Studio Stories: Charlotte Pepper

Banner showcasing Charlotte Pepper's portrait alongside two of her invitation designs, each adorned with vibrant, colorful illustrations.
Banner showcasing Charlotte Pepper's portrait alongside two of her invitation designs, each adorned with vibrant, colorful illustrations.

The Inspiration of Animal Friends, An Interview with Charlotte Pepper

In this interview, we get to know more about Charlotte Pepper, and what makes her work so special. For example, her ability to work from home has given her more time to be in nature and connect with the things she loves to create the most.

What inspired you while you were creating the invite collection for Greetings Island?

Animals featured mainly in my invitation collection for Greetings Island inspired me. This is always a bonus, as I love creating characters, especially juvenile ones! I love giving them personalities, whether this is portrayed through the outfits or accessories they wear, or simply their features. I want them to look like you’d want to be their friend!

What do you like about creating stationery compared to other types of art?

When designing cards, I love that one little piece of artwork will hopefully brighten someone’s day and help make the occasion they’re celebrating a bit more special.

What kinds of stationery do you love making the most? Some examples could include thank you cards, romantic cards, party invitations, congratulatory cards, and more.

My favorite stationery to create the most has to be anything for babies or young children. I really enjoy the artistic freedom this gives me, to make a juggling bear, an elephant on a unicycle, or a dog in a space rocket possible! There are no limits!

Two invitations by Charlotte Pepper for Greetings Island: a housewarming invite with 'Home Sweet Home' in gold, featuring an open window with gold curtains, flowers, and a peaceful cat; and a birthday invite with a golden fox adorned with white flower illustrations and 'Birthday Party' text, surrounded by colorful small flowers.

Which artists inspire you the most as a creator and why?

As a student, I was greatly inspired by the artist Ben Nicholson. While my work is commercial and (hopefully!) fun, and the link may be difficult to see, I have always loved the textures, mark-making, and unusual compositions in his art. Although I might be creating a very simple character, I often use a painted texture instead of flat color, to give depth and more of a hand-rendered look.

Do you have a routine that helps you create art, such as listening to certain types of music, sipping on some tea, being in a specific environment?

My daily work routine involves an early morning walk with my rescue Greyhound, Missy, rain or shine! I am lucky enough to live in a village surrounded by the beautiful countryside, so every morning we might encounter squirrels, pheasants, garden birds, cows, sheep, horses, and even the odd muntjac deer! I’ve always had quite a playful imagination, so I like to think up little scenarios with the creatures I see along the way, which I can then turn into artwork. Having previously worked as an in-house designer for a long time, I try to appreciate that I no longer have a commute and my day can start in a calm and inspiring way.

What is a typical workday like for you?

Typically, once our walk is done, it’s time for several cups of tea in the studio. I might start a new project with some very rough sketches with what I like to call my “empty head.” The drawing flows and I don’t feel the need to be too precious. I usually just use what is on hand: a biro, a pencil, just to get my ideas down on paper loosely and without being too contrived. I can then take these sketches into Photoshop and go to color without losing too much of the quirkiness. At lunchtime, we walk again and then we repeat until the end of the day, which is usually when I start overthinking things. Then it’s time to stop!

You’ve shared that your favorite things to create are characters, birds, and other things from nature. What attracts you to these things?

I find all aspects of nature fascinating. Leaf shapes, skies, horizons, birds flying. Perhaps because I enjoy these things so much, I can relax my mind and the creativity flows.

Your art has lots of depth and textures. What are your favorite techniques and mediums that you like to use in your art?

All of my work is created in Photoshop. Whether it’s watercolor, lino print, screen print, or collage. So my medium in that sense is not technically varied! But the depth and texture that can be created in this way are endless. I can use a vast array of brush tools and work with opacities and overlaying. It’s just like regular painting without the dirty brushes and collaging without the glue!

You’ve illustrated a couple of children’s books in the past. What were those experiences like?

Children’s books are another favorite of mine. Having worked as a greetings card designer for 19 years before joining Advocate Art, it was a very new way of working  in terms of planning a spread as opposed to a 5’x7’ image where the top third usually has to contain the most interest. But I’m all for any story that’s about an animal going on adventures! I love love love children’s books!

Do you consider yourself a party person? What do you enjoy more, planning a party or attending one?

If there is a party to be had, I’m much more suited to attending than planning! In fact, any sort of event planning terrifies me! I’m totally up for helping out, though. Give me a task and I’ll happily get it done, but only for someone else’s party!

Baby shower invitation by Charlotte Pepper for Greetings Island, brimming with playful animal illustrations—giraffe, bear, lion, turtle, moon, butterfly, elephant, panda, and flowers—set against a meadow backdrop with colorful flowers and butterflies.

What is the most memorable birthday/gender reveal/housewarming that you went to or hosted? What made the event so special?

One of my most memorable birthdays as an adult was that of a close friend of 20 years when we were finally able to get together in person after lockdown. It was so lovely to be able to see everyone again, get dressed up, dance, and hug without it being on video call! And wine does taste so much better with friends face to face!

Do You Have a Special Event Coming Up?

Although Charlotte enjoys going to parties more than hosting, her beautiful artwork has helped countless others plan their own events and spread love. It’s always fascinating to learn more about everything that goes into creating our favorite cards and invitations.

If you want to celebrate an upcoming occasion, then you’ll have a blast browsing all of the other beautiful artwork on our site. Have a look at our collection of invitations and cards so you can start customizing your top pick.