Illustrations by Sam Battersby

Rose | Rabbit Family Portrait, by Sam Battersby

Have you ever seen an artist’s work and think, man we are on the same wavelength? That’s how I felt when I first saw Sam Battersby’s illustrations in her Etsy shop Matou En Peluche.

Her work is graphic, bold, and simple. Working in pastel, pencil, and charcoal, her illustration has a powerful two-dimensional quality. There’s a definite retro vibe about it, and Sam clearly has a penchant for fashion history.

Art Deco Afternoons | Wood Nymphs, by Sam Battersby

When I asked her about her interest in historic fashion, her answer slew me — she told me that her favorite museum in the universe is the Victoria and Albert Museum in London because she has spent “days and days and days” in the fashion and costume exhibitions. Well, me too. When I did my study abroad in London, I went to the V&A eight times in three weeks just to see the fashion displays. I would have gone more, but I had to go to class.

Yvonne | Poppy at St - Tropez, by Sam Battersby

I asked Sam about her artistic process. She told me, “usually I have an idea for a drawing, which I have in my head, and I’ll play around with that with plain paper and a pencil until I want to commit to the pastel and charcoal. Sometimes the idea is a complete success, but sometimes what I thought would be a terrific idea completely fails, but then it always leads me down another interesting path, so whether an idea works or not is sort of irrelevant really. They all work in one way or another!”

I think it’s fairly obvious why I love her work and why I can’t decide which piece to get. Some of the illustrations are such classic fashion sketches. In portraits, she captures the aura of the women without a lot of distraction. For instance, the flappers with their blunt bobs and rouged cheeks are reduced to shape and color, giving them their edge. And other pieces have that wonderful retro whimsy. I’m looking at you, mermaids. The illustrations that capture all three — fashion, aura, whimsy — are the best in my opinion.

Hot Pink Bathing Beauty | So Chic, by Sam Battersby

Check out the rest of Sam’s work on Matou En Peluche.


  1. Trillium says:

    I really like these illustrations! My favorite is Rose, I also like Yvonne very much. Of course I like the Bunny Family and the whimsy of the crustacean calisthenics class. I only had a chance to look at page 1 of the Etsy shop but I noticed there was a zebra finch which brings back happy memories from when my daughter was growing up. :)

  2. Maggie says:

    Really like her work! I like how sharp and spare the line work is, contrasted with the smudginess of the color. And the prices are very reasonable, too – I’m tempted by “Backstage at The Follies,” especially.

    • jacqueline says:

      Such a good description — “how sharp and spare the line work is, contrasted with the smudginess of the color.” And yes, her prices are very reasonable! I think she should raise them because I think her artwork is worth more.

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