Welcome to the new look Crafty Critters: now with larger photos so you can admire those adorable critters in all their glory....
This month I chatted to my pal Samantha Eynon, an illustrator who creates cute and colourful products based on all of her favourite things in life. When she's not working in the Art Department of a local school, Sam spends her time illustrating portraits and dreaming up new products at her home in the Midlands, where she lives with her husband Joe and their pup Winston. Read on to find out more about Sam and cheeky little Winston...
You're known for your portraits, can you tell me a little bit about how they started and how they've evolved since then? Have you had any especially weird or wonderful requests?
I think ever since I could draw I would do portraits of people. They just never get boring! It's taken me years to find my style. When I first started doing them they were much more realistic, then about 7 years ago I started to do digital portraits too, as it gave me the ability to send people files and re-print them if they got lost in the post. I also love being able to make changes easily for people to make it perfect for them.
I always love it when people pick their custom objects for their portraits. It's amazing seeing how different people are; though beer, wine, gin, coffee and tea have definitely been the most popular choices! The ones that have been the most fun was a portrait where I had to draw the family as bears, and also one where I had to draw people in Wes Anderson costumes! So fun!
When and where did you get your pup Winston?
We have had Winston for 6 years. I had wanted a pug since I was about 8, and after me and my husband decided to add a new addition to our family I started looking on pre-loved so we could re-home one. I fell in love with Winston's photo instantly and after meeting him in person he was ours within 10 minutes! I will always remember that car journey home with him on my lap, I just couldn't quite believe he was ours.
Some of your pins are pet inspired, such as your yin yang pin, your pug loaf and your dog-nut - has Winston inspired your work in any other way and will we see any more pet-themed products any time soon?
Oh definitely! Winston is a huge inspiration to me. He was the inspiration for my pug loaf pin, though I had to change it to a fawn pug so it would look more loafy!
I try not to do many pug related things, as there's lots of people out there doing that, but he will pop up from time to time! I am a bit dog obsessed so can guarantee there will be more canine related items in the future!
Can you tell us a bit about your camper van adventures? Does Winston enjoy his trips in the van?
We currently have a 1969 VW camper that we've owned for over 10 years. We've been on many adventures with him (he's called Rhubarb), including a few Euro trips. Winston adores the van! He gets so excited when we start to pack it, and will sit in it at any opportunity!
Where's your fave place to walk Winston? Is he good with other dogs?
Oooo that's a tough one! We've enjoyed many awesome walks with Winston, regularly going to the Peaks, but I think I'd have to pick Woolacombe beach, it's one of our fave spots and he loves the sand, and always runs around on it like a loon! He's generally good with other dogs, though he does get small dog syndrome a little bit sometimes!
You recently did some freelance work for Punky Pins - can you tell us a little bit about how that came about and what it involved? Do you take on any other freelance work?
Claire from Punky Pins put out a plea on Instagram for freelance designers earlier in the year. You had to apply and then were asked to create a design for them so they could see if you could create work to fit in with their aesthetic. Luckily I was one of the people they picked. I love working to a brief, and am always open to freelance opportunities, though illustrating a children's book would be the dream!
Who are your other fave instagrammers who share photos of their work and their pets?
Oh there's so many @hollyphotobooth - Remi and Juno are the cutest, @pilfered - Crumpet has so much sass! @Robertamarinastitches - Trixie is a cutie and fellow pug owners @Kayleymills @hellohellododo @tonibeehq - I'm definitely a bit biased towards the dog related ones!
If you enjoyed this post you might like to read the other interviews in the series. I've previously intereviwed Jenna of Pilfered, Kayley Mills and Ali of Hello Dodo who Sam mentions above. Got a recommendation for a future Crafty Critters interview? Let me know on instagram, I'm @zabbyallen!
This interview series will always be dedicated to my best pal George the Pig Dog.