I am a whimsical creature, as most of you know, and illustration, graphic design and interesting prints make me hum contentedly to myself and daydream. So for this Valentine's feature I invited Heather, also known as Sparklehen, to come and share the inspiration behind her wonderful prints.
I discovered Heather entirely by accident when rooting through Folksy looking for inspiration for Christmas presents. I saw a picture that was just perfect for the giant and very much in the style we both enjoy but I wanted it a little more customised. Heather was brilliant at making sure I had the perfect print for my giant and I was delighted. So much so I just had to share her with you all as I think there's a print for every love in your life in her store.
Tell us a little about you and your beautiful work
Well I originally qualified in Graphic design and illustration. I then worked in medical illustration, which was a great job, working with health professionals, putting together leaflets and posters, creating artwork and helping out at photo shoots.
However, I had made the decision to give it up to look after my 2 boys as there is only 15 months between them, and eventually I thought that I would try and put some t-shirt designs onto RedBubble, I then went onto opening my own shops on Folksy and Etsy.
You have a very distinct style, could you explain your inspiration for this?
Well I start with a blank page and look at it until my brain starts to bleed! Not quite, but it sometimes feels that frustrating when you really feel like your creative juices have dried up.
Sometimes it is starting with a blank page, other times it can be an idea from nowhere or when I'm in bed or in the shower.
My style really started back at high school, I was always doodling (when I should have been working!).
I think the more you do something no matter how much you are inspired by someone else's work, there is part of your personality comes through, making it your own. I'm still learning not to fight that, as it is easy for me to admire other peoples work and wonder why I can't be more like them. It's a confidence thing that I'm still working on I suppose!
Unfortunately I don't have a naturally smiley face, and maybe come across as serious, but once you get to know me....oooh this is beginning to sound like I'm looking for a date!.
What I'm trying to say is that I suppose I have a quirky sense of humour and I try to let it come through in my work. Sometimes I laugh at what I have done and wonder if anyone else will get it, so it's really gratifying when I get good feedback from customers or people who like what I do. It really makes what I do worth while!
There is a whimsical, playful quality that I love- would you describe yourself in this way?
Describe YOUR perfect valentine's date
It sounds sooo cliched, but it would have to be going out for a really lovely meal with my husband, but I prefer not to do it on Valentine's day (no, not because it's less expensive!) I just like being more spontaneous, well, as spontaneous as you can be with 2 young boys!
The best Valentine's gift you were ever given? Or perhaps one that sticks in mind (mine is a dead frog. I was 5 and it was the boy next door. I screamed blue murder)
I'm not mentioning any names here, but A pack of 5 M&S whites ladies briefs. I thought they were a joke at first, then I realised that they were the present along with a white t-shirt bra. I don't want to sound ungrateful, but they are hardly going to start any fires!!
I love Liquorice Allsorts!!!
I am thrilled to be able to offer MY favourite print, 'No Words Needed' (pictured above) to a lucky reader. Please leave me a message below this post by 10th February 2012, telling me which prints from Heather have caught your eye. Good luck!
You can find Heather as Sparklehen on Folksy
as well as Etsy