Greetings Today talks to Louise Mulgrew about her cards, her inspiration – and the first card that she designed, which is still a bestseller today…
PG Live Stand 506
Louise is founder of her animal-loving card publishing business, Louise Mulgrew, based in the seaside town of Brighton.
Tell us a little about the story behind you becoming an artist.
I’ve always been into art; since I was very young I’d be doing extra art projects at school and spending long evenings in the art department in high school, before doing my illustration degree at Loughborough University. I had never considered a career designing cards, but knew for sure I wanted to work for myself (perhaps due to my distinct lack of employable skills!). After uni I was creating artwork to sell at local markets when a shop owner asked to sell some of my cards in her shop. And selling cards to shops has been my thing ever since!
What inspires you?
I of course take a lot of inspiration from animals and nature – most of my card designs feature florals, animals and outdoor scenes – but I’m also inspired by less tangible concepts such as relationships and feelings. It’s taken a lot of practise over the years to curate my inspiration in a productive way to inspire artwork that feels like my own original, fresh take.
Do you have any artist ‘heroes’ that inspire your work?
I have always loved children’s picture books and have quite an eclectic collection at home. I adore all the classics: Quentin Blake, Beatrix Potter, E.H Shepard, Judith Kerr.
What was your very first card design?
It was a little bunny and some flowers that a friend asked me to make for her sister’s birthday. This became the first card in my Furry Friends collection and is still one of our bestselling designs, eight years later.
Talk us through how the process works when you design a card.
A card always starts out as a little tiny pencil drawing that becomes a little tiny gouache painting. My paintings are so small they usually need blowing up on Photoshop to fit my cards. I add handwritten captions and foil details on Procreate.
What’s your favourite subject to draw?
I could paint only elephants for the rest of my life! I love their form, their personalities and also how perfectly they can represent human relationships. This makes them amazing for card designs.
What do you consider your greatest achievement and why?
I’m not sure I can pick one. I’m proud of lots of little day-to-day things, like getting to work alongside both my parents or designing Christmas cards to raise money for my favourite charity The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, or having my dream studio with a view of the sea. Winning four Louie awards recently was also a bit of a highlight!
How did you feel when your cards first made it into one of the big retailers?
It was a wonderful feeling. 12-year-old Louise working so hard on her art homework would be so happy and proud to see her cards sold in shops, be it a big retailer or an indie on the high street.
What do you do in your spare time?
I LOVE spare time. I’m the biggest morning person and can shoehorn seven different hobbies into a morning before work. Some favourites include yoga, reading, running, longboarding, eating and gardening.
Is there a famous person or celebrity who you would love to design a card for?
I’d send a card to David Attenborough, a hero and advocate for our planet.