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Personalised, illustrated gifts - why they're the best!

One of my favourite types of commissions are personalised illustrated gifts. I've painted gifts for couples; for friends to give to friends; family gifts and wedding gifts.

Illustrating something personal and bespoke is such an exciting thing for me to get as a commission as an illustrator. Why? Because I get to be in on the surprise. And personally, I LOVE surprises! Some of my favourite celebration memories have been surprise birthday parties - I'm so lucky my friends have organised two of these for me... and I had no idea about either of them! I also love unwrapping presents that could be absolutely anything, because let's be real, who doesn't?

When you're not sure what to get someone, commissioning an illustrator to create something personalised, makes a unique and special choice for a gift.

I was asked recently to create an illustrated modern calligraphy quote with watercolours, based on the final novel in The Chronicles of Narnia series. It always feels amazing to work on something that you know will have a great deal of sentimental value for someone. Then, at the end of it all, it feels even more incredible to hear how the gift was received!

Here's a little close up photo from the modern calligraphy watercolour quote gift I was asked to do:

modern calligraphy watercolour london

Below's a lovely piece of feedback I received from the commission.

Hi Shoshana,

I have not only received the package, but also given it to my friend.

I love it - was exactly as I envisaged and better, and fit just nicely into the frame.

And my friend's reaction? He looked at it for a long time, and finally said he had no words (ironically!) And he said to tell you he is very touched and that it is perfect.

Thank you so much for this - I really enjoyed "collaborating" with you on this, and the process was as enjoyable as the final product.

Many thanks,


- feedback on the Last Battle, The Chronicles of Narnia gift, January 2017

Another gift I loved illustrating recently, was a commission for a surprise birthday gift that was based on the nicknames the couple call each other. Jillian asked me to paint a pickle, wearing a superhero cape, and a bean, holding hands, for her superhero-loving, boyfriend, Brian. I thought the idea was so sweet and creative, to bring such personal terms of endearment to life with illustrated characters!

Illustrated personal commission couple gift

When Jillian received the package, she sent me an excited message.

"Hey Shoshana! I just got the illustration in the mail and it is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much! I can't wait for Brian to see it."

Her excitement transferred to me too and I also felt that thrilling feeling, waiting to hear how Brian would react.

Jillian later sent me a lovely photo of a very happy looking Brian, holding his birthday gift along with the message.

"Thanks so much Shosh! He loved it!"

personalised gift illustration

It is moments like this when I feel such strong affirmation that my path with illustration was the right one to take, as I simply love what I do and experiencing all the special moments that go along with it.

If you'd like to get in touch with a commission idea for a gift for someone special or a couple or family member who's important to you, you can use my contact page to message me to discuss what you're looking for, or you can email me: I'd love to hear about your idea and the special person/people in your life!

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