Meet the Maker: Skantlyn
Skantlyn means ‘pattern’ in Cornish, and it’s a fitting name for Liz May’s creative business designing bright, colourful illustrations for cushions, mugs, bookmarks, art prints and greetings cards, based 10 minutes from the sea in Cornwall. She’s also recently started experimenting with the unexpected results hand printing can bring. In this week’s Meet the Maker interview, Liz talks to fellow Cornish designer and Folksy seller Emma from The Cornish Coaster Company about being inspired by the sea, beaches and landscape of Cornwall.
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Allotment Cushion designed by Skantlyn – available here
I was stumped for a name, then my other half suggested looking at words in the Cornish language – Skantlyn means ‘Pattern’ in Cornish.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your small business?
I am a graphic designer/illustrator who lives in Cornwall. I design all my illustrations by hand using my trusted pen and pencil or my graphic tablet, to give a unique hand-drawn style to my designs. I graduated in graphic design from university about 10 years ago, and set up my own graphic design business about a year later. It was from incorporating my own illustrations into my graphic design work for my customers (any excuse) that I wanted to design my own range of designs with the flexibility to design things I loved and was inspired by.
When I’m not designing I love going on walks with my crazy dog called Denzel and my other half. I also love baking and taking pictures of local walks I go on, which normally involves the dog somewhere along the line.
When I’m not designing I love going on walks with my crazy dog called Denzel
As you live and work in Cornwall, where is your ‘go to’ place for inspiration?
I’ve always lived in Cornwall as I grew up here, so I’m naturally drawn to the sea. Some of my products feature the designs I’ve found on little washed-up pieces of pottery. I usually find when I’m on the beach that I’m constantly looking for pottery and get excited when I find an interested pattern or colour, as I never know how long the pottery might have been bobbing around in the sea for. I love how much the sea and beach change on a daily basis, so I’m always inspired by it.
Some of my products feature the designs I’ve found on little washed-up pieces of pottery.
My daily routine involves taking my dog Denzel for a walk in my local fields, and I love how much that changes from season to season as well. I find that once I’ve completed my walk of the fields, I’m inspired to do my designs when I get home.
I hear you are currently re-branding your business, what has influenced this?
I am. Unfortunately a fellow creative had a similar name to mine and it was getting a bit confusing sometimes. I decided to change my name and, in the process, rebrand my logo too. I was stumped for a name, then my other half suggested looking at words in the Cornish language, so my new name Skantlyn means ‘Pattern’ in Cornish.
I design all my illustrations by hand using my trusted pen and pencil or my graphic tablet, to give a unique hand-drawn style to my designs.
Can you tell us about your creative process? Where do you start? What methods do you use?
For my illustrations and patterns I’m quite often inspired by nature, so if, for instance, I choose to design a range of floral-inspired designs I quite often take photos of flowers that interest me or look on Pinterest for inspiration. I then grab my sketch book and start to doodle some designs. I find that by using a pen or pencil it helps me to be quite loose with my designs. I then scan my image and, using my graphic tablet, I start to work on the design, adding colour, shape and deciding if the illustration should be made into a pattern or if it works nicely on its own. I use Adobe Illustrator to make my illustrations nice and crisp. As well as creating ranges of patterns I like, I also keep a close eye on trends, so I can design illustrations and patterns that will fit with current popular tastes and a wider audience.
Three Fishes Art Print by Skantlyn – available here
I’ve always lived in Cornwall as I grew up here, so I’m naturally drawn to the sea.
Where does the magic happen? Are you based at home or do you have a studio elsewhere?
I currently work from home, in an office, or quite often answer emails from the living room sofa with Denzel snoozing silently next to me. There are lots of design books in my office (I seem to collect them), which I find inspiring to flip through when I need some additional inspiration, and I constantly have music on in the background.
Devon Tramway Art Print by Skantlyn – available here
What are your business dreams? Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
I’m currently working on an illustrative book that I would love to get published in the near future. Design and illustration wise, I would love to have a little studio in the garden which I could work in and teach people various traditional printing techniques; I’m currently experimenting with more traditional printing such as screen printing or lino printing to create my designs to see how that works. I love digital design but I also love the unexpected outcomes that you get with hand printing.
Scots Guards and British Bobby greeting card by Skantlyn – available here
I would also love to get my designs licensed into various UK retailers (and then worldwide) as I love designers such as Orla Kiely and seeing her designs in shops is very inspiring. Getting my own range of patterns sold in lots of shops would be amazing.
Gardener’s Greeting Card by Skantlyn – available here
I would love to get my designs licensed into various UK retailers… and then worldwide
Now for a totally random question: tea or coffee? And which goes first on a Cornish scone, the jam or the cream?
Most certainly for me coffee (it’s got to be fresh coffee) and, of course, it’s got to be jam first. I would get told off otherwise. Having grown up in Cornwall it’s natural to put jam on first. However, when I was living with my parents we would also put treacle on a scone and then cream, which was called ‘thunder and lightning’.
Scots Guards and British Bobby cushion by Skantlyn – available here
Meet the Interviewer
The maker asking the questions this time is Emma from The Cornish Coaster Company. You can read our interview with Emma here >