‘Afternoon folks! I hope you’re having a lovely start to the week.
Well, I’m delighted to start my comeback series of posts for this month with my ‘Behind the Scenes‘ interviews and this month we have the lovely illustrator Louise Wright; the amazing talent behind all the super cute animal-inspired illustrations you will find on anything from tea towels to mugs. I first stumbled across Louise’s work (as well as meet the lovely lady herself who I chatted to for a while intrigued about the story behind that print!) at the Crafty Fox Autumn markets last year in Brixton….as you can see from that link, I did also fall in love with her ‘Elephant and Penguin’ print which now takes pride on my little gallery wall in our bedroom. There’s a sense of warmth and innocence in her work that almost makes you go back to those nostalgic happy childhood days…..I’m not exactly sure how best to describe it but all I know is it puts a huge smile on my face every time I look at her print hanging on my wall. It makes me feel warm, fuzzy and happy! :)
Anyway, without further adieu, let me introduce you to this delightful Derbyshire-based illustrator who has been such a pleasure to interview! Here’s what she has to say….
 Hi Louise, tell us a little about yourself. Have you always wanted to be an illustrator/designer? Hello, I’m a freelance illustrator based in Derby. I didn’t always want to be an illustrator, when I was younger I wanted to be a writer, but as time went on I became less and less academic and much more drawn to the art side of learning. I still very much would love to write for children but something in my brain has switched onto drawing only at the moment and the stories don’t flow as easily, so I’m not forcing it, it’ll come back on its own :)
 How did you come about setting up Louise Wright Design? What is the story behind your business? Well, after graduating university with a first class honors in illustration I came out into the world full of hope, which was quickly crushed. After lots of rejections I found myself in an office job crying at lunchtime because I was so unhappy and I pretty much stopped drawing altogether…I gave myself a bit of a kick up the bum eventually and joined a local studio to do some screen printing; no pressure, just a little bit of fun, and a way to get messy and interact with other arty folks again. This turned out to be a step in the right direction and I began to enjoy my artwork again and got excited about printing onto various surfaces – tea towels and tote bags. People at the studio began to take an interest and started asking if they could buy them from me! From there I’ve spent a lot of time building my business and my brand, I started out selling at small craft fairs, and supplying shops on a Sale or Return basis after getting a grant from Prince’s Trust. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been an incredible journey so far.
[Image credit: ©Holly Booth Photography]
 What five words best describe you and your style of work? Quirky, fun, busy, cute, foxy!
 The ‘elephant and penguin’ print I bought off you at the Crafty Fox autumn markets last year is still one of my favourites. What’s the main source of inspiration behind your work? Ah I’m so glad to hear!! :) When I’m working on pieces like that I like to create a narrative in my head, and often I don’t share this with customers because everyone interprets them in different ways and I think it’s so beautiful that something I created can bring so much imagination and joy to people. I love animals and being outdoors, and I find that heavily comes through into my work. I basically draw things that make me happy and hope they make other people happy to :)
 How would you describe your design process and/or technique used, and what part of it do you like the most? My process has changed SO MUCH over just the last year, I now work much more digitally and although I create the sketches by hand I do lots of the work from there in Photoshop, there is nothing more pleasing then getting my paints out and making a mess though!!!
 How long would it normally take to create your final product; from inception to completion? It varies, sometimes it can take me days to get an idea to surface and then I’ll faff around with it and we might not see a product for months. That being said, for the spring fair, I designed 5 mugs and got them printed up super quick…..I think we had about a week and a half from start to finish on those!
 Is there any craft/art medium that you haven’t tried but want to? If so, do tell us why?There are loads! I would love to be better at sewing and try to sew some of my own clothes! I could then just pick out amazing fabrics and it would be so much fun stitching it all up into all kinds of clothes. And I’d look amazing all the time….right? ;)
 As a designer-maker, would you say it’s been difficult breaking through into what is a booming and competitive creative industry? If so, what are the kind of challenges you face/d?This is a tough one, I think what I’ve found harder and much more prominent was starting my business in the recession. People haven’t had the money to splurge on treats so I figure if I can do okay through that what harm is a little healthy competition?
 What would be your ‘top three tips’ for like-minded individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this creative field or want to switch career paths but afraid to do so? hmm, I guess first of all….
- totally check and see if you can get any help from the Prince’s Trust, they are absolutely fab and can help you hit the ground running with your business.
- Don’t listen to that little voice in your head screaming ‘ butttt it’s not ready yet!!’ and miss out on opportunities, bite the bullet and just go with what you have, because you can work on something forever and still feel like it’s not ready yet!
- Start small and grow naturally. Only do what you are comfortable with – you are in charge now, and if you don’t feel happy about something you don’t have to do it :)
 What would you say is the best part of your business? And is this a full-time 9-5 business or something you run on the side? The best part of my business is the fact that I get to work on things that I want to work on; if I want to draw a fox, then gosh darn it, I’ll draw a fox! I can take lunch whenever I want, and I can plan things the way that I want too, which is really amazing! My business is full-time now. I wish I could say it were 9-5 but really it’s much more like 24/7 as there are things I don’t do out of office hours but I really do work my bum off for my business. Part of my new years resolutions this year was to take more short breaks during the year so I don’t burn out – which I’m pleased to say I am doing.
 Of your current range of work, what ‘piece’ or ‘collection’ would you pick out as your favourite? Ohh, this is hard!! I REALLY like my octopus mug, he makes me so happy, I’ve been doodling this octopus for years so it’s nice to finally have him alive and on a product!
 When you’re not in a design mode, what else do you enjoy doing – any other hobbies or past time favourites? Hehe, well I love playing video games, reading and getting myself outside into the countryside somewhere where there are no other people around for miles! And nothing gets better than meeting friends for a good natter over some cake (and wine!)
 What are your favorite bedside book/s or blog/s at the moment? I’m loving reading Moyo Magazine on my tablet while I’m in bed, but that doesn’t replace a real book! II thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green recently, so much so that I’m working my way through his other books now….so yea, I’m currently reading the fabulous ‘Paper Towns’.
 Name three things you just could not live without? Tea, music, cake!
 Are there any illustrators, artists, designer-makers out there that you find inspirational or you think are ones to keep an eye out for – if so, who? Oh so many! I love the work of Holly Betton who runs ‘Death By Tea‘ – I have quite a few of her mugs already and they are my favorites….. plus she is lovely too! I’ve also been having an attack from the brilliance of Emma Yarlett’s illustrations for picture books, I had to buy all the ones she had done…obviously.
 And finally, what do you have in store for Louise Wright Design this year? Are there any events we should take note of too? Well I’ve done my first two trade fairs early on the year (Spring Fair & BCTF) so they were my biggies really. From here on in I’ll be at local events around the Derbyshire area which you can keep up with via my Events page on my website :) I do have loads of other things I want to achieve this year; new products up my sleeve and developing my illustration work further being the big two. This year is just going by so fast!! So, the best thing is to stay tuned via my Facebook page or Twitter for all the latest news and gossip!
Got to love that last quote!
Okay, so now do you feel that warm, fuzzy and happy feeling I’m talking about?? I mean, aren’t they simply the cutest little drawings? :)
Well, if you like her work just as much as I do……then here’s a treat I have in store for you! I’m sooooooooooooooo excited to tell you that Louise and I have decided to offer, exclusively to all you lovely readers/followers, 20% off ANY of her work that you find on her Etsy store.To redeem your discount, simple enter MADEBYMOLU at checkout where it says ‘Apply shop coupon code‘ and then proceed with the next stage.
This special offer is only valid for the month (ends 30th of June) so if you’d like to treat yourself then now is your chance to get your paws on any of her goodies!!
Thank you, once again, Louise for giving me a huge chunk out of your busy time to share with us your story and for the amazing offer to all my readers. There’s been some really inspiring and insightful things for us all to take note of and I know we’ll all be looking forward to seeing all the wonderful new creations you have coming up! Good luck and all the very best, lovely!
Have a wonderful and fun month of June, folks!! xxx