Bath-based Illustrator Bea Baranowska has always been creative and knew, from a very young age, that she was going to be an artist. Fast-forward to adulthood, and Bea has an online shop chock-full of gorgeous products, all of which she designs and draws in her little home studio, accompanied by her chickens, in the beautiful Somerset countryside.
Bea: "I have always been creative. For as long as I can remember I was drawing at the kitchen table with my mum after school, or making things salt dough in the school holidays. I always knew I was going to be an artist. I did graphic design at uni as I didn't know what direction I wanted to go in. When we got to the illustration module I knew i'd found what I wanted to do. My Etsy shop started very small with only a few items and sales from friends and family. I gradually built a following on Instagram and with that my shop sales began to rise, too! I now have over 200 items in my shop and it's constantly growing."
Bea's inspiration, naturally, comes from the Somerset countryside where she lives and works. Her Polish heritage also influences her artistic style - and so do her pet chickens!
Bea: "I have a home studio - otherwise known as the spare room! It's full to the brim with all my drawing equipment, stock and inspiration. I love being based at home and able to head to my studio whenever I am inspired. Lots of my inspiration comes from nature and wildlife. I have a passion for birds, and if I'm stuck for inspiration, I will always come back to a beautiful bird! I love Polish folk art (being half Polish myself) and the colours and intricate patterns have been such an inspiration for me in my own work. I'm a very outdoorsy person - I love long countryside walks, spending time with animals and nature. I have pet chickens that I love to spend time with. I would rather be outdoors petting a chicken than anywhere else!"
Apart from Bea's design degree, her illustration style is all self-taught. Her technique has, in her words, recently "evolved"and is now entirely digital. She creates her designs using a Wacom graphics tablet and an iPad Pro, much to the fascination of her grandmother.
Bea: "My grandmother is a very successful polish painter. She creates beautiful and colourful oil paintings that are exhibited in galleries all over the world. She's 95-years-old now and still an absolute super hero. She's my biggest inspiration. She's absolutely fascinated by my iPad Pro, and is amazed at how I create my illustrations on it. She's also probably my biggest fan!"
Bea's products range from cards and coasters to prints and postcards, but it's her stunning, intricately designed pin badges that are her favourite things to work on.
Bea: "I really love my enamel pins. I'm always so excited when a shipment of a new designs arrives. I'm always amazed by the amount of detail and accuracy and I love that my illustration is turned in to something so versatile and durable and you can take it everywhere with you!"
Currently Bea juggles her own illustration business with her job as a graphic designer, but she would love to work on her own designs full-time in the future. Whatever happens, her main aim is a good one - to "continue to create art that makes people smile".
Bea: "I still work part-time as a graphic designer, which means in my busy periods I struggle to find the time I need in order to be creative! In the near future, as my business becomes more successful, I hope to cut my hours down in order to focus on the business more. Eventually I'd love to go fully self-employed. I've recently illustrated a book which is coming out next year. This has made me realised that I would love to do more of this, and maybe work with more agencies to get some larger projects published in magazines, and so on."
Bea's passion for her craft is clear, but why does she love Somerset?
Bea: "Somerset is a beautiful source of inspiration, with its green landscapes and beautiful architecture. I've lived here for over 17-years now and I just can't seem to move away!"