To celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day, Calvin Holbrook chatted with illustrator Ava Marie Puckett – AKA Ava Marie Doodles – about her kick-ass illustrations and products that are designed to lift your spirits!


Ava Marie Puckett – otherwise known as Ava Marie Doodles – is the brains behind Aviatepress, a beautiful illustration and design brand that sells handmade prints, cards and pins and the like with a feel-good and well-being twist. In her own words, Ava creates “positive, relatable doodles that garner human connection.” Indeed, her work is bright, witty and is full of messages, often touching on themes such as gratitude, happiness and kindness.

In fact, Ava's positive, witty and uplifting doodles promoting self-care have become a huge hit across the globe – she currently boasts 50K followers on Instagram where she regularly posts her new designs and thoughts. We had a quick chat with Ava about her artwork and approach to mental health to celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day. 


Calvin: Ava! So nice to chat :) You’ve based in Nashville, Tennessee. How did the recent tornado tragedy there affect you and how have the community responded?

Ava: “Luckily, I was not physically affected, but some of my day-to-day life has been affected and I’ve definitely felt an emotional impact. It’s hard to see the devastation on homes and businesses that I love, just a few miles away from my own home. My studio space was slightly damaged, with power out for a couple weeks and some exterior damage from wind.”

“I've definitely felt the community pull together – we are all trying to help in some way, whether that’s through volunteering, donations, or financial contributions. It’s amazing to see how much everyone was willing to give.”

Ava Puckett in her studio


And how are you coping with your mental health during the lockdown. Is it affecting your creativity?

“I'm trying to take it one day at a time and give myself some grace as I adjust to the current climate. It's tricky, though – some things that I normally do on a daily basis to keep my mental health in check have fallen behind. I think we are all just trying to cope and do the best we can.”

“As far as my creativity – it's gone up and down, just like my mood! Sometimes I find a bit of inspiration and run with it, but other times I feel sad and lonely – unmotivated to do anything at all. I did have a flash of inspiration this morning, though, which is a good way to start the week!”




You’re very candid about your mental health through your blog and artwork: how does being open about these issues help you to deal with them?

“It’s definitely become a part of my self-care routine. In fact, I think of it as a journal and artistic outlet. Journaling and doodling are tools that I’ve found to be very helpful in connecting the dots between feelings, experiences, and struggles I’ve had. And to be able to connect with others on what I’m experiencing, or help others feel less alone, is a very powerful thing.”

I make collages and it really helps me to get into a state of ‘flow’. Does that happen with you? How does creativity help you deal with your own anxiety and/or depression?

“I do. It’s amazing when you can get in that flow state, but it definitely requires a lot of work before I can get there. I’m so easily distracted by podcasts, social media, and my to-do list that I feel like I don’t get to the flow state as much as I’d like. It’s always something I’m working on.”



“I’d say my personal illustration work makes me feel creative and less anxious, but since I do it for work as well, I sometimes use other creative or physical outlets to get to the flow state – like music, running, and yoga.”


I’ve been living with panic attacks and anxiety for some time. What's your coping mechanism for attacks?

“Oh man, panic attacks are the worst! I’ve had two or three in my life, which were both brought on my extreme situational stress. The last time I had one, I was much more prepared and in a safe place. I was able to just sit on my floor, breathe through it, and accept that it was happening.

“I closed my eyes and just let my body freak out for a bit – I even made some noises like I was going into labor or something, which my therapist said was actually a healthy way to get through it!”

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How long have you been going to therapy and how has it changed your life?

“I think I’ve been going for two-and-a-half years now and it’s been great! I’ve seen such a difference in my day-to-day life and stress levels. I’ve worked through a lot of family and personal issues I didn’t even realize were causing me anxiety: issues with food and body image, for example.”


“Journaling and doodling are tools that I’ve found to be very helpful in connecting the dots between feelings, experiences, and struggles I’ve had.”

“Therapy has given me validation, ways to identify negative self-talk, and an outlet to work through problems that I had been ignoring. I’ve also gotten a lot better about confrontation and standing up for myself.”



What other things do you do for your self-care?

“Journal, yoga, baths, walks, treats from Jeni’s, taking care of my plants, and meditation.”


What are your best-selling items?

“I’d say my wedding-related cards do really well, as well as my Butts Print and my Living and Learning Print.”



What feedback have you had from others about how your work has helped them?

“I’ve received a lot of feedback from people saying my illustrations have made them feel more understood and less alone, which is amazing. It’s made me feel the same way when I hear from others that they can relate to my work and what I’m going through.”


And finally, who are your mental health heroes? Who inspires you? 

“My sister-in-law, who is a therapist and connected me with my therapist. Brené Brown, and other illustrators like Stacie Swift and Haley Weaver.” ●

If you love Ava's designs, be sure to follow her Instagram for a daily dose of self-care doodles!


Written by Calvin Holbrook

calvin.holbrook.jpegCalvin edits our magazine and is a lover of swimming, yoga, dancing to house/techno, and all things vintage. He also makes gay artwork. Find out more.



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6 hours ago, lzt-9716 said:

I love these illustrations!

Yes, so cool and with purpose! ?

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I love these illustrations!

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I hadn't heard of her before, really inspiring! ?

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