The very first Christmas cards were produced in the UK in 1843 and since then they have certainly changed in design. Although their meaning has not, still bringing smiles to the faces of their recipients all over the world.
(The design of the first Christmas card - 1843)
To understand the process and inspiration of the gorgeous cards specifically selected and exclusively packaged for us, we posed a few questions to the wonderful artist behind the designs, Fay Miladowska.
What inspires your illustrations?
“I am always inspired by my surroundings, I love taking long walks to look for new ideas and it's in these quiet moments when I can clear my thoughts and come up with new greeting card designs in my mind’s eye. I often return from a walk with a list of designs I would like to add to my collection. I'm also inspired by other wildlife artists and printmakers especially Eric Ennion, Sir Peter Scott, Angela Harding and Robert Gilmore.”
What is your process for designing the cards?
“My initial sketches are pencil work which is then developed and worked over with a fine-liner ink pen. This takes around two days to complete, so to speed up the process I add colour digitally. The pen work is mostly pointillist to create a softer finish and to build up shape and tone gradually. I often have several works on the go at one time and revisit them with a fresh eye on a different day.”
Which is your favourite card from the selection you’ve provided to Cotswold Collection?
“Robins have become synonymous with Christmas in the UK and I am forever sketching this little visitor to my garden. I tend to notice them more when I'm gardening, they are so curious and patiently wait to see if I am going to unearth anything for them to eat. So the Robin has to be my favourite and I'm very fond of this particular design and the details in the wreath.”
How long have you been designing cards? What is the history of Fay’s Studio?
“I have been designing cards since 2009 but I have been using pen and ink techniques for 20 years. Chronic ill health left me unemployed at this time and I was desperate to use my Illustration degree and skills in my work, so I created a job for myself at a time when I couldn't go out to work. The Prince's Trust were a lifeline to my start up business providing me with a one-to-one business mentor, a loan and a business programme which got me on the road to success.”
What are you most looking forward to this Christmas season?
“Of course, I can't wait to see all of the high street Christmas collections. I just love the feeling of the season. I love capturing those emotions in my work and hope that by putting those elements into my products I create cards which you would be delighted to send and even more happy to receive. In the greetings industry we are always working a year in advance so I am already preparing ahead for 2019. I always look forward to the exciting projects I have lined up for the New Year and naturally having some well-earned time off to spend with family and friends. Perhaps a second helping of Christmas Pudding too!”
Fay’s Studio specialises in beautifully crafted wildlife greeting cards developed from Fay Miladowska's original hand illustrations. Send a card that they’ll love receiving by purchasing yours here.
Which of Fay's designs is your favourite? Let us know in the comments.