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Friends of Trouva: Molly Bland

Get to know Molly Bland, the graphic illustrator creating joyful prints and greetings cards inspired by everyday moments.

"I enjoyed making things that bring people a little bit of joy".

If graphic illustrator Molly Bland’s uplifting artwork isn’t brightening up your Instagram feed already, what are you waiting for? Featuring joyful motifs inspired by everything from mid-century architecture and interiors to jazz record covers and the natural world, Molly’s playful hand-finished designs capture everyday moments you want to frame.

Molly set up her eponymous brand during the pandemic when she had more time to work on her print and greeting card designs from her home in the sunny seaside town of Morecambe, Lancashire. Now, her graphic, collage-like signature style has become a staple in the world of illustration.

We caught up with Molly to chat about hosting workshops, pandemic creativity and finding inspiration in the 1960s.

Hey Molly! Tell us about starting up your brand

I’ve been making and selling my work since before I went to university, but I started to work on it full-time during the pandemic. In lockdown I designed a poster for an online competition with LAW magazine, of which I was one of the winners. The poster was distributed all over the country and I still get people sending me photos when they see one in a window they’re passing. I started making more work around then and enjoyed making things that (I hope) bring people a little bit of joy.

I now work out of a studio space which is in an empty shop in a shopping centre near where I live. It also acts as a gallery, and there are a few other artist studios in there so it’s become a bit of a creative hub, and a great community of people - which is great when you fancy a chat with someone or need to borrow something!

What inspires your work?

I’m inspired by 1960s and ‘70s graphic designers such as Milton Glaser and Paul Rand, as well as vintage packaging design from the same period.

Some of my favourite art guys are Henri Matisse, Annie and Josef Albers, Picasso and Lee Krasner to name a few. A few contemporary illustrators that I’m loving at the moment are Nick Dahlen, Eija Vehvilainen, and Mike Sian Studio, as well as Julia Katarzina’s psychedelic animations.

"I’ve enjoyed every commission since starting working freelance but anything I’ve done for a charity always feels extra special".

How do you create your prints?

I tend to just start drawing or cutting and then keep going until something sticks! It’s not a particularly high tech process but I find it works for me. Make no mistake however, I do make a lot of garbage until I create something I’m happy with!

Can you tell us a little bit about the workshops you host?

It depends on what age group I’m working with, sometimes I do drop in sessions where participants can make something quick to walk away with like a screen print. Then I sometimes work with community projects and charities to put together workshops that often take a whole day. For these, the finished product is often a large collaborative piece. I really like doing the longer days where everyone contributes to something together.

Are there any brands that you’ve worked with that you are loving at the moment? This year I designed a bespoke print selection of 16 prints for MIMMO Studios in Cheltenham, a new venture for two friends who are setting out to make a difference in the retail industry by selling top quality products with longevity rather than throwaway fast fashion. I love what they’re about and what they’ve achieved.

What’s been a real highlight for you since starting the brand?

I’ve enjoyed every commission since starting working freelance but anything I’ve done for a charity always feels extra special. I’m really proud of the work I’ve done for the British Red Cross and how far the work has reached so far, I’m looking forward to carrying on working with them in future.

How can people find you?

Follow me on Instagram to find out about workshops and markets, you can also find a list of my stockists on my website and webshop.

What’s next for you?

A little while ago I illustrated a cookbook for Georgia Levy called Let’s Do Lunch. It has just been published by Pavilion Books so I’m looking forward to the launch of that next week. That project was really fun so hopefully more of that. I also have a new collection of Christmas cards coming out very soon, so definitely keep an eye out for those. Trusted Site