Each year, we celebrate Pride Month in the UK to remember momentous achievements and movements, as well as look forward to the future of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a month to celebrate love and equality for all, but 2022 is even more important for Pride Month as it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first Pride event in the UK.
The Just Like Us Jigsaw Puzzle is a part of our new releases this year, created to celebrate the movement of the LGBTQIA+ community over the years. The bright and beautiful illustration showcases a Pride parade, showing the celebration of joy and triumph for how far everyone has come. Featuring illustrations of people of different genders and sexual orientations, this jigsaw puzzle shows continuous love and acceptance, community and most importantly, pride in who we are.
Alongside this, it acts as a consistent reminder of how far we have yet to go; a continuous fight for injustices and inequalities that still exist within the community and around the world today.
Just Like Us LGBTQIA+ Charity
The UK charity Just Like Us is a young people’s charity that work with the education system across the UK to improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ young people. They have set up school diversity weeks, school talks and pride groups. All of these combined provide a safe place for people, educate pupils and faculty and provide free education resources and insights into how to better support LGBTQIA+ young adults.
Dominic Arnall, CEO of Just Like Us, said: "We're so delighted to have this support from Gibson Games. The puzzle is a fantastic celebration of the LGBT+ community and we were so pleased to collaborate with them on the design. A huge thank you to Gibson Games for their donation and contribution from every puzzle, ensuring that we can support more LGBT+ young people than ever before."
It was in fact Just Like Us who put Gibsons in touch with freelance illustrator Lucy Kirk (and are we glad that they did)!
Lucy Kirk is well known in the design space for depicting important messages through her bold and bright use of colours and illustrations, creating the amazing jigsaw puzzle that you see today. Lucy has worked with a wide range of well-known brands, including climate-neutral mobility company Tier, cosmetic company Lush and fashion brand Mulberry to name a few. Her refreshing, playful and vivid illustrations help to bring her message to life, something which we love in the Just Like Us 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
We were interested in wanting to find out more about Lucy and her incredible illustrations, as well as where she draws inspiration from and her goal with the ‘Just Like Us’ collaboration.
Q&A with Lucy Kirk - Illustrator of ‘Just Like Us Jigsaw Puzzle’
1. Where did you get your inspiration from in creating the Just Like Us illustration?
My inspiration for the puzzle was all things pride parade! I have been to a few different Pride celebrations over the years. I went to university in Brighton, so I have enjoyed celebrating Pride there several times. It was amazing! I’ve also been to Bristol pride, where I live currently. It’s so great to be in and amongst crowds. I love seeing everyone coming together and I tried to capture this feeling in my illustration.
2. Much of your work draws attention to equality, specifically LGBTQIA+ rights and feminism. What drew you to this, and why do you feel it's an important topic to focus on?
I think being part of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to share my voice. I always try to be as inclusive as possible with my work and hope that this shows.
3. Are there any artists who inspire your work or that you draw inspiration from?
I love the outsider art and primitive work. One of my favourites is Maria Auxiliadora da Silva. Who was a self-taught Brazilian painter, she sadly died aged just 39. Her work is so expressive and it's incredible how many paintings there are. I just love her work.
4. What made you want to become an artist?
I’ve always loved drawing and making things. I’m not one to plan to far ahead but let’s just say I never really imagined doing anything else. I’m so thankful that I get to do a job which I love.
5. Has it been a goal of yours to have your illustration featured on a jigsaw puzzle before?
It actually was! I really love doing jigsaw puzzles and it’s one of those surreal moments to see my own design on a jigsaw. I love that it’s a charity project for a cause I'm passionate about, it makes it even more special.
6. Could you give us an insight into your creative process and thinking when creating your designs?
All my work starts off as an ink drawing done in a sketchbook with a paint brush. I guess that’s pretty old school but it’s the only way I can naturally work. Then I’ll normally scan in the work and colour and edit it with on my iPad. So, it’s a nice mix of analogue and digital.
7. Out of all of your designs, do you have a favourite? If yes, what makes this design your favourite?
Oh hard question! I wouldn’t say I have a favourite as it’s always changing. I think that’s one of the great things about being a freelance illustrator. The variety of jobs and clients and that you never really know what's around the corner.
8. We can see that you are renovating your police station house! That’s very exciting - how is that going so far?
Ahh yes the labour of love. Let’s just say it’s a pretty slow project. I keep thinking we haven’t progressed much but it’s hard to tell when you live, work and renovate the same space. Thankfully my partner Ruby reminds me of the before and afters and is pretty good at DIY, so that’s very handy!
9. Do you have any upcoming plans for future collaborations with brands to support LGBTQIA+ individuals? Or do you have any design ideas for future LGBTQIA+ focused projects that you would like to carry out?
I always love to collaborate to support LGBTQ+ individuals! I would love to do a pride parade float! I almost did one a few years ago but sadly Covid meant the parade didn’t happen. So, one day, hopefully I'll get to do one! That would be a dream.
10. What does Pride mean to you?
Pride to me is about celebrating. It’s about celebrating who you are and also being proud of that. It’s a chance to unite as a community and show support to one another. As an ally or as part of the LGBTQ+ community. It's that safe space that’s so needed and it’s also a very good party!
Gibsons x Just Like Us Collaboration
Samantha Goodburn, Senior Marketing Manager states: “We’re so pleased to be able to support the charity Just Like Us as they do such important and incredible work to eliminate bullying and spread awareness of the issues that young LGBTQIA+ people still face. We first collaborated in 2021, when their ambassadors ran a workshop with our team. Following that we knew we wanted to do more, so they put us in touch with Lucy and the rest is history!
Personally the Just Like Us jigsaw puzzle is one of my favourite designs in our range. The bright colours, happy characters and busy-ness makes it incredibly enjoyable and puts a smile on my face every time I look at it!”
For every copy of the Just Like Us jigsaw puzzle that is sold, we will be donating 25p to the Just Like Us charity, to which we have already made an initial donation of £4000. We hope that our donation will help in building a better future for LGBTQIA+ young people moving forward.
Celebrate Pride Month 2022 with Gibsons
By sharing the Just Like Us jigsaw puzzle with our fans and newcomers, we hope that everyone can enjoy celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK, showing support for a vital charity that will grow and shape the future of LGBTQIA+ lives and educate schools and colleges around the UK.
Share the Love!
We would love to see your finished jigsaw puzzle. You can tag us on social media to share your photos and videos with the Gibsons team!