The Howe Collective: Julie Campbell

The Howe Collective are a group of creative women who are working together to boost their businesses and drive forward their efforts. They are currently working together on a pop up shop, to be held on Cupar, Fife on March 20 for more information read our piece on the group and the event here.

“I think my love of natural history and art have developed hand in hand. Animals and landscape have always been my favourite things to draw. As well as loving to draw them, I’ve always been interested in learning more about our natural world, and I’m passionate about incorporating the science and facts into my creations as much as I can.”

Julie Campbell’s products on display

Drawing on her knowledge as a scientist with a passion from natural history, Julie Campbell renders her work with biological accuracy as well as stylistic flair.

“I usually draw real, native plants and flowers in my backgrounds,” she said. “And some of my comics even feature species lists! All this has come from my pursuit of the study of natural history, but with an appreciation for its form and inherent beauty that for me go hand in hand.”

Leaving work to have her family, however, provided her with an opportunity to start to draw again, inspired by the nature and landscapes around her home. This freedom, combined with a love of reading comics has also developed further into story telling in her own line of illustrated stories. The comic strip influence is also clear in Julie’s distinct style of illustration, with images rendered in clean single colours on black and white. 

“I’ve always loved to read comics, she explained. “And in recent years I prefer to read independent or small press titles, which are more likely to have a greater range of interesting art – single or few colours are often common in comics, and this has probably helped inform my style.”

Her own comics bind together her love of nature and landscape – Big Tree is a short autobiographical tale about her love of trees and woodlands and Beneath The Law tells the story about an unlikely friendship between a ghost whale and a piebald jackdaw.
Using digital means to produce her drawings, the initial pencil sketches she makes provide a simple way to fit her work and creativity around a busy family life.
Julie said: “I have two kids, so my working day stops when they come home from school. Sometimes I find that threshold difficult to navigate, depending on the day I’ve had. I also find creative thoughts and new story ideas do not conform to a work schedule! They can come anytime and anywhere, so carrying a sketchbook around or being able to nip away for five minutes to get an idea down can be very valuable. My husband and family are very understanding about my need to create.”

 Again, her surroundings have informed her art and inspired Julie to produce a series of comics aimed at children. The White Lamp is about a girl finding her place in a new town and is inspired by Julie’s desire to share her creativity in stories for own ten-year-old daughter.

Self-portrait of the artist at work

She is also working on another comic – a longer form work, called Lost – about how people can become lost in the modern world, inspired by the complexity and demands of modern lives.

Julie Campbell

To find out more about Julie Campbell visit her website or her shop on Etsy.

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@katiebirdiedoes @badgalboocha @sewrayme @waynegallowayceramics

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