Helen Wiseman is an illustrator with a keen interest and pedigree in card design, having created designs for numerous publishers in the past, she now designs and sells her own greeting cards. In this post, she tells us how she creates all of her designs by hand and how living on a farm provides her with an abundance of inspiration.
Tell us more about who you are and what you do?
I’ve always wanted to be an Illustrator, even at school I knew that’s what I wanted to be. I even got to meet my hero Quentin Blake whist doing my A Level Art dissertation on him (seriously star struck..!). Since completing my Illustration degree I veered into card design, working initially with Art Angels, Oxford University Press and M & S.
Having a family stopped me working for a while but since attending many trade fairs over the past few years, I now sell my own cards directly to many independent shops including Kew Gardens, plus online with Scribbler. I have also recently had some designs turned into wallpaper which is very exciting. I teach Watercolours from my very lovely studio at home -which I really enjoy, I’ve learnt so much more about myself and painting since I started teaching, there’s always something new to learn, always room for improvement.
How do you like to create, what’s your favourite medium to use and your normal working method?
I work with my trusty watercolours and dip pen and ink. I have started to experiment a bit with using acrylic as a background colour. I’m very traditional in that I don’t use photoshop or a computer in my work, I love working at things by hand and am determined to keep it that way (although Im seriously more and more tempted by pro-create..).
I have a very old drawing table that’s held together by a pencil since I lost the nut and bolt in my large studio (I’m very lucky..) on our farm in north Essex, surrounded by the countryside and far enough from the house/fridge so that it feels like I’m Going To Work. I love a woodland/country side theme, I think being surrounded by nature all the time is very inspirational.
What design trends are you seeing that you are excited about and think suit your style of work?
I Love the typography trend around at the moment. I attended a Modern Typography course a few months ago which I LOVED. its much much harder than it looks, so after an awful lot of practise, I’m looking forward to adding this to some new card designs soon. Watch this space..
Probably an impossible question, but what is the most favourite card design you have created in recent years
My favourite card designs were a series of Kids Age cards I designed a few years ago, they have been very popular. I have designed some Kids Milestone cards in a similar vain which I’m sitting on at the moment.. just not sure what to do with them..!
Finally what would be your dream card brief / project?
Dream brief… hmmm.. I definitely want to head into the licensing sector- I already have an agent in Italy, but would love one here in the UK. I’d love to work with Flamingo Paperie. Its very tough self publishing, I’ve done that now for a good few years.. I’m open to offers!
Want to see or know more …
Helen is available for freelance commissions and image licensing, she can be contacted on