If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen I've been doing the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge each day this month - or trying to at least. Here's how it works; each day you're supposed to do a post with a pre-determined theme. The idea is you let your friends and audience get to know you a little better (and as a bonus, you get in the habit of posting regularly which is a habit I've fallen out of. First blog in months here - are ya surprised?!).
Here are a few of my favourite posts from the first half of the challenge, in case you don't use Instagram or just wanted to see some good ones again.
1) The "hello" introduction one, featuring very blonde hair. This one's more about the text below, ignore my daft head
Okay let's see how long I can keep this up. Day 1 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is supposed to be an introduction so HERE WE GOOO... Hello, I'm Toby 🧜🏻♂️ and I make mermaidy things under the name #Merpola. I'm 27 and I live in Brighton, UK. I've been printing on clothing, creating accessories and doodling illustrations for landlocked merfolk all over Earth for the past 2+ years and it's a ton of fun. I also have a proper 'day job' working in video games 👾 so basically I’m terrible at being an adult all day long. Was a bit unprepared for this challenge so as it’s Thursday here's a throwback to me being a blonde bombSHELL (half a pun there? maybe?) last summer. It looked nice maybe 6 times, white-blonde hair is hard. This introduction is going badly isn’t it, haha oh nooo. Will try to cook up something more exciting for tomorrow. Oh - and for the people who voted “yes do march meet the maker” on my insta story and forcing me to commit to this - I’m gonna GET YA
2) The most recent: a very obscured sneak peek of the design on my new embroidered patch, coming SOON ! like next week soon, get your iron out.
Tried to post this so many times and Instagram won't stop bugging, if you can see it, let me know. If you've seen my attempts 16 times, apols. #MarchMeetTheMaker 'Dreams & Plans' 🆒 here's something exciting to share, a wibbly wobbly distorted sneak peek at my first embroidered patch !! adding it to my store at some point next week and can't bloody wait to show it off properly. If you want to be the first to see it, hit the link in my bio and sign up to the newsletter :) get ready to iron it onto something soon #Merpola 🌊 p.s. did try to post this several times yesterday and Instagram was having NONE of it, argh. Does this app seem super buggy to anyone else? Driving me loco.
3) My first ever flatlay... did I do it right? Ft. all the stuff I lug around each day.
Everything I sling over my shoulder each day 👜 stood on a chair and tried to make ya a nice flatlay for #MarchMeetTheMaker day 8. Featuring: the dinglehopper #Merpola tote, sunglasses to make me look like I *could* be in a band...maybe, handcream to keep my claws soft, wireless earphones so I can get my strut on, a wallet to keep all the loyalty cards trapped, a Nintendo Switch I tinkered with to make more 90s, a vape because I'm trash and trying not to smoke, and keys because life is not always an open door. What's in your bag? And need to CC in @joannehawker the creator of this pallava and Lyndsey from @photoboardshq who are hooppeeffullyy going to choose me to win the #winphotoboards comp so I can make way nicer flatlays in the future ☺️
4) Some relaxing I did on Brighton Pier last weekend. Click to the right to right to see me in my natural form.
5) When I got all my branded stuff together and made a nice messy collage, plus origin story time!
#MarchMeetTheMaker Day 11: 'Branding' 🔮 not sure if everybody knows why my business got called #Merpola, maybe this is a good time to re-explain? Basically, my mother's family name is Pola and I was raised by a tribe of 'em, even though it's not my surname I feel like it probably should be... plus I like sea things (can you tell) so I stuck a Mer on the front of it and the rest is history. It seemed catchy, plus no one had stolen Merpola.com yet, that helped seal the deal. I knew I wanted an upside down triangle in the logo because that's a sign for water, and it just seemed to mirror nicely with the stylised "A" at the end. FUN STORY HUH? 🌊 shout if you have a favourite logo sticker, there's at least one in every package sent out, and p.s. yaaay I'm all caught up with the Meet The Maker challenge, will try not to fall behind again
6) A "favourite to make" challenge where I basically chickened out and chose an illustration I'd been commisioned to make for somebody and still really like.
Day 4 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is here, & does it feel like day 44 to anyone else? It's supposed to be all about your "fav to make" but it might as well be called the 'choose your favourite child' challenge 🙅♂️ I can't do it, so instead here's part of an illustration I did a few years back. It was my first commisioned project and it seemed to make the person it was intended for v happy, so it's special to me. 🐟 #Merpola
And there you have it. If you'd like to keep up with what comes next, remember to give me a follow here OR just hang tight for a while, and I'll try to post some good stuff so I have more to share in part 2 :)
So this was intended to be part 1 and get itself an inevitably lesser sequel, but, something terrible happened - Instagram shadowbanned me mid-way through the month! I used the banned hashtag #desk (??) which put me on a 'blacklist' for the rest of the month, meaning that barely anyone could see my posts and I lost all motivation for a daily upload. If you want to know more about what an Instagram shadowban is and how to prevent it happening to your account I'm happy to write a follow-up blog, let me know.