Absolutely Mama | In the studio with wallpaper designer Katie Bourne
Growing up in rural Staffordshire on a working farm
I spent much of my childhood sketching the animals and the landscapes around me. Inspired by the illustrations I found in my books, I experimented with drawing animals in the style of my favourite illustrators, the wonderful Quentin Blake and Norman Thelwell. My mother was a fine artist and my father a farmer with a flair for spectacular doodles, so illustration was a natural route for me. Inspired by my own childhood, I went on to train at Cambridge School of Art, studying a BA (hons) in Illustration.
After completing my degree, I spent a few years working away from the arts
However my passion for illustration never faded. I knew I needed to follow my heart. I wanted to get back to working with my hands and get my pencils out again! Before starting out in wallpaper design, I began my illustration career by painting anything people asked for in a series of bespoke commissions. From painting people’s houses to pets and honeymoon pictures, I painted it all in the beginning!
I began to cultivate my signature style when I was asked to put together a collection of illustrations depicting a range of countryside animals
In the initial collection, I drew everything from deer to pheasants, sheep and many more animals. These drawings were all very stylised, with delicate pencil lines on white backgrounds. For the first time I started to really pull inspiration from my background. I started to play around with the style to work out various ways of using the designs. I then started to place the individual images together and build up my own stories behind the scenes for each illustration. At the time, although I didn’t have my own children, I had two young nephews, and would interact with the characters and come up with names for them to continue the story.
These early days were so important to the ethos of my business as I realised how much I loved the storytelling aspect that had become such a strong part of each of my drawings.
The designs became an extension of me, with the characters and scenes taken directly from my memories. From the farm I grew up on and the fields I used to play in, to birthday celebrations and outings with family and friends. Each design stems from my personal experiences. I aim to bring the characters of my childhood to life.
The focus for the look and feel of my wallpaper collections for Katie Bourne Interiors has always been to create a very British product
I wanted to remain true to my roots and classic illustration style, whilst incorporating a modern twist. It was important for me to find a factory where traditional printing techniques were combined with an eco-conscious approach and a beautiful range of heritage colour palettes. I feel very strongly that the wallpapers throughout the collection are rich in character. They provide children with life long happy memories that encourage their imagination to run wild. From the very first wallpaper I designed through Katie Bourne Interiors to now, every wallpaper design is carefully crafted by hand, with an aim to create whimsical stories for the wall that explore a playful style and encourage a world of adventure.
I now have 2 young boys aged 4 and 2 and run my business from my studio at home in Dorset
With the coast and the vast New Forest on our doorstep, I’m incredibly excited about the possibility of all the future wallpaper designs which will take influence from my new surroundings.