17-20 July 2022
Home & Gift
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BEHIND THE BRAND Eleanor Tomlinson

Hi Eleanor, can you tell us more about Eleanor Tomlinson Art?

All my work is predominantly created in ink & watercolour. My distinctive & developed style combines traditional, well-loved subjects with a contemporary, illustrative twist. All of my designs & pieces are inspired by the beautiful Yorkshire countryside I am fortunate enough to call home, including all its wildlife; great & small.

I started my business started on an overcrowded kitchen table at my family home in 2011 when I was just 14 years old, starting with a new yearly limited edition Christmas card range. Over the years I have increased & developed my designs & expanded into stationery, limited edition prints & most recently my homeware range. During this time I have produced over 200 bespoke commissioned artworks of beloved family pets, wildlife, houses, cars, cherished children’s toys, weddings & plenty more, as well as working with an array of commercial clients.

We are proud to work with leading British manufacturers & suppliers, with the majority of my products being designed, printed & manufactured all in Yorkshire.

How did you start your brand?

I have always adored painting and drawing and have been selling my artworks and designs since my mid-teens. I am so proud to be able to say at the age of 22 after just finishing my degree, my artwork has travelled across the UK and the world; from East Yorkshire to as far away as Australia, New York and Canada. From being very young, I think I always knew that this is what I wanted to do as a career, and I like to think I haven’t let my age be an obstacle in pursuing this.

Everything started back in 2011, with a single greetings card, when I was 13. I was fortunate to enter and win a design a Christmas card competition advertised in a local magazine to support an osteoporosis charity. I had the wonderful opportunity to help sell these Christmas cards at a local Christmas fair and the experience, of seeing the full process from design to end product, inspired me to design and create my own greetings cards range. So, whilst studying for my GCSEs, A Levels and now degree in Illustration, I have been doing as much as possible alongside; creating new designs for products, attending events and fairs, as well as completing an array of commissions from pet portraits to bespoke wedding stationery. I haven’t looked back since, and now am lucky enough to be in a position where straight after leaving university I have gone straight into a full-time career as a self-employed artist and illustrator. My dream.

What's been your biggest highlight whilst creating you brand? Why is it you love what you do?

Becoming a 'Friend of Joules' and working with this fabulous brand has definitely been one of the biggest highlights up until now. I have always been inspired by my home amongst the Yorkshire countryside, due to there forever being the odd field mouse dashing around the kitchen or a damily of squirrels living in the attic. So, this is what I started to draw & paint, day in, day out, always being fascinated by the wildlife I found myself surronded by. It was inevitable that this would have a huge influence on my artwork today.

My main and favourite medium to work with is ink and watercolours. My method of working enables a high level of detail and accuracy, drawn with fine-liner pens, that is also full of colour and energy, by adding depth with watercolour before finishing off with my signature splatters. I find it is the perfect way to combine traditional and much-loved subjects as well as methods of working with a contemporary, illustrative twist.

I am always looking for new, interesting and fun compostions for new pieces. I currently love experimenting with white space and the composition of this; it's amazing how this, the use of white space, can really help create a scene and a sotry within one of my pieces.

Knowing what you do now, what advice would you give to yourself when you were first starting out?

There are so many ups and downs whilst creating and building your own business. It takes a long time too; to develop ranges, build your customer and supplier contacts. But if you love what you do none of that matters, the late nights and early mornings sorting admin are just (almost) as enjoyable as the creating and ideas. The line between hobby and work for me is definitely a blurred one. I have found if you love what you do, others will too – you’ve just got to find them.

What can visitors expect from Eleanor Tomlinson Art at Home & Gift this year?

I will be launching my new spring collection of cards and prints, celebrating the outdoors and spring vibes. What doesn't capture a British summer better than bees, flowers and our garden favourites?

Do you have any favourites from the collection?

This is so hard… but product-wise, possibly my greetings cards as I will always remember how it was a single, humble greetings card design that has led me to be where I am at now - couldn’t be more grateful!

Regarding artworks and designs, there simply couldn’t be one – I love them all equally!  With every piece you develop and improve your skills.

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