At this point you probably imagine the most inspiring women for us are always related with illustration and design, right?
Well, our new guest isn't an exception because she's a super talented illustrator and designer from the UK. Sorry not sorry!
Abbey Withington knows how to play with patterns, shapes and colors like no other and everything she creates or shares is so inspiring for us.
Let's meet Abbey!
Ahoy Abbey! Welcome on board. We love having you here with us today, we are big fans of your unique sense of aesthetics! Could you introduce yourself? Where are you from, what do you do?
Ahoy there! Thanks so much for having me and for your kind words. My name is Abbey- I’m a freelance illustrator / creative/ new Mum who has huge love for colour, design and interiors. I live in a small Victorian house with my partner Josh, our little boy Oscar and our furry son Ziggy. I’ve recently just returned from a long and lovely maternity leave, so I’m so happy to have been invited to talk to you here today!
As we already told you, we truly admire your sensitivity for anything aesthetic: not only your illustrations are amazing but also the way your home looks and feels, the clothes you choose to wear… How do you train your eye? What are your inspirations? Do you have any special tricks you want to share with us?
Oh I wish I knew the tricks so I could bottle them up and get them out when I’m in need of inspiration! It’s so tricky to identify where that eye comes from or how to achieve it- I’ve always been very aware of my surroundings and incredibly neat since I was small. Everything, from clothing to the displays in our home, to the food on our plates, are always considered. It’s really important to me to be surrounded by nice things, as it makes me happy! I really believe it’s good for my brain- I feel calm and content when things are colourful and organised.
Inspiration can come from anywhere- lovely interior magazines (91 Magazine is one of my favourites), browsing nice independent design stores, journals like this one, scrolling through Instagram + discovering other creative women. It really is endless!
We know you’ve worked in a couple of companies before joining the freelance world. How do you feel about it now? Do you think being your own boss can be challenging sometimes?
I find being your own boss is the hardest and easiest thing all at once, if that makes sense! The creative freedom and flexibility are incredible. The bookkeeping and admin are not so fun. But the good news is, the balance can be found. Being organised is the key- I’m still working on this and it’s now been almost 5 years!
After working for two big companies after studying at university, it was a real shock to the system for me. I felt reigned in, as if I wasn’t reaching my full potential and the office politics really bothered me. I was also far away from my family, which is super hard when they are my all time favourite people.
My mental health definitely suffered at this time, so taking the big leap into freelance life just made sense. It was the BEST decision I’ve ever made. The day I left my in-house job I felt relief and a sense of purpose I’d never had before. On the hard days of being my own boss I like to remind myself of this and how lucky I am to be here!
You recently became a mum, congratulations! That might have changed a few things… Do you feel maternity have enriched you? Is it affecting your creativity in any way?
Thank you! Wow, what a year. The minute Oscar landed earth-side our worlds turned upside down. Nothing is the same for a while- lack of sleep, getting to know this small human and tending to his every need- it’s a lot!
I’m so lucky to have had a whole year away from my work to bond with our boy and watch him grow from tiny to very big! I feel so much wiser and older now, definitely more tired haha. I also look at everything from a new perspective. He keeps me grounded that’s for sure.
But yes, I felt completely out of sorts at first and my creativity took a break for a while too. I’ve only just found it again over the past few weeks. Boy am I glad to see it again!
If anything having Oscar and taking such a long maternity leave has encouraged me to work harder, and cherish that precious time I have in my studio. It now feels like “me time” and not like work at all! I’m so excited for what’s to come, future collaborations and exciting new projects. Oh and also figuring out the balance of mum-work life. Wish me luck!
We love that you appreciate independent brands like ours and even collaborate with some of them, like the amazing postcards you illustrated for the socks brand Tchutcha. What do you like the most about Don Fisher and our universe?
Thanks so much, this is something that’s really important to me and always will be. There is so much creative talent and beautiful brands around, both brand new and established. When I find a real good one I just want to shout from the rooftops about it! Tchutcha is a great example of this- I love those postcards we made together, it’s still one of my favourite projects.
I remember when I first discovered Don Fisher years ago - the whole concept of the brand is just so clever and considered to me, it was love at first sight. Displaying fish pencil cases in ice boxes? Genius! I’d never seen displays done like that before and it was so refreshing.
The clean branding, the nautical language + the playful products just make something that is truly magic. It’s a whole narrative that beautifully ties together. I’m always drawn to brands with coherent stories and meaning behind the products. Most of all, brands that are FUN.
We are super proud and happy to be be friends of Don Fisher and featured on your wonderful journal alongside these other great creatives. A big hearty thank you, Captain!
Thank you for joining us today, Abbey! It's been a pleasure chatting with you.
Go follow Abbey's work on Instagram and also her inspiring everyday adventures with her son!