else needs. He can be found weaving magic over a cup of tea, helping to wrap gifts, smiling at self sacrifice, giggling over pleasant surprises and whooping at random anonymous acts of sweetness.

The Comfort Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️the comfort fairy⭐️ a warm and furry winged spaniel. Snoozing in flight as he bears a thermos flask full of hot chocolate. This snuggling being rules blankets, naps, sofas and cushions and protects all hibernating creatures.

The Mirror Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️the mirror fairy⭐️ oh this sprite is a tricksy fellow. He can appear at times when we find the behaviour of other people challenging. He shines that sparkly mirror and asks us to look at ourselves, check our own imperfections, looking at where we might have room to grow. But he can also pop up when we bask in the radiant brightness of others to say “don’t forget, you glow too…”

The Intention Fairy by Sam Goodlet -

⭐️intention fairy⭐️ bound to Lady Luna, this hare-y fairy supports us in the new moon as we set intentions, sits with us as we bear the intensity of the full moon and whatever that may bring, and rests as that light wanes again and our world are renewed. He reminds us how powerful we can choose to be, how awesome we are at manifesting, and how a bit of conscious choosing goes a long way…

There are quite a few more fairies, but this has become a bit of a long post so I will save them for the next one!


























Ponderings: Something in the water

Posted on: July 15th, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments

ponderings banner by Sam Goodlet -

I’m an animal lover, but I have to admit that I am a bit of a speciesist – I adore seals, and am just about getting over a phobia of sharks.

I know that its unfair to the sharks to be more drawn to their fluffy mammal equivalents with the big sad eyes. Sharks are having a horribly hard time and their numbers are dropping, and I really hope that conservation efforts come together to keep them in our oceans.  But I can’t help but be anthropomorphic, seeing something so familiar in the faces of seals and their mannerisms; I am another mammal after all…

Seals and sharks both appear in Dive Down, and as I share the images from this autobiographical fairy tale, I’m reflecting on my personal growth in the last year and why water is a recurring theme in my illustrations.  I think it’s partly about me facing my fears.

I used to be really scared of swimming.  My irrational fear of sharks spread to certain shades of blue, swimming in the sea (anywhere), ponds and even some swimming pools.  The Jaws films certainly have a lot to answer for – when I was little and these fears first came up, it was directed towards any big fish-y type creature, including whales.  As I grew up, whales and sharks were represented so differently that the fear became very focussed on sharks.

Last July, I took a big leap.  My lovely childhood friend had a gorgeous country wedding near a big pond.  The night before, a group of friends went wild swimming there.  I was quite scared and sat on the edge, watching…

And then I felt so silly, letting my fear hold me back and not joining in with everyone having an awesome time, that I grabbed a friend’s hand and we jumped in together.  The water was warm and delicious. I could feel the squishy mud under my toes.  The sky was deep and dark above us and it was beautiful…  I felt really connected with everyone else who was in the water too sharing the experience.  Having overcome a barrier in order to be there with them added an extra thrill.

That inspired this little series of drawings, which is about taking the plunge.  This could be literally, like me jumping into that pond, but could also a metaphor for relationships, friendships, work, learning or travelling… I’ve learned that going deeper is pretty much always a good thing to try.

Testing the water by Sam Goodlet -
Let's do this by Sam Goodlet - www.samdrawsthings.comLet's go deeper by Sam Goodlet -

The whole theme of Dive Down is going deeper, and not being afraid of what you find down there.  I created the illustrations during a time of meditating on my fears and problems, trying to get to the bottom of them and understand why I was doing and feeling certain things.

The seals in the story appear at the point that I started to find some really useful, positive and helpful resources to guide my exploration, and they act as mentors or guides in the story – encouraging the illustrated version of me to keep going deeper and deeper, and see the beauty that is hidden there.

A couple of sharks swim through, but as I become more comfortable with the darker depths, I recognise that they are beautiful too, in their own way…

Picture 19 from Dive Down: Drawings from the Deep by Sam Goodlet -

Picture 21 from Dive Down: Drawings from the Deep by Sam Goodlet -
Picture 22 from Dive Down: Drawings from the Deep by Sam Goodlet -
Picture 23 from Dive Down: Drawings from the Deep by Sam Goodlet -

Dive Down: Drawings from the Deep launch

Posted on: June 21st, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments

dive down banner by Sam Goodlet -

Happy summer solstice!  I’m launching a new project that I am really excited about…

Dive Down: Drawings from the Deep is a very personal story.  I drew my way out of a difficult time and the drawings evolved into a book, which I am sharing to help and inspire others.

Today I start serialising the story via social media, with exciting plans coming up for other ways to share the book in physical and digital form.

Follow me by Sam Goodlet -

You can find out more on the Dive Down project page here.

seal by Sam Goodlet -

Based partly on Buddhist principles, Dive Down is a story about deep sea diving into the internal sea of our fears and anxieties – somewhere we tend to not want to look.  Through reading lots of books and meditating, I noticed where I was trying to move away from things that hurt me – distracting myself, hoping for something to make me feel better, when really it was that endless searching was the causing me the most pain.

The project became a collaboration between two Sams – Sam Attenborough, a mentor and co-founder of Birdsong Charity Consulting added the words after the visual story was complete.

With a list of resources for further support included at the end of the tale and an inspiring Spotify playlist to accompany the book, we intend for Dive Down to be enjoyed by a range of people and shared further, to encourage other deep sea divers find their courage, take a deep breath, and dive into their own oceans to find calmness.

Follow me on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook or Google+ and watch out for a picture a day, followed by some special announcements and news about where the project is going next and how you can get involved.

seal by Sam Goodlet -



Ponderings: Personal growth

Posted on: March 23rd, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments


After pouring my heart out a bit in the last Ponderings post, this one is a bit more visual.  I don’t think it needs many more words other than to say that change can feel scary sometimes, and/or chaotic, but then you suddenly get these amazing moments of clarity where you can see what’s been happening to you with new understanding…


Ponderings: Three illustrations about love…

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by samdrawsthings 1 Comment


On an emotional day in London last summer I decided to go for a walk along the South Bank.  Things were all feeling a bit wobbly; I was just going through a break up, one of my closest friends was getting married and we were going out for his stag night later.

As I walked up from Waterloo, coming across the installations, exhibitions and public art in the ‘Festival of Love’ initially felt like a bit of a sick joke on behalf of the universe… However,  it actually turned into a really therapeutic and beautiful day.


I will admit that there was some crying – a walk around The Museum of Broken Relationships is something everyone should do at least once.  It’s a travelling collection of items donated by people from around the world commemorating romantic relationships that have ended.  Each item was displayed with the story from the contributor about the relationship, possibly including how they met, how love grew, how it ended and the significance of the object.  As well as tears, the stories spark laughter and empathy; there’s something  magically human and very heart warming about the collection.

As any romantic relationship ends, I think there’s a temptation to question it and pull it apart with questions like ‘did you ever love me…?’ and ‘did it mean anything to you…?’.  One of the guaranteed things in life is impermanence; like cherry blossom, toilet roll or oxygen, love can end or run out.  But that doesn’t mean that it was never there.  I think we do a disservice to love if we think question that it was ever present, just because it’s now gone…  So my first illustration is a prayer not to doubt love:


The Festival of Love celebrated more than just the romantic kind, and served as a reminder that love is still all around us, even when we may feel our hearts breaking.  The stag do afterwards was a fun occasion celebrating friendship and romance with cocktails and dancing.  The wedding a few weeks later was beautiful, and the two grooms walked down the aisle together to All is Full of Love by Björk.  It’s such an amazing song.

Living on my own again, I’ve recently bought some really sweet crockery that’s decorated with the word ‘love’ on every plate.  It makes me smile to think I’m feeding love to the friends and family that come to visit me in my new home, especially as they have supported me so amazingly over the last few months.  Illustration number two is a reminder that love is everywhere, and can be eaten for breakfast…


Now, all this talk of broken relationships and heart break may make illustration number three a hard sell.  But I’ve been talking to a few single friends recently about love and listening to their cynicism and fear and completely understanding why they are fed up of putting themselves out there, or feel so settled in their single lives that they don’t really have much space for love.  I get it, I do.  We put too much emphasis on needing a romantic relationship to be complete, when we are all perfectly whole as single creatures.


Romantic love brings something extra and amazing into our lives.  You can go a long way and have an incredible life on your own; but I can’t help but feel opening yourself to sharing with another person just brings something more.  And it’s worth the fear and the pain and the scary things for all the other good stuff that comes with it.  So, illustration number three is another prayer really, a prayer not to give up…





Ponderings: The Marriage Bubble

Posted on: March 10th, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments


The Marriage Bubble is a diagram I’ve done as a wedding present for a few friends or drawn in their book of messages on their special day.

I found it a particularly helpful idea to hold in my head in that weird come-down period after the wedding and honeymoon at the beginning of a marriage….  It’s a strange time in part because it’s where the fairy stories end: ‘And they all lived happily ever after…’ is the conclusion of one part of the story, but the beginning of a whole other chapter that we don’t really create that many stories about.

The come-down feeling may also be because of all the effort, energy and excitement that goes into the wedding day – the one day when you are The Bride or The Groom following which the words Wife and Husband settle onto your shoulders.

I think it’s important (in any relationship) to keep an eye on personal stress and anxieties vs relationship based ones – personal stress comes under the heading My Stuff to Sort Out as opposed to Our Stuff to Sort Out Together.  It’s all about not taking Your Stuff out on the other person in the bubble.

Of course, a key thing to remember about bubbles is that they are very fragile…



A blog new feature: Ponderings…

Posted on: March 9th, 2015 by samdrawsthings No Comments



My personal illustration work has been taking a slightly different direction lately – for the last few years I’ve been focussed on drawing plants and animals for different commissions with sketchbooks full of frogs, hedgehogs, lizards and lavender as I collected reference material.

More recently, I’ve been using drawing to explore and express some of the thoughts and ideas in my head… some still very much related to animals and the natural world, as well as using the pages of my sketchbooks to ponder relationships, personal growth and other aspects of the more human side of life.

So, this is a new feature in my blog – a space to ponder, explore and share some of my thoughts, ideas and experiences.

I love those moments when you get a chance to step back from your life and think about what’s going on and why, rather than simply living it.  That 5 minute break over a cup of tea, the dog walk or run when your thoughts have space to breathe, the revelations you gain in meditation…

Now, I’m not claiming to be wise or to have anything figured out, but I am always learning, always looking out for words and quotes that help me understand my place in the world, and I thought it would be nice to share them.

I’m sure there will still be plenty of frogs…





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