Gail Armstrong -Start With a Doodle


Gail Armstrong

Business Name:

Start With a Doodle


Facebook page/group:

Twitter name:


Where are you in the North East?

Blyth, Northumberland

Email address:

Directory advert:

Start With a Doodle consists of mostly digital artwork created on my iPadPro. I am a self taught artist and draw local scenes, such as lighthouses, motivational doodles, designs for business and commissions commemorating special events.

When did you start your business and why?:

I left a stressful job in adult education and decided to do what I am most passionate about. Art and writing. I began delivering creative journaling workshops, but when people began to ask for me to draw for them, I soon realised that digital art was the thing I wanted to do most and so I now focus on being an artist and illustrator.

What gives your business the edge?:

I specialise in Navy and military drawings, and because I actually served in the Royal Navy I have inside knowledge of the small things that turn a good drawing into a fantastic memory for the recipient. I look for details that trigger an emotional response, things that may seem insignificant to someone without forces experience. I have had wonderful comments from clients who said they were reduced to tears when they saw my work.

What is the best thing about running your own business?:

Being able to do things that makes your heart sing. I don’t think I could have a business if it didn’t. Flexibility, not tied to set working hours. Sometimes I enjoy working early in the morning or late in the evening.

And what is the worst!?:

Working from home. All the distractions! If I could afford to I would rent a small studio and work from there. People seem to think they can just pop in, or ask you to ‘do/get things for them  that they wouldn’t expect if you were in a work place.

Describe a typical day running your business and balancing family life:

I am carer for my 89 year old father in law and have a teenage son plus three dogs. My husband works very hard and so I try to allow him time to relax when he gets home. I like to wake early, around 6am and do my planning and morning routine before anyone else gets up. I have to be flexible during the day and responsible for taking FIL to hospital appointments, collecting things he needs so I rarely have a set work time during the day and fit in what I can when I can. I do find that in the evening I often have a couple of hours of quiet time when I like to draw and relax.  

At the weekends I take myself into my summerhouse and work in there, as my husband can keep an eye on his dad in the house. That is my personal retreat. I love working in there.

How do you envisage your business changing over the next 5 years?:

I would like to be in a position where I am getting a steady flow of art work and can charge a little more for it. I would also like to have published my book and also recognised as a writer. I never want to have more work than I can cope with, and become stressed again. I would also like to have a small studio or less distraction from family members if working from home.

When I was young, I used to say “one day I’m going to be an artist and writer”. I’m over halfway to achieving my dream.  How wonderful is that?

Do you have any advice for other women in or starting a business?:

Do what you love most, Let things happen naturally and consider every opportunity. Sometimes you can’t see something until you’re ready to see it.  Persevere, believe and stay true to yourself.