I hope you had a lovely weekend. To brighten up your Monday, I’m delighted to feature today an interview with illustrator Helen Lang of Wetpaint and her beautiful floral-inspired work.
When did you start the business and where are you based?
I live and work from a SW London studio. I was originally born in Plymouth in Devon but moved here some time after my first job.
It was only in 2011 that I decided to take the leap and go freelance. 2011 was a really interesting year…A MASSIVE learning curve for me!
Despite economic doom and gloom in the news, last year was an excellent one, working on an exclusive product range with John Lewis, having my work stocked in The Tate, and working with a variety of prestigious clients such as Boden and Burger King.
I also had confirmation of two children’s pop-up books which have been commissioned by Templar Publishing too and this year I had the pleasure of working with Harper Collins.
Where do you get your floral inspiration for your designs?
I have a small allotted garden behind where I live. Each flat has a garden in relation to the number of the flat and so I garden alongside my neighbours.
My garden is a relaxing environment where I go to chill out and have some time away from the studio/workspace.
When planting, I actually keep seed packets and these are good for bright imagery for reference.
I also have a lot of PG Tips cards which people might remember that you used to get in the packets of tea about twenty years ago.
I have numerous sets of butterflies and flora and fauna which are always handy when looking for a new shape.
I also have a number of books, from tattoo books which are great to see how flowers can be simplified and made into stylised shapes, to horticulture books picked up from car boot sales and junk shops.
I’m also very inspired by the decorative floral work of William Morris, as well as Art Deco motifs and patterning.
Designers, typographers & illustrators have been inspirational to me…from 60s and 70s designers and illustrators like Charlie Harper and Jim Flora to 80s illustrators like Joseph Wright to modern designers like Angie Lewin & Rob Ryan who all involve decorative floral elements in their work…
Could you tell us about the different types of stationery you offer?
I work freelance on any number of projects. I’ve recently completed a decorative floral book jacket for Harper Collins for the novel ‘Wife 22’ but another side to my business is that of limited edition giclee and screen prints.
I’m also very happy to accept commissions for original artworks and have done so previously for occasions such as birthdays, wedding and anniversary presents, as well works for baby congratulations and Remembrance.
Could you tell us about any recent commissions?
I’ve recently completed a really nice personalised commission for a couple’s wedding present, with their two names intertwined in the shape of a tree.
The couple are both Scottish so the thistle had to be featured as did their violins which they both play. Here’s the design below.
What are your plans for 2012?
I’ll be at the Pulse trade show in London this week, where I’ll be showcasing a collection of alphabet prints, alongside my more decorative floral and bird screen prints.
Last year I produced two alphabets ‘London A – Z’ and ‘Animalphabet’ which were extremely popular and I’m continuing this theme throughout my work.
I just love the alphabet and find it a typographical challenge to pick a theme and manipulate the lettering to fit this theme.
My most recent alphabet is ‘Musicalphabet’, which contains a whole host of musical icons from Adele to Zappa! It’s screen printed in three colours including metallic gold on textured, off-white fine art paper.
What is your favourite flower?
I love lupins and alliums. They feature quite heavily in my work as does the rose (and thorns).
Many thanks to Helen for all her help in putting together today’s blog post and also to Katie Tregidden of Confessions of a Design Geek for connecting us.
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with Helen’s news, she’s on Twitter.
(Images : Helen Lang/Wetpaint)