The illustrator and owner of online shop The Printed Peanut creates whimsical worlds from her dream-like drawings. Here, she puts us in the picture
What is your background and how did you get into your area of design?
I come from a very artistic family, and grew up surrounded by art installations and bizarre theatre shows, so my creativity was encouraged from a young age. I knew I wanted a job that involved drawing, but didn’t know a career as an illustrator existed until I enrolled on an art foundation course when I was 18. Following that, I studied illustration at The Glasgow School of Art, which was brilliant. I’m so thrilled that I can now make a living from being an illustrator, which I do alongside designing and selling products for The Printed Peanut.
Where are you based?
I grew up in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. It has a wonderfully artistic community and, after living away from the area for some years, I’ve now returned with my husband and we love it. We’re currently renovating an old cotton mill, which will eventually have a big studio for me to work in downstairs while we live upstairs.
Who or what influences your designs?
I take cues from everyday things around me, such as food packaging and handwritten signs in shops. I’m also very inspired by children’s books from the 1930s. Mid-century designs are often my favourites – my
Home Life plate was inspired by those wonderful 1950s Homemaker plates by Enid Seeney, which were sold in Woolworths so that everyone could have affordable yet attractive design in their home.
What do you wish to achieve through your work?
I hope it brings a little joy into the world. I always use bright colours and try to include a little humour if I can. Everything I design for The Printed Peanut is manufactured in the UK, as I believe in supporting small businesses wherever possible. I hope that people will treasure my products and keep them for years – it’s so nice to create tactile items that you can hold and play with as an antidote to all the screen-based entertainment we have now.
Can you tell us about your biggest achievement or proudest moment so far?
It’s always a magical feeling when you get your own book back from the publishers – I’d dreamed of that moment from a young age, so I was chuffed to bits when I published my first. I was also incredibly proud to have worked last Christmas with Heal’s, where ten designers (including my heroes Donna Wilson and Orla Kiely) were asked to decorate 3ft-high plaster cats, which were then auctioned off in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Kiss it Better appeal. I painted mine an eye-poppingly bright Yves Klein blue and glued white paper cut-outs all over it. I was so proud to see it displayed in Heal’s flagship store on Tottenham Court Road before it was sold for charity.
Who have you collaborated with and is there anyone you would like to work with in the future?
I love collaborating and have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful companies such as Boden, Chronicle Books, Liberty and Anthropologie. Most recently, I travelled to India to work with To&from, a homeware brand started by my friends Somya Singh and Bob de Graaf. While designing new household textiles, we were surrounded by peacocks and elephants and it was a hugely inspiring experience. I won’t stop drawing until my designs are over every surface of the home.
From paper doll’s houses and circus tents to tea towels, stationery and richly illustrated ceramics, Louise’s exuberant designs have a joyful quality.