Last Chance to Paint with John Dyer

Last week Zazzle artist John Dyer travelled all the way from Falmouth, Cornwall to the tribal village of Mutum, in the Acre region of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil. With him, he brought some high-tech satellite equipment and plenty of art supplies.

The expedition is the first chapter in an incredible new project called ‘Last Chance to Paint,’ which will see John paint endangered ecosystems and peoples around the world. On their travels, John and his team will connect with schools via technology to share their experiences and art, and to inspire children to create their own paintings of rapidly disappearing wildlife and cultures.

We caught up with John before he set off to find out more about this exciting and eye-opening project!

Tell us a bit more about Last Chance to Paint! When and why did you decide to launch the initiative?

Ever since I travelled to the Amazon rainforest in 1989 as a photographer for Thames TV, I have been exploring the world through my art. That adventure convinced me that painting was a more powerful medium to connect to the natural world, and I have painted ever since. Painting allows an artist to not only capture what they see but also what they feel, and that magical place where the two intersect is art.

Over the last 18 years, I have been honoured to be able to explore environmental subjects around the globe, and in the world’s largest captive rainforest, with the Eden Project as their artist in residence. My last big project was in 2015 when I met an Amazon Indian, Nixiwaka Yawanawá. I discovered his dream was to paint and we worked together on ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’, which inspired more than 1,000 children to celebrate tribal culture with their own artwork.

Last year, I was 50 years old and a new book was published about my life and work with a foreword by Alan Titchmarsh:  ‘John Dyer – Painting the Colours of the World’. The last chapter in this book was titled ‘Last Chance to Paint’, and literally maps out endangered environments around the world that I would love to paint: the places, people, animals and plants we might lose if we are not careful.

I decided that if we gained support and used the latest satellite and web technology, we could make this idea into a much bigger four-year arts and educational project. We wanted to enable schools to be in the moment, to ask questions and to ‘travel’ with me to connect them to the world. Last Chance to Paint then quickly became a reality as it resonated well with everyone I approached.

What are the first locations on your itinerary? How did you choose them, and what are you planning to paint there?

The first three chapters of the project are funded and planned. I wanted to connect back with Nixiwaka Yawanawá to paint with him again as the tribe invited me to do so. This became the obvious first chapter and is called ‘Spirit of the Rainforest 2’. I will be travelling with one of the world’s greatest explorers on the first two chapters, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, OBE. Our next chapter will be to visit the Penan tribe in Borneo, where more than 90% of the rainforest has now been felled. I will also be working with the Orangutan Foundation and painting and drawing orangutans. So Borneo is Chapter two of the project and is called ‘Person of the Forest’. The third chapter is named ‘Precious Africa’, and is literally a Last Chance to Paint the world’s last two Northern White Rhino before this species is lost from planet earth. It has to be one of the first chapters because when I started to plan the project there were three rhinos, but with the death of the last male Northern White Rhino, there are now only two and time is very short.  

Why do you think art is such an effective medium for engaging children with important issues like conservation and climate change? How can schools get involved in this project?

David Attenborough said recently: “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” This is exactly what we hope to address as when a child takes time to make a piece of art they are pausing to think, to reflect, to look and will start to care for the subject. This reflective and creative space is really important and is something I believe can be harnessed in a powerful way.

Schools can take part in Last Chance to Paint from all over the world for free! All we ask is that they let us know by registering their interest on our website. Once they have done that, they should follow the Last Chance to Paint live blog and social media so that can ‘travel’ with us and send us their questions. They can have a Q&A with an Amazon Indian tribe, the Penan Tribe in Borneo and experts in Africa, as well as asking me and the team whatever they wish via this page. It will send the content of their message to us wherever we are in the world via satellite. Pretty cool!

We also have downloadable lesson plans, created by the Born Free Foundation, available for teachers to make delivering the project really easy. We also hope every child will be able to have their art uploaded to us so we can exhibit it on our online gallery, which we aim to be the best and largest art celebration of planet earth by children in the world.

Will your resulting artwork be available to buy on Zazzle?

Yes! We have a new Zazzle store dedicated to Last Chance to Paint that already has several of my paintings. As each chapter of the project is completed, new artworks will be added and we are using the profits raised from the sales to help us fund future chapters of Last Chance to Paint. I think it is really inspiring for children to see an artist at work, to be able to ask questions and then to see that artist’s work published and available for sale. It’s an amazing process and the Zazzle platform allows me to make a great variety of art available on a wide range of items that will hopefully inspire and connect those who purchase them. If anyone would like to donate directly, they can do so on our gofundme page.

We can’t wait to see the new paintings added to John Dyer’s store, and will be tuning in to follow his adventures live from the rainforest and beyond!

Featured Creator: The Arty Apples

Design duo, Michelle and Leanne, started their Zazzle store The Arty Apples after realising that life is too short to not follow your passions. They now work on the business full-time from their homes in the Cotswolds, and are even getting younger members of the family involved!

Where is your hometown?

We both still live in our hometown where we were born. It’s a small market town in the Cotswolds.

Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio, or have you carved out a nook in your home?

We both work from our homes. As all of our design work is done on laptops, we have the freedom to choose where to work. Some days we will work at our desks, sometimes in the garden, and other times lounging on the sofa!

What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?

Michelle: After working for many years in retail, I had had enough of middle manager demands and staff issues. So I started to learn some new skills in digital design. I then made the decision that life is too short to not do something you love, so that was the turning point for me. We now work full time on the business, and I enjoy it every day.

Leanne: I always dreamed of being a graphic designer and I studied Art and Graphics for GCSE. However, the careers advisor steered me towards Maths-based subjects because I had a natural aptitude. So art was put on the back burner. After becoming a mum, I decided I had to go back to my passion and set up a creative company.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Anywhere and everywhere. Once we get an idea for a product, we tend to research other examples to ensure our products would be different from what’s currently on offer. We draw inspirations from magazines, children’s books, illustrators and greetings cards.

When do you feel your most creative? Your least?

We both create our best work around the middle of the day. We’re certainly not early birds or night owls!

What are your favourite products to design on Zazzle?

Photo backdrops! They are a fairly new product and they complement the work we already have in our shop.

If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?

Zazzle has recently added some products we had been waiting for, such as photo backdrops! It would also be amazing to have letterpress because we know customers, particularly of wedding stationery, would love this option.

What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?

Fall-themed address cards

Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Creators?

Don’t give up because it does take a while to get noticed and royalties can be slow to start. Just keep adding high-quality designs and the hard work will pay off!

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

We both love anything crafty, and we teach Leanne’s daughters, and Michelle’s granddaughters, in the hope that one day they will open their own Zazzle stores!

Why It’s MY Mug: Zazzlers & Their Favourite Mugs

If your office is anything like ours, you’ll know that some people get very attached to their work mugs. We even see forlorn emails from colleagues desperately trying to track down precious coffee cups. On a long day at the desk, a funny or personal mug topped up with tea will do wonders and you can feel lost without it. Since Zazzle makes personalised mugs, you won’t be surprised to hear that many of us have one, two or possibly five each! But one is always a bit more special than the rest and can tell you a lot about someone’s personality. So we decided to chat to some Zazzlers about why they chose and love their very unique mugs.

Krystal’s Harry Potter Mug

Harry Potter Cartoon Mug

Is your favourite Harry Potter character featured on your mug? If so, who is it? I chose this over other Harry Potter mugs as it has cartoon versions of the characters. Dobby the elf and Hedwig the owl look so cute it made me sad all over again (spoiler alert – they both die in the end).

Now tell us, which Hogwarts House do you see yourself as being in? Um, Gryffindor all the way!! Ravenclaw as a close second choice though.

Aisling’s Royal Wedding Mug

Royal Wedding Mug - When Harry Met Megan Mug

What made you pick a Royal Wedding mug?  I’ve always been a big fan of the royals ever since I saw Kate Middleton walk up that aisle. When I heard there was another royal wedding in the making, I made sure I had my mug to mark the occasion. Mugs are my favourite keepsake for any event.

Who are your favourite royals? My favourite royal has always been Prince Harry, I even named one of my cats after him! He’s the most chilled out royal and isn’t afraid to break tradition from time to time!

Do you prefer light or dark roast? I’m all about trying new things when it comes to coffees so I don’t really have a preference.

Hazel’s Skull Mug

Skull Mug

What was your inspiration for your mug? What made you choose this one in particular? I had no inspiration really. I went through all the mugs we had. There were so many and I came across this one. Skulls would typically be incorporated with dark, scary designs but this is different. It’s full of colour and very vibrant. It stuck out.

I can see you went for our Jumbo mug, what made you choose this size? I am a very thirsty person. If I am having a cup of tea, a cup of coffee or even just drinking water I find the more the better. It keeps me happy and hydrated.

Jacintha’s Hedgehog Mug

Van Gogh Hedgehog Mug

Why did you choose this design? I already had a hedgehog themed mug for home so I wanted to buy a similar one for the office. I stumbled across the Urchin_Wear store and decided to go with a design that combined my love of hedgehogs and Van Gogh paintings!

Tell me a little about Ricki, your pet Hedgehog I’ve had Ricki for more than a year now and she occasionally comes into the office. Ricki is a bit of a character – she mainly loves sleeping and eating but she enjoys all the attention she gets when she’s in the office!

Describe yourself in the morning without coffee? A different person – tea or coffee is needed in the morning.

Tessa’s (that’s me!) Boxing Panda Mug

Hipster Panda Mug

Why did I choose this mug as my favourite? Working at Zazzle, you come across new and talented creators every day. One of my favourite creators is bsolti, I came across this mug and knew I just had to have it!

Where would be my ideal place to enjoy a coffee? I’ve spent a lot of time travelling over the last couple years. Within my recent travels I was introduced to the authentic coffee of Spain. Nothing beats Spanish coffee, taking in the breath-taking architecture in the warm summer sun.

How do I prefer my coffee? I usually take my coffee black or with a splash of milk. However, my Canadian roots tend to come out when at home as I like to add a drop of maple syrup too. Trust me, it’s life-changing!

Share with us your favourite Zazzle mug designs and coffee secrets in the comments below!

UK Creator Store Spotlight: Scrummylicious

Today we’re chatting to Sharon Turner, aka ‘Scrummylicious‘ from Nottingham, biomedical scientist turned artist! She’s inspired by nature, animals and architecture and her store is packed with eclectic animals and patterns. She’s a fan of sci-fi and dreams to live by the sea…

Tell us a bit about yourself! Where are you living right now?

I’m based in Nottingham, which is about as far away from the seaside as you can be. Not good planning on my part because I love the sea! Art is my work, my hobby and my therapy… I’m kind of lost if I’m not being creative. I love to draw. Drawing is the best thing ever.

Scrummylicious- Sealion Coaster

Where you do you draw? Do you have a studio or are you just as creative at home?

My studio is in the corner of my dining room, which looks out onto our lovely garden. I can lose myself in my designing but still be around for the real life stuff too. As long as my laptop is playing a movie for me to listen to as I work, it’s all good. Horror and sci-fi are my favourite genres!

Scrummylicious - Mandala Work in Progress

What is your background in art and design? What got you started creating?

I’ve always been a very creative person. I chose to study biochemistry and biomedical science for my degree, but found my way back to art after I got married. I’ve studied interior design, sewn home furnishings, made jewellery… I’ve always been obsessed by shape and colour! Now I draw and make patterns for a living. I’m very lucky.

Scrummylicious - Leggings

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Nature, animals, architecture… anything, nothing and everything! It’s hard NOT to be inspired. I love having beautiful patterns and prints all around me, all of the time.

Scrummylicious - San Francisco Clock

When do you feel your most creative? Your least?

I’m a night owl. I’m definitely the most productive in the early hours. And I need at least three cups of coffee in the morning to start being even remotely human.

Scrummylicious - Bike Mug

What are your favourite products to design on Zazzle?

I love the cushions the best. So many options, and they are such a great way to update a room. I also love the shower curtains and leggings. I’m fond of the bigger items as my patterns and animals look really great on them.

Scrummylicious - Fox Pillow

If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?

To be honest, you now have the one that I’d been wishing for forever – fabric! Designing patterns for textiles is fantastic, especially when I get to see what people make with it!

Scrummylicious: Deer Fabric

What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?

I always like to have my best work in my Zazzle store. I occasionally have a spring clean to keep everything fresh. So (cough) I’m afraid I don’t know… I think I deleted it. But I’m sure it was lovely!

Scrummylicious - Shower Curtain

Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Creators?

I’m not very good at taking criticism or direction. I just do what I love. I think if you have art in your soul, you will be great. Just enjoy it. And drink coffee.

Scrummylicious - Panda Wood Wall Art

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

I’m arting all the time… my portfolio is getting pretty big! Do check out my website and follow me on social media to keep up to date! If you ever spot an artwork that you’d like on a particular product on Zazzle, drop me a line. I’m always happy to help when I can.

Creator Spotlight: The John Dyer Gallery

Today we’re excited to introduce our first featured artist on the UK blog, The John Dyer Gallery. John lives and works in Falmouth and his work captures the vibrancy of the stunning Cornish coastline and other destinations around the world. From bustling fishing harbours to the Amazon rainforest, every scene is full of life and fun. We had a chat about what inspires him as an artist, and his favourite products on Zazzle!

John Dyer Painting The Amazon Rainforest

Tell us about yourself!

I live in Falmouth, Cornwall – one of the art hotspots in the country and a super inspiring coastal location to live and work in! I am a contemporary artist, painter and my canvases are sold all over the world. I use elements from my paintings to create my designs on Zazzle. I am the artist in residence and love to travel and study environmental subjects around the world.

John Dyer Seagull T-Shirt

Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have a studio or a particular place in your home where you paint?

I have always worked from home – cost effective and friendly! I have a large house and the three floors all have studio spaces for painting, packing, designing and framing. It is quite an industrious place! I live and work by the beach surrounded by wonderful light, sub-tropical plants and holiday fun.

John Dyer Painting Palette

What is your background in art? How did you get started?

My father is an artist, so I grew up surrounded by art. I trained in London in graphic design and then lived in Camden as a freelance designer and young artist. Travelling to the Amazon rainforest in 1989 converted me to a painter.

Spirit of the Amazon Rainforest Poster - John Dyer
Spirit of the Amazon Rainforest Poster

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

The natural world, my family, people on holiday and inspiring places all influence my work.

Summertime Night St Ives John Dyer Mug
Summertime Nights St Ives Mug

When do you feel your most creative? Your least?

When I have a clear head I feel the most creative and when I travel.

Cannes - South of France - John Dyer iPhone Case
Cannes – South of France Case

What are your favourite products to design on Zazzle?

I love the variety of Zazzle products, it’s a wonderful design process to go through. My favourites are the ties, phone cases and clocks, but my most popular items are posters and postcards. Overall, it’s the variety that I like and the challenge of working with new products all the time.

Horse Racing Tie - John Dyer
Horse Racing Tie

Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Creators?

Have fun! Design lots of products and don’t worry if some don’t sell – you need a wide offering to attract interest and then keep expanding the range. Order your own products, as presents for friends and family so you get to know what you are selling.

Any final thoughts for our readers?

Zazzle are a great company to work with and they look after our customers well. It’s a fantastic partnership!

Where’s Wally? Have You Seen This Man…

Flashback to 1987. Cold War fever gripped the nation. The Simpsons first hit TV airwaves. The slick veneer of the 80s was in full force. The Where’s Wally?’ campaign began.

A long-standing friend of ours went missing. Wally (also known by the alias Waldo in the United States) left on an epic adventure. Last seen wearing a distinctive red and white striped top with matching hat, he should be very easily spotted, right? Well costume or not, we are still looking for this loveable cartoon character. We have custom posters set up across the country! Have you seen him? Is he okay? We are getting worried…

The Known Sightings

Where is Wally? Well there have been sightings over the years. He seems to have an interest in exotic travel destinations (don’t we all though?) This classic children’s character has been spotted in a variety of locations. Photographic evidence puts him in Egypt, Rome, Japan and a host of other amazing countries worldwide. He also appears to time travel.

Where's Wally - Egypt

Where's Wally - Ancient Rome

The questions remain. How? Why?

The Witnesses

A host of witnesses and volunteers have come forward to help with the hunt and we thank them wholeheartedly for continuing the search for our long lost friend. These cartoonish Where’s Wally characters have been known to spot our tricky traveller on more than one occasion. Most notably, Santa Claus discovered him hiding away among his Christmas gifts but was unable to persuade him to stay!

Where's Wally - Christmas

A host of events celebrate the kids cartoon hero we know and love (and would really like to return home… Wally… if you’re reading this…). World record Where’s Wally costume events, where the public dress up as our missing man, remind us all that the hunt continues! Dublin, Ireland has the current record for participants.

The Allies

Where’s Wally books have been made on the subject, furthering speculation that Wally hasn’t been working alone. Wilma – his confidant and friend. Woof – his cute canine companion. The Wally Watchers – a group of fanatics who are determined to find the answer to Where’s Wally?!Where's Wally Book Bag

Threads all connected in a web, surrounded by the man in glasses with an unusually chipper smile. Clearly he’s under duress. Nobody is that chirpy.

If Found, Please Contact

We cannot stand by and hope any more. The time for action is now! If you see Wally, hear of his whereabouts or even a whisper on the wind tells you where he might currently be, please contact Zazzle! Be sure to get the warning out everywhere. On mugs, t-shirts, bags. Anything that lets people know the search is still on-going.

Where's Wally Mousepad

Where's Wally T-Shirt

We are concerned for his safety. He’s a danger to himself. Always jetting off. HE EVEN WENT TO SPACE!!! Sure it was cool and all but he had no helmet or anything. A total daredevil!

Where's Wally - Space

We can be contacted by leaving a comment below or on social media. At Zazzle, we’ll never leave a man behind.

Me & My City: Ana, Project Manager at Zazzle, On Valencia

The people working at Zazzle are as diverse and unique as our products, and here at Zazzle’s International HQ in Cork, we have an amazing bunch from all over the world. In our new series ‘Me & My City’, we want to introduce you to some of the International team, what they do at Zazzle and tell us a bit about where they are from. You’ll meet our marketeers, translation experts, merchandisers and in-house creators, from Spain, Sweden, Brazil, Japan and of course our hometown Cork, Ireland. We hope you enjoy seeing a bit more behind the scenes at Zazzle, and then get some summer holiday inspiration to boot!

Today we’re chatting to Ana, our Project Manager and her city Valencia, Spain.

Beach in Xàbia, Valencia region
Ana, off duty in Xàbia in the Valencia region

Name: Ana

Hometown: Valencia, Spain

Tell us about yourself! What do you do at Zazzle?

I was born and raised in Xàbia, Alicante but I went to university in Valencia, which I consider my second home. I have lived and worked in different countries, but I moved to Cork, Ireland for the opportunity to work at Zazzle! I work as a project manager for our international markets, helping my team (an amazing group of colleagues from different countries) to localise the Zazzle website into eight different languages. We do everything from translating product descriptions to implementing SEO strategies to launching marketing campaigns adapted to different markets.

What is your favourite Zazzle product, and why?

I love the fleece blankets! The fabric is so soft, the print quality is amazing and there are many designs to choose from. They are perfect at this time of year to keep cosy in the cold weather.  

What are your hobbies?

I love travelling, history, walking and good food. Whenever I can, I take a flight somewhere in Europe, especially to destinations that combine all of these passions. 

What is there to see in your hometown?

Valencia is the city of light. I love the ‘Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias’. It’s a cultural complex with incredible architecture. The light in that area of the city is unique, especially on a sunny day when it reflects from the white buildings with different shapes. One building looks like an eye, another one like the ribs of a whale and so on. They all have different functions, from museums to an opera house to a cinema. They are located in the old riverbed, with nice gardens crossing the whole city from north to south.

Another area that I love in Valencia is the old town. You walk through it and you can see centuries of history and different cultures meld in the architecture. I recommend visiting el ‘Mercado Central’ (the Market) and ‘La Catedral de Santa María’ (the Cathedral). If you visit the Cathedral, don’t miss the art inside and take the stairs up to the tower called ‘Micalet’ to enjoy the most magnificent views of the city.

What should we eat there?

Paella! It’s originally from here and you won’t find a better version of this dish anywhere in the world than the one you will eat in Valencia. The whole of the Valencia region is known for its rice dishes. So don’t miss the opportunity to order rice for lunch! If you go in the summertime, you should also try ‘Horchata’. It’s a white, fresh drink made from tiger nuts (not actually nuts, but tiny root vegetables). It’s delicious! Of course there are many, many more dishes, but if I keep talking about food the list would be endless…

Are there any special celebrations in your hometown?

The most well known festival is ‘Fallas’. It’s a regional festival in March to celebrate Saint Joseph. People go out in the street to be with their friends; there are fireworks every day at 2pm; there is a parade where people wear regional dress and bring flowers to ‘La Virgen de los Desamparados’. But the most important part of the festival is that each neighbourhood builds a huge monument in the street, and then burns it to ashes on the night of 19th March, which is pretty spectacular. The Fallas festival is part of UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It’s really good fun!

Finally, are there any other interesting facts about Valencia?

One of the most important painters from Valencia is Joaquin Sorolla. He captures the light from the city like no one else. He also painted in Xàbia. I adore his art and I think you should see it at least once in a lifetime. One of his most important collections, called ‘Vision of Spain’, is in the Hispanic Society of America, New York.

Joaquín Sorolla - Couples On Horseback Postcard - UK Zazzle Blog

Joaquín Sorolla Guitar Players Postcards,UK Zazzle Blog

Calling All International Card Creators!

Do you fancy having your work featured onsite and on social platforms this Christmas?

We in the International marketing team are on the hunt for some standout Christmas cards created by creators in our International markets. In particular we’re looking for folded cards with greetings in British English or, if you are a native speaker, in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Dutch or Japanese!

If you like the sound of FREE promotion on Zazzle (you might even make it onto the home page!) and the chance to be featured on our social channels, read on to find out how to upload Christmas designs in your native language.

Just follow these steps to submit your designs:

  • Go to the appropriate international domain on Zazzle to post your new design for sale.
  • To make sure your designs can be found on that domain, make sure all copy and content is added
    in the local language. This includes the design title, design description, tags and all template fields.
  • We suggest keeping your royalties under 15%.
  • Share your designs everywhere and with everyone – on your blog, Facebook page, Instagram,
    Pinterest, and more.
  • Any UK creators can add #myzazzle when posting your product on Instagram.

UK creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

Australian creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

Canadian creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

French creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

Spanish creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

German creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

Dutch creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

Japanese creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

Portuguese creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE.

Swedish creators, please go to and submit your designs HERE

Happy designing and Good Luck!

Made For The UK & Ireland

Today we’re excited to launch the Zazzle blog for the UK and Ireland, written especially for our readers on this side of the pond.

Like everything we do, we want this space to celebrate creativity and individuality, giving special attention to local creators, makers, trends and events in the UK and Ireland.

We also want to show you around our unique office in characterful Cork City. We’ve renovated a 19th-century warehouse into Zazzle’s European HQ and filled it with a talented team – many of whom you will be hearing from here.

With ex-chefs, fitness instructors, photographers, crafters and brides-to-be among our bloggers, we think we have some fun stuff to share. All are Zazzle experts, and can show you how to perfectly personalise our products: from Christmas cards to iPhone cases, fabric to favours, shoes to skateboards.

So join us as we visit an artist’s studio in St Ives, style simple but scary Halloween costumes and see how to make a meal in a mug. We’ll help you tackle your wedding seating plan, learn the art of Japanese gift wrap and turn your summer holiday photos into just about anything.

We can’t wait to get started and we hope you feel the same.