We wouldn't be Whale & Bird without the fantastic artists that feature in our ranges so we figured it would be a great idea to introduce you to a new artist each month of 2023!
We LOVE getting to know the artists behind the ridiculously cool designs so we're sure you will too.
January can be a cold and miserable month (especially if you're in the UK!) and to combat the blues we have got the wonderful Camille Medina and their bright, happy and quirky designs to cheer us up.
Camille runs her own design & illustration studio in the city centre of Leicester accompanied by her seriously cute cat, Sushi, creating irresistible gifts & stationery products with tons of personality.
Camille and her cat, Sushi!
We got the chance to ask Camille a few questions...
What is your background?
I am a self-taught artist. Despite the fact that I’ve been creative from a very young age and that I’ve always been making things as a hobby, the fear of the ‘starving artist life’ was real. I grew up when the internet was still fairly new and information wasn’t as easily accessible as it is nowadays, so basically I knew about product design and about fine art but I didn’t know that there was a whole world of commercial art professions in between. I didn’t even know that art could be commercial! As a result, when the time to go to university came, I picked a degree that mixed languages and business-centric subjects hoping that it would come in handy and perhaps open some doors for me.
When did you set up your creative business?
I set up my business in February 2014 so I’ll be celebrating my 9th year in business soon!
Why did you decide to set up your creative business?
You could say that it was a question of life or death! Long story short, I was very unhappy in the office job I had at the time. One day a thought struck me: if I were to die suddenly, would I be able to say that I’d lived the life that I wanted. The answer, as you can guess, was ‘No’. From that point on, I started taking steps towards quitting that job that I loathed and starting my own creative business. Six months later, I was able to kiss my old life goodbye (on my birthday, nothing less!) and start that new chapter of my life.
Describe your brand in three words.
Fun, colourful, connection.
What inspires your work?
My work, despite looking pretty simple in appearance, is very personal and deeply inspired by my own experiences: the things that my cat - Sushi - does, the private jokes I share with my partner, the things that I read and watch, etc.
Who are you inspired by? This could be an artist, maker, business etc.
I’ve always been a massiveInnocent drinks fan: their tone of voice in everything they do is just fantastic plus they make healthy stuff AND do their best to leave the planet better than they found it!
Chris Do, the founder ofThe Futur and creative business master, is also a big inspiration: he is basically who I want to be when I grow up.
Brendon Burchard, who is excellent at making people reflect on all aspects of their life and encouraging them to reach their full potential.
Deku, the main character inMy Hero Academia: he is positive, cheerful, always does his best, and he is great at inspiring others to do the same.
I could carry on but these are some of my biggest influences.
'You maki me so happy!' Postcard by Camille Medina
What does a typical work day in your business look like?
It’s a bit difficult for me to talk in terms of a ‘typical work day’. I try to keep a flexible approach to work and my work routine has changed many times over the years to accommodate different stages of my business and the needs of the moment.
One example of the flexibility that I’m talking about has to do with client work: as well as creating designs for my brand I also work for clients, helping them with their product and visual asset needs. As a general rule, if I’m working on a client project this tends to take priority over everything else and the other tasks that need doing tend to be planned around that.
However, there are some habits that I have formed and that I’ve been keeping at for quite some time. For example, the time that I set aside for reflecting on my business every two weeks. I call these thinking sessions my fortnightly check-ins and monthly reviews. The goal of the monthly review is to assess how I did during the month just gone and set goals for the month to come. I reflect on prompts like ‘What worked well’, ‘What didn’t work or didn’t feel good’ and ‘What can I do differently?’. The fortnightly check-in is a midway checkpoint that I I use to make sure that I’m still on track and to see if anything needs rethinking or if I need to pivot.
Another work routine that I have is that I tend to reserve one afternoon every week for content batching. I find that it’s much easier to be consistent with posting on social media and sending out my newsletter that way.
Finally, I set a timer for pretty much everything that I do (including creating new designs) to make sure that I don’t spend too long on any one task. For example, if I decide that I’m going to spend one hour on something, I divide that hour into 20-minute chunks which makes it easy to track my progress and how much is left to do.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given and / or the best piece of advice you can share with artists starting out?
Confidence is not a trait that you have or don’t have. It’s more like a muscle: you build it. The more you do things outside of your comfort zone and the more risks you take, the more your confidence grows.
What do you love about your job / business?
The freedom and flexibility that I get from being my own boss. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but being able to reschedule my workload or my day if needs be in order to take care of myself or spend time with my loved ones is priceless.
What do you dislike about your job / business?
The fact that I don’t get to draw/create as much as I’d like. When I tell people what I do, many tend to think that I’m just spending all day drawing… nope! Running a business is a complex affair and it has a lot of parts to it like admin, client outreach (to bring in the revenue that I need to keep doing what I do), etc. In reality, those other ‘parts’ are taking up most of my time.
Aside from your creative work, what else do you like to get up to?
When I’m not working, I love watching anime, training my cat, going to Zumba classes, spending time with my partner, reading dystopian teen fiction, and I love learning in general so I also read a lot of non-fiction books on a broad range of topics.
Do you have a favourite design of yours sold on Whale & Bird?
Oh that’s a tough one. I think it has to be the ‘Embrace Your Weird’ banana!
'Embrace your weird' Greeting Card by Camille Medina
'You're a star' Greeting Card by Camille Medina
'Naughty cat' To Do List Pad by Camille Medina
You can find more of Camille's work and her illustration work over on her website and Instagram!