For as long as she can remember, Samantha Cawthorn’s been into creating things. Her passion for illustration began as a hobby, and eventually translated into a career in Graphic Design; years spent honing her skills through a variety of design jobs and freelance work. But even with a busy workload, Samantha would often find herself dreaming up her own illustrations in her spare time – passing them on as gifts for her family and friends. Pretty soon, more and more people were asking… can you make one for me?
Samantha had dreamed of one day starting her own business – and in 2016, she decided to make it happen. Winsome came about with the goal of injecting personality into people’s living spaces, an aim that is definitely achievable when it comes to any work of Samantha’s. A fan of 1960’s pop art (and colour in general) her prints are vibrant, colourful and contemporary; and each comes with its own story to tell. “I love pop art for its bold and often brash use of colour. I’m also drawn to Cubism for its ability to switch the perspective of an image in a geometrical way, and to Abstract art for the way it allows a work to be visually independent from reality. I also get a lot of inspiration from many contemporary artists…there are a few French painters I found online that I’m in awe of at the moment!”
In many ways, Samantha’s illustrations seem to pay tribute to the female form – strong, sweeping lines and shapes that remind us of how femininity can be simultaneously bold and delicate. But for Samantha, the personality of each print is just as significant as the physical image. “I like to write out a unique description for each collection, and a story for each print. I find this helps people relate to my artwork and find a bit of themselves (or someone else) in it!”
When it comes to the creative process, each illustration begins the old fashioned way, with pen to paper. From there, Samantha then takes her design to the computer, ready to be rendered using a tablet and pen. After that, it’s all about colour selection, which Samantha cites as being one of the most important parts of her process. “Colours carry a lot of emotional resonance with them, so I like to spend a bit of time selecting the right colour for each work. We often forget (or don’t even realise) how colours make us feel, so I find it interesting to play around with that.”
It’s early days for Winsome, especially with Samantha still working full time as a graphic designer. But she’s pretty excited about what the future has in store; hoping to explore how her artwork might sit with other forms, like stationery, mugs and textile design. “It took a bit of time to work out what I want to achieve, and how I want to go about it. But overall, the journey has been great. Nothing makes me happier than preparing a new order; there is something incredibly special about people taking the time to check out my work, and order a print for themselves or a friend. Also knowing that my prints are actually hanging around in people’s houses…. it’s pretty damn cool!”
Words by Chessie Henry & Images by Supplied