The Broadcast / Josephine Walker: Form & Feeling

Josephine Walker: Form & Feeling

An artist, illustrator and the designer behind our summer folk print, we sat down with Josephine Walker to talk about developing her passion for art, her inspirations, and the process of creating the striking lino print illustrations that adorn our summer collection.


4 min read

Words by Josephine Walker

How did you develop your passion for drawing, and what were some of the influences that shaped it?

Growing up I had a constant need to document things I saw in nature. I was a bug kid. A big fan of insects and algaes and rocks, and I would document them in sketchbooks and on film cameras. Sometimes I did it to make sense of how things worked, like why a spider’s leg moved the way it did, and sometimes it was more to make sense of the way I saw them and how they made me feel, less about how it was functioning. When I was studying illustration after school, I learned to question more what I was seeing and explore how to communicate my thoughts and feelings through those images. It became more about communication than just expression.

But there was always a geeky aspect to why I wanted to draw something, having always been around geology, nature and science. For a long time I was aiming for that accuracy, and at one time even wanted to be a scientific illustrator, but it didn’t always feel like I was expressing my internal world’s interpretations of what I was actually seeing. Eventually I realised that what we see is a perception, through the lens of a wider range of emotions. Meaning that the way we see these often simple things, like plants or a headland, can change depending on our emotions, the time of day, or time in our life.

How would you describe your art style and how did you go about developing that?

I try to explain it as a love for the romantic melancholy that I feel through the ever-changing seasons of the Atlantic. Sometimes I see my work as purely sorrowful but it’s more of a romanticised sorrow; deaths and rebirth in nature, the rain squalls whipping up the skin of the ocean, hardly able to walk the coast path with wind blowing tears to your eyes - to the heady smells of summer afternoons in wild grasses, watching the sparrow hawks and listening to wood pigeons. Knowing that these moments are limited, and won’t last forever, serves to make it all the more enjoyable.

My work focusses on detailed repetition with a balance of the rough and the refined, utilising a lot of black and white through inks on wood or Lino printing. As I moved away from that desire for accuracy to explore more personally expressed images I have tried to keep to my enjoyment of simple mark making, changing up my materials and keeping my ‘handwriting’ so to speak. I try to plan in my head and not on the page and let things just take form.

As well as the creative direction to explore Cornish folklore, what inspirations did you draw on to create the print?

So yes - the initial direction was this idea of folklore in the south west. For me that was a direction towards nature; the herbs, the plants, the abundant apothecary of flora and fauna that can be found from moorland to headland, here in the south west and all around the UK. I wanted to keep the illustrations simple and rough - as if you were to see them carved on the handle of a knife or etched into stone. Almost like cave paintings, or carved totems - simple in reference but easily recognisable as something from our corner of the earth.

How did you find the process of developing it with the team?

For me the development is my favourite part – any excuse to flip through old botanical journals and read about native animal and plant species that I have been curiously watching my whole life! Also, just having a reason to go through my old journals and sketchbooks from walking the coast paths over the years.

The design went through several iterations, from a single illustration to the final all over print that we settled on, and I created a wide selection of small stamp illustrations and Lino cuts for the design team to create a harmonious pattern that would suit the cut of the clothes it would be printed on. I left the rest up to the team to work their magic…


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