I love working from my little home studio, which I share
with my husband. We both have completely different tastes in music, so most
days you’ll find me with my headphones on listening to all sorts on Spotify! My
playlist often reflects what my current project is or what mood I am in, so it
could be anything from the latest pop tunes to Frank Sinatra Christmas
classics! It also depends on the time of day…I sometimes work into the early
hours when my little ones are in bed, so mellow piano vibes, classical or movie
soundtracks tend to be playing then!
We live next door to a farm. Unfortunately, the studio
doesn’t benefit from a lovely view of the land or the animals, but I do hear
the cows and lambs often and a fair few tractors coming and going! My desk view is of a fence…however it does
attract many curious little birds and the odd squirrel, which is delightful to
How is your day structured as a working artist?
My day always has a slightly chaotic start with the school
run! I do love my morning walk through the village as it gives me time
to catch up with my little ones with some fresh air and headspace ahead of the
working day. I rarely make it to my desk without a giant-sized coffee to get
going! I will often have client projects and commissions on the go but when I
get a gap, I love working up fresh new ideas for my folio. Afternoons are
school runs and cooking and catching up with the family before heading back to
my desk to finish bits off for the day…or sometimes that can lead into the
night, as it can be hard to leave an unfinished artwork!
How did you begin your career as an artist?
After graduating from university studying textile design, I
dabbled with freelancing in surface pattern and worked as a window dresser before
landing my dream job designing greetings cards for a leading UK publisher. I
stayed with the company working as a senior in-house designer and design
manager for over 12 years before finally taking the plunge to freelance from
home and look after my little ones. I love it and have not looked back since!
What was your first big success as an artist?
people believe in me! Starting with my early days of freelancing getting
my work published in the US. Then employment with a leading publisher and
now having my wonderful agents at Advocate Art representing me and
introducing my work to so many amazing clients around the globe! Success
doesn’t come easily to artists, so I am so grateful for the people who
have believed in me and helped me to make a career out of what I love
What inspires your work?
Living in the English countryside I am, and always will be,
inspired by nature, flowers, wildlife, and people. I have a passion for bold colors,
pattern and textures, and I love to keep an eye on the latest trends to keep my
designs looking fresh.
Are there other artists that inspire you?
wonderful artists out there! I love seeing what’s being created on social
media channels and the different approaches and techniques being used. I
am fascinated by art and design through the decades and love retro
advertising and styling. I adore the work of vintage Disney concept
artists like Mary Blair, her imaginative use of color was truly magical!
What is your earliest memory of creating art?
parents would tell you it was when I took to their friend’s staircase with
a packet of crayons and did a spot of ‘decorating’, But I will always
remember doing a detailed pencil drawing of a vintage Singer sewing
machine with a school friend. We would have been around 8 years old, and
we felt so proud of our joint creation! It was my first still life and
that’s when my love of art and design really started to flourish!
What is your favorite medium?
to work more digitally than ever these days, but I still like to paint
textures and marks with acrylics and watercolors to scan and collage into
my work. I sometimes go back to my paints when the mood takes me - it all
depends on the project and the outcome I want to achieve.
How has your style changed over time?
my early days of freelancing in textile design using mainly gouache paints
and inks, to now using mixed media, digital brushes and collages. I am
embracing new technologies and sketching on my iPad instead of a
traditional sketchbook. Also, I have expanded my work into different
product categories so not only greetings cards and stationery but also children’s
book illustration, puzzles and more! I feel I will always be developing
and evolving as an artist!
Of all the cards we publish by you, do you have a favorite?
the Hummingbird from my Enchanted range, I really loved working on this, it
was pure escapism into a magical world!
Click here to see Claire McElfatrick's entire collection with Calypso Cards.