Boy do I have a treat for you today! I can't tell you how much I love this girls work. It's quirky, fun, inspiring, and most of all it makes you smile. I would like to introduce you to Nicola Rowlands. Born in Wales but grew up in the US, you will now find her running the streets of Manchester if you don't find her working away in her studio, creating a manfriend or drawing up a fun new character. Whether it be her wedding stationary, illustrations, fabrics, manfriends or her pillows, you will develop a crush and a good crush it is. I developed a huge crush on her unicorns and ordered the unicorn print and card and now my little one carries the unicorn card around everywhere! Be sure to check out her work here and keep up with her on Facebook and her blog as she's always working on new projects you won't want to miss!
I had a lovely chit chat with Nicola! Find out more about this very talented artist!
- TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
Hello, I'm Nicola. I was born in Wales and grew up in the USA. I studied art in school and then took some time off to go travelling and met a lovely bearded man who persuaded me to enrol in a graphic design course. We moved back to the UK together and 7 years later we're engaged to be married and I've setup my little Nicola empire selling bonkers gift items worldwide made from my vaguely bad drawings.
- WHEN DID YOU START NICOLA ROWLANDS DESIGNS? HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
After graduating University I kept up the momentum of churning out loads of work - I had started selling a few fish-themed greetings cards to friends and family so just kept sticking things on the internet and under peoples noses and hoping people would buy them. From the cards I began to branch out to fabric and other stuff, just figuring it out as I went along.
- WHAT INSPIRES YOUR CREATIONS?
I get a lot of my ideas when I'm out running, it's my time to think and sort through a lot of the rubbish that goes on in my brain. I'm inspired by overheard conversations and bad clothes and shapes in strange places. My work tends to evolve from one project to the next.
- I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR MANFRIENDS AND GIRLSFRIENDS, WHAT SPARKED THIS IDEA? HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE CHARACTERS FOR THESE SPECIAL FRIENDS?
I wanted to make something in clay and little people seemed a logical idea. When they were made I couldn't help but make up personalities for them. Sometimes they are inspired by people I know or people I've seen on the bus.
- DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CAFÉ, BOOKSHOP, MUSEUM, ETC THAT YOU LIKE VISIT TO GAIN INSPIRATION?
I wish I could say I did but like I said most of my thinking gets done when I'm running and I'm away from distractions like email and my iPhone in general. I'm glued to that thing.
- DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU ARE WORKING? IF YES, WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO NOW?
I mostly listen to podcasts! I listen to UhhYeahDude, This American Life, Joy the Baker podcast, The Moth, RadioLab and a few geeky running/triathlon podcasts as well.
- IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD THIS BE AND WHY?
I'd like to collaborate with someone who writes awesome stories for children. I'd love to create some funny little drawings for a kiddo book.
- WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE ANYONE HAS GIVEN YOU?
When I was about 7 years old my dad convinced me to cut my hair real short, like a boy. Because it was different to everybody else.
- WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE US?
Better to be hated than to be loved for what you're not!
- ANYTHING EXCITING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? ANY NEW PROJECT OR SOMETHING WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING FROM YOU?
I'm getting married in October! That's my current project. :)
- DO YOU DO SPECIAL ORDERS? IF SOMEONE HAS A SPECIAL SOMETHING COMING UP OR NEEDS A GIFT, CAN THEY CONTACT YOU AND ASK FOR YOU TO MAKE THEM SOMETHING SPECIAL?
Yes! Of course. Someone just last week asked me to draw a badger on a unicycle playing a harmonica. Not sure I'd have thought of that one myself so I was glad of the opportunity to draw that. Please do indeed get in touch if you have an idea for a custom gift - would love to work with you.