Q. What’s your background/qualifications? i.e. how did you get into illustration?! Have you been drawing since you were young?
A. Oh it’s been a long old road to get here. And yet, when I look back on things, it’s honestly as if it’s all been meant to be. I guess you could say it started when I was around five at Rainbows and won a stocking full of chocolate goodies for drawing the best Christmas tree. I didn’t slow down there though and the accolades just started rolling in when I secretly submitted a drawing into Blue Peter and earned myself a coveted Blue Peter Badge!
Jesting aside, I loved art and design at school/college but was plagued with self-doubt. After taking some mis-guided advice from a mean lecturer when the self-doubt was at its peak, I did a couple of years at university studying textiles and fashion before deciding enough was enough. I finally listened to my heart; quit that and started a degree in illustration. This little business of mine has been in the making (in various forms) ever since.
Q. What do you like about creating illustrations for wedding stationery?
A. The thing I love most is making people happy. The idea for PBL came after I illustrated some wedding stationery for my best friend and she loved it so much. It made my heart so happy to have made her so happy and I wanted other people to be able to experience that too. It’s not until earlier this year though that I had first-hand experience of what it felt like to receive something so special. When my partner and I got engaged our close friends gave us a gift; a beautiful illustration of the cabin in Lapland where H proposed to me. Let’s just say, we shed some tears together when we opened it because it honestly felt so magical and nostalgic and heart-warming. It was such an incredible feeling. We’ll cherish that gift forever. So now, I completely get it. That experience changed my perspective on what I do because I can totally relate to how important my little illustrations are to the couples I work with. They are way more than pretty drawings for a special day but small time capsules of all the emotions and all the memories.
Q. How would you describe the style of your illustrations and design work?
A. I guess it would be very easy to describe my style of illustration as quirky, whimsical, perhaps even a little Quentin Blake-esque (which is just the biggest compliment in my eyes – ♥ QB 4eva) But what I would hope people would say about them is that they are heartfelt, imperfect, nostalgic and beautifully flawed.
Q. Talk us through the design process from initial client contact to completion.
A. So, once a couple have got in touch and I’ve finished doing my little happy dance around the kitchen, we’ll arrange to meet up or have a Skype call to get to know each other and chat through ideas. Some couples come to me with loads of plans and clear ideas, but quite frequently, couples come to me feeling a little overwhelmed with everything. They’ve booked the venue but have everything else to organise and so the pressure can mean their creativity is a bit stumped. Wherever a couple is at with their ideas, I’ll support them through the whole process to make sure that by the time their invites arrive, they are nothing but thrilled and excited to send them out! Overall the whole process for invitations takes roughly 6-9 weeks but we also create matching stationery items and on the day details like table plans, confetti cones and bespoke favours which are often turned around a little bit quicker. If couples have questions about the process, the pricing or what products PBL can create, please do reach out and ask. I’m always so happy to hear from you and will do my best to help.
Q. What inspires you?
A. Nature and architecture is probably top of the list but I get a lot of energy and creativity from spending time with passionate, interesting, wholesome people. I find inspiration strikes at the most unexpected time but moments of boredom (long train journeys, advert breaks during Taskmaster, waiting for the hot water to return for a shower) are often absolute gems for creativity and ideas! I can’t promise they’re always good ideas but… they’re always in abundance!
Q. Tell us how you work best? i.e. do you illustrate while listening to music? Outside? By the fire? With tea and biscuits?!
A. All of the above! Most often you’ll find me illustrating with the telly on, a snoring puppy nearby and a good snack on hand. Absolute dream.
Q. Tell us about you as a person, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
A. Same as above? Watching the telly by the fire with biscuits nearby? I really love a good crime drama (have you seen Unbelievable on Netflix? It’s my most recent fave!) so it is likely that you’ll find me cuddled on the couch. But if not, I love a cosy weekend walk with the dog (seeing how happy she is running through tall grass is something of pure joy) followed by a scrummy roast at home. At the moment though, most of my time is being spent in Homesense and the like stocking up on beautiful Christmas thingamabobs ready for the festive season! I’m planning on making my own crackers this year!
Q. You’ve illustrated a couple of maps for us – one we commissioned for Patrick’s Barn’s brochure and one for The Boat Shed at Salt – they’ve received lots of love! What have you enjoyed about these projects and how have they differed from your usual commissions?
A. I have LOVED it. I’ve known for ages the value that illustration could add to small independent businesses, helping to tell their unique story and fully show off their personality and ethos but I hadn’t yet branched out because that pesky to-do list always said there was something more pressing to get on with. Then when I was approached to do the first map for the GORGEOUS Patrick’s Barn, I finally had the perfect excuse to dedicate some proper time to it. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I have been blown away by the reaction towards each map I’ve produced; it’s been incredible! – so positive and so beneficial for each business. I really want to continue to work with local businesses in the future. It’s also super fun making new friends in the industry!