For our Papergang box this month, we are focusing around mindfulness. This encapsulates the themes of self-care, self-love and self-worth. We know it can be hard to always feel 100%, or even 50% with so many pressures in today's world, so we've created a selection of stationery to always remind you that you are good enough! Obviously for such a theme, we needed the queen of mental-health, Gemma Correll to illustrate the box. Below we talk about Gemma's creative career, share some helpful articles and have our creative team spread some words of advice after reflecting on their own creative self-worth.



We talk peanut butter, 20p comics and working at home in pyjamas.

My goodness where to begin! You have your fingers in so many pies it’s impossible to keep up. Did you ever think that you would be the huge illustration sensation that is “Gemma Correll” we see today?!

Well, to be honest, I don't feel like an "illustration sensation" - I'm just at home, drawing and eating peanut butter out of the jar most of the time. I never expected to make a career out of art and even now that I have, I'm still amazed that I actually get paid for my doodles.

When did you first start getting into illustration? We don’t mean scribbling on walls as a child, more of when you realised that you could maybe make a career out of it?! Have you always had the creative itch?

I didn't scribble on walls - I was a very well-behaved child (OK, so I did doodle in the margins of ALL of my school work, to the point where my teacher had to buy me a special sketchbook to transfer my doodles into). I made my own comics at school (I photocopied them in the school office, sellotaped penny sweets to the front cover and sold them to my classmates for 20p), and I had a monthly comic page in my church newsletter. I knew that it could be a career, but I didn't really think that it was something I could do - everyone I knew had a practical job, like being a nurse or a teacher, so I thought I would probably do something like that. I still spent all of my time drawing and writing but it was something I felt compelled to do, as a kind of hobby. I ended up at art school almost by default (I dropped out of some other university courses and didn't know where else to go) but even then I didn't think that I could make a career from art - I planned to become a teacher. It wasn't until I was actually getting commissioned for illustration jobs that I finally accepted the fact that I had become "an illustrator".

I still spent all of my time drawing and writing but it was something I felt compelled to do, as a kind of hobby

A simple question! What is the best thing about your job?

Being able to work at home, in my pyjamas.

And as a final note – If you had a chance to go back in time and visit your 10 year old self, what would you say to them?

Hello, 10 year old Gemma! Nice glasses. Keep drawing and writing - you might not believe it right now, but you're actually going to make a career out of it one day. Also, believe it or not- in a few years, you are going to be a DOG PERSON!


have a read

On this lovely blog, we often post some helpful articles when it comes to keeping your head in the creative industry, if you're feeling down or a bit lost, these might help in the knowing that you're not alone.



The creative team share their experiences of their self-worth within the industry, how it can be difficult to take a break, and not to be so hard on yourself.

I think it’s tricky to find a work/life balance, I’m still figuring it out! I think when it comes to being self employed, it’s important to remember you don’t have to work all hours of the day, and if you need a break, take one and try not to feel guilty about it. It’s hard to completely switch off but it’s really important to have a proper holiday from it every now and then, you’ll find you’ll come back to it with fresh eyes and feel so much more motivated!
— chloe, artworker & freelance illustrator
My main struggle was trying to find my feet after Uni. I was trying to please everyone that decided to add their two pence as to what my career/future should head toward. I ended up being so lost with no direction. It’s so important to try to listen to yourself, not others. Remember, your friends and family can give advice, but not instruction!
— maddy, photographer
I read ‘Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk’ by Danielle Krysa (who also runs the fabulous blog The Jealous Curator). My favourite take-away from the book was that you can find inspiration and recharge creatively in lots of different ways, which then all informs and inspires your day to day work. I really love learning new skills, so out of work I get a lot of joy from pottery, making jewellery, sewing/crafts and making little drawings or gifts for friends. It’s just for me, so there’s no pressure… and I find it quite meditative! Because most of my day is spent working on screen, it’s rejuvenating to work with your hands and just make a bit of a mess.
— jade, lead designer
I find comparison really does kill you. With social media constantly showing off peoples successes, great work and lifestyles, it’s so hard to not get wrapped up in it. The only way for me to get back to reality and focus on myself is to put the phone down, take a minute and realise, you know what, i’m doing just fine.
— amy, designer
The work life balance myth is something I’ve struggled with a lot. I put too much pressure on myself to try and emulate how people around me seem to live. I’m basically a workaholic (or was) and felt like I had nothing going on but the next project. I’ve found that I shouldn’t try and be anything but comfortable with what I’m doing - If one day I’m able to take a bit of time out and do something fun, I shouldn’t feel bad about it or if I fancy checking my emails in the evening that’s fine too. My motivation and happiness come from a sense achievement and that achievement can be gardening, it doesn’t always have to be something at work. Balance is subjective and it doesn’t have to have clearly defined rules.
— jamie, creative director


Subscribe to Gemma's box! The stationery inside focuses on mindfulness and well-being. For £10.95 you will receive a box full of stationery goodness delivered straight to your door, (it's super cute too!). Click here to head over to

Follow @thepapergang on Instagram. This month our feed is dedicated to self-love & self-care.

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