Interview - Letitia Buchan (+ print giveaway!)

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
22nd of July 2011
Illustration by Melbourne-based designer / illustrator Letitia Buchan
Illustration by Letitia Buchan
Repeat pattern design by Letitia Buchan
Prints by Letitia Buchan - similar ones available at Signed & Numbered

Letitia is a great name isn't it!?  I think anyone called Letitia should be famous.  This particular Letitia should definitely be famous, as her life-story so far certainly sounds to me like a movie-plot, or at the very least, a best selling paperback!

Letitia Buchan grew up in Perth.  When her Mum moved to South Africa, Letitia went to boarding school.  After school, She joined her family in South Africa, working for 5 years on a tourist resort near the Kruger National Park! Then she came back to Australia (twice),  moved to Melbourne and did a design course whilst living in a backpackers!  But... she wasn't quite ready to settle down.

SO she went travelling again, back to South Africa, then onto London.... and then to Mallorca in Spain.  During this time she held down a variety of slightly wacky jobs - including a stint on the Stargate, the royal family of Qatars’ superyacht!  As you do.

When she finally came back to Melbourne for good in 2004, Letitia decided it was time to follow her true passion for graphic design and illustration!  She re-aquainted herself with Adobe, and got to work.  And as we all know, formidable talent + sheer drive = a winning combination!  Her innate skill, determination and passion for illustration has landed Letitia an impressive client base and regular commissions - her work has been seen in The Australian, Peppermint Magazine, and I am particularly starstruck that she created hand-drawn lettering for Carman's Muesli packaging!  Mmmmm. Carman's Muesli.

I also especially love Letitia's incredible hand-drawn type - her beautiful typographic prints are available to buy at Signed & Numbered!

Lucky for YOU GUYS, Letitia has sweetly offered a very special typographic print giveaway for one lucky reader!  She has generously offered a set of 7 limited edition prints, total value $480.00!   This includes the stunning 'Love Life' print pictured below, and 6 others from her limited edition range over here!

*UPDATE - A winner has now been drawn!  The winning comment was # 157 - congrats to Kerry P!  This giveaway is now closed.

To be in the running, simply leave a comment on this post before 10.00pm today Melbourne time!  A winner will be selected at random and contacted by email over the weekend.

Huge thanks to Letitia for her time with this interview and for the super generous giveaway!  Do pop over to her website and blog to see more of her work!

Tell me a little about your background - what path led you to what you’re doing now?

I was born with a primitive and instinctive love of all things chaos and art!

I lived & travelled abroad for 8 years after completing high school. I had some interesting employers whilst away: Terence Conran, the Royal family of Qatar and met designers such as Karim Rashid in my travels, all inspiring me in ways of their own. It wasn’t until I ended up falling into the role as a creative agent in Melbourne on my return, that I felt confident to settle down and pursue my own creative career. My first design job was menswear designer at Target Australia, having no fashion background! The same amazing Creative Director who employed me and saw potential in me then, I work with today designing prints for his agency based in London.

Where might we have seen your work?

My graphic design work can be seen in various retailers on a range of childrenswear and menswear labels & fashion websites. While my illustrations & hand type can be seen in some publications such as The Sunday Times Magazine, The Australian Magazine, the latest Peppermint Magazine.... and published in Amelias Anthology of Illustration, and the Luerzhers Archive 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 2011/2012.  Commercial clients have included Carman's Muesli (hand-drawn brand statement), Marcus B, Kmart, Minihaha.  Prints of my work can also be purchased from a great little gallery on Greville Street - Signed & Numbered.

This beautiful print available to buy online at Signed & Numbered. OR leave a comment today to be in the running to win this print and 6 more of Letitia's prints!
Your work seems very varied!... you make patterns, illustrations,  hand-drawn type and even the odd collage…! Do you have a favourite type of brief? It is the more organic illustration and hand lettering that I positively love, along with a beautiful product that may require surface or repeat patterns. Mostly I just enjoy the opportunity to work with an innovative product or client that intensifies my excitement! At the moment, my own wedding invitations are what’s keeping my mind ticking when I should be asleep! Colour palettes more specifically!
Wedding invitation created for friends by Letitia Buchan

What has been a favourite recent commission / client and why?

The Sunday Times Magazine is a loyal and wonderful client. I receive the brief, I do it overnight and there are rarely any changes. We have a trusting relationship that allows creative freedom, and always fun, whilst slightly obscure topics to illustrate.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Working from my home studio, I normally check emails in bed, wander out to grab a coffee and check the post, then back in to the studio. Work isn’t limited to 9-5, so I might get some store window/ retail inspiration, meet up with a friend, client meetings and then work at night. Which other designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by? I am inspired by so many talented friends and family pursuing their dreams. Terence Conran, artists such as Donna Wilson,Tim Biskup, Jessica HischeMarimekko designers..  and also I love history in design - mid century modern design, Frida Kahlo, Florence Broadhurst.. and more! Where do you look for inspiration when first tackling a new brief? – ie books, magazines, blogs… art, travel, nature? I have folders of collected inspiration and imagery on my desktop that I always browse through first, then depending on how much time is allocated to research I would search the net, brainstorm with pen and paper, go for a wander and absorb the things around me. Travel, and the trivial daily things in life also really do inspire me, but mostly talking to the client can create visuals in my mind of possible solutions.
Hand lettering by Letitia Buchan
What are you most proud of professionally? Being shortlisted for an award really surprises and satisfies me professionally. I have worked so hard in the early hours of the morning dedicating myself to my work, and it is nice to see others enjoy it! What would be your dream creative project? Many come to mind, but I would love to collaborate with local and international brands on designing some one off prints, or a homewares range.

Illustration / branding for Marcus B
What are you looking forward to ? Moving into our new studio in Port Melbourne, and possibly becoming a mum to a miniature daschund!
Another gorgeous illustration wedding invite by Letitia!

Melbourne Questions

Your favourite Melbourne neighbourhood and why? Oh so many! It ranges depending on my mood. As I am from Perth I don’t feel biased to one or the other. I love North, I love South. Where do you shop in Melbourne for the tools of your trade? Mostly I look for pieces of inspiration as my ‘tools’ from homewares stores up on High Street. I love Windsor, and Greville Street and surrounds (as its close to home), and Deans Art. What and where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne? A delicious breakfast bap at St Edmonds, cnr Edmond & Greville St.
'L'automne est ici' collage by Letitia Buchan
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning? At home, with a coffee picked up from Market Lane, The Age and an insanely delicious home cooked breakfast. Or out with friends for the same! Melbourne’s best kept secret? It’s not a secret, but I love a ham and cheese croissant and coffee from Haus Frau - Albert Park. Also amazing, cheap, fresh Lebanese from Tiba's on Sydney Road.
Hand drawn details by Letitia Buchan

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