Willow: Is designbirdie your full-time job? Or your hobby?
Mandi: I'm a freelance illustrator with a background in Animation and Children's Educational software. But all my commercial and designbirdie illustration is squeezed around having two kids - who are still very mini - so lots of late nights when the house is quiet.
Willow: What inspired you to start your business? And what inspires you now?
Mandi: I see things and think - I could try that- and I'm inspired by everyday life - patterns on clothes, teacups stacked in coffee shops, words, sayings, old writers, new phrases, spools, buttons - anything. I keep a visual diary and everything gets sketched up waiting for it's time to be used! I just decided to start designbirdie in May and have loved every second of it's very steep learning curve!
Willow: Where is your work space, and what do you need with you to begin working?
Mandi: I have a studio which is messy and I love it. I've promised myself that in January I WILL organize it.
Willow: What's your favourite snack to have while you work?
Mandi: Tea. Being Irish, we are never far away from a cup of tea. It's caused me problems before when my paint brush as accidentally landed in my teacup!
Willow: Who are your favourite artists?
Mandi: Can't beat some of the classic illustrators - Quentin Blake or Anita Jeram. I also love Cath Kidston and Emma Bridgewater for consistent designs and great business models.
Willow: What music do you listen to while you work?Mandi: I love listening to audio books - Daphne du Maurier, Conan Doyle... it's got to be peaceful when I'm working, but never quiet.