From vintage ice cream vans to cute cacti, we’re massive fans of British artist Louise Lockhart’s whimsical illustrations. So to celebrate the launch of the new Mini Boden collection, we commissioned Louise to create a bespoke seaside scene, just for us. Here, she reveals the colourful creative space where her nostalgic designs come to life…
Beyond retro: my design ethos
I’m a freelance illustrator and I also design products for my own stationery business, The Printed Peanut. I love bold prints, patterns and colours, and my workspace is like my own private fairground. I like to take elements of retro designs and give them my own modern twist.
Beside the seaside: exclusive print for Mini Boden
For the Mini Boden website I created an interactive illustration depicting a seaside scene and elements from the latest collection, such as the fisherman’s yellow raincoat. I wanted it to feel nostalgic yet timeless, as if you could step in and feel like you’re on holiday. Using my favourite 1950s colour combination of mustard yellow and turquoise helps to capture the feeling of a British seaside town found in vintage postcards and holiday photos.
Positive thinking: prototype cushion
Everyday I dream up a new product idea so The Printed Peanut’s range is expanding rapidly! My next venture is into homewares and I have been working on some prototype cushions. This one is digitally printed velvet and shows the message, “The best is yet to come” – a positive thought I like to remember. The back of the cushion is orange and I love the combination of orange and pink. These suede Boden shoes look as if they are made from orange velvet too!
Hello kitty: felt cat
I love cats so much. When my beloved cat Millie died my mum commissioned this little felt replica. It’s made by my friend Rose Revitt… She is incredible at needle felting and really caught the essence of Millie. I haven’t got a real cat at the moment so I like to have it sitting on my desk.
Paper cut: creative tools
I always start my illustrations by cutting lots of shapes from ordinary white paper as I find it much more free than drawing into a sketchbook or a trying to fill a blank piece of paper. Sometimes I might cut it wrong, but it will end up a more interesting shape than I intended. Next I apply pencil lines onto the cut out and scan it into the computer, where I rearrange the pieces and apply colour and texture.
Take note: bright ideas
This is a notebook I designed – the cover is scattered with little drawings and images of some of my favourite things, hoping to spark off some brilliant ideas. I like jotting down thoughts and drawings whilst travelling so I try to take a notebook and pen with me at all times. My brain has to see new things to get rejuvenated, so going travelling is brilliant for that. And I’m very happy with how well coordinated this Boden bag is with my notebook!
Up my street: my first book
I’ve always wanted to make a children’s book and my very first one, Up My Street, was released last month. When I held it in my hands for the first time it was such a great feeling. It’s a concertina book that unfolds into a long high street. I wanted to create my own homage to the British high street, celebrating the independent shops that are sadly disappearing. It is all designed, printed and made in Britain and I’m very proud of it.
Flower power: beautiful blooms
Flowers are lovely to have on my desk as they’re bright and full of vibrant colour and smells. This little bunch was picked from my parents’ garden, which is in full bloom at this time of year. I picked up this little milk jug in a Scottish charity shop for only 50 pence! Hunting for treasure in second hand shops is one of my most frequent pastimes.
Sketch artist: handmade drawings
I use sketchbooks to experiment with pattern and colour, which I use a lot in my work. I do use the computer to compile my illustrations, but you can’t mimic the quality of line that you get from hand drawing and painting. When I’m happy with the design, I scan it in and apply it to a part of my illustration, such as to jazz up a tablecloth or get a rippling effect on water.
Different strokes: artist’s materials
I love using all sorts of different materials to create my illustrations. I often play around with shape and colour in my sketchbooks. These watercolour paints are my favourite and I always come back to them to free up any mental blocks. Just filling a page with brushstrokes is very therapeutic.
Feeling inspired: tin cans
I find inspiration in places that other people might not, such as the shape of a cinema ticket, or the colour combinations on an old car seat. I adore beautiful packaging from food and other throw-away items. I have a nice collection of tins and glass bottles on my desk which inspire me daily… And are very useful to put my pens in.
Give thanks: risograph postcards
I spend most of my day packing orders so I designed some little risograph postcards to pop in with each parcel. The picture is me cycling to the letterbox, as I do a daily bike ride to the post office… It’s the only exercise I get! These drawers are crammed full with stuff that might come in useful, like business cards I’ve collected, or bits of nice string.
Bright spark: my outfit
I have quite an eclectic wardrobe and these Boden pieces would fit right in. I like to mix in contemporary pieces with vintage and this Harriet Shift Tunic Dress is the perfect mix of modern and retro. As you can probably see from my desk, I am a big fan of yellow and this cardigan would bring a delightful pop of colour to any outfit.
Dear diary: keeping organised
I couldn’t live without my diary, it is my only official piece of organisation. I try to write down what I’ve done each day and write endless lists of tasks I need to complete every week. I have quite a hectic, cluttered work space and so I favour a very plain and simple diary to keep me in order!