At Ohh Deer, we work closely with dozens of artists every year and somehow not a single art style is like the other! These wonderful artists are responsible for the cards we create for our store, from hilarious(ly offensive) to just plain gorgeous. And that alone, my friends, is why each month we spotlight one of these artists and give them the attention they deserve because, boy, did they earn it!
We love and appreciate you all!
This month’s artist you may recognise from our store where we sell just a few of their beautiful Christmas card designs featuring woodland creatures and winter scenery. And that is the one, the only…
Drum roll, please.
This brand is made up of husband and wife duo, Harry and Zanna, who live as illustrators in Cornwall. Their journey began in 2014 when they met at university in the magical county of Gloucestershire. They created Papio Press during their second year, and since then they have only flourished as both a brand and as illustrators. In just 8 years, the pair have gone on to create multiple published books, expand their small business and focus on freelance careers alongside Papio Press. How inspiring!
We’ve worked with Papio Press a few times. What can I say? They’re great artists! In fact, we created a Christmas Papergang box with them back in 2020 with the theme ‘Winter Wonderland’ - very fitting for the beautiful art they create! As of right now, we have a few Christmas cards featured in our store created by the talented duo. The Christmas season is creeping up. Why not check them out?
Their work is heavily influenced by the environment in which they grew up. For those who don’t know, Cornwall is an extremely green part of the UK and, of course, as you know by now, Papio Press’ designs focus around nature. Their childhood involved a lot of exploring, whether that be in the woods or on the beach - which is evident in their work today. The inspiration nature gives them has only grown, especially after they welcomed their first child into the world, which allowed them to explore these few places once again, this time with a mini them! They are incredibly creative and find ideas for their work in the smallest details of nature around them, often finding interesting looking leaves on their walks and taking a photo of them to store as ideas for a later date!
In an earlier interview we had with the Papio Press team, we were lucky enough to get some insight into their creative process! They describe their designs as abstract in the sense that the research is done in their head; obsessively thinking about a piece for days at a time and then getting the art onto paper, so to speak. Of course, their talent doesn’t end there. Have a specific location in mind you want recreated? Leave it to them! They accept commissions when asked - mind, the process here is slightly different, they’ll do their research to ensure what they’re designing is both historically and geographically accurate!
“But what about the design process?” I hear you ask. Well, their work always begins with an iPad Pro. They find that with the sort of art they create, paper tends to get, as they described, messy, torn and grey after they used an eraser. They find digitally planning out a design is much cleaner. Perhaps this is a tip for any new artists thinking of creating art similar to that of the gorgeous pieces designed by Papio Press!
Occasionally, they will create colour roughs but, as they mentioned in their 2020 interview, they tend to be far too impatient (they said it, not me!) and dive right in to creating their final piece. Their medium of choice is a mixture of gouache and watercolours; they love the way that the texture of watercolour works so well with the strong colour of gouache, it gives the design a great balance. It’s important to note, however, that not every design features these two mediums - they like to experiment and grow as artists, which means trying new things every once in a while!
What better to bring this blog to an end than a word of advice from the Papio Press team themselves? This statement was originally addressed to their younger selves, but it is beautifully said and something any young or new artist/illustrator needs to hear …
“Social media is one of the most valuable tools young illustrators have. It’s the most incredible way of getting your work out and [being] seen by people. It takes hard work and
a lot of commitment to build a following, but it’s basically an online portfolio. The only thing is to keep a balance [between] what the algorithms/your followers want you to be doing, and what you personally find beautiful and fulfilling. It can be really easy to fall into the trap of just posting what you know will get good engagement, which is good as a business, but not
as an illustrator. We find that people love paintings of beautiful animals and florals, but most commissioners need to see [that] you can do more than that.”
And, with that, we come to the end of Papio Press' spotlight for October’s artist of the month! We’re making this a monthly feature on our blog, so if you enjoyed this read - keep your eyes peeled for more! Be sure to check out Papio Press, both on our store and on their socials (@papiopress) - they have some incredible work you have to see!
Download our gorgeous wallpaper designed by our wonderful artist of the month below!