Pen and Gwyn is colourful, whimsical and charming illustrations of mostly animals, sometimes people and occasionally landscapes.
They’re done using watercolour with pencil details and the odd smart pun. Pen and Gwyn does wholesale greetings cards and gifts, book illustration, commissioned work, editorial illustration and art prints.
What made you start your own business?
It all began when I was living in South Korea as an English Teacher and I had to come up with a quick Christmas card idea for my kindergarten students to make for their parents. The design was such a hit that I started to make some myself and I booked myself onto the foreigners market where I completely sold out. Two years down the line I was now living in Spain and teaching English and Art. I would be relentlessly painting and designing in my spare time and when the moment would come that my boyfriend would say “Nicky we have to go to work now” my heart would sink. That’s when I realised I had my life the wrong way round. So I flipped not only my life, but my boyfriends life upside down and on the 23rd of December last year we packed up our lives in Spain and moved back to the UK with our dog that we adopted whilst abroad. It was a huge risk, we hadn’t lived or worked in the uk for years, but luckily it’s paid off and we’re happier than we’ve been in a long, long time.
What is your favourite thing about having your own business?
Doing what I love everyday. I know it sounds cliche but it’s true! I no longer have to compromise my time between illustrating and working a job I only half heartedly care about. My time is my own and I’m wholly responsible for everything I do, which is both invigorating and terrifying. Also seeing people smile and react so positively to my work is wonderfully uplifting.
What is your most popular product?
I honestly don’t have one. I’m lucky enough that my designs appeal to everyone in different ways. So the moment think “oh this is the most popular one”, I do a craft fair or get a wholesale order, and something I thought was a weak design sells out! It’s constantly evolving which I love because it keeps me on my toes and stops me becoming complacent.
What is your favourite thing you’ve illustrated so far?
Gosh that’s a hard question! I love all the designs that I’ve illustrated in their own way. Although I will admit that I’ve secretly written and illustrated my own, dream, children’s book. It’s about animals, of course, and protecting our world and their environment which is a topic close to my heart. I won’t reveal anymore but if I get a book deal This Mummy Loves will be the first to know!
Anything else you want to tell us?
I’m going to shamelessly take this opportunity to plug my work and let everyone know that I’m open to all commissions and ideas you have. Feel free to contact me anytime and I’ll always try to accommodate any requests. Also thank you to This Mummy Loves for including me in this amazing idea and trusting me to interpret their logo in my style. You are two truly lovely ladies who are creating something ingenious!