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Article: Sally Caulwell - Illustration


Sally Caulwell - Illustration

Tell us a little about what you make/design
I’m an illustrator/graphic designer. I draw all the time… I’m totally obsessed! At the moment I’m doing a lot of botanical illustration. I draw from life and I draw from old botanical prints (who knew pinterest had such a collection). I picked up a set of old botanical prints years ago at a flea and just loved everything about them. The simplicity of the layout, the intricate detail in the painterly renderings, and the little sign off at the bottom stating the Latin name. Each botanical illustration captures the different stages of a plant's life-cycle so I suppose illustration provides a function that a photograph cannot. We have so many under-celebrated wildflowers in our hedgerows and I’ve spent the last couple of years getting to know them. I count everything. Petals, stamens, stripping back the frills and trying to get at to the essence of each plant.
Could you describe your studio to us? What is your favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?
My studio is a little fold out desk in my bedroom, complete with pens, notebooks, and my beloved iMac! We live in a two up two down ‘coronation st’ house so a studio space is a luxury that I don’t have. When I draw in the evenings, it’s for myself. The house is quiet, kids are asleep, so it's a time when I can think clearly, get into my flow state, and explore whatever I feel like. 
What is your favourite tool and why?
My favourite tool is my black sharpie pen! I always have one within arms reach.
What led you to choosing illustration as a profession? What do you love most about it?
I guess it just happened naturally, I drew my way through school and college and then after graduating I began working as a graphic designer. I’ve do a lot of illustration in my day job (I work in detail design studio as a designer). When I started to work in design I developed a love for geometry, distilling things down to simple forms. Nothing makes me happier than a balanced composition, playing with repetition, pattern, and colour… 
I love that my job is never boring, in fact, its a joy. How lucky am I to be able to say that!
You can buy a selection of Sally's prints and a beautiful Christmas card she designed exclusively for Irish Design Shop here

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