Davina here - Today Hannah and I are really excited to showcase the work of one of our favourite illustrators Erin McIntyre alongside an intimate interview with her about creativity and motherhood. We commissioned Erin to design our blog's banner and logo, she has previously done four commissions for my family and she works in regular collaboration with Donna Wilson (who you will all know I LOVE!).
I have been a big fan Erin's work for years now. I first discovered her work at my friend Imogen Luddy’s house as she had just had one of Erin's 'Likes' portraits made for her partner Ben. In Erin's 'Likes' portraits she draws the subject with their favourite things around them. I totally fell in love with both the concept and the graphical hand drawn style of Erin’s work and went home and told Nick all about it straight away! For my next birthday Nick surprised me with three Erin McIntyre ‘Likes’ drawings - one of each of us - its like a family portrait - I so love it. I still say now it is the best and most thoughtful gift I have ever been given. I can’t wait to get one for baby number 2!
Erin herself had her first child baby Blake last year and during her pregnancy she made a series of drawings recording her pregnancy, which are unbelievably sweet - I so want one and think I might have to treat myself to a ‘I can't wait to meet you’ one.
An Interview with Erin McIntyre
Who are you and what floats your boat?
I am Erin McIntyre and I am a designer/illustrator.At the moment I love papercraft, children's books (mainly for the illustrations), gorgeous knitwear, wrapping presents and taking photographs.
Can you describe your work to us?
I usually work in black and white but I'm not afraid to use colour too. I love colour! When I'm drawing I like to use a fine pen. I have become quite particular about the type of pen I work with! I use different patterns to suggest where a colour or texture may be. I also love to paint with watercolour. Recent projects have included animals and flowers but I paint anything that makes me smile really.
What influences your work? We see lots of animals, flora and fauna, and it makes us very happy!
I think it's whatever I’m surrounded by at the time. I always have flowers in the home. I love picking my own from the garden so I guess this is why I like to draw them too.
I enjoy interior decoration and contemporary furniture design. This inspires me to make nice artwork for the home.
I've loved animals since I was a child and I think since having Blake this love for just how amazing and cute they are has come back.
Career highlight so far?
Before having Blake in the summer last year, I worked for Donna Wilson knitwear extraordinaire(!) for almost 5 years. I was her studio manager. This was absolute dream job. I could organise and be creative at the same time! I designed an exclusive range of screen prints for her to be available on her website. This was the first time I had done anything like this so it was nice to see my things being wrapped up and sent out to customers all over the world. I have since moved from London back to my hometown to begin my new adventure with my family. This is also an exciting time for me to focus on my boy and my own work.
Whats your dream commission?
I discovered Marimekko whilst studying for my textiles degree. I have been a massive fan and collector of their homewares ever since. I would love love love to work with them. They have such a incredibly fun aesthetic. I'd also love to be involved in illustrating children's books.
How have you found juggling work with motherhood?
This has been tough. Not only had I been overwhelmed by motherhood in the early days I also found myself with a few exciting commissions coming in. It felt impossible in those first few months to get myself dressed and out the house let alone get my sketchbook and pens out and concentrate on one thing. Never mind meeting deadlines. I say this yet, I'm so grateful to get new work in I just can't say no! I've found it is important for me to have a bit of a balance between baby and doing things that make me happy too. Thankfully, all this juggling and fitting in work while when I can has become so much easier now Blake is quickly approaching his first birthday. I have also learned to be a bit more relaxed about things.
Has motherhood changed how you feel about creating, and about your work in general? (i.e., we’ve both felt lots more creative since having our kids!)
Yes, I just want to make, and draw and paint for Blake and get outside and explore everything! My favourite thing at the moment is showing him my illustrations of animals (which he has all around his bedroom) and teaching him the sounds they make. It's so satisfying each time he learns a new noise! As I said before, he's about to turn one so probably can't feel the benefit of all this creativity just yet but, I hope he's soaking it up like a sponge. My mum was always making with my brother and I. Whether it was salt dough fat ladies, painting stones we'd collected from the beach,or robots built from boxes and toilet roll tubes. I know I'll be reliving these projects with B when he's bigger.
How was your move to Dundee from London? What's it like there?
Our move from our London to our hometown of Dundee was an exciting time as for us we new it was the right thing to do. We're now surrounded by our families, which we realised we missed so much whilst in London. It's been incredible to see our city again with fresh eyes after 5 years in bustling Hackey. I think I took the greenery, and parks and having beautiful beaches on my doorstep for granted when I lived here the first time round.
For me, Dundee offers the perfect combination of city life and countryside. It's the fourth largest city in Scotland. I would say it's the perfect size and has just enough going on so you don't get bored! It sits on the beautiful banks of the River Tay in the east of the country. It's a great place to raise children.
What are your top 3 favourite ways you enjoy spending time with your son?
Most days I go out with Blake in his pram for a stroll along the Grassy Beach. Just a short walking distance from my home, this coastal grassland area is quite unique. It's home to many species of plant, unusual insects and there are lots of birds to spot. It's a beautifully picturesque area which seems to be changing all the time. Its a hive of activity. Blake gets plenty of entertainment on this walk with trains and cyclists whizzing past and dogs running around. The River Tay Yacht Club is also based along this route so you can see sail boats racing on a good day. Blake and I like to investigate along the beach and drop stones in the water.
I enjoy taking him along to our local library for Bookbug session once a week. The librarian shares books, songs and rhymes encouraging the babies to interact with each other. Afterwards, we pick some new books to take home with us.
I've always loved going to the park with my old dog Leo. Buts its much more fun now he has a new best friend, Blake! Leo is an 11 year old golden retriever, so he's quite slow moving now but Blake loves pulling his hair and walking with him. His first word was Leo!
If you like Erin's work contact her directly to enquire about commissions - I know I will be soon myself!