Hi my name is Megan Dobbyn

I’m an illustrator who grew up in the Tees Valley, I studied my foundation diploma at Cleveland College of Art and Design and studied illustration at Leeds Arts University. I graduated last July and I am currently living in Leeds working on freelance illustration projects.

Being asked to create a map for the Real Tees Valley Film Trail was really exciting and it was so much fun illustrating buildings and landmarks from the Tees Valley, such as the Transporter Bridge, that I was familiar with. It was also great to make work for part of a creative project so close to home and be part of something exciting from the area.

Find out more about Real Tees Valley Film Trail here

Growing up in Guisborough, near Middlesbrough a lot of my interests centred around the amazing wildlife and coastline the Tees Valley has to offer. Some of my favourite ways to spend time in the area are visiting Skinningrove beach and walking along the clifftops to Saltburn or seeing the seals at Seal Sands near Middlesbrough.

I think the Tees Valley is a very inspiring place to be an artist and there are countless beautiful areas to visit, juxtaposed with the remnants of industry, often both in the same place, such as the captivating South Gare near Redcar. Growing up around nature has definitely come forward as a theme in my work and you can find more of my work at or on Instagram @megdobbyn_illustration.


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Welcome to Kindred Guisborough

Kindred Guisborough


It’s not long now until our big Kindred Guisborough weekend. Following our Art-trail week of independent shops, cafes and bistros opening up their doors to host local artists, tomorrow begins a creatively jam-packed weekend of art, music and spoken word, and I and the tiny band of supportive creatives who make up Kindred Guisborough couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s all come together.

Opening Event Henwen and Support

I have something to prove with this event, I suppose – I want people to know about our cultural offer. I’m from Teesside, but lived in Kent for many years. In the South I was aware that our gorgeous moors, beaches and fascinating industrial heritage were well known, but do we have any culture? If you ask any of the many creatives, festival and event organisers, performers, artists, gallery owners and makers I’ve worked with over the years, they’ll shout about our culture to the rooftops, but nothing works better than bringing our creative sector together to show off a bit, and work together as a collective force. That’s what we’re aiming for.

So – the whole thing came about one evening in a Guisborough dining room – but before we go there, I want to briefly take you back a few years to 2013, when I ran Skybluered Studio, a non-profit business.

We sold artwork alongside our tea and cake, ran workshops and I could see how the work on the walls was as important as what was on people’s plates.

Additionally, I became Town Champion for Totally Locally, a shop local scheme to re-energise towns through independents working together. Through the experience of running outdoor markets for Totally Locally I could see how culture in our towns and those in the scheme was one of the real drivers for changing attitudes.

The market became a yearly event, small, but something to look forward to, and suitable to fit around my job now working here at Tees Valley Arts, but I still hankered for the idea of an art trail to go with the market.

Some money became available through the Co-operative – a friend and I sat down and rapidly what was an art trail and market developed on a piece of paper onto a bigger art event with performances and pop-ups, all with the sort of feel that’s particular to our part of the world, and reflecting our more rural locality.

This wasn’t just to be an event to entertain, but to truly bring together our independent shops and our artists and makers, musicians, writers and performers, That opportunity to show off.

And so we’re here – in not very many months, and with incredible support, we present to you:

Kindred Guisborough – a truly community-led art festival.


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