Hi WashiGang fam!!! We're big fans of Australian designed products over here, especially when they feature Australian native plants and animals. We interviewed Isabelle from Mister Moose Shop, the amazing illustrator behind some of our beautiful Australiana washi tapes! Scroll ahead to read a little about what goes on behind the scenes in Isabelle's life and where she gets her inspiration from.
1. Tell us a little about who you are and what you do? My name is Isabelle. I’m a 24 year old mum to a little boy who’s soon to be two (time seems to move more quickly when you can see it changing in front of you). I’m married to a horticulturalist, so am always surrounded by greenery. From a young girl I can remember creating little worlds to play in, and have always loved to use my imagination. I know this is where my love for art started, and certainly why I love creating whimsy in my art pieces. I started Mister Moose as a creative release during my son’s naps. As I started looking for Australian packaging materials I realised there wasn’t a lot out there. I really wanted to create my own, and here we are!
2. What does your daily routine look like? My daily routine is pretty regular as I’m looking after my son and have to work with him. My morning starts with getting my son out of bed, making us both breakfast and going for a walk with the pram and my post. We drop it off at the post office and play at the park across the road, where we watch for cockatoos (sometimes black cockatoos!) and pink galahs while we play. Once we’re home and lunch is done, I get him down for his nap and now it’s mama’s turn to play! I like to write out a to-do list so I don’t forget anything (honestly I have never got the memory side of my brain back post-pregnancy!). I check my socials, and my shop for any orders, then I get to work creating whatever project I'm working on. Right now I'm working on a collaboration, greeting card designs, new washi tape designs, some custom portraits and a new logo design. In the background I am also researching paper suppliers for my greeting cards and prints as well as seeking out inspiration for my projects through Instagram and Pinterest. If I have any orders I try to pack them now so that it’s easy to take them in the morning with our walk. When he wakes up, it’s back to full mama duties until my husband is home from work. Then I quickly post my Instagram post for the day and work on dinner! A busy, but hopefully productive day.
3. Do you have any tips for staying organised as a creative person? My to-do list definitely saves me a lot of the time. It helps me organise my time, and after I’ve written everything I need to get done down, I prioritise the list so that I can work everything through in good order. Otherwise I would only do what I like doing first (painting all day please!), and never get to the boring accounting or research parts. I have a big daily planner that I do this in, for me this is easier than a bullet journal as it’s already set up and I can get right to it.
4. What is something you’ve done recently with your work that you’re proud of? Collaborations make me really proud. To see someone else love, and want to share, your product or art is moving and humbling. I loved working with a seeded paper company, Seed and Ink, over Christmas to create some Christmas cards. I think last Christmas (2020) was such a hope-filled occasion due to the year we had. I created five completely new, beautiful designs that celebrated Australia and what we’d been through. My favourite was called ‘Starry Night’, with a platypus, koala, echidna and joey all stacked on top of each other trying to put the star on top of the Christmas tree. 5. Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you stay motivated? A lot of my inspiration is attempting to capture the wonder I experienced out in the Australian bush in my childhood. I’m so happy that my parents sent my brother and I outside. We had chickens and vegetables growing in the garden. We took torches one night to hunt out possums in our neighbours tree. We camped near the beach and heard the rain on a canvas roof. My dad taking us bush walking and telling a little girl who couldn’t sit still (me...) to take a moment and listen. They’re the moments that make you. And I want to be able to share that with everyone. I know this isn’t just my childhood, but that of so many around me. I'm so proud to be one of the privileged few who call this great country my home. If my art calls you back to your own childhood, or just simply reminds you of the power of imagination - that’s my motivation.
6. What draws you to Australian flora and fauna in your art works? My dad was born, and grew up, in New Zealand. He always talks about how we don’t have as many flowers in our backyards, and so his aim was to change that in ours. We grew up surrounded by grevillea and a big jacaranda tree leaning over our fence. Camping was another big part of my childhood and I have fond memories of going through the bush and learning about delicious honeysuckles and the little tiny apple shaped fruits we called ‘sour apples’. I’ve had the privilege of travelling overseas, but there’s nothing like that beautiful eucalyptus in the air that greats you as you come home. We’re surrounded by such unique animals and diverse plant life, I just can’t help feeling drawn to it, and so I draw it!
7. What was the design process like for your beautiful washi tapes, that we stock at WashiGang? At the time of designing the tape, there was one other beautiful Australian tape design that I could find. And it didn’t yet include the Aussie animals I love. So of course they were the first ones I wanted to work on. I drew out all the designs I was interested in creating. I had a couple of different ones with animals and then some with flowers. Growing my Instagram was also such a help in the process, as I began to have people interested in my art, and invested in the tape design. When I reached out to my audience I received feedback wanting a black and white tape which I would never have thought of doing otherwise! When I had my final designs, I again asked my audience what they liked/disliked about the designs and gave some options to pick from for each design. For example, I wasn’t sure if I wanted lighter or darker leaves on the Aussie animal tape, or if I should include gold foil on the bee tape. Finally I sent all the final designs to my manufacturer to make into physical products. Opening that box after months of work was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!
Where can we follow you: I would love for you to follow me on Instagram @mistermooseshop and you can visit my shop where I will be releasing new items soon here: MisterMooseShop.Etsy.com
Thanks for tuning in, Gang! You can also find all of Isabelle's Mister Moose Shop washi tapes in our shop. We're so happy to support Australian designers at WashiGang! Do you have a favourite Mister Moose washi tape?
Who would you like to see us interview next?
Let us know in the comments below.