I grew up in a home where everyone could draw. I soon joined the party and have never stopped. Growing up I was defined by 3 things: drawing, being outdoors, and a deep desire for pets. Animals of any type would have been welcome but a very itchy brother meant that goldfish were the only pets allowed.
However, after my brother had left home I was given a very hairy pony, Bay Legend (Teddy). I was 12 and he was 3. There was a lot of learning to do on both sides and a lot of falling off for me but I was so lucky and we were quite a team. Teddy shared my life until he was 36 years old, he introduced my nephews and niece to riding, taught my own children, and was a Riding for the Disabled (RDA) pony for many years. A top boy.
Life went on and with a degree in Visual Communications I trotted off into the world of Graphic Design eventually becoming one half of Aardvark Illustration & Design with my lovely husband John. Illustration has been a key element in our design process, and encouraged by John, I began to develop a style that better reflected the drawings in my sketch books. A more immediate response to what I saw, pencil crayons and pencils gave way to pen, ink, and a splash of watercolour.
We moved deeper into Shropshire in 1994 and became part of a unique community where we were met with kindness, friendship, support, and such warmth. At the centre of this community is its tiny Church, the desire to keep this lovely building open and in good repair requires a considerable community effort. Irrespective of beliefs or lack of them no one wants to see it close. Such happy, happy days with these special people.
Polishing the brasses afforded me plenty of time to study the East window and some of the infill panels looked to me like characters running and jumping in joyful celebration. These rapidly developed into Bishops, vicars and parishioners and in 2005 we launched our first collection, ‘Qwerky Cards’. Specialising in religious greetings cards, these are ‘designed to celebrate’, combining traditional messages with contemporary images. The response has been very positive and our range grows steadily.
My first love continues to be horses & ponies and I have been lucky enough to share my life with some very special equine characters! The ‘Hill Top Ponies’ collection is my emotional response to these magnificent creatures, large, small, sleek and fast, or hairy with attitude it matters not. I hope you will find something in this range to bring a smile of recognition, a memory, or an aspiration.
And so to lock down, finding ourselves with idle hands, we extended the daily walks with our handsome German Shepherd Remus, and twice daily duties to keep a watchful eye on our two very elderly native ponies. Once again the countryside nourished us and I decided to do what I encouraged students to do, draw what you see. However, with Remus this became what you might have seen! Plenty of squirrels and the odd rabbit and deer but other creatures and birds were glimpsed rather than observed!
The increase in people sharing our walks indicates that we are not alone in seeking solace in the countryside. Hopefully ‘The Edge Wood’ collection will enable some Shropshire magic to find its way into your home.
All the prints are produced to order and some can be personalised, which is new for us.
Our new website www.isobelbushell.co.uk brings all these collections together and I must say a big thank you to WH Creative for the creation of the site and holding my hand, all be it from a great distance, through the complicated bits!