:: by Lizzie


I decided it was about time, after 5 years of sourcing and curating other people’s work for SMUG (granted with quite a few collaborations along the way), that I got on and found my own illustrative voice. So I drew a pineapple.

I’m interested in pattern and how it might be broken down and used as a tool for drawing. This pineapple represents the beginning of what I hope will be a body of designs that are diverse and current yet clearly by one hand. I probably shouldn’t be sharing anything at such an early stage as I plan to get a lot more accomplished and things always look better in context but hey, here it is. My pineapple.


the SMUG wiritng set

:: by Lizzie


Faye Pearce and David Aspinall founded Chase and Wonder in late 2010 with the simple aim of creating finely designed products with British personality. Chase and Wonder are based in a converted cow shed in rural Worcestershire, where they design and print their British made products.


To celebrate our 4th birthday at SMUG we approached Chase and Wonder to make us our very own exclusive SMUG Writing Set and we’re super happy with the results.


Chase and Wonder employ traditional techniques, which is one of the reasons why their sets are so special. All of their letterpress printing is done by the finest in the business, Martin Clark at Tilley Print.


The SMUG Writing Set is a limited edtion and is exclusive to SMUG so only available to purchase from the SMUG Camden Passage shop or online here.


You can learn more about the traditional process used to make The SMUG Writing Set here in Chase and Wonder’s blog post about the project.




illustrator interview – holly leonardson

:: by Lizzie


Do you use old school or new school tools when creating work?

I prefer to use old school materials when creating my collages. These range from vintage books I pick up from thrift stores and yard sales, which I cut my images from, as well as old yellowed scrapbook papers which is used as the base for my work. I also love worn out felt pens. However I do purchase new supplies like stickers, crayons, sparkly gel pens, pencils and glitter glue when needed. If I have been commissioned to create work I do as much as I can with the physical objects and cut-outs, then scan it and work on the final piece on my computer.


Show and tell your piece of work. Describe your submission for Old School.

My submissions for Old School were four A5 prints of original mixed media collages. My main subjects are young children, who I believe have a very unique, almost psychic bond with animals (as displayed in my piece, Greeting Seal) as well as a deep connection to the natural environment.




What is your creative process?

I could say my creative process actually starts away from my home-based studio, while flicking through books at opshops, flea markets and yard sales. My favourite books to collect and dissect are illustrated children’s encyclopedias. Some days I have a very clear idea of what I wish to create, however with collage you are limited to the images that are available to you. Therefore, much of my process involves a lot of page turning, cutting out, assembling, reassembling, and, if I feel it is required, childlike mark making with crayons and felt pens. I really like creating while listening to happy, dreamy, synth music, like Lullatone or Broadcast.


Does your work represent your personality?

A lot of my personality is revealed in my work, which I’d like to describe as slightly messy cheerfulness. I’m not always happy though, and that occasionally shows up in what I make. However it is quite subtle.


Send in a picture of your desk now and describe your studio space.

The space in which I work is a home studio I share with my boyfriend who is also creative. I have a smaller desk than I used to own, which I think helps me keep it tidier. It must be spotless if I am to work on my computer. However if I am in the middle of collaging there will be cut outs, paper scraps, sticker sheets and general mess all over my side of the room. I also run my illustration-based accessories label, Pannikin, from this room so much of that is stashed away neatly inside the inbuilt wardrobe space. It seems I have never grown out of the habit of sticking things to the wall.




What’s your earliest memory of drawing/creating?

I have many early memories of drawing but one of my favourites is when I was about 4 or 5 years old. My mum set me up in the garden with my little table and chair plus a bunch of pencils so I could draw (with the company of my cat, of course – we were inseparable!) I remember drawing a flying fish after seeing one on a documentary and someone, perhaps my Pop, saw it and said that they didn’t exist!


Did you have an imaginary friend?

I’m actually surprised I never had an imaginary friend as I am an only child. I did spent a lot of time hanging out with my cat though and my Mum and Dad always played hide and seek with me.


Did you know at school what you wanted to be?

In primary school I wanted to grow up to be something different every week! The top three were artist, a ‘cat vet’ and marine biologist (after becoming obsessed with stingrays).


What advice would you give to your old school self?

Advice for my old school self would be to never stop doing what you enjoy and that trying is better than not doing anything at all. Oh, and don’t over-analyze everything so much!


SMUG’S colour is yellow, what colour best represents you?

Yellow is my favourite colour too! It is bright, energising and cheerful. My favourite vintage dress is yellow too. Yippee!


If you had to choose one SMUG product what would it be?

Hands down I would choose the vintage jumper goose toy, because at first I thought they were pigeons (I have a huge soft spot for them, so much in fact that I have a tattoo of one wearing a top hat, vest and monocle on my arm)